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Current Underwater Search for Malaysia Plane Could End Within a Week

Kuala Lumpur - The current underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, focused on a tight 10 km (6.2 mile) circle of the sea floor, could be completed within a week, Australian search officials said on Saturday. Malaysia said the search was at a "very critical juncture" and asked for prayers for its success. A U.S. Navy deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is scouring a remote stre ...

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Putin Welcomes New NATO Head, Says Better Ties with West Possible

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed NATO's selection of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as its new head, saying on Saturday the pair had "very good relations" but that it was up to the West to improve ties. Relations between Russia and the NATO military alliance are at their worst since the Cold War following Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, a move Putin said o ...

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Obama Signs into Law ‘Terrorist’ UN Envoy Visa Ban

Washington - President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure that would bar entry to any UN ambassador whom the US says has engaged in "terrorist activity". The law came as a response to Iran's pick of a UN envoy linked to the student militants who overran the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. The US has already denied Hamid Aboutalebi a visa, and Mr Obama said he would treat the new law as "advisory". Ira ...

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Dozens of Fraud Complaints Filed in 3 Provinces

JALALABAD - Dozens of complaints abbout fraud and other violations during the April 5 polls have been filed in three eastern provinces, an official said on Saturday. Ballot boxes of two polling centres have been quarantined and votes cast at 42 other sites being assessed Independent Election Commission (IEC) head in Nangarhar, Dr. Akhtar Muhammad Ajmal, said. He told Pajhwok Afghan News a decision about ano ...

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Iran Executes 6 Death Row Afghans

TALOQAN - Iran executed half a dozen Afghans on death row yesterday and is set to hang another seven on Saturday, an official claimed. The six executed Afghans belonged to northeastern Takhar province and they had gone to the neighbouring country in search of work, the governor’s spokesman, Sunatullah Taimori told Pajhwok Afghan News. He said four of the victims hailed from Kalfagan district and the remaini ...

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WJ to Grill Health Minister on Substandard Drugs

KABUL - The Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament on Saturday summoned Health Minister Suraya Dalil to grill her about low quality drugs at medical stores and nonprofessional health workers serving in various hospitals. In today’s session too, the health minister appeared in the lower house but the speaker had to prorogue the session following pandemonium in the house. The presence of low quality drugs, ...

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5,972 Polling Centers’ Results Being Processed: IEC

KABUL - According to reports from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) National Tally Center, results of 5,972 polling centers have been received from all provinces, and are currently being processed. A statement of the IEC said on Saturday said more than three quarters (77.55%) of tamper-evident bags have been cleared at intake, with results now in stages of recording and tallying; and the majority of ...

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The Role of Citizen Journalism in the Elections

Afghan internet-savvy youth are playing a crucial role in the ongoing elections – through exposing frauds and irregularities that have taken place on the Election Day. Since the day of elections about two weeks ago, dozens of video clips have been circulating on the social networking websites that exposes frauds, intimidations, ballot stuffing and other sorts of electoral irregularities. The widespread enth ...

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ISAF, 3 Afghan Entities Performed Worst in Anti-Graft Fight: MEC

KABUL - The Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) on Wednesday released its fifth half-yearly report that indicated corruption continued to permeate all aspects of Afghan life. The report provides MEC’s latest evaluation of anti-corruption initiatives and highlights its activities as the independent voice monitoring national and international anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan. It said the MEC condu ...

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China’s Growth Slows to 7.4 Percent in 1Q

Beijing - China's economic growth slowed further in the latest quarter but appeared strong enough to satisfy Chinese leaders who are trying to put the country on a more sustainable path without politically dangerous job losses. The world's second-largest economy grew 7.4 percent from a year earlier in the January-March quarter, down from the previous quarter's 7.7 percent, government data showed Wednesday. ...

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Palestinians, Israeli Police Clash at Jerusalem Holy Site

Jerusalem - Israeli riot police entered one of Jerusalem's most revered and politically sensitive religious compounds on Wednesday to disperse rock-throwing Palestinians opposed to any Jewish attempts to pray there. The confrontation erupted after Israeli police tried to escort some 20 visitors onto the plaza revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's walled Old ...

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Ocean Floor Search for Missing Malaysia Plane Cut Short Again

Kuala Lumpur - The search for a Malaysia Airlines jetliner deep in the Indian Ocean was again cut short on Wednesday when technical problems forced a U.S. Navy underwater drone to surface without finding anything, officials said. While a massive air and sea search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 is continuing almost 2,000 km (1,200 miles) off the coast of Perth, hopes have been pinned on the Blu ...

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Nearly 300 Missing After South Korean Ferry Capsize: Coastguard

Seoul - Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea on Wednesday, despite frantic rescue efforts involving coastguard vessels, fishing boats and helicopters, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years. The ferry was carrying 459 people, of whom 164 have been rescued, coastguard officials said. It was not immediately clear why the Sewol ferry listed he ...

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Female Lawmaker Injured in Kabul Gun Attack

KABUL - A female lawmaker was shot injured overnight by unknown gunmen in a planned area north of Kabul city, an eyewitness said on Wednesday. Mariam Kofi, who represents northeastern Badakhshan province in the Wolesi Jirga, was rushed to hospital after she was shot injured in the foot last night in Shahrak-i-Arya area, a planned residential district north of Kabul. Wishing anonymity, the eyewitness told Pa ...

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Warlords Stuffed Some Ballot Boxes in Balkh: Official

MAZAR-I-SHARIF - Some ballot boxes have been found faulty after being interfered with by some warlords and their votes are likely to be declared invalid in northern Balkh province, an official said on Tuesday. The Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission have been recounting votes of quarantined ballot boxes over the past few days in Balkh following complaints of fraud. Izzat ...

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Debate over Corruption at Customs

KABUL - Speaking to the Washington Times, Deputy U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Jarrett Blanc said that ongoing corruption in Afghanistan customs offices has undermined much needed revenues. However, the Afghan Ministry Finance (MoF) has disputed those claims. Custom incomes are considered one of the biggest sources of revenue for the Afghan government, which does not make as much off taxes ...

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Russia Mulls Lawsuit against United States in WTO over Sanctions

Moscow - Russia is looking at the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the United States in the World Trade Organisation over sanctions hitting Russian banks, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Wednesday, according to Russian news agencies. St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya was sanctioned alongside its chairman and largest shareholder Yuri Kovalchuk in March as part of punitive measures by Washingt ...

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Rebel Videos Show First U.S.-Made Rockets in Syria

Damascus - Online videos show Syrian rebels using what appear to be U.S. anti-tank rockets, weapons experts say, the first significant American-built armaments in the country's civil war. They would signal a further internationalization of the conflict, with new rockets suspected from Russia and drones from Iran also spotted in the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. None of that equipment, however, is see ...

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Russia Says Ukraine on Brink of Civil War

Moscow - Russia declared Ukraine on the brink of civil war on Tuesday as Kiev said an "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Moscow separatists was under way, with troops and armored personnel carriers seen near a flashpoint eastern town. Twenty-four hours after an Ukrainian ultimatum expired for the separatists to lay down their arms, witnesses however saw no signs yet that Kiev forces were about to storm ...

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Motasem’s Disappearance in Dubai

Agha Jan Motasem, a high ranking Taliban official and former aide of the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has been disappeared in Dubai. According to the Afghan officials, the government of Afghanistan is in contact with the UAE officials to find out about the fate of the Taliban official. Agha Jan Motasem was reportedly active in peace dialogue with the government of Afghanistan and, based on some repor ...

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