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Mugabe leaves Zimbabwe hanging, ends much-awaited speech without resigning
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has baffled the country by ending his address on national television without announcing his resignation. [...]
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'My eyes are burning': Delhi holds half marathon despite pollution warning
Around 35,000 brave runners registered for the race after more than a week of hazardous pollution levels Tens of thousands of runners have braved smoggy conditions for the Delhi half marathon despite dire health warnings from doctors who wanted the race postponed in the heavily-polluted capital.Around 35,000 people registered for the race in the Indian city after more than a week of hazardous pollution levels that forced schools to shut for several days. Related: 'Half my lung cancer patients are non-smokers': toxic air crisis chokes Delhi Continue reading... [...]
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UN concerned by controversial US plan to revive Afghan militias
Afghan strongmen have already begun vying for influence over militia program that diplomats fear will undermine Afghan government and lead to abuseAs the Afghan government struggles to stem the Taliban insurgency and shore up its dwindling security forces, the US military is turning to a controversial solution long known to stoke unrest and exploitation: local militias.International donors, including the UN, have warned against such plans and lobbied the Afghan president to reject the US proposal. They say the new militias resemble the Afghan Local Police, a force notorious for grave human rights abuses and destabilising villages by undermining the central government. Related: The war America can't win: how the Taliban are regaining control in Afghanistan Related: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan Continue reading... [...]
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Biker, whose neck was pierced by iron rod in Puducherry, rescued in Andhra's Kakinada
Bikers who fall and end up with iron rods in their necks don't usually live to tell the tale. But Suresh's story is different. [...]
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Manmohan awarded Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace for 'momentous' 10 years as PM
Manmohan Singh will receive the 2017 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for his leadership and his achievements during the 10 "momentous" years when he was Prime Minister. [...]
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Padmavati row: BJP MLA Raj Purohit threatens to slap Shashi Tharoor over his remark against Rajputs
Addressing a group of protestors against the release of film Padmavati, a BJP leader from Mumbai, Raj Purohit threatened to slap Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for making remarks against Rajputs. [...]
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Ban on stubble burning not a long-term solution to fight smog, says Delhi think tank
Indicus Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank, has come up with a study that shows a ban on stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana is impossible to execute and not a long-term solution to end the threat of smog pollution. [...]
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EU compound allegedly at centre of Kabul alcohol-smuggling ring
Exclusive: EU to investigate claims disused fridges and adapted gas canisters were used to sneak whisky out of Afghan compoundEU investigators are examining claims that the organisation’s compound in Kabul is at the centre of an alleged alcohol-smuggling ring in Afghanistan.Disused fridges and adapted gas canisters have been used to sneak bottles of alcohol brands such as Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker out of the official EU-designated area, it is alleged. 2 red wine box 1 white wine Continue reading... [...]
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'Rape is a rampant issue'; taboo drama Verna battles the censors in Pakistan
Rejected for its ‘edgy content’, Shoaib Mansoor’s timely revenge thriller has finally made it into cinemas after a public backlash. Is the country’s film industry ready for change?In recent years, Pakistan has seen a huge resurgence of its film industry, which has emerged from the shadow of Bollywood to find its own identity, one at the forefront of the battle between a growing conservatism in the country and an emboldened youth hungry for change. There’s a notable trend towards female-led narratives, which are not only setting new standards in storytelling, but also challenging taboos around the treatment of women in society. The battle to get the voices and experiences of women on screen achieved a much-needed victory this week when the Pakistani censor board backed down over a decision to ban a new film about the injustices faced by rape victims in the country – a development that shows that Pakistan might be ready for change both on screen and off.It’s not just about sex or rape, it is about one person having power over another and how people misuse that powerThank you to all those who supported #verna - the people, the media, those at the censor board.. thank you so much! Hoping for Punjab to clear Verna today as well. Continue reading... [...]
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Indian app fights porn addiction with devotional songs and political speeches
Developer says software will also contain prayers so it can be used by ‘members of all religions’Indian neurologists have developed an app to address porn addiction that will play Hindu devotional songs, chant “Allahu Akbar” or recite speeches by Nelson Mandela when a user tries to access adult videos.The app was developed by Vijay Nath Mishra, a professor of neurology at Banaras Hindu University, in response to behaviour problems he was seeing in his patients. Related: Petals, pilgrims and passengers: a snapshot of India – in pictures Continue reading... [...]
