Category: World News

The empire ‘Chavez’ had been poisoned: Bolivian president

Caracas: Bolivian President Evo Morales has said he is “almost certain” that “the empire” had poisoned the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. Chavez, who led Venezuela for 14 years, died at age 58 after a two-year-long fight against cancer. Nicolas Maduro, who was vice president under Chavez and was sworn in as acting president, earlier accused Venezuela’s enemies of causing Chavez’s cancer. He said the issue would be investigated by a special commission. Morales, who travelled to Caracas to attend Chavez’s state funeral, said he had always been aware of Chavez’s disease although he never revealed any details. Morales recalled he had once offered Chavez some coffee but the Venezuelan leader’s security guards objected. “Brother Chavez said (to his guards): ‘How can you think that Evo will poison me?’ and then he had coffee,” the Bolivian president said. Morales did not elaborate what “the empire” meant. Chavez’s funeral was attended by over 30 heads of state and government. Venezuela will hold presidential elections April 14 to elect a successor to Chavez....

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China unveils restructuring plan to boost govt efficiency, fight corruption

10 march   BEIJING: China unveiled a government restructuring plan on Sunday, cutting cabinet-level entities by two and dissolving its powerful railways ministry, as the country’s new leaders look to boost efficiency and combat corruption. The reforms mark the biggest reduction in ministries since 1998 when then-premier Zhu Rongji oversaw the overhaul of the State Council, and coincides with growing public concern over transparency and overlapping bureaucracies. The government will join the Family Planning Commission— the agency that controls the controversial one-child policy — with the health ministry, and strengthen the powers of the food and drug regulators, it said in a report released during the on-going annual meeting of parliament. “Currently, numerous operational, organisational and division of labour problems exist in State Council ministries,” state council secretary-general Ma Kai said in a speech on the plan to the National People’s Congress. Ma added that “breach of duty, using positions for personal gain and corruption” under the structure had not been effectively constrained. The railways ministry and Family Planning Commission have been particularly unpopular, and their restructuring was widely expected. The railways ministry has faced numerous problems over the past few years, including heavy debts from funding new high-speed lines, waste and fraud. Railways planning will be coordinated under the broader transport ministry. The government has pledged to open the rail industry to private investment on an unprecedented scale....

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50 people arrested over raid on christian community in Pakistan

Lahore: About 50 people have been arrested in this eastern Pakistani city after a mob torched over 150 homes of the minority Christian community in search of an alleged blasphemer. Police officials said they had arrested about 50 people who had been identified from video footage of the attack or named by the victims. Raids were being conducted for other wanted persons, they said. Trouble began at Joseph Colony on Friday, when over 2,000 enraged Muslims surrounded the neighbourhood and pelted stones at the homes of Christians. The mob was led by Shafiq Ahmed, who claimed he was looking for a Christian named Savan Masih as he had allegedly committed blasphemy by insulting the Prophet Mohammed. Some men found Masih’s 65-year-old father Chaman Masih and assaulted him and then burnt his home. The mob dispersed after a police contingent was posted in the area and officials said they had registered an FIR against Masih under the blasphemy law. Yesterday, the mob returned to Joseph Colony in the morning and drove out all Christian families that were still in the area. Footage on television showed masked men armed with sticks rampaging through the neighbourhood, setting houses and cars on fire. The police did little to stop the mob. Police said they had arrested Savan Masih, a 26-year-old sanitation worker, and shifted him to a safe location. Shahid Imran, named as...

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Mandela in hospital again

10 march. Former President Nelson Mandela was admitted into a hospital in Pretoria Saturday afternoon for a scheduled medical check-up to manage existing conditions in line with his age, the Presidency said. Doctors are conducting tests and have thus far indicated that there is no reason for any alarm, Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said. “We appeal for privacy for Madiba and his family,” Maharaji said. This is the second time that Mandela, 94, was admitted into hospital in three months. On Dec. 8, he was taken into a Pretoria hospital for a lung infection and gallstones. He underwent a successful surgery to have the gallstones removed after doctors attended to his lung infection. He was discharged from hospital on Dec. 26 to undergo home- based high care at his Houghton home. This was Mandela’s longest hospital stay since 2001 when he underwent seven weeks of radiotherapy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Mandela served as South African president from 1994 to 1999. He had spent 27 years in prison before elected the first black president in the country after the end of apartheid....

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Kenyatta elected Kenyan president

NAIROBI: Uhuru Kenyatta has been elected president of Kenya, the electoral commission said Saturday, confirming figures it had released earlier in the day. “I therefore declare Uhuru Kenyatta the duly elected president of the Republic of Kenya,” Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan...

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7 years old boy conquered kilimanjaro after everest base camp

9 march,agency. Magic boy Aaryan Balaji has created another history adding his name to list of moutaineering veteran by climbing Africa’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895 metres/ 19343 feet) at the age of seven. He created adventure history by climbing Mt Kilimanjaro on February 25 this year. Young Aaryan, the son of an Indian Navy officer, is the youngest ever in the world to have trekked all the way to Africa’s highest mountain. In the process, the seven-year-old defied his age to display his adaptability to the highest standards of physical fitness, mental and moral strength, determination, courage, endurance, a never say die spirit and, above all, perfect teamwork. Aaryan already has recorded his name in Mount Everest history by trekking all the way to the mountain’s Southern Base Camp in Nepal situated at an altitude of 5364 metres in May 2012. He is also the youngest to climb Mt. Kalapattar (5554 mtrs) on May 15, 2012. Reaching the base camp below Mt. Everest is considered one of the tough tasks on earth. The small boy added another achievement to his name when, in March 2012, he became youngest in the world to go for an up to 08 metres maiden undersea...

