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Jan 13, 2015

Pope says Sri Lanka should seek truth over civil war

COLOMBO, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Pope Francis called on Sri Lanka
to uncover the truth about its long civil conflict and bring
religious communities closer together, as he began a visit to
the island nation whose wartime leaders were voted out of power
only days ago.

Francis, 78, looked tired at an evening meeting of Buddhist,
Hindu, Muslim and Christian leaders, and earlier on Tuesday he
cancelled a meeting with bishops after a long flight from the
Vatican and a sun-baked ride in a jeep along packed roads from
the airport.

Jan 13, 2015

Pope calls for pursuit of truth over Sri Lanka’s violent past

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Tuesday Sri Lanka needed to find out the truth of what happened during its long civil war in order to consolidate peace and heal scars between religious communities.

Francis appeared to make the case for a truth commission to investigate the Buddhist-majority nation’s 26-year civil war, an election pledge of the government voted into office on Thursday.

Jan 12, 2015

Pope heads to Sri Lanka at rare moment of island harmony

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Pope Francis arrives in Sri Lanka on Tuesday for a visit expected to add to a new harmonious atmosphere in the Buddhist-majority nation that last week elected a government promising increased respect for long-suffering religious minorities.

The visit to Sri Lanka is the first leg of a Jan. 12-19 tour that also takes in the Philippines and is the Pope’s second Asian excursion, part of his outreach aimed at shoring-up the Church’s presence in developing nations.

Jan 11, 2015

Sri Lanka’s new government promises end to repression

COLOMBO, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s new government
promised a tolerant era of harmony and political freedom after
years of mounting repression under a decade-old administration
that unraveled in electoral defeat this week.

In a speech on Sunday, President Maithripala Sirisena vowed
to end corruption and nepotism that marred the reputation of his
predecessor Mahinda Rajapkasa, who stepped down on Friday after
his shock election loss.

Jan 11, 2015

A new era for Sri Lanka as government vows end to repression

COLOMBO, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s new government
promised a tolerant new era of religious harmony and political
freedom for the Indian Ocean island nation after years of
mounting repression under the decade-old regime defeated in an
election on Friday.

In an address to the nation on Sunday, President Maithripala
Sirisena vowed to put an end to the corruption and nepotism that
marred the reputation of his predecessor Mahinda Rajapkasa, who
stepped down after his shock defeat.

Jan 6, 2015

Kashmir shelling, spat over Pakistan aid mar run-up to Kerry trip

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Reports of a $500-million Washington aid package to Pakistan and a period of intense border shelling in Kashmir have overshadowed the run-up to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s expected visit to South Asia in the next few days.Kerry is due to attend an investment summit promoted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the weekend, and media reports say he will then travel to Islamabad.

President Barack Obama will make a second official trip to India later in the month, seeking to strengthen ties between the world’s two largest democracies.

Jan 5, 2015

Top Columbia economist to run Indian PM’s policy panel

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Eminent free market economist Arvind Panagariya has been appointed to run Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Policy Commission, set up to modernize economic strategy after decades of Soviet-style central planning.

A top government source told Reuters on Monday that the appointment of Panagariya, an Indian-born economics professor at Columbia University in New York, was likely to be announced in the next 24 hours.

Jan 5, 2015

Columbia economist Arvind Panagariya to run Modi’s policy panel

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Eminent free market economist Arvind Panagariya has been appointed to run Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Policy Commission, set up to modernise economic strategy after decades of Soviet-style central planning.

A top government source told Reuters on Monday that the appointment of Panagariya, an Indian-born economics professor at Columbia University in New York, was likely to be announced in the next 24 hours.

Dec 24, 2014

Afghan women’s cricket crushed by threats, bombs and tradition

KABUL (Reuters) – The story of Afghan cricket is a rare bright spot in the troubled country’s recent past, full of unlikely successes and glory that have helped unify a divided nation. Unless you’re a woman player.

A national women’s cricket team formed in 2010 with some fanfare was quietly dissolved this year amid Taliban threats, insecurity and conservative beliefs that led to a shortage of players.

Dec 17, 2014

Afghan spy chief laments intelligence vacuum as foreign troops leave

KABUL (Reuters) – The departure of most foreign troops from Afghanistan has left an intelligence-gathering vacuum that facilitates Taliban attacks, the head of the Afghan spy agency said on Wednesday.

Summoned to parliament to explain a surge in suicide bombings and commando-style assaults across Afghanistan, including in the fortified capital Kabul, intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil blamed a loss of manpower and technology.