Saturday, November 29, 2014
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India should not have cancelled talks: Nawaz Sharif
ISLAMABAD, Nov 28 (Agencies): Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said India should not have cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks, insisting that there was "nothing new" in consulting Kashmiri leaders ahead of a dialogue. "We had been talking to the Kashmiri leaders in the past whenever Pakistan-India talks are held. This is nothing new as we have to seek the opinion of the Kashmiri leaders on an issue that concerns them the most," Sharif told reporters on board his aircraft while returning home from the 18th SAARC Summit yesterday. Consultations held by Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi with Kashmiri separatists led to the cancellation by India of Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh's visit to Islamabad in September. Since then both countries have maintained that they are...
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Protesters interrupt controversial Paris 'Human Zoo' exhibition
PARIS, Nov 28 (Agencies): Protesters smashed through the doors of a Paris theatre in a bid to block an exhibition on the horrors of colonialism using live black actors, which has attracted increasing opposition from critics who say it is racist. South African director Brett Bailey, who has been travelling with Exhibit B for four years with little trouble, told AFP recently the sudden anger over the installation was a grave misunderstanding from people who had not actually seen the "deeply emotional" work. "Protesters at the premiere of Exhibit B in St Denis, Paris, smashed through the theatre doors tonight. Set off fire alarms. Trying to stop us," he wrote on his Facebook page last night. A police source said more than 100 protesters tried to block people from entering, and later tried...
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Modi, Sharif shake hands after cold vibes
KATHMANDU, Nov 27 (Agencies): A warm handshake and a brief conversation between a smiling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif replacing their cold vibes brought cheer to SAARC Summit which concluded today. Modi put his hand on Sharif's arm as the two leaders looked at cameras with a long handshake even as they exchanged a few sentences. Loud applause greeted this apparent thaw which was in contrast to the two leaders ignoring each other yesterday. The brief Modi-Sharif bonhomie was summed up by a tweet by the Indian spokesman Syed Akbaruddin, "the photo all were waiting for". This was the second time during the day that the two leaders had shaken hands and exchanged pleasantries, the first occasion being the retreat just outside the Nepalese ...
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Modi, Sharif exchange pleasantries during SAARC retreat
KATHMANDU, Nov 27 (Agencies): In the end it was just a handshake and an exchange of pleasantries between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the SAARC retreat near here today, in sharp contrast to the bonhomie between them just six months ago. Their cold vibes were on open display at the inaugural session of the eight-nation SAARC Summit here yesterday when they virtually ignored each other. "There was not even a 'dua-salaam' (exchange of courtesies)," said a Pakistan source contradicting reports that the two leaders had a brief chat at the dinner hosted by Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala last night. However, it was nearly impossible for Modi and Sharif to ignore each other in Dhulikhel just outside the Nepalese capital where restricted numbe...
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Modi asks SAARC to fulfill commitment on combating terror
KATHMANDU, Nov 27 (Agencies): Pakistan's intransigence today led to the failure of the SAARC Summit to reach agreements on greater connectivity among the eight member nations on its opening day which was marked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi firmly asking the members to fulfill their commitment to combat terrorism. As the opening of the summit coincided with the sixth anniversary of Pakistan-sponsored 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai which left 166 people dead, Modi told his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and six other leaders that "we feel the endless pain of lost lives." Sharif on his part totally skipped any reference to the issue of terrorism, on which other leaders including new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa spoke in their speeches. Raj...
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11 killed in China's coal mine blast
BEIJING, Nov 27 (Agencies): Eleven people were killed today in a coal mine explosion in China's southwestern Guizhou Province, in the second deadly incident in two days in the country's dangerous mining industry. The incident happened in Songlin coal mine in Songhe Town of Pan County, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. When the explosion occurred, 19 people were working underground out of which eight workers managed to survive. Rescue operations are underway and the cause of the explosion is being investigated. Today's blast follows a major coal mine fire yesterday in northeastern Liaoning province in which 26 workers were killed....
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SAARC: India terms terrorism as biggest challenge for region
KATHMANDU, Nov 25 (Agencies): Identifying terrorism as the biggest challenge facing the region, India today called for a "collective response" by SAARC to deal with the menace while pitching for 3Cs - Culture, Commerce and Connectivity - for deeper integration for peace and prosperity in South Asia. Addressing the SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj strongly emphasised on improving road, rail, sea and air connectivity among the member countries to spur economic growth and asserted India's "neighbourhood first policy" to ensure overall development of the region. Referring to a recent suicide bombing in Afghanistan that left more than 50 people dead, she said, "This cowardly act, of killing and maiming people watching a volleyball match, has shown...
