Monday, January 26, 2015
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'Germany stops arms exports to Saudi Arabia'
Berlin, Jan 25 (Agencies): Germany has decided to stop exporting arms to Saudi Arabia, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said on Sunday, citing government sources as saying the kingdom was "too unstable" for it to be receiving deliveries of weapons. The newspaper said Germany's national security council, which holds its meetings in secrecy and is made up of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and seven other ministers, had made the decision on Wednesday. The German economy ministry declined to comment on the article and said it would publish its report on 2015 arms exports next year. But it added that would only include exports that had been approved, not those which had been declined. The council members all declined to approve arms export to Saudi Arabia or d...
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Close India-US Ties Could Antagonise China Warns Former US National Security Advisor
Washington, United States, Jan 22 (Agencies): As President Barack Obama prepares for an unprecedented second presidential visit to India, a former top American official has cautioned that strengthening of Indo-US ties could antagonise China and would make Beijing increasingly uncooperative on key global issues. "With the President soon embarking on a trip to India, let me simply express the hope that the US will not unintentionally intensify concerns in Beijing that the US is inclined to help arm India as part of a de facto anti-Chinese Asian coalition," Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981 during the Jimmy Carter administration told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing. "That will simply discourage the Chinese from becoming more helpful in ...
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Corruption not even whispered since Modi govt came to power: FM
Davos, Jan 22 (Agencies): Emphasising that steps are being taken to tackle corruption, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the word 'corruption' has not even been whispered since the new government came to power. Jaitley said corruption not only increases the cost of doing business but also hits the country's credibility. Acknowledging that India has suffered because of corruption, the Finance Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has been addressing such issues by way of new laws. Jaitley was responding to a query from a foreign investor who said that a European CEO told him that his company decided to abandon investment plans in India due to corruption. "I don't blame that gentleman who suggested this because we have suffered because of corruption. It ...
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Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Haqqani network
Islamabad, Jan 22 (Agencies): In a significant development, Pakistan has imposed a ban on terror outfits Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Afghan-based Haqqani network. The Nawaz Sharif government has asked the authorities to freeze assets of the banned JuD and Haqqani network. The Pakistan government, which has been under tremendous pressure to rein in terror groups emanating from the Pakistani soil, has also banned Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, Harkat-ul-Mujahi­deen, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation, Ummah Tameer-i-Nau, Haji Khairullah Hajji Sattar Money Exchange, Rahat Limited, Roshan Money Exchange, Al Akhtar Trust, Al Rashid Trust. The step was taken after pressure heaped on the country to stop making a distinction between good and bad militants following a deadly Taliban attack on an army-ru...
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Obama Seeks Action by Congress to Secure US
London Jan 21 (Agencies): As he enters his seventh year at the nation’s helm, President Barack Obama put forward an agenda he said will strengthen national and global security. Speaking from the U.S. Capitol Tuesday evening, Obama addressed the nation and a Congress in which Republicans control both the Senate and the House of Representatives after winning sweeping victories in the November elections. At a time of riveting global crises, Obama's speech was mostly about domestic issues, but he touched on several pressing foreign policy challenges. National security Obama acknowledged as commander-in-chief his first duty is defending the country. "We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our ...
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Oil slides as IMF cuts global growth forecast
London, Jan 21 (Agencies): World oil prices fell today after the International Monetary Fund slashed its world economic growth forecast, stoking fresh fears over the strength of global crude demand. In late afternoon London deals, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March dropped 55 cents to USD 48.29 a barrel. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February sank USD 1.97 to trade at USD 46.72 per barrel. “Oil prices fell back … dented by the global demand outlook suggested by the IMF,” said Jasper Lawler, analyst at CMC Markets. The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday sharply cut its forecast for global economic growth this year to 3.5 percent, on the back of weaker momentum in nearly all leading economies but the United States. It said poorer prospects in China, Russia, the ...
