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Last update: Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07am

South Asia

World - South Asia

India marks Republic Day with camels and women stunt-riders NEW DELHI: Thousands gathered in New Delhi amid tight security Tuesday for India's annual Republic Day parade, a pomp-filled spectacle of military might featuring camels and daredevil stuntwomen, with French President Francois Hollande the chief guest.A contingent of French infantry in India for joint military exercises led the march down the capital's central Rajpath avenue, the first time foreign forces have ever taken part in the parade.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Hollande as chief guest in a show of solidarity with France after militant attacks in Paris last November killed 130 -- recalling a 2008 assault on Mumbai that killed 166.The mood on Tuesday was more celebratory, with Modi -- sporting a gold turban that rivalled the spectacular military headgear on display -- and Hollande chatting as they sat side by side in a bulletproof glass enclosure.An estimated 10,000 spectators braved thick smog and air quality levels classified as ...

World - South Asia

China releases Swedish rights activist: Stockholm STOCKHOLM: A Swedish human rights activist detained earlier this month by China for allegedly posing a threat to national security, has been released, Sweden's foreign ministry said on Monday."I welcome the fact that Peter Dahlin can now be reunited with his family in Sweden. This is the result of close contacts between the Swedish foreign ministry and Chinese representatives," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.Dahlin, who worked for the Chinese Urgent Action Working ...

World - South Asia

India to purchase 36 Rafale jets After months of talk, India has signed an inter-government deal with France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets. However, work remained to be done on the finalization of financial terms of the agreement.According to BBC, The deal, estimated $9 billion, was the focal point of the French President Francois Hollande three-day visit to India, who was invited as guest of honour for India’s Republic Day parade. "We have completed an inter-governmental agreement for the purchase ...

World - South Asia

India, France sign Rafale agreement NEW DELHI: India and France have signed an agreement on the long-delayed purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters but have yet to reach a deal on financial issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday."We have completed an intergovernmental agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafales, with the exception of the financial aspects," Modi said after meeting French President Francois Hollande in New Delhi.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016 ...

World - South Asia

Nepal parliament votes to amend new constitution KATHMANDU: Nepal's parliament voted on Saturday to amend the country's new constitution in a bid to resolve a months-long dispute with ethnic minority protesters demanding more political representation."I announce that the Nepal constitution first amendment bill has been passed with a two-thirds majority in favour," said speaker Onsari Gharti Magar as lawmakers thumped their desks in agreement.More than 50 people have been killed in clashes between police and people protesting against the constitution introduced in ...

World - South Asia

Taliban want removal from UN blacklist before peace talks DOHA/PESHAWAR: Afghanistan's Taliban want to be removed from a UN blacklist before considering rejoining peace talks aimed at ending a 15-year civil war, a senior member said, as its political wing met activists at an unofficial forum in Qatar.After months of worsening fighting, with the province of Helmand slipping out of government control and frequent suicide bombings in the capital, Afghanistan and its neighbours are trying to get troubled negotiations back on track.Prospects of the ...

World - South Asia

Iranian, Chinese presidents agree to expand ties DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and visiting Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping said on Saturday their countries had agreed to expand economic and political ties, calling it a "new season" in bilateral relations."We are happy that President Xi visited Iran after the lifting of sanctions ... Iran and China have agreed to increase trade to $600 billion in the next 10 years," Rouhani said at the news conference with Xi broadcast live on the state television.China ...