Monday, February 20, 2017
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Donald Trump should help kick 'Russia's ass': Republican Senator Lindsey
Bavaria, Feb 19 (Agencies): US President Donald Trump should come clean and back moves to "kick Russia`s ass" for its alleged meddling in last year`s US election, senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday. Trump has been embroiled in questions over his ties with Russia and this week his national security advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign over contacts with Moscow`s ambassador in Washington. The president has repeatedly said he wants to improve relations with Russia but Graham said Trump should be much more focused on hitting back at Russia over its alleged hacking of the Democratic Party`s network to discredit candidate Hillary Clinton in his favour. "My goal is to put it on Trump`s desk and I hope he`ll embrace the idea that as the leader of the free world he sh...
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350,000 children trapped in west Mosul
London, Feb 19 (Agencies): Around 350,000 children are trapped in western Mosul, Save the Children warned today as Iraqi forces launched a fresh offensive on jihadists defending the strategic city. "Iraqi forces and their allies, including the US and UK, must do everything in their power to protect children and their families from harm, and avoid civilian buildings like schools and hospitals as they push deeper into the city," said the London-based charity's Iraq country director, Maurizio Crivallero. He warned that escape is not an option for most families, who risk summary execution by fighters from the Islamic State group, sniper fire and landmines, but they are also running out of food, water and medicine. "This is the grim choice for children in western Mosul right now: bombs, cro...
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Roadside bomb kills 12 Afghans including children: UN
Kabul, Feb 18 (Agencies): : The UN has condemned the killing of 12 Afghans, including eight children returning from school, by a roadside bomb in the country's volatile east, the latest in a growing number of civilian casualties. The blast occurred in Paktika province on Friday when their vehicle hit a pressure-plate improvised explosive device planted on a public road, the UN said, adding that four others were wounded. "Children are once again the main victims of these indiscriminate and illegal weapons," said Pernille Kardel, the UN`s deputy special representative in Afghanistan. "There is a simple message to the perpetrators: stop using these weapons if you are serious about safeguarding Afghanistan`s civilians and the country`s future generation," Kardel said in a statement late Sa...
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Obama ranks 12th best leader in US presidential history
Washington, Feb 18 (Agencies): Barack Obama ranks as the 12th best leader in US presidential history, according to a new survey. The survey of 91 presidential historians conducted by C-SPAN placed the 44th president just below Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) and just above James Monroe (1817-1825), NBC News reported on Friday. This is the third such survey by the organisation, which began polling the panel of presidential experts in 2000. The poll ranks each US president on various issues, including "crisis leadership", "moral authority", "international relations" and "pursuing equal justice for all". Obama scored particularly high on the "equal justice" scale, coming in third behind only Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) and Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969). But Obama ranked fifth from the bottom...
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US Vice President Pence says will stand firm with Europe, NATO
Munich, Feb 18 (Agencies): US Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday brought a message of support for Europe from Donald Trump but failed to wholly reassure allies worried about the new president`s stance on Russia and the European Union. In Pence`s first major foreign policy address for the Trump administration, the vice president told European leaders and ministers that he spoke for Trump when he promised "unwavering" commitment to the NATO military alliance. "Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance: the United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance," Pence told the Munich Security Conference. While Poland`s defence minister praised Pence, many others, including France`s foreign minister ...
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Pakistan Senate passes Hindu Marriage Bill
Islamabad, Feb 18 (Agencies): The Pakistan Senate on Friday unanimously passed 'The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017' following which the Hindu community in the country is set to have a personal law for the first time. The bill, which was approved by the National Assembly on September 26 last year, is likely to get presidential assent next week to become a law. It will help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage. It will be the first personal law for Pakistani Hindus, applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindh has already formulated its own Hindu marriage law, reports the Dawn. The bill, presented in the Senate by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, faced no opposition and was approved by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on January 2 with an overwhelming m...
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Give us 'solid evidence' and will back Masood Azhar ban, says China ahead of talks with India
Beijing, Feb 18 (Agencies): China on Friday asked India to provide "solid evidence" to back efforts to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN, as both sides prepare for a “strategic dialogue” later next month in the Chinese capital. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will represent India at the Feb 22 meeting while the Chinese side will be led by Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui. Both sides will have an in-depth discussion on regional and global issues of mutual interest in the strategic dialogue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing here. Commenting on reports of "friction points" in the bilateral relationship, including the Masood Azhar issue and India's admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Geng said "differences are only...
