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U.S. bans 20 Iran officials from travel to U.N. assembly

DUBAI: The United States has denied visas to about 20 Iranian government officials hoping to attend next week's U.N. General Assembly, including two ministers, Iran's Fars news agency reported on Saturday. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a regular at the assembly since he took office in 2005, will give his final speech there on Wednesday and will address a meeting on the "rule of law" on Monday. But of the 160-or-so visas requested by the Iranian delegation two months ago, about 20 were turned down, Fars said. It gave no reason, but many Iranian officials are subject to tra...
Published On: 2012-09-23

US seeks to shore up tense ties with Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration sought today to shore up already tense US ties with Pakistan amid massive, violent anti-American protests in several Pakistani cities over an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. With protests still smouldering in some areas of Pakistan on a holiday specially created for peaceful demonstrations, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on ‘responsible leaders’ everywhere to explicitly condemn violence sparked by the video. But Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, standing beside Clinton at the State Department, ignore...
Published On: 2012-09-22

Clean chit to Pak girl

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani police official says no incriminating evidence has been found that a young Christian girl desecrated Islam’s holy book. But Munir Jaffery said his final report filed with an Islamabad court on Saturday showed there is indication that the cleric of a nearby mosque tampered with evidence by putting pages of a Quran into a shopping bag the girl had been carrying. The case gained huge attention because of the girl’s age and questions about her mental capacity. It was also a rare instance where someone was held responsible for an apparently false accusation. Offic...
Published On: 2012-09-22

Protesters‚ cops clash in B'desh

DHAKA: Scores of people were injured today in a clash in Bangladesh’s capital between police and hundreds of demonstrators, as protests continued in the Muslim world against a film produced in the United States that denigrates Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The film has sparked violent protests throughout the Muslim world that resulted in the deaths of dozens, including the US ambassador to Libya. In Bangladesh, police fired tear gas and used batons today to disperse the stone-throwing protesters, who were from about a dozen Islamic groups. The protesters burned several vehicles, incl...
Published On: 2012-09-22

Rebels down fighter jet in north Syria

AMMAN: Rebel fighters trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad shot down a fighter jet as it flew over the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province, a witness said. The witness, an independent journalist who asked to remain anonymous, said rebel fighters were attacking a military base near the town when the jet flew over and rebels shot it down with anti-aircraft guns. Vastly outgunned, rebels say they need surface-to-air missiles to take down planes and helicopters used by the Syrian military to bombard opposition strongholds. Fighters use outdated anti-aircraft machine guns that ar...
Published On: 2012-09-22

Dutch town Facebook party turns to rioting

AMSTERDAM: Thousands of revellers descended on a small Dutch town sparking a riot after a party invitation posted on Facebook went viral, authorities said today. Prosecutor Hessel Schuth said 34 people were arrested were arrested yesterday night and in the early hours of this morning and would be prosecuted for public order offences. Several people were injured, but none were believed to be seriously hurt. “Scum ran amok in our town,” said Rob Bats, mayor of Haren, 185 kilometres north of Amsterdam. “An innocent invitation on Facebook for a party led to serious rioting, des...
Published On: 2012-09-22

Libya killings were terrorist attack: Clinton

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says it was a ‘terrorist attack’ that killed the American ambassador to Libya and three others, and she says the US will not rest until those responsible are brought to justice. Clinton told reporters yesterday at the State Department that ‘what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack’. “The US would track down the terrorists who murdered four Americans.” she said. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that an Islamist militia was driven out of the city of Benghazi early today in a surge of protest against ...
Published On: 2012-09-22

Obama‚ in election mode‚ tightens his UN diplomacy

WASHINGTON: The world’s leaders are gathering in New York, but President Barack Obama has no plans to meet privately with any of them. He will make time for The View, a freewheeling TV talk show more likely to reach voters than Obama would with the diplomacy he is skipping at the United Nations. Just six weeks until the election, the realities and priorities of campaign politics hang prominently over Obama’s final turn on the world stage before facing voters. Unlike his predecessors, he is skipping the face-to-face meetings with counterparts where much of the UN works gets done, ...
Published On: 2012-09-22

Afghanistan bans Pakistani newspapers

KABUL: Afghanistan banned all Pakistani newspapers from entering the country on Friday in an attempt to block the Taliban from influencing public opinion via the press. The order, issued by the Ministry of Interior, adds to the mounting tension between the neighboring countries. It focuses specifically on blocking entry of the papers at Torkham, a busy border crossing, and directed border police to gather up Pakistani newspapers in the three eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan. In a statement, the ministry said the newspapers were a conduit for Taliban propaganda. "The ...
Published On: 2012-09-22

NATO service member killed in eastern Afghanistan

KABUL: NATO says a service member with the international military force in Afghanistan has been killed in an insurgent attack in the eastern part of the country. The coalition did not release any other details, or disclose the nationality of the soldier, who was killed in one of the most volatile parts of the war-torn nation. So far this year, 283 international troops have been killed in Afghanistan, including 248 Americans....
Published On: 2012-09-22