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International News on June 20, 2011

Few Taliban leaders take up Afghan 'peace program' offer to switch sides: Report
There exist very few Taliban commanders who are ready to lay down their arms and enroll in Afghanistan's peace program that aims to bring Taliban fighters over to the government side. ANI

US-Pak relationship breakdown reports 'clearly exaggerated': Haqqani
The United States-Pakistan relationship faces new challenges, but recent media characterization of a breakdown in relations is clearly exaggerated, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, has said. ANI

'Exiled' Ben Ali terms 'trial in his absence in Tunisia' a "shameful masquerade"
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the former autocratic leader of Tunisia whose downfall triggered uprisings in the Arab world, has condemned the Tunis criminal court's decision to carry out trials against him in absentia as a "shameful masquerade". ANI

Deputy US Af-Pak envoy in Pak to 'revive' stalled strategic dialogue
Deputy United States Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Frank Ruggiero, is due to arrive in Islamabad today as part of ongoing efforts by Washington to defuse tension with Pakistan and revive the strategic dialogue. ANI

War is not the solution to disputes: Gilani
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that war is not a solution to disputes, and all issues can be only resolved through dialogue. ANI

Pakistan suffered 67.93 billion dollars in losses due to war on terror: Economic Survey
Pakistan's economy has suffered direct and indirect losses of upto 67.93 billion dollars due its role as a frontline state in counterterrorism operations since 2001. ANI

'Vancouver riot kiss' starts copycat controversy
A controversy has risen that the "Vancouver riot kiss", which made headlines around the world, had been staged by the two couple who were photographed. ANI

US-funded Afghan militias 'beating, robbing and killing residents with impunity': Report
American-funded Afghan militias that were raised to protect villages from the Taliban have begun to prey on the residents, and in some cases they are beating, robbing and even killing with impunity, it has emerged. ANI

Bill Clinton folk opera debuts in New York
A folk opera depicting a day in the life of teenage Bill Clinton has hit the stage of New York. ANI

US reservoir drained after man caught peeing in it
A 21-year-old man has been caught on tape urinating in a reservoir of the city of Portland, Oregon, which led to an apparent draining of eight million gallons of water. ANI

US drone attack kills seven in Pak's Kurram tribal region
Seven people were killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan's Kurram tribal region on Monday. ANI

Vladimir Putin's new personal photographer under scanner for merit
The media office of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is facing pressure to issue an explanation over the hiring of a former model as his personal photographer. ANI

US ambassador hits back at Karzai over anti-America comments
US ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry has reacted sharply to comments made by President Hamid Karzai, denouncing America's aid efforts in the country. ANI

Oz Muslim community demands 'taxpayer-funded halal training centre'
Australia's top Muslim body has demanded a new taxpayer-funded halal training centre that would prepare refugees for jobs slaughtering animals in rural areas. ANI

Inequality between rich and poor in US worse than Cameroon, Yemen
The gap between America's rich and poor is reportedly at an extreme high, much higher than many developing countries like Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, and even Yemen. ANI

Immigrants take 9 out of 10 jobs in UK: Frank Field
Frank Field, the former Labour Minister brought in to advise the Coalition last year, has said that nine in ten jobs in Britain are taken up by immigrants in Britain. ANI

UK's military action in Libya will cost hundreds of millions of pounds
Britain's Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said that he cost of his country's military action in Libya will be much higher than thought, running 'into the hundreds of millions'. ANI

50 percent of Australians think school dropouts shouldn't drive: Survey
About 50 percent of Australians think that high school dropouts should not be given their driver's licence, a new survey said. ANI

'Dotcom' set to become history in internet as regulators vote to expand domain names
The suffix '.com' in internet is set to become a thing of past after internet regulators voted to expand the domain name, allowing the use of bespoken domain names, opening the floodgates for addresses ending .apple, .orange or .sony. ANI

Prince Harry pictured in joking 'gangsta gun' pose with Mike Tindall
Prince Harry was photographed making what appeared to be a "gun cocking" pose with his cousin Zara Phillips' future husband, Mike Tindall, the England rugby captain. ANI

Mere afforestation is not the answer to stop global warming: Study
The United Nations (UN) is failing to accurately measure the global climate benefits of preserving forests, with reports suggesting that it has failed to take into account the fact that forests also alter temperature in other ways. ANI

'Intolerant' Christians are more militant than Muslims: Brit equality watchdog chief
Christians are more militant than Muslims in complaining about discrimination, the head of Britain's equality watchdog has claimed. ANI

Tony Blair asks œ10 a pupil for youngest son's end-of-term party
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is hosting his youngest son's end-of-term party, is said to have asked parents of pupils to pay 10 pounds each as entry. ANI

US Open champion McIlroy turns focus to multiple major championship success
Irish tennis prodigy Rory McIlroy has said that he is now aiming to add more silverware to his trophy cabinet following his US Open win today. ANI

'Double-game-playing' Pak must dismantle all jihadi networks from its soil: Editorial
Pakistan must end playing its 'double game' in Afghanistan to protect its strategic interests in the region once the United States pulls out of the country, an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper has said. ANI

