|Mullah Omar sheltered by Pak's ISI, says Clinton email|
|WASHINGTON, Sep 1 (Agencies): Top Taliban leader Mullah Omar was sheltered by Pakistan's powerful spy agency ISI after the outfit's leadership fled from Afghanistan in 2001, according to an email received by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton during her tenure.
Mullah Omar is reported to have died at a hospital in Karachi two years ago. However, till date the Pakistani authorities have strongly refuted reports of direct links between ISI and Mullah Omar.
The US too has insisted that it has no such evidence in this regard. However, an email written to Clinton on August 25, 2010 indicates otherwise.
"I'm sure you know the facts in this well-informed piece, how Mullah Omar was saved by ISI, for example, but the idea of Afghanistan as an aspect of lndo-Pak war is the best and overar...|
|UN Chief commends vibrancy of India's democracy|
|UNITED NATIONS, Sep 1 (Agencies): UN chief Ban Ki-moon has commended the vibrancy of India's democracy and emphasised the "important role" played by the country's parliament in protecting women's rights and enhancing gender equality during a meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan here.
The Secretary-General yesterday met Mahajan and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Pallath Joseph Kurien.
"The Secretary-General emphasised the important role played by the Indian parliament in protecting women's rights and enhancing gender equality, including combatting violence against women," according to a readout of the meeting released by Ban's office.
He commended the vibrancy of India's democracy and discussed the priority areas of the UN for this year, including reaching a meaningful and bin...|
|Gilani gets 7-day protective bail in corruption cases|
|ISLAMABAD, Sep 1 (Agencies): Former Pakistan prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani today secured a seven-day protective bail in nine corruption cases filed against him for allegedly making millions of rupees by approving subsidies to fake companies.
A single bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi granted protective bail to the PPP leader in the nine cases and directed him to furnish surety bonds of Rs 100,000 in each cases.
Earlier, the 63-year-old former prime minister, accompanied by lawyers and supporters, appeared before the IHC to seek pre-arrest bail in corruption cases after an anti-corruption court in Karachi last week issued non-bailable arrest warrant against him.
The anti-corruption court on August 27 issued arrest orders against Gilani and form...|
|Bangladesh charges 5 militants over blogger murder|
|DHAKA, Sep 1 (Agencies): Five militants of an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group in Bangladesh were today charged with murder for hacking to death an atheist blogger who is among the four secular writers killed in brutal attacks this year.
"We have submitted the chargesheet before the (Dhaka's) chief metropolitan magistrate court on the blogger Washiqur Rahman's killing...They all are members of (banned) Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT)," a police spokesman told reporters.
He said two of the accused were now in jail to face trial in person while the three others were absconding and were to be tried in absentia unless they surrender or could be arrested.
27-year-old Rahman was hacked to death on March 30 when ABT militants attacked him with machetes.
Transgenders living near the place where th...|
|Sri Lanka Navy arrests 16 Indian fishermen|
|COLOMBO, Sep 1 (Agencies): Sixteen Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy today for allegedly violating the International Maritime Boundary, the first arrests since the country released all Indian fishermen in its custody.
The arrests came off the coast of Delft island and Vettilaikerni in the northern Jaffna peninsula.
"Three fishing boats had also been taken into custody and the fishermen had been handed over to officials from the Fisheries Department in Jaffna for further action," Navy Spokesperson Commander Indika Silva said.
The 16 are the first arrests since Sri Lanka released all the Indian fishermen in its custody last month.
Meanwhile, a report from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu said, Selvaraj, a fisherman, fainted and died in a fishing boat while fishing in the mid...|
|Singapore lifts 2 decade old ban, allows HIV-positive foreigners on short visits|
|SINGAPORE, Aug 31 (Agencies): Singapore has lifted a two-decade old ban on visits by HIV-positive foreigners who intend to stay for a short period, citing "availability of effective treatment".
However, the ban on HIV-positive foreigners who are looking to work in Singapore or accompanying a child studying here and intend to stay for a long period is still in place.
The ban on short-term HIV-positive visitors was lifted on April 1, but it stays on long-term visitors, The Straits Times reported today.
"The policy on the repatriation and permanent blacklisting of HIV-positive foreigners was recommended in the late 1980s when the disease was new, fatal and no effective treatment was available," a Ministry of Health spokesman was quoted as saying by the daily.
The short-term ban was lifte...|
|US bluntly tells Pak to act on terror safe havens|
|ISLAMABAD, Aug 31 (Agencies): In a blunt message, the US has asked Pakistan to intensify efforts to counter terrorist sanctuaries inside its borders and take concrete steps against the dreaded Haqqani network responsible for major attacks on American installations in Afghanistan.
The tough message was conveyed by US National Security Advisor Susan Rice to the top Pakistani leadership including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Gen Raheel Sharif during her day-long visit to the country yesterday.
Rice during her meetings, "urged Pakistan to intensify its efforts to counter terrorist sanctuaries inside its borders in order to promote regional peace and stability," said Ned Price, Spokesman of the National Security Council of the White House.
Rice also urged Pakistan to take conc...|
|Thai Army Chief says Bangkok bomb suspect uncooperative|
|BANGKOK, Aug 30 (Agencies): Thailand's army chief today said the man arrested in connection with last week's deadly Bangkok bomb blast was not cooperating, as police announced he was part of a people-smuggling gang.
The unidentified foreigner, who is being held in military custody at an undisclosed location, was seized during a yesterday morning raid on a flat on the eastern outskirts of Bangkok.
Investigators say he was found with bomb-making equipment and multiple passports.
The interrogation is not making progress because the suspect is not really giving useful information," army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr told agencies.
