All-Afghan conference brings country closer to peace

Taliban negotiators attend the Intra Afghan Dialogue talks in the Qatari capital Doha on July 7, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 09 July 2019
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All-Afghan conference brings country closer to peace

  • Washington is hoping the roadmap can be decided by Sept. 1, also allowing the withdrawal of US and NATO troops
  • Representatives of Afghanistan’s government, women and members of the country’s nascent civil society, agreed a post-war Afghanistan would have an Islamic legal system and protect women’s rights

KABUL, Afghanistan: An All-Afghan conference that brought Afghanistan’s warring sides together appears to get the country a step closer to peace with a statement that laid out the foundations for a roadmap to end to nearly 18 years of war.
Washington is hoping the roadmap can be decided by Sept. 1, also allowing the withdrawal of US and NATO troops.
In a statement finalized in the early hours Tuesday, a much touted two-day meeting in Doha, Qatar, attended by Taliban, representatives of Afghanistan’s government, women and members of the country’s nascent civil society, agreed a post-war Afghanistan would have an Islamic legal system, protect women’s rights “within the Islamic framework of Islamic values,” and ensure equality for all ethnic groups.
The next step is to start negotiations.


Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

People pour to the streets in Caracas on July 22, 2019 as the capital and other parts of Venezuela are being hit by a massive power cut. (AFP)
Updated 4 min 12 sec ago
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Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

  • Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence

CARACAS: More than half of Venezuela’s 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack.”
It was the first blackout to include the capital, Caracas, since March, when the government blamed the opposition and United States for a series of power outages that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications.
The blackouts exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence. He added that authorities were in the process of re-establishing service.
Power returned for about 10 minutes to parts of southeastern Bolivar state, site of the Guri hydroelectric dam — the source of most of Venezuela’s generation — but went out again, according to a Reuters witness. Electricity was still out throughout Caracas.
“It terrifies me to think we are facing a national blackout again,” said Maria Luisa Rivero, a 45-year-old business owner from the city of Valencia, in the central state of Carabobo.
“The first thing I did was run to freeze my food so that it does not go bad like it did like the last time in March. It costs a lot to buy food just to lose it,” she said.
The oil-rich country’s hyperinflationary economic crisis has led to widespread shortages in food and medicine, prompting over 4 million Venezuelans to leave the country.
Venezuela’s national power grid has fallen into disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance, according to the opposition and power experts.
“These blackouts are catastrophic,” said 51-year-old janitor Bernardina Guerra, who lives in Caracas. “I live in the eastern part of the city and there the lights go out every day. Each day things are worse.”