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'Maybe the smog can bring us together': toxic air chokes Pakistan and India
With Lahore suffering from air pollution almost equal to that enveloping Delhi, joint action to tackle the problem is urgently needed, say environmentalistsParts of Pakistan have been enveloped by deadly smog in recent weeks, with the city of Lahore suffering almost as badly as the Indian capital Delhi.Pictures and video that show Lahore looking like an apocalyptic landscape have left people in shock. Some residents have said they can’t see beyond their outstretched arm. Related: 'Half my lung cancer patients are non-smokers': toxic air crisis chokes Delhi Related: Pant by numbers: the cities with the most dangerous air – listed Continue reading... [...]
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Afghanistan's booming heroin trade leaves trail of addiction at home
With the country’s opium production rising by 87% on last year, a former US base in Helmand is now a drug abuse treatment centreFor a decade, the office of the British Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand was busy dispersing hundreds of millions of aid dollars across the province.Now, the base is barren; stripped of everything of value. Occasional moans reverberate down the corridors where gaunt-looking men sleep, belly-down, seeking respite from the sun beating through the windows. All of them are recovering drug addicts. Continue reading... [...]
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Nicholas Stern: ministers must pass 'Trump test' at Bonn climate talks
Leading climate economist says world leaders must move forward without the US on crucial issues in the closing days of the UN summitMinisters from governments around the world meeting in Bonn for the final days of the UN climate talks must prove they can pass “the Trump test” by moving on without the US on issues crucial to combating global warming, a leading climate economist has said.“It’s about getting on with it,” Lord Nicholas Stern told the Guardian. “They have to get on with it. But there are good signs.” Continue reading... [...]
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Asian College of Journalism website hacked by Turkish cyber group
The website of the Chennai-based Asian College of Journalism was hacked late Wednesday night by what seemed to be a Turkish cyber group. [...]
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Woman abducted in Delhi by cab driver, taken to Greater Noida, gang-raped
A cab driver, and an accomplice, allegedly abducted a female passenger in Delhi, drove off to Nodia and gang-raped the woman at gun point. The Delhi Police has registered a case in the matter. [...]
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Shimla gangrape-murder case: CBI arrests former SP for custodial death of accused
CBI has arrested a former Superintendent of Police posted at Shimla for the custodial death of one of the accused in the rape and murder case of a minor in July. [...]
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'Modern air is too clean': the rise of air pollution denial
US sceptics are questioning the science behind air pollution and mortality, a trend that is starting to appear in countries where the air is much more toxic Despite report after report linking air pollution to deterioration of the lungs, heart and brain, Prof Robert Phalen believes the air is “too clean” for children.After all, everybody needs a bit of immune-system-boosting dirt in their lungs.Where are the bodies? Where is the asthma? No reports! https://t.co/scuw0Uw4ME Continue reading... [...]
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Indian film Padmavati sparks protests over 'Hindu-Muslim romance'
Government asked to delay movie’s release and riot police may be on standby at cinemas after attacks on director and threats against its star Deepika Padukone Riot police may be deployed at Indian cinemas over the release of a film about a mythological Indian queen that has sparked protests, attacks on the set and director, and threats to mutilate the lead actor.The Indian government is being asked to intervene to delay the release of Padmavati, a film based on an epic 16th-century poem, starring Deepika Padukone as the titular character. Continue reading... [...]
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India to introduce clean fuels faster to combat Delhi smog crisis
Measures to slash vehicle emissions to come in two years earlier than planned in effort to reduce air pollution in capitalMeasures aimed at slashing vehicle emissions will be introduced two years early, the Indian government has announced in its first major policy response to the Delhi smog crisis.As the haze improved slightly on Wednesday – albeit to levels still considered “very poor” – the Indian petroleum ministry said it would introduce Bharat VI fuels from April next year, instead of April 2020 as originally planned. Continue reading... [...]
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Pakistani police clash with protesters at anti-blasphemy sit-in
Capital on near lockdown after rally in support of cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi in row over electoral oath wordingPakistani police have clashed with protesters and arrested dozens in an attempt to disperse an anti-blasphemy sit-in staged by a hardline cleric, which has blocked a main entrance to Islamabad for a week, choking traffic and putting the capital on near lockdown.Thousands of supporters of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the Tehreek-e Labbaik Pakistan party, are demanding that the law and justice minister, who they accuse of undercutting blasphemy laws, resign. Continue reading... [...]
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Czech tourists dressed in Borat-style mankinis detained in Kazakhstan
Six tourists had hoped to take picture in front of ‘I love Astana’ signLocal police detained them for minor hooliganism and issued fineSix Czech tourists who dressed up in skimpy swimsuits made famous by Borat have reportedly been detained by authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Related: Kazakhstan creates its own Game of Thrones to defy Putin and Borat Continue reading... [...]