2 female jail workers sacked for 'romping' with prisoners in UK
Two female jail workers in Britain's HMP Isle of Wight have been suspended for having sex with prisoners in their cells for almost one year. ANI

"Saboteurs" are trying to exploit legitimate demands for Syrian reform: Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said "saboteurs" were trying to exploit legitimate demands for reform in the country. ANI

SMS - new option for sex syndicates to advertise prostitutes!
It has emerged that sex syndicates have resorted to SMS in a bid to offer prostitutes to their regular customers. ANI

PML-N sees defence budget as No.1 issue in next polls
Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) would continue to highlight the defence budget as the key issue for the next general elections for all mainstream political forces, a party source said. ANI

Rudeness on the rise in America: Survey
Most Americans believe that they have been victims of incivility and admit they themselves have been rude towards people, a survey has revealed. ANI

'Shameful' sacking of 150 Gurkhas in UK sparks anger
Almost 150 Gurkhas in Britain are to be sacked due to defense cuts after only a handful volunteered for redundancy, it has emerged. ANI

Pakistan to push for more 'inclusive talks' in Afghan peace process
Pakistan wants to include the insurgent groups besides the one led by Mullah Omar in peace talks with Afghan Taliban and has expressed reservations on the 'selective approach' adopted by the United States. ANI

'Cyber education for kids should start in preschool'
A major investigation of online safety has found that cyber education for children should start in preschool. ANI

US man digging through sidewalk discovers treasure worth $819
A man from Queens, New York, leaves onlookers stunned as he hunts out bits of diamonds, rubies, platinum and gold from the sidewalk cracks of Midtown's Diamond District. ANI

Afghan soldier who killed Oz army cook 'shot dead' in eastern Afghanistan
An Afghan soldier who had killed Australian soldier Lance Corporal Andrew Jones has been shot dead. ANI

Nude world record set after 400 n*ked people took dip in icy Welsh sea
A nude world record has been set by 400 people, who stripped on a South Wales beach and ran n*ked into the icy cold water. ANI

BBC staff refusing to relocate to Salford, told to stop living in 'Dark Ages'
BBC presenters who refused to relocate parts of its television and radio output to Salford will be told to stop living in the "Dark Ages" and to drop their "outdated prejudices" against the north of England. ANI

Over two million Fukushima residents to undergo long-term radiation health checkups
Over two million residents living near the earthquake-cum-tsunami hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are poised to undergo long-term health checks starting from this month. ANI

Obama jokes he is seeking second term to keep daughters under armed guard
US President Barack Obama has joked that he is seeking a second term in the White House so he can keep his daughters Malia and Sasha under armed guard. ANI

US woman sues bikini maker over third-degree burns from bra underwire
A woman in the US has sued a bikini maker after she ended with third-degree burns on her bust because the underwire in her two-piece bathing suit became superheated. ANI

Comic hero 'Foreskin Man' accused of anti-semitism over circumcision battle
An activist who had created a superhero character in his comic book to fight against the ritual practice of circumcision has been accused of anti-semitism over his use of imagery. ANI

Japan to open airlock at crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuke plant
The Tokyo Electric Power Company will open a nuclear reactor airlock at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, to ease the sauna-like conditions inside. ANI

Brit hypnotist teaches lapdancers how to lure men into spending money
A hypnotist in Britain is teaching lapdancers how to lure men into spending more money on their shows. ANI

Gilani assures free, transparent elections in PoK
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that the forthcoming elections for the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) Legislative Assembly would be free, fair and transparent and the international community would reckon them as credible. ANI

'A child under the age of five years dies every minute in Pakistan'
Every minute a child under the age of five year dies in Pakistan, while every 20 minute a woman dies due to pregnancy related causes, the Director of Sindh Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Programme has said. ANI

Dating website that 'accepts only beautiful people' to dump 30K ugly members!
A dating website, which promotes itself as the largest most exclusively beautiful community in the world, seems to be in trouble. ANI

Reagan would have been disappointed seeing GOP 'isolationism': McCain
Republican Senator John McCain has expressed disappointment over the 2012 potential GOP candidates' habit of breaking with party traditions by preaching 'isolationism', saying that former President Ronald Reagan would have lamented that 'that's not the Republican Party of the 21st century', had he been alive. ANI

US initiative over Afghan govt, Taliban peace talks at 'preliminary stage': Gates
U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said initiatives taken by several countries, including America, to broker a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban is at a 'very preliminary stage.' ANI

China's dairy industry has world's lowest quality standards: Experts
China's dairy industry has the world's lowest quality standards due to large companies dominating its production and purchasing raw milk at rock-bottom prices, industry experts said. ANI

Peace talks with Taliban reflects "disaster" of US mission in Afghanistan: Rogers
US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers has warned that having talks with the Taliban reflects the "disaster" of the American campaign in Afghanistan. ANI