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Will talk to SAARC member states for China's membership: Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nov 25 (Agencies): Amid China's push to elevate its role in SAARC from an observer to that of an active member, Nepal today said it will talk to other states in the grouping for Beijing's membership. "It has to be talked with other SAARC countries," Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said when asked if Nepal will push for China's permanent membership in the eight-member bloc. Asked about India's role in SAARC, he said, "India is an important country in the region and it should continue to play an important role." Meanwhile, ahead of the SAARC Summit tomorrow, China today said it wants to "elevate its partnership" with the South Asian bloc. The developments come amid a debate stirred up by Chinese official media whether Beijing should raise its status in the eight-member...
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Speculations of Modi-Sharif meeting on sidelines of SAARC Summit
ISLAMABAD, Nov 24 (Agencies): There is a possibility of a meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi when they travel to Nepal this week to attend the SAARC Summit. Citing an official, the Express Tribune reported that the two premiers may interact on the sidelines of the Summit. "The two prime ministers will come face-to-face at the retreat ceremony in Kathmandu," the official said. As part of a tradition, the heads of states and governments attending the SAARC Summit are taken for a retreat after the inauguration of the conference in order to create a conducive environment for bilateral meetings. Sharif will meet leaders of SAARC countries on the sidelines to discuss issues of bilateral and regional interest, the Foreign Office said...
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Suicide blast at volleyball game: toll rises to 57
KABUL, Nov 24 (Agencies): Survivors of a horrific suicide attack which killed 57 people at a volleyball game in eastern Afghanistan told today how the blast ripped through a crowd of spectators enjoying the final moments of the match. In the country's deadliest single attack since 2011, the bomber detonated his explosives yesterday as hundreds of young men and boys attended a tournament featuring three local teams in the volatile province of Paktika. Separately, two NATO soldiers were killed in an attack in the east of Afghanistan this morning, the coalition said, giving no further details. Paktika provincial spokesman Mukhlis Afghan said in a statement the death toll from yesterday's blast had risen to 57 after 15 people died of their injuries overnight. "The game was about to end wh...
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Hillary Clinton would be 'a Great President': Obama
HENDERSON, Nov 24 (Agencies): President Barack Obama says voters want a "new car smell" in the 2016 White House race and that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be "a great president." In a nationally televised interview broadcast today, Obama seemed to suggest that any Democrat other than him would provide the turn of the page that he says voters are interested in. He acknowledged the "dings" to his own political standing during nearly six years of sometimes bruising battles with Congress and said Americans will want something new. "They want to drive something off the lot that doesn't have as much mileage as me," Obama said in the interview with ABC's "This Week," which was taped Friday in Las Vegas following a public appearance there by the president. He said a number of possible Democra...
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Journos move SC over attack on media persons in Hisar
NEW DELHI, Nov 24 (Agencies): A group of journalists today moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre and Haryana for ordering a judicial probe into alleged assault on them and other media persons during recent police operation to arrest self-styled 'godman' Rampal at Barwala in Hisar. In the plea, which is likely to be taken up for hearing during the week, they have also sought punishment for "erring police officials" for resorting to 'lathi charge' without caution and care". It alleged there was an increasing tendency to "muzzle the press" by the government authorities and sought "appropriate compensation" for the affected journalists and framing of guidelines to ensure "free and fair functioning of the media". "The petitioners, who are media persons being victims and ...
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6.9-magnitude quake hits eastern Indonesia, no Tsunami alert
JAKARTA, Nov 21 (Agencies): A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Indonesian islands today, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), but no tsunami alert was issued. The undersea quake, at 48 kilometres deep, struck in the Molucca Sea between Sulawesi and the Maluku chain of islands. "The quake was felt strongly for five seconds, causing people to run from their homes," the National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. Nugroho said there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity....
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Obama felicitates Indian-American scientist
WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Agencies): US President Barack Obama has felicitated Indian-American scientist Thomas Kailath with the top presidential medal for transformative contributions to the fields of science and technology. Kailath, 79, received the National Medal of Science at a White House function here yesterday. "Thomas Kailath came to this country from India at the age of 22, with a research assistantship that took him to MIT, and then Stanford, where he made critical contributions in information theory and statistics, and mentored more than 100 scholars along the way," Obama said. Kailath received the award for transformative contributions to the fields of information and system science, distinctive and sustained mentoring of young scholars and translation of scientific ideas into e...
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At least 45 dead in suspected Boko Haram attack in Nigeria
MAIDUGURI (NIGERIA), Nov 21 (Agencies): At least 45 people were killed in a suspected Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria, officials and witnesses have said, in the latest violence to hit the restive region. The attack happened in the village of Azaya Kura in the Mafa area of Borno state on Wednesday, the caretaker chairman of Mafa local government area, Shettima Lawan said yesterday, calling it "wicked and despicable". Village chief Mallam Bulama said: "We counted 45 bodies at the end of the attack." But other residents said more may have died after they fled into the bush. Mafa, which is about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east by road from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and the surrounding area has been repeatedly attacked by the Islamist insurgents. On October 26, suspected Bo...
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