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Live! Kerry arrives in Pakistan for key talks

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July 31, 2013

23:32  Libya: Gaddafi-era minister sentenced to execution:  A criminal court in Libya's western city of Misrata sentenced a Gaddafi-era education minister to death today for murder and for inciting violence during the 2011 civil war. 

It was the second such guilty verdict by the same court in recent days.
23:04  Three Sikhs convicted of attacking Lt Gen Brar:  Three members of a Sikh gang, including a woman, were today convicted of slashing the throat of Lt Gen (retd) Kuldip Singh Brar, the hero of the 1984 Operation Blue Star, here last year. 

Brar, 78, was attacked as he walked with his wife Meena, in Old Quebec Street, central London, on September 30, 2012. Mandeep Singh Sandhu, 34, of Birmingham and Dilbag Singh, 37, Harjit Kaur, 39, of London were convicted of wounding with intent at Southwark Crown Court.
22:34  Live! Kerry arrives in Pakistan for key talks:  

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here today for consultations with the newly-elected government in Pakistan and nudge it to eliminate terrorist safe-havens ahead of the withdrawal of US-led troops from neighbouring Afghanistan.        


Kerry, who had earlier postponed his visit, will hold meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Ashfaq Kayani tomorrow.        


This is Kerry's maiden visit to Pakistan after becoming the Secretary of State. Bilateral relations and regional situation especially resumption of strategic dialogue between Pakistan and the United States besides the issue of drone strikes will be discussed during Kerry's meeting with the top leadership.          


The two sides are expected to discuss resumption of strategic dialogue as well as cooperation in different fields including energy, the Pakistan Foreign Office officials said.

21:08  Live! China signals shift from aggressive policy:  

PTI: Signalling a departure from the aggressive policy to stake China's territorial claims with its neighbours, President Xi Jinping today said Beijing will adhere to the policy of "shelving disputes and carrying out joint development" in areas where it has sovereign claims.        


"The country will adhere to the policy of shelving disputes and carrying out joint development for areas over which China owns sovereign rights, while also promoting mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation and seeking and expanding common converging interests with other countries," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying at a high level ruling Politburo meeting of the ruling Communist Party meet in Beijing today.        


His remarks marks a significant departure from a very aggressive policy pursued by China in the last two years in asserting its claims over the South China Sea, besides maritime disputes with Japan over the islands jointly claimed by both countries.        


Observers say his comments were more on the lines of China's late moderate leader Deng Xiaoping who after taking over from Mao Zedong reported to have suggested to various countries including India and Japan to shelve the disputes to pursue development.        

20:34  Sujatha Singh replaces Ranjan Mathai as Foreign Secretary:  
Just In: Sujatha Singh has taken over as foreign secretary from Ranjan Mathai.

Singh, a 1976 batch IFS officer, was a close contender for the top job along with Indias Ambassador to China, S Jaishankar, who is a batch junior to her.

Due to retire in July next year, Singh will be the third woman to head the services after Chokila Iyer and Nirupama Rao. 

Singh is the wife of former Secretary (East) Sanjay Singh, who retired in April this year

She is the daughter of T V Rajeshwar, the former Intelligence Bureau Chief known to be close to the top brass of the Congress. 
20:05  Live! Sonia snubs Kamat, Wasnik over Vidarbha :  A correspondent in New Delhi reports: Congress President Sonia Gandhi was visibly upset and snubbed two general secretaries -- Mukul Wasnik and Gurudas Kamat -- who raised the Vidarbha issue during the party's working committee meeting on Wednesday that was discussing a resolution for the creation of Telangana state.
19:26  Dawood Ibrahims three addresses in Pakistan:  
As part of its chargehseet in IPL spot-fixing case, the Delhi Police has revealed details about most wanted underworld don Dawood Ibrahims addresses in Pakistan. 

Dawood and his aide Chhota Shakeel are "controlling the fixing and betting market" in cricket in India from safe houses in Karachi and Islamabad, the police said in the chargesheet. 

