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Ashraf Ghani: Afghan 'free spirit' becomes president KABUL: Ashraf Ghani is an intellectual high-achiever with a famous temper who proudly describes himself as a "free spirit". Now he must prove himself to be a unifying leader who can tackle Afghanistan's vast problems.Ghani, 65, enjoyed a stellar career as an academic and economist after leaving Afghanistan in 1977, only returning 24 years later to pursue his dream of rebuilding the country.He studied at New York's Columbia University, before teaching in the United States during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.He worked with the World Bank from 1991, becoming an expert on the Russian coal industry, and finally moved back to Kabul as a senior UN special adviser soon after the Taliban were routed in late 2001.In the days that followed, he was a key architect of the interim government and became a powerful finance minister under President Hamid Karzai from 2002 to 2004, campaigning hard against ...

Dozens of students missing after Mexican protest crackdown ACAPULCO: Mexican authorities searched Sunday for 58 students who went missing after protests turned deadly in the troubled southern state of Guerrero.The state public security agency deployed a helicopter to join the search in the tense town of Iguala and surrounding communities after students from a teacher college went missing on Saturday, the state government said in a statement.At least six people, including two students, were killed as municipal police and unknown gunmen shot a ...

China sentences two to death for mosque attack: Xinhua BEIJING: A court in China's far west has sentenced to death two teenagers for the killing of the head of the country's biggest mosque, state media reported, in a case that highlighted divisions in the violence-wracked Xinjiang region.The Kashgar Intermediate People's Court on Sunday handed down the death penalty to Gheni Hasan and Nurmemet Abidilimit "on charges of forming and leading terrorist groups and murder", the official Xinhua news agency said.A third person, Atawulla Tursun, ...

UN racism envoy puts S. Korea to the test SEOUL: South Korea's efforts to rid itself of a reputation for casual racial discrimination and overbearing ethnic nationalism will come under scrutiny this week from the UN's top expert on racism.Tasked with assessing racism, xenophobia and related intolerance around the world, UN Special Rapporteur Mutuma Ruteere began a week-long mission to Asia's fourth-largest economy on Monday.One of Asia's most ethnically homogenous societies, South Korea has a small but rising foreign population which has not always ...

Modi, in rock star US debut, vows to make India proud NEW YORK: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi basked in a rock star US welcome as he vowed to build a strong, confident country ahead of his first White House summit Monday.In a massive show of support for a right-wing leader once shunned by Washington, some 18,500 people of Indian origin from across the United States and Canada packed Sunday into New York's Madison Square Garden, where they chanted his name and wore T-shirts bearing his ...

Hong Kong riot police 'withdrawn' from protests: govt HONG KONG: Hong Kong's authorities announced Monday they were withdrawing riot police from the streets of the protest-wracked city in a major concession to pro-democracy demonstrators.A statement posted on the government's website read: "Because citizens gathered on the street have calmed, riot police have been withdrawn." The statement also called on protesters "to give up occupied roads as soon as possible for emergency vehicles to pass through and for the partial restoration of public transport ...

Turkish economy minister wants lira at 2.15-2.25 to dollar ISTANBUL: Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Sunday he wanted the lira currency to trade in a band of between 2.15 and 2.25 to the U.S. dollar, slightly stronger than current levels.Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul, Zeybekci, who has repeatedly called on the central bank to lower interest rates, said such a level would be ideal for Turkey's foreign trade."2.15-2.25 is a reasonable band that ...


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