Nawaz Sharif visits Iran amid tensions

Updated 20 May 2014
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Nawaz Sharif visits Iran amid tensions

TEHRAN: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Sunday with the Iranian president at the start of visit during which talks are likely to include border security and a stalled gas pipeline deal.
Sharif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met briefly for lunch, and are to hold more in depth talks on “bilateral issues and the expansion of economic cooperation,” the official IRNA news agency reported. During his two-day visit Sharif, who is accompanied by senior advisors, is also expected to meet supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate authority, media reported.
The visit comes amid tensions between the two neighbors following the kidnapping in February of five Iranian soldiers by extremists who took them across the border into Pakistan.
Tehran says the soldiers, four of whom returned home after being held for two months, were taken across the border into Pakistan, a claim Islamabad denies.
The fate of the fifth soldier is unknown. His abductors claim to have killed him but it is yet to be officially confirmed.
Ties between Islamabad and Tehran have also been strained following the announcement in February by the Sharif government that Pakistan was suspending work on a $7.5-billion pipeline for Iranian gas exports. The work on the Iranian side is almost complete and Tehran expects Pakistan to finish the project on its side.


Russian ex-policeman convicted over 56 murders

Updated 26 min 45 sec ago
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Russian ex-policeman convicted over 56 murders

  • The court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk found Mikhail Popkov “guilty of killing 56 people between 1992 and 2007”
  • Popkov in 2015 was found guilty of killing 22 women, he later confessed to 59 further murders but was convicted only of 56 on Monday

MOSCOW: A Russian court on Monday found a former policeman guilty of 56 murders, while he is already serving a life sentence for killing 22 women, making him one of Russia’s most prolific serial killers.
The court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk found Mikhail Popkov “guilty of killing 56 people between 1992 and 2007,” Irkutsk regional prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Popkov “has a pathological attraction to killing people.” He was also found guilty of raping 10 of the victims.
He received a second life sentence on top of the one he is already serving and was also formally deprived of his pension as an ex-policeman.
Popkov in 2015 was found guilty of killing 22 women. He later confessed to 59 further murders but was convicted only of 56 on Monday because the investigators had not managed to prove three of the crimes took place, Interfax news agency reported citing the court’s press service.
He killed his victims after offering them rides late at night, sometimes in a police car, while he was off-duty around his home city of Angarsk near Irkutsk.
The number of killings for which he has been convicted exceeds the total of several notorious murderers in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union.
“Chessboard killer” Alexander Pichushkin was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for 48 murders and Andrei Chikatilo was convicted of 52 Soviet-era murders.