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INDIAN GANG-RAPE VICTIM SHARES US COURAGE AWARDS

WASHINGTON: The Indian gang-rape victim whose brutal death shocked the nation and the world was among nine women honored by the United States on Friday for their courage. The young student, who has become known simply as “Nirbhaya” or “fearless,” was awarded the US International Women of Courage award posthumously after she died of massive internal injuries following the rape and attack on a Delhi bus. “Her bravery inspired millions of men and women to come together with a simple message ‘No more,'” US Secretary of State John Kerry told a ceremony at which the 23-year-old was honored. “We never imagined that the girl we thought was our daughter would one day be the daughter of the entire world,” her parents wrote in a message to the ceremony that was read out by Kerry. “While her end was horrendous, her case is imparting strength to all women to fight and to improve the system. Women in India and the rest of the world refuse to be stigmatized and will not keep silent any more.” Three other women were also absent from the event held at the State Department.Tibetan poet Tsering Woeser was denied a passport by Chinese authorities to travel, Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan is under house arrest and Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zeitunah is in hiding for her safety. “I see how much work we still...

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PAKISTAN PM ARRIVES IN INDIA TO ‘OPEN ARM’ WELCOME

JAIPUR, India: Pakistan’s premier Raja Pervez Ashraf arrived in India Saturday for a pilgrimage to a revered Muslim shrine, with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid welcoming him with “open arms”. Khurshid’s warm words for Ashraf — making his first visit to India as prime minister — come despite strained relations between the nuclear-armed rivals over recent border clashes. “It’s in our culture to welcome our guests with open arms,” said Khurshid ahead of a lunch he will host for Ashraf at the Rambagh Palace, a luxury heritage hotel in the tourist city of Jaipur in northern India. An Indian foreign ministry official told AFP however there would be no “substantive talks” at the meeting. “India is happy to host a lunch for the Pakistani prime minister. We are just extending our hospitality,” a senior Indian foreign ministry official told AFP. Ashraf is the most senior Pakistani to visit India since last April when President Asif Ali Zardari made a similar pilgrimage and had lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Ashraf and his family planned a day-long private trip to the 13-century shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Jaipur. Tensions spiked between New Delhi and Islamabad in January and February as a total of six soldiers were killed in exchanges along the de facto border in Kashmir, a region claimed by...

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CHAVEZ POLITICAL HEIR TAKES OVER AFTER ROUSING FUNERAL

CARACAS: Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro took over as acting president late Friday in a ceremony rejected by the opposition after a tearful farewell to Hugo Chavez during a rousing state funeral for the firebrand leftist. More than 30 heads of state paid tribute to Chavez as his body lay in state in a flag-covered coffin at a military academy, bringing the curtain down on a 14-year reign that divided his oil-rich nation. “There you are, undefeated, pure, transparent, unique, true, alive forever,” Maduro said as his voice rose and cracked in a eulogy that both praised his mentor and railed against his opponents. “Mission accomplished comandante! The struggle goes on,” he exclaimed as the guests, ranging from Cuban leader Raul Castro to Hollywood star Sean Penn, applauded in a raucous ceremony filled with music, cheers and chants for Chavez. Maduro was later sworn in as acting president at the National Assembly and named Chavez’s son-in-law Jorge Arreaza vice president before urging election authorities to “immediately” convene elections. Maduro donned the presidential sash, his voice breaking as he declared: “Sorry for these tears but this presidency belongs to our comandante.”The assembly burst into chants of “Chavez I swear, my vote is for Maduro!” The main opposition coalition boycotted the inauguration, saying that it was unconstitutional. The ceremony set the stage for a bitter election campaign that must be called within 30...

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SUICIDE BOMB IN KABUL DURING HAGEL VISIT

KABUL: A large suicide bomb exploded outside the defence ministry in central Kabul during a visit to the Afghan capital on Saturday by new US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. A spokesman for the Afghan defence ministry said that there were civilian casualties but he did not give any further details. “A suicide attacker has detonated himself within 30 metres (100 feet) of the defence ministry gate, there have been casualties among civilians, but defence ministry personnel have not suffered any casualties,” Zahir Azimi told AFP. One soldier covered in blood at the scene said he had helped carry five people from the attack site. Gunfire erupted after the loud explosion was heard across the city, and reporters travelling with Hagel were informed that he was not under any threat as streets around the blast were closed off by security forces. “The secretary was in a briefing when the incident occurred. The briefing continued as planned without interruption,” a spokesman for the Pentagon chief said.An official at the location told reporters that the bomber had arrived on a bicycle. “We can confirm a suicide improvised explosive device attack, followed by small arms fire, near the Afghan ministry of defence compound in central Kabul this morning,” a statement sent from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force coalition said.”No ISAF troops were directly involved.” The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.”This...

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