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Pak lists Hafiz Saeed under anti-terrorism act
Islamabad, Feb 18 (Agencies):: Mumbai attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed has been listed under Pakistan's anti- terrorism act by the provincial Punjab government, a tacit acknowledgement of his links to militancy. Dawn News reported that the Punjab government has included names of Saeed and one of his close aides, Qazi Kashif, in the fourth schedule of the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA). Three other men were also added to the list -- Abdullah Obaid from Faisalabad, and Zafar Iqbal and Abdur Rehman Abid from the Markaz-i-Taiba, Muridke. Saeed and the four men added to the fourth schedule of the ATA were also placed under house arrest on January 30 in Lahore amid an angry uproar from his party and political allies. The five men were identified by the Interior Ministry as "active memb...
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Blast rips through shrine in Pak, 30 dead
KARACHI, Feb 16 (Agencies): At least 30 people were killed and over 100 others injured tonight in a suicide attack inside the Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar packed with devotees in Sehwan town in Pakistan's Southern Sindh province. The blast took place during Dhamal-a Sufi ritual, when hundreds of devotees were present inside the premises of the vast mausoleum of the saint, police said. Officials said 30 people were killed in the blast. Sindh Health Minister Sikandar Mandhro said that "40-50 people" have been injured. Initial report suggests that it was a suicide bombing on portion reserved for women in the shrine, the Dawn reported, quoting SSP Jamshoro Tariq Wilayat. "It seems to be a suicide bombing according to initial information provided by Sehwan police to me and I am on ...
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India, 5 other countries attend meet on Afghanistan in Russia
MOSCOW/NEW DELHI, Feb 15 (Agencies): For the first time, India along with five other regional powers, including China, today participated in a meet on Afghanistan hosted by Russia during which they discussed ways to work for the stability, security and development of the war-torn country. The Indian side was represented by Joint Secretary, External Affairs Ministry, Gopal Baglay, at the conference in Moscow which was also attended by representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, China and Iran. The conference is an initiative of Russia-China-Pakistan trilateral and India was invited during the visit of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to Russia last month. India was not invited for a similar conference two months ago. Russia was represented by President Vladimir Putin’s special...
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China protests to India over Taiwanese delegation’s visit
BEIJING/NEW DELHI, Feb 15 (Agencies): China has lodged a protest with India for hosting a Taiwanese parliamentary delegation and asked it to deal “prudently” with Taiwan-related matters but New Delhi today dismissed the issue saying no “political meanings” should be read into such trips. Briefing the reporters in Beijing today, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “China lodged representations with India” over the Taiwan parliamentary delegation’s visit to New Delhi. “We hope that India would understand and respect China’s core concerns and stick to the ‘One-China’ principle and prudently deal with Taiwan-related issues and maintain sound and steady development of India-China relations,” Geng said. The remarks evoked a prompt reaction from New Delhi, where External Affa...
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Two killed, around 18 injured at Peshawar
PESHAWAR, Feb 15 (Agencies): Killing two persons and injuring about 18 people in Peshawar’s Hayatabad area, a suspected suicide bomber today targeted a vehicle carrying civil judges. A motorcycle struck the front of a car of Peshawar High Court leading to an explosion in which the driver of the vehicle and a passerby was killed. Reports said four judges travelling in the car were also left injured. “A suicide bomber on a motor bike rammed into an official van in which some judges were travelling,” senior superintendent of Peshawar police, Sajjad Khan, told media. He said three female judges and one male judge had been taken to a nearby hospital while the driver of the van and a passerby had been killed. The attack took place in a wealthy neighbourhood of the northwestern city, where T...
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Lahore blast: 40 Afghans arrested, probe team formed
Lahore, Feb 15 (Agencies): Authorities in Pakistan have formed a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe Monday`s suicide blast here that killed more than a dozen people. The police also arrested at least 43 suspects, mostly Afghan nationals, media reported on Wednesday. "The JIT is comprised of officials from the CID, ISI, IB and police. The team will review statements of the injured and eyewitnesses and examine CCTV footages," Pakistan Today reported. Meanwhile, the Pakistan police conducted search operations and arrested 43 people including Afghan nationals on Tuesday. "The officers conducted raids in various areas in a search operation for the Lahore blast suspect`s accomplice and detained 40 Afghanis," the report said. Pakistan`s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) police has also ...