Two addresses in Karachi and one in Islamabad have been listed as Dawoods coordinates in Pakistan. Dawood, India's most-wanted, designated global terrorist, is the main accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. 

In Islamabad his address has been given as House no 29, Street no 22, P-6/2, Margalla Road. 

In Karachi, Dawood's addresses are Moin Palace near Abdullah Shah Ghazi Dargah in Clifton and 6/A Khyaban Tanzeem Phase V Defence Housing Area. 
19:15  Live! Tank up: Petrol, diesel prices hiked from midnight:  Petrol prices hiked by 70 paise per litre, diesel prices hiked by 50 paise to a litre. Oil firms have been pitching for another big increase in diesel prices, which have gone up 23% in the past year, and up to Rs 1.50 increase in petrol to make the fuel 15% more costly in only three months, as international fuel prices have risen, industry officials said.
19:07  Modi hits back at Nitish for remarks against BJP:  BJP today hit back at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his remarks vowing to put the saffron party in place in future and said that he should bother about his party JD(U)'s fate as the people of Bihar will bring it down in the next general elections.

"The people of Bihar will teach a lesson to Kumar and his party JD(U) for showing disrespect to mandate for NDA in 2010 assembly polls and they will put the ruling party in place during the next parliamentary polls," BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said.
19:03  Chandrababu wants new hot-shot capital like Hyderabad for Andhra:  Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu today urged the centre to develop a city at par with Hyderabad as the capital of Andhra Pradesh following the formation of separate Telangana state.

He said the centre should allocate 2 to 4 lakh crore rupees to develop a new city. He demanded the government to earmark the funds in the bill it plans to table in parliament for formation of Telangana state. Read
18:02  Live! Raj slams Shobhaa De's tweet: Separating Mumbai not easy as divorce:  MNS chief Raj Thackeray has slammed Shobhaa De for her tweet supporting statehood for Mumbai. He said separating Mumbai from Maharashtra is not easy as getting a divorce.

De tweeted: Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity, anyway. This game has countless possibilities.

The BJP, Sena and NCP have asked her to delete the tweet.
17:45  Spanish train driver was 'on phone and reading at time of rail crash' :  The driver of a train that derailed last week, killing 79 people, was on the phone and reading a document as he travelled at 153kph before the crash, a court was told. Read
17:37  MIT report: We did not 'target' Aaron Swartz:  An internal report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that it committed no wrongdoing in the case of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide while facing charges he hacked into the university's computers and stole millions of online documents. Read
17:35  Spanish train driver says he cannot explain crash:  The driver of a Spanish train which crashed told authorities he does not know what he was thinking in the seconds before the crash. Read
17:29  A jailbreak, a new president and a worrisome lack of policy in Pakistan:  The troubling gap between politics and governance in Pakistan came into stark relief on Tuesday, when lawmakers elected the country's 12th president just hours after Taliban militants shot their way into a major jail, freeing about 250 prisoners. Read
17:18  Live! Yashwant: Bihari babu Shatrughan should not comment on Nitish :  Praising ally turned sworn enemy Nitish Kumar has earned BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha a sharp rebuke from his own party. Days after the actor-politician described the Bihar Chief Minister as well qualified for the Prime Minister's post, his senior BJP colleague Yashwant Sinha has asked him to "desist" from such statements.

"Bihari babu (Shatrughan Sinha) should refrain from making statements at a time relations between both the parties are at an all-time low," said Yashwant Sinha, speaking to reporters at his constituency Hazaribagh in Jharkhand.-- NDTV.
17:01  Mamata rules out partition of Bengal: It's not a lollipop:   With GJM renewing the demand for Gorkhaland in Darjeeling following UPA unanimously endorsing creation of a separate Telangana state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today ruled out division of West Bengal and blamed the Congress for the agitation in the hills.

"Darjeeling is part and parcel of West Bengal. There is no question of division of West Bengal. We are united, we will be united and we will be together," Banerjee said.

Apparently referring to the recent visit by a six member GJM team headed by its General Secretary Roshan Giri to Delhi with the Gorkhaland demand, Banerjee alleged "I am sorry to say ... I will write to Prime Minister whether it was a right step or not that some central ministers invited three or four Morcha leaders to Delhi some days back.

"A union territory without taking consent of the state? It is funny. Is it a lollipop in a child's hand? I request the Centre that has responsibility to see that peace is not disturbed in Darjeeling,"she said.
16:32  Indias mountain strike farce:  Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government has announced the formation of a "mountain strike corps' to defend India's Himalayan border with China.

With its 50,000 troops and action-movie name, the new outfit might seem like the muscular response New Delhi needs to counter this summer's spate of Chinese border incursions.

'But the announcement represents another example of Indian strategic timidity in the face of Chinese aggression.  Read
16:28  A requiem for the NCP :  "I have both admired and slammed Sharad Pawar over the years on various issues, I suddenly feel sorry for the NCP chief as he has no credible face, apart from himself, to lead the party in the next elections and that includes the polls to the assembly which are due in October 2014," writes Sujata Anandan for the Hindustan Times. Read
16:16  Girl flee residential school after food with worms served for days:  More school meal horrors: Distressed over food containing worms being served to them, 50 girl students of a residential school, who had refused to eat meals for four days, fled the premises, prompting an inquiry following which five employees, including a warden and a cook, have been sacked.

The students of Kasturba Gandhi residential girls school in Hafizganj area in Bareilly, claimed that the cook would not wash raw food material and grains before preparing meals and they were scolded whenever they raised their voice against it.

They said that many of them were taken ill after consuming the food following which the girls fled the premises.
16:04  Uttarakhand missing won't be given death certificates: Bahuguna:  Uttarakhand today sought Rs 13,800 crore from the Centre for reconstruction and relief work in the flood-ravaged state at the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on the issue and claimed to have got an assurance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard.

The Cabinet Committee discussed the issue of compensation and rehabilitation in the state with Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna saying that his government has decided to declare the 5400 people, who are still missing after the flash flood tragedy, as "presumed dead" and give them compensation.

The missing people will, however, not been given death certificates. "5400 people are still missing. Out of these 924 are from the state. These are presumed to be dead and Rs 5 lakh cheque each will be given to their family members. The Finance Minister said that the LIC should be asked to expedite their insurance claims as was done during tsunami," Bahuguna said.
15:56  Top 10 facts about Telangana. Read
15:43  Man shot dead for fighting sand mafia in UP?:  A man was killed today allegedly by the sand mafia in Noida in the National Capital Region. The police say three motorcycle-borne men shot the man, Mangeram, in Sector 39, Noida, following which he died of his injuries.

The family of the man say he was killed by the sand mafia since he was fighting them in the area and had filed a complaint against them a few days ago.

The attack comes days after the UP government suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, and the opposition alleged that she has been suspended as she took on the sand mafia.

Remember this? Sand mafia truck mows down cop
15:24  Why Muslims should confront the IM:  The Indian Mujahideen are for real, and investigators have more evidence about them than they would have us believe. Read
15:23  Cabinet Committee on Investment clears 157 projects worth Rs 1.6 lakh crore:  The Cabinet Committee on Investment has cleared 157 projects worth Rs 1.6 lakh crore, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, said today. He said that the demand for credit is sluggish from large industry, but the government is confident of financing the current account deficit in 2013-14 without drawing on reserves. The government is also actively considering significant liberalising of the FDI policy.
15:02  Omar's foreboding rings true.

J&K chief minister, Omar Abdullah, voiced his reservations on the Telangana statehood issue said it could act as an incentive to those agitating for similar demands elsewhere in the country. "It is fine that you have to create Telangana, but don't do it piecemeal. Telangana will be created on the basis of agitations. This way the agitations are being incentivised," Omar said in Srinagar, yesterday.

He said giving in to the demand of creating a separate state in the backdrop of an agitation was a "dangerous thing".

