- - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DERA ISMAIL KHAN — The Taliban released a video Wednesday that they say shows the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers captured in a cross-border raid from Afghanistan this week and beheaded.

The bloody attack showed the threat still posed by the Pakistani Taliban despite army offensives. The militants increasingly have used sanctuaries in eastern Afghanistan to attack border areas in Pakistan’s northwest.

Pakistan has criticized NATO and Afghan forces for not doing enough to stop the attacks, but it has received little sympathy.

The Afghan government and its allies have long faulted Pakistan for failing to target Afghan Taliban militants and their allies who use Pakistani territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are allies, but the former has focused on fighting the Pakistani government, while the latter has concentrated on attacking foreign and local forces in Afghanistan.


Putin orders reform of parliament

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill Wednesday that would change how the upper house of the Russian parliament is formed, a move he said would make it more democratic but critics said wouldn’t change the body’s role as an obedient tool of the Kremlin.

Under the current system, the Federation Council is made up of randomly chosen former officials or rich businessmen with government links, with two representatives for each of Russia’s 87 regions.

Mr. Putin’s bill would have candidates for provincial governorships publicly name their choice for an upper-house member from the region ahead of local elections. The second candidate for each province should be a member of its legislature, Mr. Putin said.

The bill requires approval from the lower house of parliament as well as the Federation Council itself. Given both bodies’ genuflection to Mr. Putin, it is all but certain to pass quickly.


Court outlaws pedophile association

THE HAGUE — A Dutch court outlawed a pedophile association Wednesday, saying its promotion of sexual contact between adults and children breaches the country’s generally accepted moral values.

The civil court in Assen ordered the association, called Martijn, to be dissolved immediately.

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