- - Monday, July 18, 2011

INDIA

Clinton in India for security talks

NEW DELHI — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in India for security and counterterrorism talks as the two countries try to broaden their relationship and manage mutual concerns about Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mrs. Clinton, who arrived in New Delhi late Monday, will spend Tuesday in discussions with senior Indian officials. The talks are a new round of U.S.-India strategic dialogue established last year to deepen ties between the world’s oldest and largest democracies.

Officials traveling with Mrs. Clinton said the talks would focus primarily on U.S. plans in Afghanistan, India’s strained ties with archrival neighbor Pakistan and economic and trade issues.

The Obama administration is keen to allay Indian concerns of resurgence in Islamic extremism following the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan that began this month, the officials said.

Mrs. Clinton is expected to outline the drawdown strategy and stress that the United States will not support Afghan reconciliation with insurgents unless it is inclusive and protects the rights of minority groups, religions and women, the officials said.

SOUTH AFRICA

Nelson Mandela celebrates 93rd birthday

JOHANNESBURG — Former President Nelson Mandela spent his 93rd birthday with friends and relatives in his rural hometown Monday, as South Africans paid tribute to the anti-apartheid icon through song and community service projects.

Millions of South African schoolchildren began their day by singing a special version of “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Mandela, leading worldwide chorus of birthday wishes.

South African President Jacob Zuma also paid a visit to Mr. Mandela in his home village of Qunu, some 600 miles south of Johannesburg.

Photos released of Mr. Mandela show him smiling broadly while sitting in a yellow arm chair surrounded by relatives. Another features him with family and former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, near a large cake with his image on it.

PAKISTAN

Taliban execute policemen on Internet video

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban released a video Monday showing fighters executing 16 Pakistani tribal policemen in a hail of gunfire after they were captured in a cross-border raid from Afghanistan in June.

The video shows the policemen lined up on a hillside with their hands tied behind their backs, standing in front of armed Taliban fighters wearing scarves to hide their faces. The policemen and the insurgents are wearing shalwar kameez, the baggy shirt and pants common in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

One of the insurgents accused the men of executing six children from Pakistan’s Swat Valley by firing squad.

“They are the enemies of the religion of Allah,” the man said of the police.

He and several other fighters then opened fire on the policemen, who crumpled to the ground. Several of them were still moaning, and one fighter walked down the line shooting the policemen in the head.

The video was posted on the LiveLeak video-sharing website and included a note saying the policemen were captured when the Taliban staged a cross-border raid from Afghanistan on June 1 in Pakistan’s northwest Dir district. The video was first reported on by the Long War Journal website.

VATICAN CITY

Malaysia, Vatican establish diplomatic ties

The Vatican and Malaysia established diplomatic relations Monday in the wake of tensions between Muslims and religious minorities in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Vatican announced the agreement after Pope Benedict XVI met with Malaysia’s prime minister, only the second meeting between a government chief from the country and a pontiff. The first was in 2002 for talks focusing on Christian-Muslim relations.

In recent years, religious minority groups in Malaysia have complained of discrimination by the country’s Muslim majority. Roman Catholics and other Christians comprise nearly 10 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people.

EGYPT

Military rulers name judge to lead electoral council

CAIRO — Egypt’s military rulers commissioned a top judge Monday to form an electoral commission, starting the process of organizing the country’s first elections after the popular uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The military decree effectively sets a time frame for the first parliamentary elections in Egypt’s transition to democracy.

The commission begins work Sept.18, with the vote expected to follow roughly two months later, according to human rights lawyers. The decree, reported by the state news agency, did not set an exact date.

The decision settles a major dispute among political factions about whether elections should come before or after the writing of a constitution. Many liberals fear well-organized Islamist groups are poised to win big in parliament and hence influence the writing of the country’s post-revolution constitution.

As an apparent compromise, the ruling military council said it will prepare a document that would introduce guiding principles to prevent any one group from heavily influencing the new constitution.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide