• Thursday, November 27, 2014

World

Modi meets all leaders except Pakistan PM

Modi meets all leaders except Pakistan PM

They shared the dais but leave alone a handshake, there was no exchange of courtesies between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan during the nearly three-hour Saarc Summit in Kathmandu yesterday. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, who were sitting two seats away from each other, did not look at each other even when Sharif crossed before and after delivering his speech at the 18th meeting of the eight-member regional bloc. Leaders of Maldives and Nepal were seated between Modi and Sharif. Though there is...

Syria strikes ISIS capital; 95 killed

Syrian regime air strikes on Islamic State group stronghold Raqa killed at least 95 people as a government delegation prepared for talks with key ally Russia yesterday on relaunching peace negotiations. The bombing on Tuesday was the deadliest by President Bashar al-Assad's air force in Raqa since Sunni extremist ISIS fighters seized control of the city last year and declared it their capital. More than half of the dead were civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors...

Flournoy opts out of US defense secy job

Michele Flournoy, a former top US Department of Defense official widely tipped as a possible replacement for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, has taken herself out of consideration for the job, according to multiple sources familiar with the circumstances. Flournoy, co-founder and chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, wrote to the think tank's board of directors saying she would remain in her post and had asked President Barack Obama to remove her from consideration to head the...

Controversial Blasphemy Law in Pakistan

Geo TV owner, Veena Malik gets 26 years in jail

Geo TV owner, Veena Malik gets 26 years in jail

A Pakistan court on Tuesday sentenced the owner of the country's biggest media group to 26 years in prison for broadcasting a show it said was blasphemous. The morning show broadcast live on Geo TV in May featured Pakistani starlet Veena Malik dancing with her new husband while a group of Sufi musicians sang a devotional song about the wedding of the Prophet Muhammad's daughter. The verdict against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman along with the host of the show and two guests was announced by an anti-terror court in the city of Gilgit, which is controlled by Pakistan but part of the Kashmir region which India also claims. But the order is unlikely to...

Hong Kong mops up protest camps

Hundreds of Hong Kong police yesterday cleared a pro-democracy protest camp, arresting Joshua Wong and another student leader and reopening a main road blocked for almost two months. Pushing back protesters, police with the help of workmen removed tents and other obstacles blocking the six-lane Nathan Road in Mongkok district. It is seen as the most significant move so far in efforts to clear away protest camps at three separate locations in the city, as public sympathy with the demonstrators wanes. Scuffles...

Fighting rages in Ukraine

Nato's top military commander warned yesterday that Russia's "militarisation" of the annexed Crimea region could be used by Moscow to exert control across the whole Black Sea region. "We are very concerned with the militarisation of Crimea," US General Philip Breedlove told a press conference in Kiev. "The capabilities that are being installed in Crimea will bring an effect on almost the entire Black Sea." Breedlove jetted into Ukraine for high-level talks as fighting rumbled on between government forces and Kremlin-backed rebels...

UN moves to protect digital privacy

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance. The resolution presented by Germany and Brazil builds on a landmark text presented last year in the wake of revelations by Edward Snowden of widespread surveillance by the US and British governments. "Where mass surveillance technology is used, a situation can easily be created where no privacy of communications on the Internet exists...

Border Security

India to put up smart fence to plug loopholes

In order to plug loopholes in porous and unfenced borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan, India will soon set up a 'smart fence' mechanism as part of an over Rs 4,500-crore modernisation plan being implemented by BSF. The country's largest border guarding force has recently begun the trial of these sophisticated and technical smart fencing systems in a four-km stretch in Jammu and Punjab sectors where fencing with barbed wires is not possible due to difficult topography or inclement weather. BSF, in...

India raises tobacco purchasing age to 25

India raises tobacco purchasing age to 25

Health campaigners Wednesday welcomed India's unprecedented plans to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 25 and ban unpackaged cigarette sales, calling them a major step towards stopping nearly one million tobacco-related deaths a year. India, with a population of 1.2 billion, would have the world's highest minimum legal age for buying cigarettes if...

News in Brief

Doctor Denis Mukwege received the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize yesterday for his work in helping thousands of gang rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo. European Parliament president Martin Schulz said Mukwege "fought for the dignity of women, justice and peace in his country".