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International News on January 23, 2012

US tries to resolve tensions between Afghanistan, Qatar to facilitate Taliban peace talks
The US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman has tried resolve tensions between Afghanistan and Qatar to facilitate peace talks with the Taliban. ANI

Pak preacher converting 108,000 people to Islam wants everyone to become Muslim
A Pakistani preacher, who has converted 108,000 people to Islam since 1989, has said he desires everyone to become Muslim. ANI

UK, US, France send six warships through key oil shipping route Strait of Hormuz
The United States, Britain and France have send six warships led by an aircraft carrier through the world's most important oil shipping route the Strait of Hormuz. ANI

Pak SC sets hearing date in decade-old petition filed against politicians receiving ISI funds
The Supreme Court has finally set a date for the hearing of a decade-old petition filed by former Pakistan Tehrik-e-Istaqlal chief Asghar Khan against politicians receiving funds from the Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI). ANI

Final electoral rolls cannot be completed before May: Pak EC
Pakistan Chief Election Commissioner Justice Hamid Ali Mirza (retd) has made it clear that the final electoral rolls cannot be completed before May. ANI

Pak presidential immunity 'discriminatory' but legal: Aitzaz
Prominent Pakistan lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan has said Article 248 of the Constitution that gives immunity to the president could be termed as a 'discriminatory law,' though it cannot be discarded without a constitutional amendment. ANI

'Average Pakistani eats 67 eggs annually compared to 92 by Indians'
The dean faculty of fisheries and wildlife of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Professor Dr Muhammad Akram, has said that egg consumption in India is far more than that in Pakistan. ANI

Japan not calculating radiation amount absorbed while Fukushima workers are off-clock
Japan's health ministry is not calculating the amount of radiation workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant absorbed after they were evacuated or while they were off the clock. ANI

California strip mall being converted to Hindu temple
A 10,000 square feet strip-mall is reportedly being converted to a Hindu temple in Tracy, California. ANI

Leaked memos reveal Obama used 'character assassination tactics' against Clinton in 2008
US President Barack Obama agreed to using character assassination tactics against Hillary Clinton during his 2008 presidential campaign, leaked memos have revealed. ANI

Hindus urge Swiss churches to speak for abused children
Hindus have asked various religious groups in Switzerland to come out openly in support of Verdingkinder (contract children), whom the authorities reportedly coerced into horrible lives in the past. ANI

Syria rejects Arab League's call for transfer of power
Syria has rejected an Arab League call for President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his first vice-president and the national unity government. ANI

Costa Concordia captain says owners 'asked to sail close to shore for publicity stunts'
Francesco Schettino, the captain of the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the Italian coast has said that he was asked to sail close to shore for publicity stunts. ANI

Oz 'veiled Muslim woman' loses court bid for costs over burqa row
A 47-year-old Sydney woman who was acquitted of lying about a policeman removing her burqa has lost a bid to make the state pay her legal bills. ANI

Pak judges' overstepping of authority against govt. posing danger to fragile democracy'
Many Pakistanis are of the opinion that the country's Supreme Court is dangerously overstepping its authority against an elected civilian government that could damage their fragile democracy and lead to a new military intervention. ANI

Malaysia says India's visa-on arrival facility will boost tourism
India is expanding its visa-on-arrival (VoA) facility to include Malaysia, which would ease the visa procedure for Malaysian tourists to visit India. ANI

Malaysian PM stresses need for strategy to promote Tamil education
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has stressed the need for a blueprint to promote Tamil education in the country. ANI

David Cameron to confront court over extraditing suspected Osama aide
British Prime Minister David Cameron is going head-to-head with the European Court of Human Rights over its ruling that the man dubbed Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe would remain in the UK. ANI

Ijaz won't come to Pak to avoid 'knowingly falling into govt. trap': Lawyer
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the key person in the Memo Gate scandal, will not come to Pakistan, as he wishes to avoid 'knowingly falling into the government trap', his lawyer has said. ANI

Romney vows to release tax returns on Tuesday
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to release his tax returns for 2010 on Tuesday. ANI

New Jersey Governor Christie describes Gingrich as 'embarrassment' over ethics violation
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has described 2012 White House Republican contender Newt Gingrich as an embarrassment to the party, citing his ethics violation and pointed out that the latter was asked to quit as Speaker of the House of Representatives by his own party. ANI

Salman Rushdie accuses Indian police of lying about murder threat
Salman Rushdie has slammed Indian police officials for lying about an alleged assassination plot to keep him away from a literary festival in the country. ANI

Santorum calls Gingrich 'erratic conservative, very high risk candidate'
Former US senator Rick Santorum has described former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich a "very high risk candidate" who could dash Republican hopes of winning the White House back, if he becomes the party's nominee. ANI

Haqqani's wife rejects 'fleeing Pak over abduction fears' report
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's media adviser Farahnaz Ispahani has rejected a foreign media report that she ran away from the country over fears that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) might kidnap her to force her husband, Pakistan's former Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, to sign a confession and implicate the president in the Memo Gate scandal. ANI

