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Afghanistan aid pledges hide rehashed promises and familiar corruption fears

International donors have lined up to pledge $16bn (£10bn) in aid for Afghanistan until 2015, but the bold figure masked recycled promises and concerns over corruption. Anti-graft provisions for the world’s fourth-most corrupt country contain many demands but little to enforce them beyond a general threat to cut funds. Civil…

Egyptian president annuls dissolution of parliament

Egypt’s new President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree on Sunday annulling the Supreme Court’s dissolution of the Islamist-dominated parliament, the official MENA news agency reported. “President Morsi has issued a presidential decree annulling the decision taken on June 15, 2012 to dissolve the people’s assembly, and invites the chamber to…

Jordanian Parliament member pulls gun on debate opponent

A member of Jordan’s parliament faces attempted murder charges after pulling a gun on his opponent in a televised debate. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mohammed Shawabka drew his weapon at former minister Mansour Murad Friday after Murad called him “a mafia thief” who “bought people’s votes.” The two…

Moroccans debate sexual freedom after imam’s death call

RABAT — The call by a radical Moroccan imam for the death of a journalist who spoke out in defence of sexual freedom has ignited a fierce debate between Islamists and secularists in a country torn between modernity and religious tradition. Abdellah Nhari, an imam in the northeastern Oujda region,…

Syrian violence ‘leaves 35 dead’

BEIRUT — Syrian forces pounded Aleppo and Deir Ezzor provinces as at least 35 people were killed on Sunday across the country, among them 17 civilians, a watchdog reported. The regime forces, under the cover of heavy shelling, attempted to storm the rebel strongholds of Qusayr and Rastan in the…

Libyan liberals claim early lead in vote count

TRIPOLI — Liberals claimed an early lead on Sunday in vote counting across the country after Libya held its first free elections following Moamer Kadhafi’s overthrow, winning plaudits from the international community. If the trend is confirmed, Libya unlike neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt whose strongmen were also toppled in last…

Clinton makes plea for rights of Afghan women

TOKYO — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a powerful plea Sunday for the rights of women in Afghanistan, using a global forum to insist that they must be part of the country’s future growth. “The United States believes strongly that no nation can achieve peace, stability and economic…

Transgender romance movie a hit in Bangladesh

DHAKA — A film about a love affair between a transgender person and a Hindu boy has become a surprise hit in Bangladesh, with distributors saying on Sunday that it will now be given a general release. “Common Gender”, Bangladesh’s first film dealing with transgender people, often known as hijras,…

Terror suspect tracked to London Olympic Park

An Islamist terror suspect in Britain charged with breaking restrictions on his movements had crossed through London’s Olympic Park five times, newspapers reported Sunday. The 24-year-old — named only as CF — is suspected of being a militant for Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-allied Shebab rebels, The Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Mirror…

Barclays rate-rigging scandal sends shockwaves through world finance

The Barclays rate-rigging scandal is sending shockwaves through world finance, putting ethics and regulation under scrutiny, and raising the prospect of criminal charges in a sector-wide global probe. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said Friday it will investigate the interbank rate manipulation scandal which has engulfed Barclays, forced three top resignations,…

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