36 foreign militants killed in Pakistan air strikes

Updated 23 January 2014
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36 foreign militants killed in Pakistan air strikes

ISLAMABAD: Three Germans were among 40 people killed when Pakistani jets and helicopters bombarded suspected Taleban hideouts in a northwestern tribal district, a senior security source said Wednesday.
The air strikes in the North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday followed two major Taleban attacks on military targets in as many days.
“Most of (the) terrorists killed are foreign fighters including 33 Uzbeks and three Germans,” the source told AFP.
Uzbeks, many affiliated with the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, make up one of the largest groups of foreign fighters in Pakistan’s tribal northwest.
There was no immediate confirmation from the countries concerned. Independent verification of casualties was not possible because media and aid workers are not allowed to visit the area.
The source added that Wali Muhammad, a Pakistani Taleban commander and trainer of suicide bombers, was among the dead. This was confirmed by a senior militant source.
Tuesday’s operation was one of the heaviest bombardments in recent years in North Waziristan, a key stronghold of militants linked to the Taleban and Al-Qaeda.
Officials said some of those killed were linked to an attack on Sunday on paramilitary troops in the northwestern city of Bannu that killed 26, and a double suicide bombing on a church in September that killed more than 80.
Another military official said a few families had fled the fighting and moved out of the tribal areas, but so far there has been no mass migration from the area.
The government officials said that around 500 families fled to Bannu district from North Waziristan after the bombardment.
“Some 500 families from Mir Ali sub-division of North Waziristan have migrated to Bannu. They are living with the local host tribes of Mamashkhel and Bakakhel in Bannu,” said Arshad Khan, head of the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA).


India’s Parliament rejects no confidence motion against Modi

Updated 38 min 40 sec ago
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India’s Parliament rejects no confidence motion against Modi

  • After a marathon 12 hours of debate more than 60 percent of the lower house voted in the BJP’s favor
  • The opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi crossed the chamber during debate to give an awkward embrace to a seated and clearly surprised Modi

NEW DELHI: India’s ruling party sailed through a confidence vote in a theatrical parliamentary session which saw a startled Prime Minister Narendra Modi embraced by his chief political foe.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in no danger of losing its first confidence motion since taking power four years ago, which was prompted by a minor party walking out of the governing coalition.
After a marathon 12 hours of debate, more than 60 percent of the lower house voted in the BJP’s favor, but the vote was overshadowed by the theatrics of bitter Modi rival Rahul Gandhi.
The opposition Congress party leader crossed the chamber during debate to give an awkward embrace to a seated and clearly surprised Modi.
“You can abuse me and call me names but I don’t have any hatred toward you,” Gandhi said to cheers from Congress lawmakers just before he hugged his rival.
After gathering his wits, Modi called Gandhi again to shake hands and pat his back, and the opposition leader winked mischieviously at Congress colleagues after returning to his seat.
Congress later voted against Modi’s government despite the brief bonhomie on the parliament floor.
The hug has since gone viral on social media and endlessly dissected non-stop on India’s cable TV channels and went viral on social media, with some praising Gandhi’s apparent gesture of goodwill.
“Earlier opposition parties... always managed to transcend rivalry at certain crucial moments,” said independent analyst Shiv Vishwanathan in comments to the Hindustan.
“Today, Rahul Gandhi captured that history.”
But Modi was less convinced of Gandhi’s sincerity, later telling parliament he was confused by Gandhi’s “childish” behavior.
Modi and Gandhi’s running war of words has escalated since polls showed a decline in the BJP’s popularity, fanning hopes of an opposition comeback in next year’s elections after a Congress rout in 2014.