"An impression is going out that an agitation can lead to creation of a new state, be it in Bundelkhand, Maharashtra, Gorkhaland or in our state. What will you tell people of Jammu -- agitate for seven or eight years and you will get a separate state? This is a dangerous thing," he said.

14:56  Violence in Assam over demands for Karbi Anglong state:  Violence erupted in Assam today in support of a separate Karbi Anglong state in which houses of a Congress MP and MLA were attacked, prompting the police to fire in the air to quell them.

Demanding that a separate state be carved out of Assam along the lines of Telangana, the agitators belonging to several organisations gheraoed the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council in Diphu and locked its main gate.
14:40  "Darjeeling will remain part of West Bengal":  West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's first reaction to the fresh demand for Gorkhaland. She says that Darjeeling will remain part of West Bengal and the state government will not dissolve the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
14:34  Whose biryani is it: Andhras or Telanganas:  For once today, the heat in the Andhra Bhavan canteen -- possibly the best-known south Indian address in Delhi -- came from Telangana. "Everything served here is authentic Andhra food. No Telangana food is served here," growled J David, managing the crowd on the ground floor of the canteen, whose spicy meals are a big hit. That's the story on the Telegraph.
14:31   Visa bonds to impact India Inc's UK investment plans:Ficci:  Expressing concern over Britain's plan to introduce a scheme of demanding a whopping 3,000 pounds visa bond from visitors from certain countries, including India, Ficci today said the proposed move could "certainly impact" India Inc's investment plans for the UK.

"It is indeed a matter of concern if the UK Government actualises its plans to seek 3,000 pounds refundable bonds from Indians applying for UK visas in the immediate future... It could certainly impact the Indian industry's investment plans for the UK," industry body Ficci said.

Moreover, grouping India, which has emerged as the fourth largest investor in UK, with countries like Ghana, Uganda, Pakistan and Bangladesh was also a matter of concern, Ficci said.
14:15  JNU student attacks female friend with cleaver, kills self:  Update on the JNU murder: A 23-year-old student of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) killed himself after allegedly attacking his female friend with a cleaver this morning.

Akash and Roshni, 22, reportedly had an altercation at around 11 am in one of the classrooms in the campus. Both studied Korean in the school of language in JNU. Read
14:09  Live! Suspended IAS officer who took on sand mafia to be chargesheeted:  Despite being roundly criticized for suspending an IAS officer who had cracked down on the sand mining mafia, the Uttar Pradesh government will ask the officer for an explanation and is even readying a charge sheet.

Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was ostensibly removed for ordering the demolition on Saturday of a mosque built illegally on government land, will be given 10 days to explain herself in writing.

If the state government doesn't find her reply satisfactory, then a charge sheet could be filed in 45 days. More
14:05  Suspected movement observed along IB in Jammu, BSF fires:  BSF troops today fired after observing suspected movement along International Border in Jammu sector.

"There was suspected movement along IB Sidharwan Border Out Post (BoP) in Akhnoor belt of Jammu district around 0505 hours today," a BSF officer said.

The BSF troops guarding the border took positions and fired 25 rounds on the area of suspected movement, he said, adding that during search conducted afterwards, foot-prints were seen. The suspected persons apparently escaped back to the other side of the border, he said.
13:45   Post division, Rayalaseema MLAs want capital in their region:  Congress legislators from Rayalaseema today demanded that capital should be established in their region after the division of Andhra Pradesh in view of the area's backwardness.

