EU’s Tusk urges Czech President Zeman to cooperate in Europe

Pro-Russian incumbent Milos Zeman waves to the audience as he celebrates his victory with his staff members after he was reelected Czech President on January 27, 2018 at the Top hotel in Prague. Zeman took 51.95 percent of the vote against 48.04 percent for Drahos with 96.87 percent of ballots counted, Czech Television reported quoting official results. / AFP / RADEK MICA
Updated 30 January 2018
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EU’s Tusk urges Czech President Zeman to cooperate in Europe

BRUSSELS : The chair of EU national leaders, Donald Tusk, urged Czech President Milos Zeman on Monday to pursue cooperation with the European Union following his re-election after a campaign critical of the bloc.
In a message of congratulations, European Council President Tusk wrote: “I trust that your country will continue to play an active and constructive role within the European Union.”
The former Polish prime minister, who has tried to calm mounting frictions between wealthier governments in the west and former-communist EU members in the east, highlighted his own efforts to get the Union to “better respond to European citizens’ concerns” — a nod to popular worries over issues such as immigration, on which Zeman based some of his campaigning.
Asked whether the European Commission was troubled by Zeman’s re-election, a spokesman for the EU executive said it respected the vote: “We are not worried,” he told reporters.
Later on Monday, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was to host Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who has support from Zeman as he struggles to form a government following a parliamentary election in October.


At least 11 dead in Taliban attack on Afghan police HQ

Updated 55 min 19 sec ago
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At least 11 dead in Taliban attack on Afghan police HQ

  • The assault comes amid a series of peace talks between Washington and the Taliban that both sides say are making progress
  • 11 people had been killed, including nine civilians and two police officers

KANDAHAR: At least 11 people were killed and scores more wounded Thursday when the Taliban attacked a police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar, officials and the insurgents said.
The assault comes amid a series of peace talks between Washington and the Taliban that both sides say are making progress, but which so far have yielded no reduction in violence in the gruelling Afghan conflict.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the afternoon attack in Afghanistan’s second-largest city started with a car bomb, then saw gunmen storm the police compound.
“A number of mujahideen equipped with heavy and small arms breached the headquarters and launched their operations inside,” he said.
Baheer Ahmadi, the Kandahar governor’s spokesman, said in a statement that 11 people had been killed, including nine civilians and two police officers, while another 80 — including women and children — were wounded.
He earlier had given a toll of 12 dead.
Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said eight attackers were involved. Two blew themselves up, while the remaining six were “cornered in a building.”
Hayatullah Hayat, the provincial governor for Kandahar, said Afghan security forces had launched a “clean-up operation” to see if any attackers were remaining.
“The fighting is over now. Some vehicles were burnt. Now the Afghan army and US helicopters are hovering in the area,” police chief Tadin Khan told AFP.
Pictures on social media showed a huge plume of smoke rising over Kandahar, and Hayat said about six trucks carrying commercial goods had burnt.
The assault comes just one day after two Afghan soldiers — who were really Taliban operatives — fatally shot an Afghan colonel in Ghazni province.