"We have to conduct further interrogations and make him better understand so he will be more cooperative -- while we have to be careful not to violate the susp...|
|Thousands pay homage to earthquake victims in Nepal's Gai Jatra festival|
|KATHMANDU, Aug 30 (Agencies): Thousands of people today paid homage to those killed in the devastating earthquakes in April and May in Nepal while holding a colourful rally to celebrate Gai Jatra, a major Hindu festival here. Every year, thousands of people who have lost a relative during the past year paint themselves as cows and walk barefoot along the streets as part of the Gai Jatra festival to make sure that their loved one has a place in the heaven.
Gay, lesbians and bisexual communities of Nepal also use this occasion to raise their voice for more rights and freedom to their community.
The colourful rally in downtown Kathmandu drew more than 5,000 participants, almost double than last year, as it was the first major event to be held after the twin devastating earthquakes that kil...|
|Iran nuclear deal will 'Fuel Terrorism': Netanyahu|
|FLORENCE, Aug 30 (Agencies): The deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme will bolster Tehran's ability to fund global terrorism by providing the Islamic state with "billions of dollars" in sanctions relief, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared.
"Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars from sanctions relief and investments to fuel its aggression and terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond," Netanyahu -- who is bitterly opposed to the deal agreed by Iran and world powers in July -- said during a visit to the Italian city of Florence.
The Israeli leader is on a tour of Italy -- his first major overseas visit since being re-elected in June.
Speaking ahead of a meeting yesterday evening with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi he compared the threat p...|
|Osama's ex-aide urges British Muslims not to join ISIS|
|LONDON, Aug 30 (Agencies): A former aide of Osama bin Laden has appealed to British Muslims not to join Islamic State for the so-called jihad in Syria as he denounced the group's beheadings and mass rape as "completely against Islam".
Abdullah Anas is the most senior former jihadist and one of the architects of the Afghan jihad against the Russians.
In a rare interview, Anas told The Sunday Times that ISIS was exploiting conflict to advance its own agenda, rather than helping oppressed Syrians. "This jihad is not legitimate," Anas said. He denounced the group's beheadings and mass rape as "completely against Islam" and said the Quran called for prisoners to be treated with the same compassion as orphans and the poor.
He urged young British Muslims not to fall for ISIS slick propaganda ...|
|Malaysians stream into capital to demand reform, PM's ouster|
|KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 (Agencies): Tens of thousands of Malaysians marched in a massive anti-government rally here today demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak following weeks of simmering anger over corruption allegations against the premier.
Online reports said there were at least 40,000 protesters in the rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
Unfazed by hundreds of police which had declared the rally as unlawful, thousands carrying placards joined the protest organised by Bersih, a coalition of NGOs which has also called for electoral reforms and transparency.
Public disenchantment has been rapidly on the rise after leaked documents published by the Wall Street Journal showed that Najib received some USD 700 million in his private bank accounts from Malaysia's indebted state...|
|Pak bans Islamic State militant group|
|ISLAMABAD, Aug 29 (Agencies): Pakistan has banned the Islamic State militant group that has overrun vast stretches of Iraq and Syria after repeatedly denying the dreaded outfit's presence within its territory.
"The Islamic State or Daesh has been banned in Pakistan," an Interior Ministry official said today.
The decision was taken on recommendation of the Foreign Office, which regularly updates the Pakistan government about international militant groups banned by the United Nations.
Banners and graffiti in support of Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh in Arabic, have often appeared in Pakistan but the government has until now rejected its presence inside the country.
However, the official said the outfit has been declared a proscribed entity.
The group -- which is banned under a...|
|JuD, Haqqani network not banned in Pakistan: Official List|
|ISLAMABAD, Aug 25 (Agencies): Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Afghanistan-based dreaded Haqqani network are not banned in Pakistan, according to an official list of 60 proscribed outfits.
However, the government has put the JuD on the list of groups being closely watched by the officials, which means that it can be banned if found guilty of promoting militancy.
JuD is listed as a terror outfit by the UN and its chief Hafiz Saeed has a USD 10 million US government bounty against him, but he moves freely across Pakistan.
The al-Qaeda-linked dreaded Haqqani network, blamed for several deadly attacks against Western and Indian interests in Afghanistan including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul, is also not on the list.
According to the list...|
|8 cops killed in clash with protestors over new constitution|
|KATHMANDU, Aug 25 (Agencies): At least eight policemen, including a senior officer, were killed as thousands of Nepalese protesting against the proposed new Constitution today attacked security personnel with axes, spears and bricks in western Nepal.
The clash erupted after about 20,000 demonstrators defied prohibitory orders and attacked police with weapons in Tikapur in Kailali district on the issue of dividing the country in seven provinces, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
The situation turned violent after the demonstrators breached the restricted zone in Tikapur, killing eight policemen, including an SSP, the spokesperson said.
"The number of casualty may rise and there might be some civilian casualty also, but detail report has not yet come," the official said.
A new national...|
|Ukraine clashes kill 5 despite new EU push for peace|
|KIEV, Aug 25 (Agencies): Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels today reported the deaths of five people in clashes in the east that raged despite a new EU push to end one of Europe's bloodiest conflicts in decades.
A spokesman for the army in Kiev said four servicemen were killed and 12 injured in mortar fire exchanges across the eastern separatist province of Donetsk.
"The situation is getting worse," Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a daily press briefing. "The rebels' attacks have intensified."
Pro-Russian militia commander Eduard Basurin told AFP that Ukrainian shells had killed one civilian and wounded another 12 in the rebels' de facto capital of Donetsk and their nearby stronghold of Gorlivka.
The continuing violence brings to nearly 6,900 the number of people killed since Ukraine's industri...|