"Kurnool (in Rayalaseema) was the capital of Andhra state, but we sacrificed it for Hyderabad in AP. The state is being divided again. Hyderabad is developed. Now, it is not clear where the capital will be established. Our proposal is that we should get the capital, because we sacrificed," Andhra Pradesh Law Minister E Pratap Reddy said.
13:30  No takers among stars for Cong tickets:  A visit to the headquarters of national parties makes us believe that top leaders are now busy shortlisting the names of celebrities they will showcase during campaign trails. BJP managers have 85 names, while Congress has 35. An insider at 24 Akbar Road said no star wants to contest elections on a Congress ticket. 
13:13   Former Army chief may contest LS polls in UP against a VVIP:  Former Chief of Staff General VK Singh had an hour-long interaction with senior BJP leaders recently. He is believed to have agreed to contest the Lok Sabha elections against a VVIP from Uttar Pradesh. No, we are not giving out names just now, but friends of the former general have planned a recce in the constituency to gauge the mood of the voters. 
12:57  Polls in 2014 or earlier?:  Six spacious bungalows in central Delhi have been rented by Congress poll managers. A party general secretary yesterday, visited these bungalows to hold candidate selections and stock pamphlets and such other, as well as to strategise for the 2014 polls. A little early for all this? So, does this mean the elections are being advanced? Watch this space.
12:44  The story behind Delhi polices arresting ad:  In a bid to raise funds for its youth training program, the Delhi Police this week launched an aggressive advertising campaign.

But one of the series of three advertisements has upset child rights' activists.

Next to a picture of a young Indian boy on one of the adverts is the strapline, "Help him learn how to chop an onion. Before someone teaches him how to chop a head."  Read
12:33  JNU students attacks classmate with sharp object, consumes poison:  A BA IIIrd year student has attacked his classmate with a sharp object at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and then consumed poison. Both the students have been rushed to AIIMS. Details awaited.
12:31  Shutdown in Darjeeling continues for second day:  A Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-sponsored shutdown left most parts of Darjeeling paralysed for the second consecutive day on Wednesday.

Markets, offices and educational institutions remained closed, as the 72-hour shutdown continued. There were, however, no untoward incidents reported by the police.

Vehicular movement was also restricted.The GJM has called for the shutdown over a demand for the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of parts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts of northern West Bengal.

The police have been patrolling the highways and keeping a strict vigil to prevent any untoward incident.
12:21  After Telangana, demands for Gorkhaland, Vidarbha firm up :  Gorkhaland: The demand for Gorkhaland has renewed. Gorkhaland activists are holding a 72-hour bandh during which angry street protests were witnessed in the region yesterday.

Vidarbha: With the UPA government likely to concede the demand for the creation of the Telangana state, the call for carving out a separate Vidarbha state out of Maharashtra has started gaining heat.

Staunch protagonist of Vidarbha state, former BJP MP Banwarilal Purohit, who formed a political outfit for fighting for the cause, told PTI that his party had passed a resolution in its Bhubneshwar executive committee in 1992 supporting separate Vidarbha.

12:17  So it begins... Mayawati demands UP be split into four states:  BSP chief Mayawati holds a quickie press conference primarily welcoming the decision on the creation of the Telangana state. "The BSP always advocates the splitting of states and governance units. I reiterate my proposal to split UP into four different states -- Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Paschim Pradesh. But for that that to happen Mulayam Singh Yadav should be asked to leave UP," she said.

Opponents to the creation of Telangana have stated that giving in will ensure the demands for other states to be split up as well.
12:08  Srinivasan back as BCCI chief, fresh probe against son-in-law:   N Srinivasan is back in office as the chief of the Indian cricket board, sources have said. He took over at 8 pm on Tuesday, ending Jagmohan Dalmiya's short term as interim president. Read

Also read: IPL fixing: Sreesanth chargesheeted along with Dawood & Co.
12:00  Passenger killed as bus falls into canal:  A passenger was killed while some others were feared drowned as a bus fell into a canal near Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab in the early hours today.

The Punjab roadways bus plying on Delhi-Jalandhar- Amritsar route fell into the Sirhind canal near a floating restaurant on the national highway around 2 am, Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan said.

While there were unconfirmed reports that the bus was carrying around 20-30 passengers, the SSP has not confirmed the same.

