Foreign articles

India has ‘no solution’ to parliament deadlock: minister

India has ‘no solution’ to parliament deadlock: minister

NEW DELHI: India’s veteran finance minister admitted on Thursday that the government did not know how to resolve a stand-off with the opposition over a telecom scandal that has paralysed the national parliament.
The lower and upper houses of the national assembly were adjourned for a 10th day as the opposition stormed the floor of both houses, shouting slogans and refusing to let anyone speak.
The protesters, led by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are calling

Double ‘child sacrifice’ murders reported in central India

RAIPUR: Police in central India reported a second case of suspected child sacrifice on Thursday, casting a spotlight on witchcraft and occult beliefs that persist in some impoverished areas.
Police in the central state of Chhattisgarh said they had arrested 11 people including a “witchdoctor” and his wife after the body of a two-year-old boy was discovered in their house on Wednesday. Further searches of the property in the industrial town of Bhilai, about 45 kilometres (30

India test-fires N-ballistic missile

NEW DELHI: India successfully tested an upgraded version of its most powerful nuclear-capable missile on Thursday during an army training exercise, a Defence Ministry official said.
Pakistan and India regularly test missiles, and normally give each other advance notice for long-range launches. Islamabad was informed ahead of Thursday’s test as part of “standard practice”, ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.
The upgraded Agni I – with a 435-mile range – was fired from a

Queen saddened by New Zealand mine tragedy

LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II said on Wednesday she was “deeply saddened” by the news that 29 men missing in a New Zealand coal mine, including two Britons, have died.
“I am deeply saddened by today’s news that there is now no hope for the men trapped in the Pike River mine,” the queen said in a message to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, released by Buckingham Palace.
“My heart goes out to the families and friends of these 29 brave miners and to all who have been

Demonstrator killed as Christians clash with Egytian police

CAIRO: One demonstrator was killed and dozens injured on Wednesday as Christian protesters clashed with Egyptian police over the denial of permission for a new church, a security official said.
The clashes came amid mounting sectarian tensions in the Arab world’s most populous nation after Muslims set fire to homes owned by the family of a Christian man rumoured to have flirted with a Muslim girl in the south.
A security official told AFP that a young male demonstrator was

Afghanistan unveils final results of fraud-marred vote

KABUL: Afghanistan on Wednesday released final results from its controversial parliamentary election after massive fraud saw nearly a quarter of votes cancelled and 24 winners disqualified.
The main opponent of President Hamid Karzai swiftly claimed that his supporters had won more than 90 seats and would be able to exert significant pressure despite falling short of a majority in the 249-member chamber.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) declared the vote a “major

US sanctions have failed: Ahmadinejad aide

WASHINGTON: Despite Western nations tightening the screws on Iran, a top aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says increasingly tough sanctions have failed.
On the eve of fresh negotiations with Western powers tentatively set for December 5, Ahmadinejad confidant Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi said it was time for them to “stop fooling themselves” over the effectiveness of measures designed to pressure Iran into abandoning its uranium enrichment me. Banning Iranian ships from European

Indian PM wins backing over telecoms scandal

NEW DELHI: India’s ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday staunchly defended Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against accusations he failed to act over a massive telecom corruption scandal.
Gandhi, the key powerbroker of Indian politics, said Singh was above reproach in the controversy, which the country’s audit watchdog estimates deprived the public treasury up to 40 billion dollars in lost revenues. “It is shameful that a person of the integrity of the prime

Fatah meets for talks on Israel, Hamas

RAMALLAH: Senior members of Fatah, the party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, met on Wednesday to discuss issues from peace talks with Israel to reconciliation with Hamas.
The representatives from Fatah’s Revolutionary Council gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah from early morning for a day of talks on domestic and international political affairs.
Abbas was during the day expected to deliver “a very important address on the developments in the political

Japan PM urges China to help ‘restrain’ North Korea

TOKYO: Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Wednesday called on China to use its influence over North Korea to ease tensions on the divided peninsula, after Pyongyang’s deadly shelling of a South Korean island.
Kan also held a telephone conversation with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in which he underlined Japan’s strong ties with Seoul and Washington and agreed to work closely together.
The government also hinted it would consider tougher sanctions against Pyongyang

All 29 trapped miners in New Zealand dead

GREYMOUTH: All 29 miners trapped underground in a New Zealand mine for five days are believed to be dead following a second explosion, police said on Wednesday, as the government vowed to investigate the disaster.
The miners were trapped in the 2.3 km main tunnel of the Pike River Coal mine last Friday night when methane gas caused a massive explosion in the mountain on New Zealand’s south island.
Two other miners narrowly escaped by running out of the mine. “Today all New

Britain’s Prince William to wed in April at historic abbey

LONDON: Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry on April 29 at Westminster Abbey, the historic London church where the funeral of his mother Diana was held in 1997, royal officials said Tuesday.
Downing Street announced that there would be a special public holiday on the day, perhaps the biggest royal event in Britain since the ill-fated union of William’s parents Prince Charles and Diana nearly three decades ago.
“The venue has long associations with the

Indian police kill 25 suspected Maoists

RAIPUR: Indian armed forces said Tuesday they had killed 25 suspected Maoist guerrillas in the insurgency-riven central state of Chhattisgarh, while two policemen died in a separate land mine blast.
“At least 25 Maoists were killed at Jagargunda village in a fierce gun battle with security forces,” the chief policeman in charge of anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh, Ramniwas, who only uses one name, told AFP.
About 500 police and paramilitaries attacked up to 200

UN rights chief warns of new ‘crackdown’ in Iran

GENEVA: The UN human rights chief on Tuesday expressed concern about a new “crackdown” on lawyers and human rights defenders in Iran, including an attorney for a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, also highlighted the case of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who staged a hunger strike for several weeks after her arrest on September 4, as well as several other people associated with exiled Nobel peace laureate Shirin

‘US pressure’ forced Gambia to sever Tehran ties: Iranian MP

TEHRAN: A senior Iranian MP accused Gambia on Tuesday of bowing to pressure from the United States after the tiny African country severed ties with Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported.
“This move is seen as a result of American pressure as well as US policies aimed at damaging Iran’s relations with different countries, including in Africa,” said Alaeddin Borujerdi, the head of parliament’s foreign policy commission.
The lawmaker sought to play down relations between

North Korean artillery pounds southern island, kills 2

SEOUL: North Korea fired a deadly barrage of artillery shells onto a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing at least two soldiers in one of the most serious border incidents since the 1950-53 war, inciting global condemnation.
South Korea’s military went on top alert, its troops fired back with cannon and the government met in an underground war room, officials said, in response to what Seoul called an atrocity against civilians.
North Korea’s supreme command, however,

Cambodia stampede kills 339

PHNOM PENH: A stampede in the Cambodian capital has left at least 339 people dead after panic erupted at a water festival crammed with millions of revellers.
Dozens of ambulances with their sirens blaring raced to the scene of the tragedy, which occurred late on Monday on a bridge leading to an island in Phnom Penh where festivities were being held to mark the end of the three-day annual event.
At least 339 people died in the incident “and the toll will increase”, Prime