Monday, February 8, 2016
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Blast targets security personnel convoy, 8 dead
KARACHI, Feb 6 (Agencies): At least nine people, including four security personnel and an eight-year-old girl, were killed and about 40 others injured today in a Taliban suicide attack that targeted a Frontier Corps vehicle in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's restive Balochistan province. A powerful blast rocked the congested Kachari area of Quetta near the premises of the heavily guarded city district courts. At least nine people were killed and about 40 others injured when the Frontier Corps (FC) vehicle was targeted, officials said. DIG Imtiaz Shah was quoted by Dawn News as saying that it was a suicide attack and the attacker blew himself up near a vehicle belonging to the FC. Anwar-ul-Haq, a spokesperson for the Balochistan government, said the injured were shifted to hospitals ...
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Edgar Mitchell, Astronaut who walked on moon, dead at 85
MIAMI, Feb 6 (Agencies): US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, one of just 12 people to have walked on the Moon, has died aged 85, his family and NASA said, calling him a "pioneer." NASA paid glowing tribute to Mitchell, who died in Florida after a brief illness late Thursday, the eve of the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing. The late astronaut was a member of the 1971 Apollo 14 mission along with Alan Shepard Jr. And Stuart Roosa. Mitchell was the last Apollo 14 survivor: Roosa died in 1994 and Shepard in 1998. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden recalled Mitchell marveling at the stunning view of Earth from space. "Edgar spoke poetically about seeing our home planet from the Moon saying, 'Suddenly, from behind the rim of the Moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerg...
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Twitter suspends 125K terrorism related accounts
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Agencies): Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts, most of them linked to the Islamic State militant group, "for threatening or promoting terrorist acts" even as handles of India-centric terrorist organizations and individuals on the micro-blogging site remain untouched. In a blog, the US-based firm said, "As the nature of the terrorist threat has changed, so has our ongoing work in this area. Since the middle of 2015 alone, we've suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS". Twitter, however, did not respond to questions about the accounts of terrorist organizations operating from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Notably, Hafeez Muhamad Saeed, the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attack, has been openly calling for ...
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Netaji's Japanese interpreter confirms plane crash: UK Website
LONDON, Feb 6 (Agencies): A Japanese interpreter confirmed that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died at a military hospital in Taipei after a plane crash in 1945, according to information released by a UK website set up to catalogue the last days of the nationalist leader. Kazunori Kunizuka, who worked as an interpreter with Bose from 1943 to 1945, is still alive and has recorded in graphic detail in his diary the last days of Bose and his death as a result of a plane crash at Taipei on August 18, 1945, said the website bosefiles.Info. The information was conveyed to the website by Noburu Okabe, London correspondent of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, who also handed over a copy of the diary to the website. Ashis Ray, Bose's grandnephew and creator of the website, said "The diary is in Japanes...
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11 dead after powerful Taiwan quake fells buildings
TAIWAN, Feb 6 (Agencies): A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations today, with at least eleven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. The death toll was rising in the historic city of Tainan, which bore the brunt of the 6.4-magnitude quake, as rescuers scoured rubble for survivors. An entire residential complex of four buildings containing almost 100 homes toppled, left on its side with twisted metal girders exposed and clouds of dust rising from the jumbled concrete. Among the nine people killed when the apartment complex collapsed were a 10-day old baby girl and two other children, the National Fire Agency said. The other two victims were killed in different parts of the city by falling debri...
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Swaraj, Lanka PM Wickremesinghe hold talks on investment, SEZ
COLOMBO, Feb 5 (Agencies): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who sought Indian investment and offered partnership in setting up a Special Economic Zone besides briefing her on latest political developments in the country. Swaraj, who arrived here today on her second visit to the country within a year, held talks with Wickremesinghe at the Prime Minister's Office 'Temple Trees', and the two leaders had a "fruitful exchange of views". During their 50-minute long meeting, the Prime Minister sought Indian investment in Sri Lanka and proposed partnership in setting up an SEZ in Trincomalee, officials said. "Their talks began with the discussion on the Indo-Lanka Joint Commission meeting and the Prime Minister said this is ...
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WikiLeaks founder assange should be freed immediately: UN Panel
LONDON, Feb 5 (Agencies): WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be allowed to walk free immediately and compensated for his "arbitrary detention" of over five years by the UK and Sweden, a UN panel ruled today, a finding hailed by the whistleblower as "vindication" of his innocence. The Geneva-based five-member Working Group on Arbitrary Detention "considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention," said Seong-Phil Hong, head of the expert panel of the Group. "The Working Group maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation...
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No 'draconian measures' for Greece: IMF's Lagarde
WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Agencies): The International Monetary Fund does not wish to slap "draconian measures" on hard-up Greece but wants more government progress on pension reform, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has said. Lagarde spoke yesterday as Greece was hit by a general strike that brought tens of thousands of people into the streets in protest over pension reforms, a key part of Greece's latest economic bailout by the European Union. "I really don't like it when we're portrayed as this draconian, rigorous, terrible IMF," Lagarde said in an online news conference. "We don't want draconian measures to apply to Greece, which has already made a lot of sacrifices." But she insisted that the Greek reform program has to keep on track, notably on pension reforms, a key issue in negotiations b...
