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Syria says no dialogue before it crushes rebels

BEIRUT: The Syrian regime said Monday there will be no dialogue with the opposition before the army crushes the rebels, the latest sign that President Bashar Assad is determined to solve the crisis on the battlefield even if many more of his people have to pay with their lives. The statement comes a day after activists reported that August was the bloodiest month since the uprising began in March 2011. "There will be no dialogue with the opposition prior to the Syrian army's imposition of security and stability in all parts of the country," Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi told ...
Published On: 2012-09-04

Clinton heads to China with hopes over sea tensions

JAKARTA: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads Tuesday to Beijing after talks in emerging US ally Indonesia as she voiced hope for progress in managing soaring tensions in the South China Sea. Clinton, on her third visit to the region since May, encouraged a united front among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations as she stood firm in calling for freedom of navigation in the strategic sea. The top US diplomat travels to China after sounding an optimistic note in Southeast Asia's largest nation Indonesia, where she will meet Tuesday with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono...
Published On: 2012-09-04

China communist official demoted over car crash

BEIJING: China’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition has been hit by reports of fresh scandal, with a senior ally of President Hu Jintao being demoted after sources said the ally’s son was involved in a deadly crash involving a luxury sports car. The car — a Ferrari according to some sources — crashed in Beijing on March 18 in an embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party, sensitive to perceptions that children of top party officials live rich, privileged lifestyles completely out of touch with the masses, the sources said. The country has already been rocked by t...
Published On: 2012-09-03

Mine blast kills 14

BEIJING: A coal mine explosion in eastern China has killed at least 14 people just days after a blast in the country’s southwest left 44 dead. The official Xinhua News Agency said dozens of miners were working when the blast ripped through the Gaokeng Coal Mine in Jiangxi province’s Pingxiang city at midday on Sunday. Xinhua said 23 escaped or were rescued and 14 were confirmed dead. It said one miner remained missing on Monday and 11 workers were hospitalised. NATO soldier killed KABUL: The international military coalition in Afghanistan said one of its service members has died...
Published On: 2012-09-03

Anti-Beijing protest

HONG KONG: Thousands of protesters surrounded Hong Kong's government headquarters on Monday over a plan to introduce a pro-China school curriculum that they describe as an attempt to brainwash students. Chanting "No to brainwashing education. Withdraw national education", some 8000 people denounced a Hong Kong government-funded booklet entitled "The China Model" they say glorifies China's single Communist party rule while glossing over more brutal aspects of its rule and political controversies. One hunger striker was taken away on a stretcher on the third straight day of p...
Published On: 2012-09-03

Cleric in blasphemy case could get lifer

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police are investigating whether a Muslim cleric who allegedly tried to frame a Christian girl for blasphemy should be charged with insulting Islam himself and potentially face life in prison, a police officer said today. Khalid Chisti was arrested on Saturday after a member of his mosque accused him of stashing pages of a Quran in a Christian girl’s bag to make it seem like she burned the Islamic holy book. He allegedly planted the evidence to push Christians out of his neighbourhood in Islamabad. He has denied the allegations. The case has generated significant i...
Published On: 2012-09-03

India-China defence dialogue to focus on influence in South Asia

NEW DELHI: Defence ministers of India and China were set to meet for talks tomorrow with concerns about competing influence across South Asia likely to be high on the agenda, according to officials. Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie will meet his counterpart AK Antony and top military staff after being received by a traditional honour guard in New Delhi, defence ministry officials said today. The minister arrrived in India yesterday on a four-day visit from Sri Lanka with Indian media saying he was travelling with a 23-member delegation. “There will be a wide range of talks on re...
Published On: 2012-09-03

Jihadist shift seen in Pakistan

PESHAWAR: In the Pakistani tribal regions that harbour Al-Qaeda and a cauldron of other jihadist groups, militants from Central Asia, China, Turkey and even Germany are growing in number, eclipsing Arabs and possibly raising new challenges not just for the US but for Europe, Russia and China, say intelligence officials, analysts and residents of the area. Al-Qaeda, the organisation that plotted the September 11, 2001 attacks from Afghanistan, consisted largely of Arabs, who were led by Osama bin Laden, a Saudi. But stepped-up US drone strikes, Pakistani military offensives and dwindling cash ...
Published On: 2012-09-03

Gujarat riot trial has BJP in difficulty

AHMEDABAD: Ten years on, Abdul Sheikh can still hardly believe that the doctor who had performed an ultrasound scan on his pregnant wife turned out to be a ringleader in the orgy of violence that killed both the mother and her unborn child. “I remember hearing the commotion and I rushed out to find Dr Kodnani inciting a mob of thousands, screaming ‘kill those bastards!’,” said Sheikh, one of the witnesses whose testimony led last week to the jailing of 31 people for hunting down and slaughtering dozens of Muslims in 2002. Among those convicted was the gynaecologist, M...
Published On: 2012-09-03

France warns Assad regime

PARIS: Western powers are preparing a tough response in case Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime deploys chemical or biological weapons in its civil war, France’s foreign minister said today. Syria’s leadership has said the country, which is believed to have nerve agents as well as mustard gas and Scud missiles capable of delivering these lethal chemicals, could use chemical or biological weapons if it were attacked from outside. President Barack Obama has called it a “red line” for the US if Assad’s regime were to use chemical or biological weapons, a...
Published On: 2012-09-03