King Salman discusses Syria situation, oil market stability with Vladimir Putin

Saudi Arabia's King Salman held a telephone conversation with Russia's Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 14 February 2018
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King Salman discusses Syria situation, oil market stability with Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's King Salman "expressed readiness to expand fruitful coordination on world hydrocarbon markets" in a phone conversation they had on Wednesday, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The statement did not offer any details on what that expanded coordination could entail.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are major players in a global pact on cutting oil output.
The two leaders also discussed Syria and defence sales, the statement said.
It said the Saudi king had expressed his condolences to Putin regarding a plane crash at the weekend near Moscow that killed all 71 passengers and crew. 


Over 400 Afghan women aim to break male stranglehold on Parliament

Updated 18 October 2018
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Over 400 Afghan women aim to break male stranglehold on Parliament

  • Of 2,691 candidates vying for seats in Afghanistan's parliament, more than 400 are women
  • Their aims are to encourage a consensus among female members of Parliament and to end the reliance on factional leaders and strongmen with power and wealth

KABUL: For women in Afghanistan’s Parliament, what a difference a year makes.

Last December, the government proposed 12 candidates for ministerial positions; only one was female, and she failed to win enough votes.

Now hundreds of women aim to be agents of change by standing for Parliament in elections on Saturday.

More than 400 of the 2,691 candidates are women. Their aims are to encourage a consensus among female members of Parliament and to end the reliance on factional leaders and strongmen with power and wealth.

“The young and new candidates are a powerful tool to make Parliament exercise its rights as stipulated in the constitution,” said Zahra Nawabi, 28, a candidate from Kabul who has two master’s degrees.

“Our priority should be women, first and foremost addressing their health. Parliament should not become a source of shame for the nation.”

The practice of wealthy figures and men with power supporting their own choice of female nominees was a greater threat to Afghan democracy than the threatened attacks on the election process by Taliban insurgents, she said.

“The government needs to intervene to stop this, otherwise the next Parliament could be worse than the current one.”

Shinkay Karokhail, who was elected as an MP in 2005, was re-elected in 2010 and is standing again, admitted that female MPs had failed to form a powerful bloc in Parliament. Some of them regarded themselves “as extra-ordinary,” she said, and it was too early to say whether any of the new batch of candidates would be an improvement.