02142016Sun
Last update: Sun, 14 Feb 2016 07pm

South Asia

World - South Asia

Sri Lanka government proposes new constitution to devolve power COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's new government on Saturday presented its plan for a new constitution aimed at devolving power and preventing the sort of ethnic tensions that led to a long and bitter civil war that ended in 2009.The move comes as reformist President Maithripala Sirisena's administration takes some steps to promote post-conflict reconciliation and address alleged war crimes committed during the 26-year conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.Sirisena, who unseated former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in a bitterly contested poll last year, promised a new constitution to strengthen democracy and fundamental rights.According to the document presented to parliament on Saturday, the government intends to strengthen democratic rights, promote national reconciliation and establish a political culture that respects the rule of law.The new constitution will also guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms that assure human dignity and promote responsible and accountable government, it said."The main idea is to devolve power to ...

World - South Asia

Sri Lanka president vows reforms to prevent ethnic war COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena marked his first year in office Saturday with a pledge to introduce sweeping constitutional reforms aimed at preventing the island returning to ethnic war.Sirisena told parliament he wanted a new statute to guarantee the country will not see a repeat of a bloody ethnic conflict that claimed over 100,000 lives between 1972 and 2009."We need a constitution that suits the needs of the 21st century and make sure that ...

World - South Asia

Iran bans all products from Saudi Arabia after ties cut TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday banned all products from Saudi Arabia after Riyadh cut ties with Tehran in a mounting diplomatic crisis."The cabinet has banned the entry of all Saudi products and products from Saudi Arabia," the government said in a statement, noting that a ban on Iranians travelling to the Saudi holy city of Mecca for the umrah pilgrimage was also in place "until further notice".Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016 ...

World - South Asia

UN chief condemns attack on Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday condemned the attack by a group of gunmen against the Indian Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, while withholding comments on the terror attack at the Pathankot air base. The attack on the Indian Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif "obviously is an attack which we condemn...especially an attack on a diplomatic outpost that needs to be protected," the secretary-general's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at the daily noon briefing in response to a ...

World - South Asia

Khamenei says US faces 'punch in mouth' in Iran polls TEHRAN: Iran's supreme leader said Monday the United States was seeking to influence next month's elections in the Islamic republic but said such efforts would receive a "punch in the mouth".Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments related to parliamentary polls and a ballot for the Assembly of Experts, a powerful committee of clerics who will pick the country's next supreme leader when the incumbent, who is 76, dies. Both elections take place on February 26.Political moderates and ...

World - South Asia

Hong Kong leader 'very concerned' over missing booksellers HONG KONG: Hong Kong's leader said he was "very concerned" Monday over the disappearance of five booksellers known for publications critical of the Chinese government after a prominent lawmaker accused mainland security officers of kidnapping the men.The booksellers all worked for the same Hong Kong-based publishing house and are feared to have been detained by Chinese authorities, adding to growing unease that freedoms in the semi-autonomous city are being eroded.Under its mini-constitution, Hong Kong ...

World - South Asia

Iran says 40 arrested over Saudi embassy attack TEHRAN: An Iranian official Sunday said 40 people have been arrested after Saudi Arabia's embassy was attacked and set on fire following outrage at the kingdom's execution of a Shia cleric. The suspects were identified and arrested and other detentions could follow, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying. Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016 ...