06272016Mon
Last update: Mon, 27 Jun 2016 02pm

South Asia

World - South Asia

Afghan MPs confirm new defence minister, intelligence chief KABUL: Afghan lawmakers on Monday approved President Ashraf Ghani's nominees for defence minister and intelligence director, two crucial posts that sat vacant for months as the country struggles to rein in an ascendant insurgency.The confirmations came as attacks left at least 23 people dead across Afghanistan Monday and wounded dozens more, as the Taliban's resurgence continues to raise serious questions about the ability of Afghan forces to hold their own without the support of US-led NATO troops. MPs voted for Abdullah Habibi, formerly a senior official in the defence ministry who holds the rank of army general, to become its new minister.Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, a former top official in the government body overseeing the country's peace process who has worked to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, was named head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence agency."We congratulate them and wish them success," parliament chairman Abdul Rauf ...

World - South Asia

Monsoon rains cover half of India; to accelerate sowing MUMBAI: Indian monsoon rains have covered nearly half of the country, the weather department said on Monday, accelerating planting of summer crops like paddy rice, soybeans, cotton and pulses.The June to September monsoon is crucial for farm output and economic growth in India, where just over half of arable land is fed by rain. The farm sector makes up about 15 percent of the $2-trillion economy that is Asia's third biggest. The sowing has been ...

World - South Asia

Bomb kills 8 in northeast Afghanistan: officials KABUL: At least eight people were killed and 18 injured Monday morning when a motorcycle bomb exploded in a crowded market in Afghanistan's northeastern Badakhshan province, local authorities said."Our initial information is eight people were martyred, and 18 others were wounded, all the victims are civilians," the Badakhshan provincial governor's spokesman Naweed Froutan told AFP, adding that the death toll is set to rise.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016 ...

World - South Asia

Explosion hits minibus in Kabul: police KABUL: An explosion hit a minibus in Kabul early Monday on the main road to the eastern city of Jalalabad, police said.There were fears of numerous casualties with more than two dozen ambulances at the scene, according to an AFP journalist.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016 ...

World - South Asia

Demos greet Chinese president in Poland WARSAW: Rival demonstrations greeted Chinese President Xi Jinping as he arrived in Warsaw on Sunday on a three-day visit focused on investment and trade with Poland, the EU's largest eastern economy.Holding banners calling on Beijing to "end the persecution of (spiritual group) Falung Gong", dozens of members of the religious movement banned in China demonstrated along a road leading from the airport to central Warsaw as Xi arrived.Meanwhile hundreds of Xi's supporters waving placards welcomed ...

World - South Asia

China's Xi highlights Serbia trade as Beijing signs 22 deals BELGRADE: China sought to strengthen its economic presence in central and eastern Europe on Saturday by signing 22 agreements on finance and infrastructure with Serbia.The deals, in areas such as currency swaps, renewable energy and highway construction, came during a visit to Serbia by Chinese President Xi Jinping.Beijing sees the visit as part of its One Belt, One Road initiative, which is intended to open new foreign trade links for Chinese firms as its own ...

World - South Asia

India reforms to bring cheap air travel to millions NEW DELHI: India approved a civil aviation policy Wednesday aimed at making air travel affordable for millions of Indians and vastly expanding the country's aviation market.The government said the long-awaited reforms will bring down airfares to 2,500 rupees ($37) per hour of flying time on many under-served regional routes, particularly away from big cities.Air travel in India is mostly confined to the urban third of the population, and is largely out of reach for hundreds ...