Foreign articles

Militants seize district in volatile Afghan province

Militants seize district in volatile Afghan province

GHAZNI: A large number of insurgents attacked and seized a district in an Afghan province on Sunday night, officials said, the latest in a string of assaults on foreign and government targets.
Mohammad Yaseen, police commander for Khogyani district in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul, told Reuters the militants had set fire to the district headquarters and police had suffered casualties defending the area.
Yaseen, who fled to the provincial capital, Ghazni city, did not

52 killed in Iraq church raid

BAGHDAD: At least 52 hostages and police officers were killed when security forces raided a Baghdad church to free more than 100 Iraqi Catholics held by al Qaeda-linked gunmen, Iraq’s Deputy Interior Minister Lieutenant General Hussein Kamal said on Monday.
Kamal said that 67 people were also injured in the raid on the church, which was seized by guerrillas during Sunday mass in the bloodiest attack in Iraq since August. The death toll was many times higher than that given

Democrats brace for mid-term elections rout

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party braced on Monday for an elections rout, as a wave of 11th-hour polls showed the Republican Party on course for big gains in Congress amid deep voter anger at the sour economy.
Obama, fearing a ballot-box repudiation just two years into his campaign for change, planned a wave of radio interviews and telephone calls to Democratic volunteers key to boosting party turnout on Tuesday, the White House said.

Netanyahu to fly to US for peace talks

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he will fly to the United States next weekend for talks on Middle East peace efforts and to speak of the need to combat international terrorism.
“Next Sunday, I shall leave for the annual assembly of Jewish communities in the United States,” Netanyahu told reporters at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, referring to a congress to be held in New Orleans on November 7-9.
“I shall meet there with Vice

Better monitoring urged for ailing oceans by 2015

OSLO: Ocean scientists urged governments on Sunday to invest billions of dollars by 2015 in a new system to monitor the seas and give alerts of everything from tsunamis to acidification linked to climate change.
They said better oversight would have huge economic benefits, helping to understand the impact of over-fishing or shifts in monsoons that can bring extreme weather such as the 2010 floods in Pakistan. A scientific alliance, Oceans United, would present the plea to

Yemen hunts suspects behind air parcel bombs

SANAA: Yemeni security forces were on Sunday searching for suspects who posted bombs on two US-bound flights after arresting a woman over an alleged Al-Qaeda plot that sparked a global air cargo alert.
The woman was detained on Saturday after being tracked down through a mobile number written on the explosives-filled packages, which were found on freighter jets in Britain and Dubai the day before, Yemeni officials said.
In the US, counter-terrorism chief John Brennan said on

Suicide bomber wounds 22 at Istanbul’s main square

ISTANBUL: A suspected suicide bomber targeting Turkish police wounded 22 people in the centre of Istanbul on Sunday. No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack, officials said, though the city has been targeted by Kurdish separatist militants, al Qaeda and other groups in the past.
“It was a suicide bomb and it appears as if the bomber blew himself up. It appears to be a male body,” Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin told reporters. Twelve civilians and 10

Karzai condemns US-Russia drugs operation

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted with fury Sunday to the first joint US-Russian anti-drugs operation in the war-torn country, saying it happened without permission and violated Afghan sovereignty.
“No organisation or institution has the right to carry out such military operations inside the territory of our country without permission and agreement from the Islamic Government of Afghanistan,” a statement from his office said. “Afghanistan condemns this act by NATO and

Two Koreas start family reunions

SEOUL: Hundreds of South Koreans on Saturday held tearful reunions with their relatives living in the North as the two Koreas resumed the humanitarian project despite tensions after an exchange of fire.
The reunions, which give divided families their first chance to see one another in six decades, started mid-afternoon at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North’s southeastern coast, near the border, Yonhap news agency said.
“How are you, you… I could only see you in dreams,”

US urges China to press North Korea to return to nuclear talks

HANOI: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday urged Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to use his government’s clout to get North Korea to return to nuclear disarmament talks.
During discussions on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Hanoi, Clinton also urged Yang to have China pressure North Korea to smooth the way for the Group of 20 summit in South Korea and improve ties with Seoul, a senior US State Department official told reporters.
“We conveyed today

Russia wants more nuclear power projects in Asia: FM

HANOI: Asian nations are keen on striking nuclear power deals with Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday, as world powers race to secure projects in the energy-hungry region.
“Our partners expressed particular interest in nuclear energy, noting Russia’s vast experience in this sphere,” Lavrov said in Hanoi, where President Dmitry Medvedev attended a regional summit. During Medvedev’s visit to Vietnam, Russia will also sign a multi-billion-euro deal on Sunday to

Yemen probes air parcels amid calls to root out Qaeda

SANAA: Yemen on Saturday launched a probe after explosives were found in air parcels sent to US synagogues from its territory by suspected Al-Qaeda militants whom it is under renewed pressure to eliminate.
With alarms bells going off across the world, US President Barack Obama said on Friday that the two packages which originated from Yemen were destined for Chicago synagogues and were a credible terrorist threat. He blamed Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate of being responsible for the

China PM to visit India, says big powers can grow together

HANOI: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday he would visit India later this year, stressing there was “enough space in the world” for both the giant nations to prosper despite a backdrop of frosty ties.
“I will pay a visit to India by the end of this year,” Wen said during talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of a Southeast Asia summit in the Vietnamese capital. Border disputes, a short war in 1962 and the presence in India of Tibet’s spiritual

German media sees partial victory for Merkel on EU

BERLIN: German media offered guarded praise for an agreement in Brussels to make limited changes to the EU treaty, describing it as a compromise that bought time to find a lasting remedy to debt woes that have plagued the bloc.
Under pressure from Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, EU leaders in Brussels agreed that changes were needed to create a permanent system to handle sovereign debt problems and endorsed tougher budgetary rules, including

Lebanon braces for worst as Hezbollah snubs UN Hariri probe

BEIRUT: Lebanon braced on Friday for a fresh political crisis after Hezbollah urged a boycott of a UN-backed tribunal on the murder of former leader Rafiq Hariri and the United Nations warned of a “hyper-dangerous” situation.
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the militant Shiite party, called on all Lebanese on Thursday to end cooperation with investigators probing the ex-premier’s 2005 assassination, warning “citizens and politicians alike” that further collaboration was equivalent to

Russia, Poland sign gas deal, eyes on EU stance

WARSAW: Poland and Russia signed a new natural gas deal on Friday, after the EU rejected a previous one, that increases Russian deliveries to Poland’s gas company by some 2.5 billion cubic metres to 10 bcm a year until 2022.
Poland would be short of some 2.5 bcm of gas annually without the deal, which was clinched after more than a year of talks and must still be approved by the European Commission.
The European Union executive had forced Warsaw to renegotiate after saying

Myanmar says Suu Kyi may be freed after elections

HANOI: Myanmar has said that democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi may be freed after November 7 elections, as it attempts to deflect a barrage of criticism over the discredited polls.
Myanmar’s elections, the nation’s first in two decades, have been derided as a sham by critics who say they lack any credibility without the participation of Suu Kyi and other opposition figures.
Foreign Minister Nyan Win flagged the release at Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) talks,