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April 21, 2014
 updated 1330 IST
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Obama hails Afghan presidential elections as 'historic step towards democracy'
4/6/2014 11:18:00 AM

Washington, Apr. 6 (ANI): President Barack Obama has called Afghanistan's presidential election an important milestone in the country's march towards democracy.

Obama also praised Afghans for coming out in large number to vote in the 'historic' poll.

According to Fox News, turnout in some places was so high that polling places ran out of ballots. There were few reports of disruption or violence at polling stations.

Obama congratulated the millions of Afghans who

Thailand's 'Red Shirts' warn of 'civil war' if PM Shinawatra ousted
4/6/2014 11:18:00 AM

London, Apr. 6 (ANI): Thailand's pro-government movement leaders have warned that any attempts to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would lead to a civil war.

The warning from Red Shirts members came as opponents of Yingluck and her party have filed legal cases against her.

According to the BBC, speaking to a crowd, Jatuporn Promphan, the chairman of the pro-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), said judicial institutions were trying 'to take

Afghan elections hailed a 'success' as millions defy Taliban threat to vote
4/6/2014 10:35:00 AM

London, Apr. 6 (ANI): The turnout in Afghanistan's presidential election has been praised by Afghan and Western leaders, describing the vote as a success.

Afghanistan's electoral commission said more than seven million people out of an estimated 12 million eligible voted in the poll.

According to the BBC, eight candidates are seeking to succeed Hamid Karzai, with a result expected in days.

A massive security operation was launched to prevent the Taliban, who had vowed

Signals detected by Chinese ship in MH370 search consistent with black box, says Oz officials
4/6/2014 12:53:00 AM

Washington, Apr. 6 (ANI): Australian authorities have said electronic signals reportedly detected by a Chinese ship involved in the search for MH370 are consistent with an aircraft black box.

In a statement, Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the joint agency coordinating the operation, said that a series of sounds have been detected by a Chinese ship in the search area, which are characteristics reported are consistent with the aircraft black box.

He said earlier

Indian-origin professor named amongst world's top 50 thinkers
4/5/2014 2:05:00 PM

Washington, April 5 (ANI): An Indian-origin professor has bagged one of the top spots on this year's list of world's top 50 thinkers, featuring amongst the likes of Pope Francis, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and economist and philosopher Amartya Sen.

Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore has been selected by leading British current affairs magazine Prospect.

Also on the

Pak militants free abducted Iran soldiers
4/5/2014 1:13:00 PM

London, Apr 5 (ANI): Militants in Pakistan have reportedly freed four Iranian soldiers who were abducted and taken into Pakistan.

Five border guards were kidnapped in February by the militant group Jaish al-Adl.

The militants had demanded that Iranian authorities free 300 Sunni prisoners held by Iran and its close ally Syria in exchange for the guards, the BBC reported.

While the militants handed over four guards to Iranian officials, they said that they had killed the fifth

Crucial presidential polls in Afghanistan today
4/5/2014 11:26:00 AM

Kabul, Apr.5 (ANI): The stage is set for the first-ever peaceful and democratic transition of government in Afghanistan with the presidential election to be held tomorrow (April 5) under the shadow of Taliban guns.

The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan claims to have made all arrangements for the polls, with over five lakh Afghan security men on duty, supported by the U.S.-led NATO forces.

The Taliban have carried out four major suicide attacks in capital Kabul and other

Pinger locator deployed in search of MH370 black box
4/5/2014 12:56:00 AM

London, April 5 (ANI): A towed pinger locator has been reportedly deployed to locate the black box of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

In order to retrieve the data recorder, two ships with locator capabilities are searching a 240km (150 mile) underwater path.

Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agencies Coordination Centre (JACC) leading the search, said that two ships had commenced the sub-surface search for emissions from the black box pinger, the BBC reported.


Missing Malaysia Airline plane search 'most expensive' in aviation history
4/5/2014 12:21:00 AM

Sydney, Apr 5 (ANI): The search for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370 has reportedly turned out to be the most expensive deal in the aviation history, according to statistics.

The four week figures seem to have surpassed the previous record of 54 million dollars that was spent during a two year probe into Air France Flight 447.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has claimed the government is deliberately concealing information

China calls missing MH370 families' reactions 'radical and extreme'
4/4/2014 2:06:00 PM

Sydney, Apr. 4 (ANI): China has attempted to distance itself from relatives' emotional reactions, calling them radical and extreme.

The move from China comes in a bid to protect its normal friendly relations with Malaysia.

According to news.com.au, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, carrying mostly Chinese passengers.

Facing frustration at home, the Chinese government was forced to take up its citizens' case with Kuala Lumpur, publicly calling on the

North Korea to execute 200 officials loyal to Kim Jong-un's slain uncle
4/4/2014 2:06:00 PM

Washington, Apr. 4 (ANI): The North Korean regime is reportedly set to execute 200 high-ranking government officials believed to be loyal slain Kim Jong-un's uncle.