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France to get better guns, more intel agents to fight terror
PARIS, Jan 21 (Agencies): France announced sweeping new measures to counter homegrown terrorism Wednesday, including giving security forces better weapons and protection, going on an intelligence agent hiring spree and creating a better database of anyone suspected of extremist links. The measures detailed by Prime Minister Manuel Valls came as four men were handed preliminary charges of providing logistical support to one of the Paris terror attackers — the first charges issued for three days of mayhem that left 20 people dead, including three gunmen. The new security measures include increased intelligence-gathering on jihadis and other radicals, in part by making it easier to tap phones. Valls said Internet providers and social networks "have a legal responsibility under French law" ...
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Online Video Purports to Show Japanese Hostages Threatened by ISIS
LONDON, Jan 20 (Agencies): A video posted online on Tuesday, purportedly by the Islamic State extremist group, depicted a black-clad militant with a knife threatening to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours unless the government in Tokyo paid a ransom of $200 million. The video, which could not immediately be verified independently, showed two men, identified as Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, kneeling on a rocky hillside, with the masked militant standing between them. The militant linked the ransom demand to a Japanese offer of assistance to enemies of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, which controls a large amount of territory stretching from Syria into Iraq. The group says it is seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate and has previously shown videos of the behead...
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US warning reports baseless, says Pakistan envoy
Washington, Jan 20 (Agencies): Pakistan ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani denounced Indian media reports which alleged a warning, concerning President Obama's visit to India, was issued by the US to the former.PTI File Photo Pakistan ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani denounced Indian media reports which alleged a warning, concerning President Obama's visit to India, was issued by the US to the former. "The Indian media has a tendency to invent and exaggerate things," said Ambassador Jilani, Dawn reported Tuesday. "As a matter of fact, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who visited Islamabad last week, had deeply appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan against terrorism and extremism." Jilani said Pakistan has already launched a major military operation in north Waziristan ...
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US, UK ask Pak to hand over 26/11 mastermind Lakhvi to India
ISLAMABAD, Jan 19 (Agencies): The US and the UK have asked Pakistan to hand over Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, to India to improve bilateral ties or to them for his "independent trial". During 54-year-old Lakhvi's bail case the Islamabad high court on Monday, the prosecution informed that the "two countries had demanded handing over of Lakhvi to India". However, the prosecution lawyer did not name the countries in the court. However, an interior ministry source told agencies that the US and the UK had asked the Nawaz government to hand over Lakhvi either to India in order to "improve ties" with the neighbouring country or to them for his "independent trial" as several nationals of different countries were killed in the the 2008 Mumbai attack. The pro...
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Probability of Death by NCDs Has Gone Up in India: WHO
Geneva, Jan 19 (Agencies): The probability of dying pre- maturely from a non-communicable disease like cancer has gone up in India between 2010-2012 and it has emerged as the leading cause of fatalities globally, a WHO report said today. The latest global status report on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the four main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases. The report is the second in a triennial series tracking worldwide progress in prevention and control of NCDs. The report states that the probability of dying between 30 and 70 from a non-communicable disease in India has increased to 26.2 per cent in 2012 from 26.1 per cent in 2010. The percentage of such deaths in India is worse...
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Lakhvi to Stay in Jail for One More Month
Lahore, Jan 19 (Agencies): Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack - will remain in jail for another month after the Pakistan government extended his detention under a public security law amid a row with India over granting him bail in the 26/11 case. As the Islamabad High Court today resumed the hearing in Lakhvi's detention case, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mujahid Sher Dil told the court that the government had extended the detention of Mumbai attack prime accused for another 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO). 54-year-old Lakhvi's counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi protested the government's decision to detain his client for another month. "While the court is hearing Mr Lakhvi's detention case, the government should have sought the court's p...
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5 killed in anti-Charlie Hebdo riots in Niger
NIAMEY, Jan 18 (Agencies): Five people were killed in violent riots in Niger's capital over France's Charlie Hebdo weekly, with angry crowds setting fire to churches. The protesters torched at least eight houses of worship in Niamey. Bars, hotels and various businesses under non-Muslim ownership or bearing signs of French companies were also targeted, an AFP correspondent reported. It was the second day of violence in the west African country, after five people were killed and 45 injured in protests in Niger's second city of Zinder on Friday. "Some of us stayed barricaded in our homes. I have never been so scared in my life," a Christian mechanic in the capital told AFP. "The government must put a stop to this," he added. "It doesn't look good for us." By yesterday evening calm had r...