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Jordan commander: IS expands hold in border camp for Syrians
Jordan-Syria Border, Feb 15 (Agencies) : The commander of Jordan's border guards says Islamic State extremists are expanding their influence in a sprawling border camp for displaced Syrians, posing a growing threat to the US-allied kingdom. Brig. Gen. Sami Kafawin spoke to The Associated Press during a tour of the desert area where Jordan, Syria and Iraq meet. A ride in a military helicopter offered a view of the Rukban camp, an expanse of makeshift shelters housing tens of thousands of Syrians. Conditions in the camp deteriorated sharply after Jordan sealed its border in June, following a cross-border IS attack that killed seven Jordanian border guards.Kafawin said yesterday that "the (militant) threat is increasing, especially in this area." He says that nonetheless, Jordan tries to en...
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Pak summons Indian Dy HC over LoC ceasefire violation
ISLAMABAD, Feb 14 (Agencies): Pakistan today summoned India's Deputy High Commissioner and condemned alleged "unprovoked" ceasefire violation by Indian troops on the Line of Control that killed three Pakistani soldiers. Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria claimed India resorted to firing yesterday in Thub area (Bhimber Sector), killing three soldiers. "The Director General (South Asia & SAARC), Dr. Mohammad Faisal, summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner, J P Singh, today and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violation by the Indian occupation forces," Zakaria said. He said that the deliberate targeting of civilians and soldiers is indeed condemnable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws. The Director General urged the Indian s...
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China's grand plan: Floating nuclear plants in South China Sea
Beijing, Feb 14 (Agencies): In what may further escalate the tussle over ownership of South China Sea, China has announced that it will develop floating nuclear power plants in the disputed waters. China says nuclear power plants are necessary to provide stable power to offshore projects and promote gas exploration the resource-rich region. The project has been made a part of country's five-year economic development plan. In fact, Chinese authorities have already carried out research on relevant core technologies as well as the standardisation of maritime nuclear power plants. As per reports, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) expects to build 20 floating nuclear power stations. Sun Qin, former chairman of the National Nuclear Corporation, said in March 2016 that the facili...
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Islamabad disappointed at US Senate deliberations about presence of terrorists in Pakistan
Islamabad, Feb 14 (Agencies): Islamabad has expressed disappointment at certain remarks made recently during deliberations in the US Senate about the presence of terrorists in Pakistan. Some lawmakers and Commander of US forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said at last week's Congressional hearing that the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network still have safe haven in Pakistan. Nicholson had also pushed the Donald Trump administration to conduct a "holistic review" of relationship with Pakistan. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Monday said it was upset at the allegations of terrorist centres on Pakistani soil. "We are disappointed with some of the assertions and insinuations made in recent discussions about terrorist safe havens in Pakistan that we feel are not in sync with th...
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's half-brother assassinated in Malaysia
Seoul, Feb 14 (Agencies): The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been assassinated in Malaysia, a South Korean news agency reported on Tuesday. Yonhap news agency quoted a Seoul government source as saying Kim Jong-Nam was killed yesterday but giving no further details. Officials in Seoul were not immediately available for comment. UN warns of `looming catastrophe` in 4 besieged Syria towns Damascus, Feb 14 (Agencies): The top UN official in Damascus has warned of a "looming humanitarian catastrophe" in four besieged towns in Syria, calling for immediate access to deliver aid to some 60,000 residents. In a statement late Monday, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Ali al-Za`atari, warned of dire conditions in the towns of Zabadani, Madaya, Fua and Kafraya. Z...
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US demands international action on North Korea tests
Geneva, Feb 14 (Agencies): The United States called on Tuesday for collective action to hold North Korea "accountable" for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests that it said defied international law. US Ambassador Robert Wood, speaking to the Conference on Disarmament after the new envoy from the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said its weekend missile test was in self-defence, said: "All efforts to advance North Korea`s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities must cease. "If ever there were a situation that called for international collective action to ensure our mutual security, it is this," Wood said....
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