- - Thursday, February 10, 2011

INDIA

India, Pakistan agree to resume peace talks

NEW DELHI | India and Pakistan announced Thursday the resumption of peace talks suspended more than two years ago after Islamist gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai.

In simultaneous statements issued in New Delhi and Islamabad, the nuclear-armed neighbors and longtime rivals said they had “agreed to resume dialogue on all issues.”

They also announced that Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would visit India by July to “review progress” in the dialogue process.

PAKISTAN

Suicide bomber kills 31 soldiers

PESHAWAR | A suicide bomber linked to the Pakistani Taliban attacked soldiers during morning exercises at an army training camp in the northwest Thursday, killing 31 troops and wounding 42 others.

There were conflicting accounts about the identity of the bomber. The army and police said he was a teenager in a school uniform, but the Pakistani Taliban claimed he was a soldier at the camp in Mardan town who volunteered for the attack.

The bombing showed that despite years of army operations against their hide-outs along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda-linked fighters retain the ability to strike back. It was one of the worst attacks on security forces in recent months.

JAPAN

Official says Japan ‘unwavering’ on islands

TOKYO | Japan’s foreign minister said Thursday that Tokyo’s claim over the disputed Kuril islands remains “absolutely unwavering” despite Russia’s decision to boost its military presence on the territory.

Seiji Maehara, who is due to visit Moscow on Friday, said Russia’s occupation of the islands is illegal and shrugged off President Dmitry Medvedev’s order the previous day to deploy extra weaponry there.

NORTH KOREA

N. Korea says no need for meetings with South

SEOUL | North Korea said Thursday there was no need for further dialogue with “traitors” in South Korea, a day after the collapse of military talks aimed at easing months of high tensions.

The two-day talks were the first since the North’s shelling of a South Korean island on Nov. 23, which killed four people including two civilians and briefly raised fears of all-out war.

Pyongyang’s delegation, in a statement carried by the official news agency, blamed a plot by the South Korean “group of traitors,” including the defense and unification ministries, for the collapse of the talks.

AUSTRALIA

Prime minister introduces disaster tax

CANBERRA | Australia’s prime minister has introduced tax legislation to Parliament that would raise $1.8 billion to help pay for record storm and flood damage across the country’s east.

In presenting the legislation Thursday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government’s bill for weeks of flooding in northeast Queensland state was at least $5.6 billion.

The legislation will be scrutinized by a parliamentary committee before lawmakers vote on it in a few weeks.

Opposition lawmakers oppose the tax and argue that the government should instead cut foreign aid to Indonesia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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