- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2005

PAKISTAN

India offers aid worth $25 million

NEW DELHI — India said Thursday it has offered $25 million worth of aid to Pakistan following the magnitude 7.6 earthquake of Oct. 8 that killed more than 53,000 people in Pakistan’s part of divided Kashmir, and more than 1,000 on the Indian side.

The offer came as relief workers in Pakistan despaired at the absence of speedy help for survivors, who dread the winter cold ahead. India has already sent one relief aircraft and two trains containing nearly 330 tons of relief material, and is getting ready to send another consignment of relief goods and medicines.

NEPAL

Hope dims for 18 mountain climbers

KATMANDU — A French alpine-rescue team will bring more help, including sniffer dogs, to search for bodies of French-led climbers buried by a big avalanche in Nepal last week, team members said Thursday.

“Two more French rescue experts are [coming] who will take sniffer dogs … and special equipment to trace the bodies buried under tons of snow,” French mountaineer and alpine specialist Serge Koenig told reporters.

Seven French and 11 Nepali climbers, part of an expedition climbing 4.35-mile-high Mount Kangaru, were hit by the avalanche Oct. 20 in a base camp at the three-mile level.

AFGHANISTAN

Young duo sought to sing at weddings

KABUL — For as long as he can remember, Mirweis Nijrabi, 14, wanted to be a singer like his famous father, who died soon after Mirweis was born. Before the U.S. invasion of his country, most music was illegal in Afghanistan, as were TV, radio and movies.

But after U.S.-led forces drove out the fundamentalist Taliban preachers in December 2001, Afghans can once again hum tunes, listen to the radio and clap to live music at parties.

Now Mirweis and his brother Abdul Rahmin, 24, have become superstars, with appearances nearly every night, booked months in advance. The duo, called the Nijrabi band, perform folk songs sung in Dari, the language spoken by most Afghans. Their specialty is love songs, and the brothers are in great demand to perform at weddings.

Weekly notes

India’s ruling Congress party has appointed a new chief minister to govern Indian Kashmir, a region still trying to cope with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake this month. Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s urban development minister, will replace Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in line with a power-sharing agreement after state elections in 2002.

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