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In touch with India to finalise dates for bilateral talks: Pakistan
Islamabad, Feb 4 (Agencies): Pakistan said on Thursday that it is in touch with India on finalising dates for the postponed foreign secretary-level talks. “Both sides are in touch regarding the date of foreign secretary-level talks. We will let you know when it is finalised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said on Thursday during the weekly briefing. The agenda of the talks will be discussed after date for the foreign secretary-level talks is finalised, he said. India and Pakistan last month mutually agreed to a short deferment of talks after the Pathankot terror attack. Talking about the visa controversy related to actor Anupam Kher, he said the high commissioner in India spoke to the actor and offered him a visa for attending the literature festival to which he was inv...
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Pak army chief accuses foreign forces of supporting terrorism
Karachi, Feb 03(Agencies): Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province has become a hotbed for proxy wars for regional and global powers pursuing a grand strategy as he accused foreign forces of supporting terrorism in the state, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif said. "Foreign adversaries are more than eager to exploit any opportunity to destabilise Pakistan by harbouring, training and funding dissidents and militants," he told a seminar on peace and prosperity in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, yesterday. He said that terrorism and militancy were being supported by foreign forces and facilitated by insiders. Gen Sharif said issues in Balochistan were complicated by the foreign interference across a porous border spanning hundreds of kilometres. "This is a battle that we all are fight...
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Irish PM calls election for February 26
Leinster, Feb 03(Agencies): Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Wednesday called parliamentary elections for February 26 in a poll that could see disillusioned voters turn away from established parties to back political mavericks. "I am seeking a dissolution of Dail Eireann (parliament) today with the election to be held on February 26th," Kenny tweeted before going to President Michael Higgins for formal authorisation. The two rival centre-right parties that have taken turns leading Irish governments since 1932, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, have seen their combined dominance among voters recede as support for independent politicians, new parties and anti-austerity groups has risen. The eurozone nation has the highest economic growth rate in the European Union -- 7.0 percent in the first ...
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UN scrambles to sustain Syria talks; Russia vows to crush 'terrorists'
Geneva, Feb 03(Agencies): The United Nations strained to keep faltering Syrian peace talks alive on Wednesday as Damascus tried to press home gains against rebels and its ally Russia said its air strikes would go on until "terrorists" were defeated. U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura announced the formal start on Monday of the first attempt in two years to negotiate an end to a war that has killed 250,000 people, caused a refugee crisis in the region and Europe and empowered Islamic State militants. But both opposition and government representatives have since said talks have not in fact begun, and fighting on the ground has raged on without constraint. De Mistura acknowledged on Tuesday that a collapse of the Geneva talks was always possible. The opposition cancelled a meeting with him on...
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Al-Qaeda seizes Southern Yemeni town
Sanaa, Feb 01(Agencies): Al-Qaida's Yemeni branch seized another town today, setting up checkpoints at its entrances and besieging government buildings before dawn after days of fighting with southern separatists, officials said. The capture of Azzan marks the latest advance for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, which has exploited the chaos of Yemen's civil war to expand its reach. The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters. The group captured the southern port city of Mukalla last year and has seized a number of towns as it has moved west toward Yemen's second city of Aden, where the internationally backed government is based. Yemen's conflict pits a loose array of government-allied forces against the Shiite Hou...
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Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse's wife interrogated over fraud allegations
Colombo, Feb 01(Agencies): Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse's wife Shiranthi Rajapakse was on Monday interrogated by investigators over fraud allegationse. Shiranthi appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Into Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption (PRECIFAC) over allegations that she had instructed the housing ministry to allocate a house to her media secretary during her husband's presidency, Xinhua news agency reported. It has been alleged that a house valued at 5.5 million Sri Lankan rupees ($37,900) was offered to her coordinating secretary for 500,000 rupees. The couple has denied all the allegations against them and blamed the new government. Mahinda Rajapakse was defeated by his one-time Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena in the presidential electi...
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71 dead in Islamic state bombings near Syria shiite shrine
Beirut, Feb 01(Agencies): Bombings claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group have killed 71 people and wounded dozens more near a revered Shiite shrine outside the Syrian capital Damascus, a monitor said. The blasts, which came as the UN's Syria envoy struggled to convene fresh peace talks in Geneva from which IS is excluded, tore a massive crater in the road, overturning and mangling cars and a bus and shattering windows. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said 71 people were killed in two blasts near the Sayyida Zeinab shrine yesterday, including five children. The first blast was a suicide car bomb, followed by a second suicide bomber who detonated his explosive belt when a crowd gathered, the monitoring group said. Syrian state media earlier report...
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New era dawns as Suu Kyi`s party strides into Myanmar parliament
Naypyidaw, Feb 01(Agencies): Myanmar entered a new political era Monday as Aung San Suu Kyi`s pro-democracy MPs took their seats in parliament, bearing the hopes of a nation subjugated for decades by the military. Wearing pastel orange uniforms, lawmakers from the National League for Democracy (NLD) arrived for their first day of work in the capital Naypyidaw, buoyed by a massive popular mandate from November`s election. That poll saw the NLD wrest a majority from the army establishment and has spurred hopes of a new political dawn in the long-repressed nation. Suu Kyi, the centrepiece of Myanmar`s struggle for democracy, entered the cavernous parliament building without comment. She took a seat alone for the short opening session which saw the lawmakers sworn in and the appointment of...
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