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Archive for February, 2014

After hiccups, Pak and Taliban start peace talks

Posted by :) on February 7, 2014

After hiccups, Pak and Taliban start peace talks

Islamabad: The Pakistani government and a Talibannominated committee met for the first time here on Thursday to discuss a roadmap for parleys under the constitution to end a bloody insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.
The government committee demanded that talks should be held under the ambit of the constitution and that any peace pact agreed on should be enforceable only in “troubled areas” or the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. A joint statement issued after the meeting said both sides floated recommendations during the nearly four-hour talks.
Maulana Samiul Haq, known as the “father of the Taliban” and a member of the committee nominated by the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), read out the statement which said state negotiators called for stopping all activities that may affect peace efforts.
The state negotiators also called for talks to be smoothly concluded in a short timeframe. The talks were to be originally held on Tuesday but were postponed after state negotiators sought clarifications on several unspecified issues.
Thursday’s meeting was the first test for the ruling PML-N’s efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the insurgency launched by the TTP in late 2007. It was held amid growing scepticism over whether the initiative can yield any deal, with detractors pointing out that all previous peace pacts with the Taliban had collapsed within months. The Taliban have carried out hundreds of bombings that have claimed about 40,000 lives, according to official figures. AGENCIES
Charar-e-Sharief jihadi resurfaces H izbul Mujahideen leader Mast Gul, involved in the 1995 siege of Charar-e-Sharief shrine in Jammu & Kashmir, was behind a suicide attack on Shias in Peshawar that killed nine persons, a Pakistani Taliban commander has said. Mufti Hasaan Swati, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander for Peshawar area, said that he had tasked Mast Gul alias Haroon Khan to carry out attacks on the Shia minority, including the suicide bombing of a hotel on Tuesday. AGENCIES

Source- TOI

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US warns Russia of toothpaste bombs Says Terrorists Could Hide Explosives In US Planes Bound For Sochi Olympics

Posted by :) on February 7, 2014

Washington: The US government warned American and foreign airlines on Wednesday — just ahead of the Sochi Olympics —that terrorists could try to hide explosives in toothpaste tubes on Russia-bound flights.
An official said that it has information “specifically targeting flights to Russia,” where the Winter Games kick off on Friday. In a statement, the department of homeland security said that, “out of an abundance of caution,” it regularly shares relevant information with partners both at home and abroad.
“While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority,” it said.
President Barack Obama’s national security council said the disclosure had notaffected existing guidelines about travel to the resort city of Sochi.
“If we should receive information in the coming days and weeks that changes our assessment of whether people should travel to Sochi, we will make that information public through the state department’s usual channels,” spokeswoman Laura Magnuson said.
Stringent rules about liquids and toothpaste in hand luggage have been standard practice on US carriers after a string of thwarted bomb plots in the years following the September 11, 2001, attacks. Security at the Games, which wrap up on February 23, has been a major concern for Washington following two deadly December suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. Adding to the nervousness is a stream of threats from Islamist militants in the volatile Caucasus region.
On Wednesday, officials said that two US warships have arrived in the Black Sea and will stand ready to offer assistance in case of an emergency at the biggest event Russia has hosted since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Athletes, meanwhile, have been advised to avoid wearing their uniforms or Team USA logos outside Olympic venues. AFP
Yogurt blocked, may hit Russia-US ties T he relationship between the US and Russia is deeply strained over an unanticipated, but no less momentous subject, at least in certain parts of the US: the delivery of Greek yogurt to the American athletes competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Russian government is apparently blocking a shipment of 5,000 containers of Chobani yogurt — now sitting in limbo in cold storage near Newark Liberty International Airport — that had been bound for the US team. The blockade has prompted protests from yogurt-promoting politicians in New York and in Washington, who express outrage that American athletes could be deprived of a protein-rich food that had been part of their training regimen. The Russian government said that the American-made yogurt cannot enter Russia because the Americans have not submitted the proper paperwork. The US said that the certification required by the Russians would be impossible to attain. NYT NEWS SERVICE
HIGH ALERT: Security forces patrol the streets of Rosa Khutor as Russia gears up for the opening of Sochi Winter Olympics on Friday
Source -TOI

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