Human Rights Watch urges West to accept rising Islamist political power in Arab nations
A human rights organisation has urged the Western governments to accept that Islamist parties are a rising political power in Arab nations following a wave of popular uprisings in the last year. ANI

US drones kill "five suspected militants" in North Waziristan
Two US drones fired missiles into a vehicle and on a compound, killing at least five persons in North Waziristan on Monday. ANI

'Unregistered passengers' aboard Costa Concordia to complicate search operation to find missing
Italian authorities have admitted that there could have been unregistered passengers on the Costa Concordia, which would further complicate efforts to establish the exact number of people still missing from the capsized luxury cruise ship. ANI

Ijaz's Pak visit in doubt over 'inadequate' security provided by govt?
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz's counsel Akram Shaikh has expressed his dissatisfaction about the security measures adopted for his client's upcoming visit to Pakistan to testify in the Memo Gate issue, throwing in doubt whether he would come to the country at all. ANI

Now, 'banned' JuD publically spews anti-India 'jihadi' venom in full view of armed police
Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed has warned the Pakistan government of serious 'jihadi' consequences if the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status is given to India. ANI

Allen Stanford goes on trial for $7 bln Ponzi scam
The trail for former Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, accused of defrauding thousands of investors in a seven billion dollars Ponzi scheme, will begin today. ANI

'Japanese Govt. hid Fukushima nuke disaster's worst-case scenario report till Dec 2011'
The Japanese Government had suppressed a report predicting the worst-case scenario for the Fukushima nuclear crisis until the end of 2011, sources in the administration have said. ANI

Musharraf's former Army colleagues backing his safe homecoming
Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has finally managed to get the backing of his former military colleagues for his safe return to the country, at a time when many in his own party the 'All Pakistan Muslim League (APML)' raised doubts over his desired move. ANI

South Australia says trade with India to play 'significant role in its economic growth'
South Australia should devise a strategy to take advantage of emerging trade opportunities with India, the government has said. ANI

Arab League gives ultimatum to Assad to oversee transition to Syrian democracy
The Arab League has given an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to abandon his monopoly on power and oversee a transition to democracy within six months. ANI

Libya's NTC Deputy quits amid fears 'protests could drag nation into bottomless pit'
Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, the deputy head of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) has resigned in the wake of fears that ongoing protests could drag the nation into a "bottomless pit." ANI

Pak HR Commission slams government over journalist Mukarram's killing
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the assassination of journalist Mukarram Khan Atif in Charsadda and expressed concern that journalists' killings have continued across the country despite assurances by the authorities. ANI

Costa Concordia owner now admits ship's captain had 'character problems'
Costa Cruises, owners of the Costa Concordia, the luxury cruise ship that ran aground off the Italian coast, have said that the ship's captain had "character problems." ANI

Imran urges US to stop drone attacks to avoid turning innocent people into jihadis
Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has urged the United States to stop drone attacks in his country because many innocent people are being killed in the process. ANI

Haqqani's "tolerant" wife fled Pak over fears of being kidnapped by ISI
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's media adviser Farahnaz Ispahani has alleged that she ran away from the country over fears that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) might kidnap her to force her husband, Pakistan's former Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, to sign a confession and implicate the president in the Memo Gate scandal. ANI

Shot US Congresswoman Giffords to quit to 'focus on recovery'
US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically injured in a shooting incident in January last year, has decided to step down from her seat in Congress. ANI

Racism against Indian migrant workers in Oz finance, IT jobs can ' make skin crawl'
Workers from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China in Australia's IT and finance sectors are more likely to suffer racism, a survey has revealed. ANI

Sri Lanka expels 161 foreign Muslim clerics, including Indians, for flouting visa regulations
Sri Lanka has ordered a group of 161 foreign Islamic clerics, including Indians, to leave the country for flouting visa regulations. ANI

Fatima Bhutto slams Imran Khan for having "coziness with dictatorship"
Pakistani journalist Fatima Bhutto has denied reports that she was flirting with the idea of joining Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party, saying that this could never happen because the cricketer-turned-politician has an "incredible coziness with dictatorship." ANI

Billions won't be spent on 'viceroy' Ijaz's security: Gilani
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said billions would not be spent on the security of Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the key person in the Memo Gate scandal. ANI

Sitting down for too long cuts workplace productivity
Sitting down for long-hours causes back aches, which may hamper workplace productivity, researchers say. ANI

Panduit Enhances Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Solution with Advanced Dashboards and Reports Providing Deep Visibility into Operational Metrics
Panduit announces the launch of its Physical Infrastructure Manager™ (PIM™) Software Platform Version 4.4, which extends Panduit’s data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution Business Wire India

Covidien CEO Elected Chairman of the Board
Covidien plc (NYSE: COV) today announced that its Board of Directors has elected President and Chief Executive Officer José E. Almeida to the additional position of Chairman of the Board, effective March 13, 2012. Business Wire India

Praxair Names Vargas Director of Government Relations
Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX) has named Omar A. Vargas, director of Government Relations. He is responsible for developing and implementing Praxair’s global political and public policy positioning and engagement strategy. He will also continue to develop Praxair’s relationships with policymakers and other authorities. Business Wire India

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