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Indonesia executes 6 drug convicts, including 5 foreigners
JAKARTA, Jan 18 (Agencies): Indonesia today executed six people convicted of drugs offences, including five foreigners, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said. The foreigners were from Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria. All the convicts were executed by firing squad shortly after midnight. "The execution of the six convicts has been carried out," spokesman Tony Spontana told AFP. He said five were executed on Nusakambangan Island, off the south coast of the archipelago's main island of Java and home to a high-security prison. The sixth was executed in Boyolali district in central Java. They were the first executions to be carried out under the new government of President Joko Widodo, who took office in October....
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2 dead, 1 injured in mall shooting in Florida: Police
MELBOURNE (US), Jan 18 (Agencies):A shooting at a mall in central Florida left two people dead and one other wounded, police said. After responding to reports around 9:30 am (local time)yesterday of multiple shots fired inside the Melbourne Square Mall, police tweeted that the "shooter is contained" and that officers were clearing the mall store by store. It wasn't immediately clear whether the suspect was dead or injured, Commander Vince Pryce said. Police say the injured victim was hospitalized in stable condition with a gunshot wound and cooperating with investigators. Authorities have not released the names of the suspects or the victims. Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan told Florida Today that police officials have told her that the shooting followed a domestic dispute between a wom...
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Canadian actor-writer don Harron dies at age 90
TORONTA, Jan 18 (Agencies): Don Harron, who entertained TV audiences in Canada and the US with his comic alter ego Charlie Farquharson and helped bring the Canadian classic novel Anne of Green Gables to the stage, has died. He was 90. Harron's eldest daughter Martha said her father died yesterday morning surrounded by family at his Toronto home after choosing not to seek treatment for cancer. The wit and humour that landed him roles on CBC radio and television programs continued to define her father to the very end, Martha Harron said. "He was still sharp. He was still capable of being funny even though his voice was barely above a whisper," she said. "It's horribly sad, but it's beautiful too." Harron introduced his Farquharson character, a country bumpkin from rural Ontario dressed...
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Sharif suspends 4 top officials amid petrol crisis
ISLAMABAD, Jan 18 (Agencies): Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has suspended four top officials for failing to deal with a major petroleum crisis that has led to black marketing and scuffles at filling stations in the country. A fuming Sharif, on his return from Saudi Arabia yesterday after a two-day visit, sacked four officials including Petroleum Secretary Abid Saeed, his deputy Naeem Malik, Oil Director General CM Azam and Pakistan State Oil chief Amjad Janjua, the Daily Times reported. Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, however, kept his job, apparently because of his closeness to Sharif, the report said. The crisis largely occurred as the state-run Pakistan State Oil, country's largest oil marketing firm, ran out of cash to import petroleum products. The prime minister ...
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IS reportedlty using British women to further terror plans
LONDON, Jan 18 (Agencies): A group of 30 British women who travelled to Syria to join Islamic State have been encouraging other women in the UK to carry out terror attacks back home, overturning the belief that female jihadists are quite and passive, researchers here have found. The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King's College London has uncovered the group of British women in Northern Syria by monitoring their social media accounts, the Observer newspaper reported. Researchers believe the British female jihadists have been actively recruiting new members of IS and encouraging the beheading of Westerners and applauding the bloodshed in Paris. It overturns the general view that women travelling to IS strongholds to become loyal and supportive jihadi brid...
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Rajapaksa's brothers allegedly ran 'Death Squads', probe launched
COLOMBO, Jan 18 (Agencies): Mahinda Rajapaksa's younger brother ran "death squads" and ordered the murder of a high-profile newspaper editor, a loyalist-turned-foe of the former president has alleged, prompting a police probe. Mervyn Silva, the former minister of public relations under the Rajapaksa regime, complained to police's CID against Gotabhaya and Basil Rajapaksa, both brothers of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Authorities are investigating a claim that Rajapaksa's brother Gotabhaya ran goon squads and ordered the 2009 murder of the editor of the Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunga, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. Silva said he has also implicated Basil Rajapaksa, the other brother of Rajapaksa and the former economic development minister, in a number of shady deals. Mahinda Rajapak...
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