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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.

Dec 17, 2014

Pakistan seeks help from Afghans after school massacre

KABUL (Reuters) – Pakistan’s army chief and the head of its main intelligence agency flew to neighboring Afghanistan on Wednesday to seek help in battling the militants behind this week’s school massacre in Pakistan in which 145 people were killed.

“The time has arrived for Afghanistan and Pakistan to act together against terrorism and extremism with honesty and effectiveness,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement. Pakistan said it had shared intelligence with Ghani.

Dec 14, 2014

Angry Afghan president vows security shake-up after Taliban attacks surge

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s new President Ashraf Ghani vowed to shake up security in the capital Kabul in an angry speech on Sunday and denounced a recent surge in Taliban attacks on civilian and military targets as “un-Islamic”. In recent weeks, Afghanistan has seen waves of suicide bombings and commando-style assaults by the Islamist insurgents, who are seeking to make territorial gains and to spread uncertainty as most foreign troops withdraw this month.

“It is enough and it’s no longer acceptable,” Ghani yelled while on a visit to a school. He called on religious leaders to speak out against the Taliban.

Dec 11, 2014

Lawyer fears abuse of U.S. detainees transferred to Afghan custody

KABUL (Reuters) – The final few inmates of U.S.-run prisons near Kabul, scenes of abuse highlighted by a U.S. Senate report this week, are now in an Afghan detention system with its own grisly record of torture, their lawyer said on Thursday.

But the government in Kabul vowed they would be safe and not mistreated.

Afghan security forces, including the army that runs the detention facility where the foreign inmates are believed to be held, regularly engage in torture of conflict-related detainees, several reports by the United Nations and rights groups say.