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Pressure Mounts on Syria, Government Raids Continue

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 9:45 am (UTC-5)
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Syria is facing increased pressure from world powers to end its crackdown on dissent, but activists say violence in the country continues to escalate. An activist with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA on Tuesday that Syrian forces have publicly executed 22 activists in a Damascus suburb and arrested about 600 people. The […]

Tags: , , Posted in Middle East

Russia Opens New Anti-Missile Facility in Kaliningrad

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 9:30 am (UTC-5)
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Russia has officially opened a new anti-missile radar station in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad to counter what it perceives as a threat from a joint U.S.-NATO missile defense system being implemented in Europe. President Dmitry Medvedev opened the new facility Tuesday, saying it shows Russia’s readiness for an adequate response to, in his […]

Tags: , , Posted in Europe

Merkel Hopes to Change Pakistan’s Mind on Afghan Conference

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 9:20 am (UTC-5)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes Pakistan will change its mind about boycotting the upcoming international conference in Bonn on Afghanistan’s future. Ms. Merkel said Tuesday that her government will try to persuade Pakistani officials to change their decision — taken in protest of NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last week in […]

Tags: , , Posted in South Asia

China Uges Sudan, South Sudan to Resolve Oil Dispute

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 9:15 am (UTC-5)
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China has called on Sudan and South Sudan to resolve a dispute that has blocked the flow of oil exports from the south. Beijing purchases nearly five percent of its total oil imports from South Sudan. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman on Tuesday urged the two Sudans to exercise “restraint” and use a “flexible and […]

Nepal Extends Parliament’s Term Again

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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Nepal has extended parliament’s term for a fourth time in order to draft a new constitution for the new republic. Speaker Subash Nemwang said Tuesday that 505 out of 508 lawmakers voted to extend the Constituent Assembly’s term by another six months. The Constituent Assembly was formed in 2008, after Nepal’s monarch was abolished. The […]

Tags: , Posted in South Asia

Vietnam Reduces Blogger’s Sentence

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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A Vietnamese appeals court has cut in half the sentence of a Vietnamese-French blogger. Pham Minh Hoang was arrested in August, 2010 and sentenced to three years in prison for subversion. The appeals court cut the sentence to 17 months, meaning he will be released in January. He will still have to serve three years […]

NATO to Retrain All Troops in Afghanistan in Protecting Civilians

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan has ordered tens of thousands of troops to be retrained in the coming days in how to avoid civilian casualties during counter-insurgency operations. U.S. General John Allen announced the retraining program in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has frequently complained about deaths and injuries to Afghan civilians […]

Tags: Posted in South Asia

Finland to Begin Afghan Withdrawal Next Year

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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Finland says it will begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan next year. The government said Tuesday that 50 of its 195 troops serving with the NATO-led force will return home in 2012. All foreign combat troops are expected to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. International troops have already begun transferring security control of […]

Tags: , Posted in South Asia

Pakistan to Boycott Afghanistan Conference in Protest at NATO Airstrikes

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 8:15 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan has decided to boycott an international conference on Afghanistan’s future in protest at NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in a Pakistani-Afghan border region last week. Officials say the Cabinet of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani agreed on the boycott during a meeting in Lahore Tuesday. The conference is due to be […]

Tags: , , , Posted in South Asia, US

India Remains Deadlocked on Retail Reform

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 8:10 am (UTC-5)
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The Indian government failed Tuesday to win support for a reform allowing foreign retailers into the country. A meeting of lawmakers from all parties broke up without a deal being reached, forcing India’s parliament to adjourn amid protests against the reform. The Indian Cabinet last week had approved a measure allowing global firms to own […]

Tags: , Posted in Economy, South Asia