The divers have so far been able to recover one body from the gushing waters of the canal, he said. However, the SSP has not ruled out more casualties in the mishap.
11:40  Modi to UPA: Apologise to Andhra people for treating them like doormats:  Narendra Modi has lashed out at the Congress-led UPA for the "timing" of the Telangana decision and asked the government to apologize to the people of Andhra Pradesh for treating them like "doormats". In a blog, Mr Modi welcomed the creation of a separate state of Telangana, but questioned the UPA government's motives. Read
11:31  Jaya gets a jumbo push:  Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had a nasty surprise on Tuesday when she tried to feed a baby elephant fruits at an elephant camp in Mudumalai.Mudumalai is home to one of the country's biggest wildlife reserves.The two-year-old calf pushed the Chief Minister, who was amused at first.She wasn't injured, of course.She had gone to Mudumalai for a surprise inspection, a press release said. -- NDTV
11:27  Telangana's first family:  On April 27, 2001, K Chandrasekhara Rao founded the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to lead the Telangana movement. While the party had a good start, its popularity soon seemed to wane.

But with the region getting separate statehood, KCR has been catapulted to the position of the most powerful political leader in the proposed new state, assisted by many members of his family. Read
11:25  The 29th state :  A decision on statehood for Telangana has been imminent since the UPA's midnight announcement of December 2009.

What is bewildering is that the crisis mode that the Congress swung into then, having taken fright at TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao's fast, still appears to continue to grip the party and its governments at the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh. Read
11:20  A State that must fulfil a higher purpose:  The creation of Telangana will have meaning only if it creates a new language of inclusive politics, or else it will merely amount to another demarcation on the map, writes the Hindu. Read
11:15  Brand Hyderabad to dazzle with birth of Telangana :  Industry experts feel that the decision to divide Andhra Pradesh will put Hyderabad firmly back in the saddle as a global IT/ITeS hub, as it was primarily the political uncertainty that had helped Bangalore and Chennai cash in on Hyderabad's T-woes in the past four years rather than any actual limitations of Hyderabad. Read
11:13  Shutdown in Seemandhra against Telangana decision:  After the government 'unofficially' put its stamp on the creation of the Telangana state, protests have begun in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions today. Road transport came to a standstill while shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in the two regions, usually referred to as Seemandhra.  Read
11:06  Now, dead rat found in mid-day meal in Mangalore:  More mid-day meal horror: A dead rat was found in the midday meal to be served to students of the Government Composite Secondary School at Katipalla on Monday.

A notice has been issued to Akshaya Patra Foundation of International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which has been serving midday meal to 148 schools here for the last six years.  Read
This is surprising since ISKCON is an exemplar for hygienic meals.   
10:17  J-K: 5 terrorists killed in encounter in Kupwara:  Five terrorist were killed in an ongoing encounter with security forces in Kupwara district in north Kashmir on Wednesday morning.

More details are awaited.
09:27  Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting memorial to begin on Friday:  A year after six worshippers were shot down by a white supremacist in a rampage at the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin, the Sikh community there will observe the first anniversary of the tragic event in spirits of Chardi Kala.

"In the spirit 'of Chardi Kla' (state of High Spirits) instilled into us by our Gurus the community is bouncing back and remembering our dear lost ones," the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin said on its website yesterday.

It announced a series of events -- prayers --beginning Friday in honor of those who lost their lives when a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage a year ago on August 5, last year.
08:48  Manning acquitted of aiding the enemy faces espionage charges:   Former US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, has been acquitted of providing aid to the enemy, but was convicted of several counts of espionage.

Army Judge Col Denise Lind found the 25-year-old Army private guilty of espionage charges, which could result in a sentencing of 136 years behind prison. Manning's attorney, David Coombs said he was pleased by the verdict, but signaled that the decisive moment will come during the sentencing phase of the court-martial, which opens Wednesday and could last several weeks.

Manning had previously accepted responsibility for providing classified information to WikiLeaks, actions covered by ten of the 22 charges.

Military judge Colonel Denise Lind found him guilty of 20 of those 22 charges.
07:53  Our troops needed longer Afghan term: US:  The US is against the "zero option" for the number of troops that would remain in Afghanistan after 2014, arguing that the mission is still not yet accomplished, said a Pentagon official.

However, it would have no other option except for the "zero option", if the United States didn't successfully negotiate a security deal with Kabul that will give it a legal basis for having forces in Afghanistan after 2014, said Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defence for Asia Pacific Security Affairs.