Hypersonic jet primed for 2050 take-off will fly London to Tokyo in just 2 hrs!
Plans for the first pollution-free hypersonic passenger jet, that will take just two hours to cover the distance from London to Tokyo at a speed of 3,125mph, have been unveiled, but it will take another 40 years before it starts its journey commercially. ANI

Obama's favourite Fiji Water accused of misleading environmental claims
A mineral water company, which is a favourite with celebrities like actress Nicole Kidman and politicians like US President Barack Obama, has been accused of making false environmental claims. ANI

Ex-Oz PM Rudd postpones his "Assassination Party"
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has decided to postpone his so-called 'Assassination Party' to mark the first anniversary of his political ousting. ANI

Floods affect three million people in China
Floods triggered by incessant rains have affected about three million residents in 31 counties in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Guangdong provinces of southern China. ANI

Al-Qaeda had turned to kidnapping to raise funds in Pak: US official
Al-Qaeda has turned to kidnapping for ransom in Pakistan to offset dwindling cash reserves, a US official has said. ANI

George Percy just a friend, Pippa still dating Alex Loudon
All those rumours that Pippa Middleton and her long-term boyfriend Alex Loudon have parted ways have been put to rest by sources who confirmed the couple is still going steady. ANI

Soon, enjoy big screen movies on rooftops sipping your favourite drink!
Imagine sitting on a rooftop and enjoying movies sipping your favourite drink. Well, Sydney is all set to get its first commercial rooftop cinema and bar. ANI

Pak hosts highest number of refugees world-wide: UNHCR
Pakistan hosts the highest number of refugees, 1.9 million people as against 1.6 million in Europe, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said in an annual report. ANI

Rajapakse ignores US court summons for Tamil's death citing 'constitutional immunity'
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has reportedly cited constitutional immunity and refused to go before a US court where he is being sued for 30 million dollars over the killing of a Tamil man. ANI

IAEA move to strengthen nuke safety at Vienna ministerial meeting
Member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will meet on Monday to agree on the need for periodic safety assessments of nuclear power plants and recognize the importance of an international compensation framework for nuclear accidents. ANI

Osama was a 'ranting chief executive' who argued with Zawahiri on varied mission issues
Osama bin Laden was a 'ranting chief executive' of the 'increasingly fractured' al-Qaeda terrorist group who argued with his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, over who should be sent to different scheduled missions, the treasure trove of intelligence found at his Abbottabad compound has revealed. ANI

Brits' autopilot-lifestyle is a risky business for others
A recent survey has suggested that most of the Britons put others' lives at risk as they depend too much on autopilot and carry out acts without any conscious thoughts. ANI

Haqqani defends Pak decision to arrest CIA 'Osama bin Laden' informants
Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, has defended his nation's decision to arrest five informants who aided the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in tracking down Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. ANI

Call for making Malay-Indian community 'strong voting bloc' to help address issues
Malay Indian Congress (MIC) leaders have been urged to make more Indian voters register to make the community "a powerful vote bloc" as this would allow them to get concessions from the government. ANI

Medvedev rules out running against Putin in presidential stakes
Dmitry Medvedev has said that he would like to run for a second term as Russian president, but refused to make the move if Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seeks to return to the Kremlin, saying that the conflict between them could "undermine the tasks and the aims that we have been realising in recent years." ANI

Chinese 'independent democracy activists' harnessing Twitter to campaign for elections
China's grassroots democracy activists are using Twitter and other online social media tools to campaign for the elections, ANI

Illinois man offers half his yearly salary in search for a bride!
A former soldier from Illinois is offering half of his annual salary to anyone who can find him a wife after his many attempts to woo women had failed. ANI

59 pc women believe 29 is the best age to have start family
A new study has found that over half of women believe 29 is the best age to have a baby. ANI

Travelers Acquires Interest in JMalucelli, the Market Leader in Brazilian Surety
The Travelers Companies, Inc. announced today that the company has completed its acquisition of a 43 percent interest in JMalucelli Participações em Seguros e Resseguros S.A., the market leader in the surety insurance business in Brazil with a market share in excess of 30 percent. Business Wire India

Zayed Future Energy Prize Opens Submissions for 2012 Competition
Submissions for the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world’s preeminent award for innovation, leadership, long-term vision and impact in renewable energy and sustainability, are now open for the 2012 competition. Submissions will be received until 19 September 2011 online at Business Wire India

The Next Generation of Golf Arrives: Oakley's Rory McIlroy Wins U.S. Open Golf Championship
Oakley, Inc. has extended a proud salute to Rory McIlroy, winner of the 2011 U.S. Open Championship. A member of the Oakley Golf family, McIlroy relied on the company’s premium golf apparel to earn the coveted trophy at Congressional Country Club in Maryland Business Wire India

Academy of Wound Technology and KCI Announce Launch of Transcontinental Wound Registry
The Academy of Wound Technology and Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (NYSE: KCI) has announced the launch of a Transcontinental Wound Registry (TWR) to be presented at the 2012 Congress of World Union of Wound Healing Societies. The registry is the first worldwide registry on wound healing and wound care technologies Business Wire India

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