Jang Song-thaek, who was once-powerful uncle of Jong-un, was shockingly deposed and executed last December.

According to Fox News, South Korean media reported about the pending executions, citing a source who said that North Korea's State Security Department had conducted a sweep to root out Jang's remaining

Less than half of Pakistanis have access to sanitation: World Bank report
4/3/2014 2:54:00 PM

Islamabad, Apr. 3 (ANI): Less than half of Pakistanis have access to sanitation and only two-thirds to electricity, a latest report by the World Bank has revealed.

The report, Reducing Poverty by Closing South Asia's Infrastructure Gap, is the first analysis of Pakistan's infrastructure needs by the World Bank.

According to the Express Tribune, the drawbacks of ignoring investments in transport, electricity, water supply and sanitation, solid waste, telecom and irrigation

Malaysian minister panned for calling MH370 tragedy 'a blessing in disguise'
4/3/2014 1:58:00 PM

Sydney, Apr. 3 (ANI): The authorities leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have made another embarrassing public relations blunder after calling the tragedy a 'blessing in disguise'.

Malaysia's Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein shocked followers on Twitter when he agreed with someone who suggested there was a bright side to the disaster.

According to news.com.au, Kuala Lumpur-based journalist Ismail Amsyar called MH370 a

MH370 passengers cleared but crew still under investigation for suspicion of hijacking
4/3/2014 1:58:00 PM

Sydney, Apr. 3 (ANI): The Malaysian police have cleared the 227 passengers on board the missing Malaysian Airline plane of suspicion of hijacking.

However, the police is still investigation the lane's crew, including pilots.

According to he Sydney Morning Herald, Malaysia's top police officer, Khalid Abu Bakar, admitted that investigators may never discover what caused the plane's disappearance.

As the relatives of passengers accused Malaysian authorities of withholding

Robot subs could be used for 'deep-water' MH370 search
4/3/2014 1:27:00 PM

Washington, Apr. 3 (ANI): Robot submarines could be used to carry out search operations for the missing Malaysian plane.

The move comes as it could become difficult for human searchers to locate the missing plane if it's resting two miles down or more under the Indian Ocean.

According to Fox News, such unmanned subs, called autonomous underwater vehicles or AUVs, played a critical role in locating the carcass of a lost Air France jet in 2011, two years after it crashed in the

Japan set to ease self-imposed arms exports ban: Report
4/2/2014 5:50:00 PM

London, Apr 2 (ANI): Japan is planning to ease the ban on arms export, which they themselves implemented about 50 years ago.

According to BBC, with the ease in ban, Japan can now develop arms and ammunitions with other partners and other markets can also get access to the market and technology.

After World War II, Japan adopted a policy, which allowed participation in war only for self defence.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to reinforce national security and lift other self-imposed

Nepal repressing refugee Tibetans following enormous pressure from China, rights group finds
4/2/2014 3:39:00 PM

Washington, Apr. 2 (ANI): Nepal has restricted the political freedoms of Tibetan refugees living in the country after enormous pressure from China.

The Tibetans are subjected to abuse and harassment by the security forces, and are even spied on for Chinese officials, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch.

According to the New York Times, the 100-page report, 'Under China's Shadow: Mistreatment of Tibetans in Nepal', revealed the repression faced by Tibetans

Nawaz govt rules out safe passage for Musharraf
4/2/2014 3:08:00 PM

Islamabad, Apr. 2 (ANI): The Nawaz Government has ruled out a safe passage for former president General (rtrd) Pervez Musharraf from Pakistan.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz decided to go by the book while dealing with the issue of deleting Musharraf's name from the exit control list (ECL), the Nation reports.

According to the report, the meeting, which continued for over two hours with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair, concluded that any safe passage given to

Pakistani Christian appeals against death sentence awarded for blasphemy
4/2/2014 2:56:00 PM

Lahore, Apr. 2 (ANI): A Pakistani man sentenced to death for blasphemy has appealed against his conviction.

Sawn Masih said the charges against him were trumped up to speed the eviction of Christians from the area.

Masih was convicted last week of insulting Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) during a conversation with a Muslim friend in Lahore last year.

According to Dawn News, his lawyer Naeem Shakir said he has filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court against the death sentence and

Malaysian minister says 'deliberate' act responsible for missing MH370
4/2/2014 2:16:00 PM

Sydney, Apr. 2 (ANI): Malaysia has said there was a 'deliberate action' by someone on board the missing Malaysian Airline flight to divert it from its scheduled flight path.

Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the plane's movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

According to the report, Hussein said international investigators and Malaysian authorities believe the plane was

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