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Afghan women still being punished for ‘moral’ crimes: report

Hundreds of Afghan women are languishing in prison having been accused or convicted of so-called “moral crimes”, including “running away” and having sex outside marriage, campaign group Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The report released in Kabul, I Had to Run Away, said that President Hamid Karzai’s Western-backed government had…

Taliban offers online Islamic advice service

Worried about whether Islamic verses on Facebook are allowed? Or that suicide bombers kill innocent civilians? Afghanistan’s Taliban have set up a new question-and-answer section on their website to address such issues. The facility on Voice of Jihad, the official website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — the Taliban’s…

Leaked letter reveals India’s air defense is ‘obsolete’

India’s tank fleet lacks ammunition, its air defences are “97 percent obsolete” and its elite forces lack essential arms, the country’s army chief wrote in an explosive letter leaked Wednesday. The letter to the prime minister dated March 12 — widely reported by the Indian media — lists the shortcomings…

Exchange of fire along Israel-Egypt border: army

JERUSALEM — Israeli troops opened fire at a group of suspects along the Egyptian border on Tuesday, two of whom had crossed from Egypt, a military spokesman said, indicating that several of them were wounded. The incident took place 2:00 pm (1200 GMT), the army said. Also during the afternoon,…

U.S. panel presses Japan on child abductions

WASHINGTON — A US congressional panel on Tuesday advanced a bill that would punish nations for not addressing child abductions, putting pressure on Japan which has never returned a child to foreign parents. The House foreign affairs subcommittee on human rights approved a bill that would pave the way to…

Global economy shows ‘fragile’ improvement: IMF

Recent improvements in the global economy are “very fragile” and an escalation of the eurozone crisis remains the most immediate concern, IMF deputy managing director Naoyuki Shinohara said Tuesday. While indicators had last year pointed to a big setback for the world there have in recent weeks been modest signs…

6.0-magnitude quake hits northeastern Japan: USGS

A 6.0-magnitude quake struck northeastern Japan on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, but Japanese authorities noted that no tsunami warning was issued. The quake hit at 8:00 pm (1100 GMT), off Iwate prefecture in the Pacific with the focus estimated some 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) below sea level, the…

France urges TV networks not to air shooting videos

President Nicolas Sarkozy and families of the victims urged television networks Tuesday not to broadcast graphic videos shot by an Islamist extremist killer during his shooting spree in southern France. Qatar-based Al-Jazeera said it was considering broadcasting the videos — which include footage shot by Mohamed Merah during his attacks…

N. Korea snubs Obama to overshadow nuclear summit

North Korea vowed Tuesday to go ahead with a rocket launch, snubbing demands from US President Barack Obama and other world leaders who are in Seoul for a summit on combating nuclear terrorism. The North’s plan to launch a long-range rocket next month has overshadowed the 53-nation summit, which is meant to focus on the…

Oil prices edge up before U.S. data

World oil prices crept higher on Tuesday, as dealers awaited keyeconomic data in top crude consumer the United States, and eyed the weak dollar and new supply tensions in Sudan. In late morning deals in London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May added just two cents to $125.67 a barrel. New York’s…

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