- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

INDIA

Lawmakers criticize U.S. letter on Iran

NEW DELHI — Indian members of Parliament from both left and right united yesterday to denounce U.S. legislators for what they said was an attempt to influence foreign policy through a contentious nuclear trade deal.

The lawmakers criticized letters written by Democratic and Republican legislators warning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that New Delhi’s ties with Iran had significant potential to harm Indian-U.S. relations and the landmark deal.

The letter — signed by Democrat Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the panel senior Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and others — was the third, and strongest, in recent days expressing concern over relations between New Delhi and Tehran.

AFGHANISTAN

Pakistan, Afghanistan plan tribal gathering

KABUL — Pakistan and Afghanistan, intent on ending a blame game regarding the Taliban insurgency, have drafted plans for their presidents to jointly address a gathering of tribal elders, intellectuals, writers and politicians.

Visiting Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said Islamabad had nominated around 350 prominent figures to attend the first jirga, or tribal council, to be held with representatives from both sides of the disputed border.

The jirga would take place in the first week of August, with the Afghans putting forward a matching list of 350 persons, according to the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

AFGHANISTAN

NATO soldier among 24 killed by floods

FAIZABAD — Floods triggered by heavy rain killed 23 Afghans and a NATO soldier, and destroyed scores of houses in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Badakhshan, officials said yesterday.

Authorities were searching for people after the flooding, which hit Thursday night in an area of the impoverished and mountainous province near the border with Tajikistan, China and Pakistan, the provincial governor said.

A soldier with the NATO-led forces died in another area of the province when his car was washed away by the floods, an Afghan aid worker said.

Weekly notes …

Hundreds of people are flocking to a remote village in eastern India to catch a glimpse of an old man who has spent six years lying inside his own grave waiting to die as he mourns for his wife. Basanta Roy claims he is 103 and spends his day clearing weeds from the grave and lying in it. Belonging to a Hindu caste who bury their dead, Mr. Roy dug his grave close to his wife’s after she died in the late 1990s in the Jharkhand state. … Paintings of Buddha dating back at least to the 12th century have been discovered in a cave in Nepal’s remote north-central region by foreign researchers taken there by a local sheepherder. A mural with 55 panels depicting the story of Buddha’s life was uncovered in March in the cave about 160 miles northwest of the capital, Katmandu.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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