"If we don't get the permission of Afghan government in the form of a bilateral security agreement, then we will not be able to continue this job of working with the Afghan National Security Forces and then you end up with zero," he said yesterday.

He added that US wants to have its presence in Afghanistan post 2014.
03:32  Hotel security under scrutiny in Cannes jewels heist:  Security at the luxury Carlton hotel in the French Riviera town of Cannes is under the spotlight in an investigation into a jewel heist at the weekend worth USD 136 million, police said. 

"At the very least, the managers were a little careless," said a police source yesterday, adding that the security system in place at the Carlton -- a hotel popular with film stars -- was "a bit out of date".
03:31  Pak Rangers termed as agents of fear by rights body:  Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has termed the country's paramilitary Pakistan Rangers as an agent of fear instead of providing security to citizens. 

In a special report about extra judicial acts by the Rangers in Karachi, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has said that the Rangers have on many occasions abused their power and not disclosed charges against abducted persons. 

The report was based on the study of 11 cases of abduction, extra-judicial killings and torture by the paramilitary force.
03:30  Mugabe will step down if he loses tomorrow. That's a big if. :  Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe stated bluntly today that if he loses tomorrow's elections he will step down, the first time the strong man has openly said so to the international media.

Yet on the eve of Zimbabwe's long-awaited vote '" which comes after more than three decades of uninterrupted rule by Mr. Mugabe, who led Southern Rhodesia to become an majority-ruled independent nation in 1980 '" the question is whether the fix for him is already in.

Read more here
02:46  CCTV cameras in jails soon, says Maharashtra home minister:  Maharashtra government will install CCTV camera systems, scanners and jammers in state prisons under an ambitious modernisation plan, state home minister R R Patil said here today. 

The minister who reviewed security and management in jails, ordered speeding up of ongoing modernisation work in several prisons and an increase in manpower as early as possible.
02:01  Iraq violence kills 10 as Qaeda claims attacks:  Violence in Iraq killed 10 people on today, among them seven police, officials said, as an Al-Qaeda front group claimed a wave of attacks that killed dozens the day before. 

The country is witnessing its worst violence since 2008, when it was emerging from a bloody sectarian conflict. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on yesterday for Iraqi political leaders to bring the country "back from the brink," and the interior ministry warned of civil war.
01:51  WikiLeaks denounces 'dangerous' Manning verdict:   WikiLeaks denounced the US military judge's verdict against soldier Bradley Manning, saying it reflected "dangerous national security extremism from the Obama administration". 

It also said in a reaction posted on Twitter that the conviction of Manning on several counts of espionage set a "very serious new precedent for supplying information to the press".
01:13  Israel, Palestinians eye peace deal in 9 months:  Secretary of State John Kerry says Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to meet again within two weeks to continue substantive negotiations on a so-far elusive peace deal. 

He said the sides had set a goal of a nine-month deadline for reaching a pact. Speaking as the two sides wrapped up an initial round of talks today, Kerry said they were committed to "sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations on the core issues" that divided them.
01:12  China's Bo Xilai accused of USD 4 mln graft: media:  Corruption charges against disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai will date back to an earlier stage of his career, media reported today -- a narrow focus that could help contain political fallout from the case. 

The downfall of Bo -- who ran the megacity of Chongqing and sat on the ruling Communist party's 25-member Politburo -- marked China's biggest political scandal in decades. 

His glittering career came crashing down amid allegations that his wife -- later convicted of murder -- was involved in the death of a British businessman and he had sought to block the police investigation.
00:25  Spain train driver 'on phone' at time of deadly crash:  

The train driver in last week's crash in Spain was talking on the phone when it derailed, investigators say. The train was travelling at 153km/h (95mph) at the time, investigators at the Court of Justice of Galicia said.


Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was speaking to members of staff at the state-owned railway company, Renfe, they added. Crash investigators had opened the train's "black-box" data recorder to find the cause of the crash, which left 79 people dead.


Read the full report on BBC

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