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Pakistan unveils remains of 1,700-year-old sleeping Buddha
Opposition leader, Imran Kahn, says discovery can help promote religious tourism in the countryPakistan has unveiled the remains of a 1,700-year-old sleeping Buddha as part of an initiative to encourage tourism and project religious harmony in a region roiled by Islamist militancy. A reflection of the diverse history and culture of the south Asian country, the ancient Buddhist site in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was first discovered in 1929. Eighty-eight years on, excavations resumed and the 14-metre-high (48-ft-high) Kanjur stone Buddha image was unearthed. The country’s opposition leader, Imran Khan, presided over Wednesday’s presentation. Related: Mes Aynak: Afghanistan's Buddhist buried treasure faces destruction Continue reading... [...]
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Delhi HC cuts through thicket of rules to help Indian-origin German couple adopt a child
The Delhi High Court came to the rescue of a child-less Indian-origin couple from Germany who had been unable to take their adopted child back home thanks to a maize of cumbersome rules governing inter-country adoptions. [...]
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France rejects Cong's charge of Rafale deal scam, Reliance Defence threats to sue party
France has rejected Congress' allegation of scam in the Rafale jet deal. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence Limited has threatened to sue the opposition party if it does not retract its charge. [...]
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Aung San Suu Kyi complicit in Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing' in Myanmar, MPs told
Rights groups urge UK government and international community to consider Nobel laureate ‘part of the problem’ over atrocities in Rakhine state Aung San Suu Kyi is implicated in the “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, UK MPs heard on Tuesday.Giving evidence before a parliamentary committee, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Burma Campaign UK and other rights groups urged the government and the international community to see the Nobel laureate as “part of the problem”. They said the bloody military crackdown in Rakhine state had left “thousands” of Rohingya Muslims dead, with others subjected to “appalling rape”, and 600,000 people driven from their homes. Related: 'When they began slaughtering us we ran for our lives': Rohingya trapped inside Myanmar | Alex Crawford The Rohingya are Muslims who live in majority-Buddhist Myanmar. They are often described as "the world's most persecuted minority".  Related: Rohingya children close to starvation amid 'health crisis on an unimaginable scale' Continue reading... [...]
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Myanmar military exonerates itself in report on atrocities against Rohingya
Army clears itself of all accusations of killing villagers, rape and crimes against humanityMyanmar’s army has released a report denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, having days earlier replaced the general in charge of the operation that drove more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. No reason was given for Maj Gen Maung Maung Soe being transferred from his post as the head of Western Command in Rakhine state, where Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, launched a sweeping counter-insurgency operation in August. Related: Massacre at Tula Toli: Rohingya recall horror of Myanmar army attack The Rohingya are Muslims who live in majority-Buddhist Myanmar. They are often described as "the world's most persecuted minority".  Continue reading... [...]
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Sportswear maker Puma accused of defacing 17th century Indian buildings
Historians outraged after heritage sites in Delhi’s old quarter were spray-painted as part of a shoe commercialPuma has been accused of irreversibly damaging 17th-century architecture in Delhi’s old quarter as part of an advertising stunt to promote a new line of shoes.Large colourful murals were spray-painted on to the facades of several buildings in Old Delhi for the shoe campaign, which the global sportswear company says “captures the grit of Indian streets”. Related: Cambodian female workers in Nike, Asics and Puma factories suffer mass faintings Related: Delhi's smog-fighting helicopters can't fly – because of smog Continue reading... [...]
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Peaceful coexistence is better than punching above our weight | Letters
The Blairite doctrine of intervention in other countries has punched its way through Afghanistan and Iraq leaving devastation and hundreds of thousands dead, writes Fawzi IbrahimJonathan Powell laments that Britain no longer “punches above its weight” (Brexit Britain has rendered itself irrelevant, Opinion, 13 November) with “punching” being the operative word in the literal sense. The foreign policy that Powell is nostalgic for, the one he was most intimately involved in – the disastrous Blairite doctrine of intervention in other countries even if our national interests are not at stake – has punched its way through Afghanistan and Iraq leaving nothing but devastation, with hundreds of thousands dead and even more wounded. The consequences of these wars and other interventions such those in Libya continue to haunt these regions. Implicit within the vote to leave the EU was that the UK will seek a different role for itself, for the old one has so clearly failed – a new role based on peaceful coexistence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, respect for other nations, and trade with other countries based on mutual benefits.Fawzi IbrahimLondon Continue reading... [...]
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