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Sunday, 12 January 2014

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PTI leader among 5 shot dead in Kasur


KASUR (Dunya News) – According to details, Maqsood Ahmed Bhatti along with his personal guards was coming to Lahore from Kasur when some unidentified gunmen opened fire at his vehicle near Lalyani.Maqsood Ahmed Bhatti and his three guards, Yasir, Khalid and Shabbir, were killed on the spot while another guard succumbed to his wounds on way to hospital.Residents of the area staged a protest after the incident and blocked Ferozpur Road.

Libya's deputy industry minister shot dead: security official


TRIPOLI (AFP) - Libya's deputy industry minister, Hassan al-Droui, was shot dead during a visit to his hometown of Sirte, east of Tripoli, security and hospital sources said Sunday.The identity of the shooters was not immediately known, but the official's death was the first assassination of a member of the transitional government since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi's regime in October 2011.Hassan al-Droui, the deputy minister for industry, was killed by unknown attackers overnight, during a visit to his native city of Sirte, a security official told AFP.Unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets on Mr. Droui in central Sirte, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.An official at the city's Ibn Sina hospital confirmed the deputy minister's death and added that he had suffered bullet wounds to several parts of his body.Droui was a former member of the National Transitional Council, the political arm of the rebellion that brought an end to Kadhafi's 42-year rule.He was appointed deputy minister for industry by the transitional government's first prime minister, Abdelrahim al-Kib, and kept his job when Ali Zeidan took over.Droui's hometown, which lies on the Mediterranean coast about 250 miles (400 kilometres) east of the capital Tripoli, was the last regime bastion to fall into rebel hands in 2011.Since the collapse of Kadhafi's autocratic regime, Libya has been plagued by sporadic violence, including a string of assassinations targeting top army and security officials.

Syrian troops advance on Aleppo area: activists


BEIRUT (AFP) - Syrian troops seized a rebel-held town north of Aleppo Saturday and pushed toward part of Aleppo city, taking advantage of fighting between rebels and jihadists elsewhere, activists said.Regime forces have taken over the area of Naqarin and are advancing towards the industrial area of Aleppo city, said the Aleppo Media Centre, a network of activists on the ground.This advance is clearly a result of the rebels being busy fighting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, activist Nazeer al-Khatib told AFP in a Skype call.The armys moves come eight days after Islamist and moderate rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assads regime launched a major offensive against ISIL.On Saturday, ISIL militants fought pitched battles with other rebels in the northwestern town of Saraqeb and seized the frontier town of Tal Abyad on the border with Turkey after Islamist rebels pulled out, a monitoring group said.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamist rebels launched an offensive to push ISIL out of Saraqeb, the jihadists last bastion in the western province of Idlib.They took over most of the town, and besieged hundreds of ISIL fighters, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.During the day a car bomb exploded in Saraqeb near an Islamist rebel checkpoint, killing two Islamist commanders, the Observatory said.ISIL militants also battled rebels in the northern city of Raqa, where they captured a train station and a checkpoint run by other rebels, said the Observatory.The corpses of dozens of ISIL fighters were found in a Raqa hospital, the monitoring group said.Meanwhile, muezzins in Jazra, a town west of Raqa, urged residents to identify the bodies of dozens of Islamist fighters who had been abandoned on the battlefield, added the Observatory.Although rebels initially welcomed jihadists in Syria, ISILs horrific abuses and its quest for hegemony over opposition areas sparked a massive backlash against them.ISIL had previously warned rebels that if they continue to fight them, they would withdraw from the frontlines in Aleppo, Syrias second city, thus allowing Assads forces to deploy.The Observatory also reported that an ill-reputed rebel group raided an ISIL commanders home in Aleppo city... and kidnapped his mother and his sister, and raped his mother.Fighting also raged on between government forces and rebels in other parts of Syria, and an regime air raid killed at least six people in central Hama province, said the Observatory.And 12 people were killed in regime shelling of a neighbourhood in the central city of Homs, the NGO said.More than 130,000 people have been killed in Syria and millions more displaced since the conflict erupted in March 2011.

Murray not getting hopes up for Australian Open


MELBOURNE (AFP) - Wimbledon champion Andy Murray on Saturday said he was not getting his hopes up for the Australian Open after a long injury lay-off and that he could not predict when he would again be back to his best.The Scot underwent a back operation in September, missing the rest of the season, and his preparations for Melbourne, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's final, have not been good.The world number four crashed out in the second round of the Qatar Open to German Florian Mayer, the world number 38, and then went down to veteran Australian Lleyton Hewitt in an exhibition match on Friday.Obviously I need to be pretty patient with myself and not expect too much, said the Britsh number one.But you never know. I've done a lot of training the last few months. It's just I haven't played many matches.So, you know, if somehow I can work my way into the tournament, feel a little bit better every day, then I might start to raise those expectations, added the 26-year-old.But for now they're not going to be obviously as high as they were the last few years. Just concentrate on my first match.His operation came just a few weeks after he became the first British man to lift the Wimbledon trophy since Fred Perry in 1936 and Murray said he was glad to be back on the Tour after his lengthy absence.But he admitted he was unsure how long it would be before he could return to his best form.There's no number you can put on it. You know, it can come almost from one day to the next sometimes, or one tournament to the next, he said.But I played a few matches in Doha, singles and doubles. Then obviously I practised a lot here. We'll see when the tournament starts. I'll have a better idea what I'm like playing five-set matches because that's also completely different to best-of-three, especially in the heat we're going to be playing in.First up for Murray is Japan's Go Soeda, a player he has never faced before.The Japanese players, a lot of them are fairly similar in the way that they play. They play from the baseline. They like to take the ball fairly early. They hit quite flat. Backhand's maybe a bit better. They compete well, he said.I'll need to be ready. I haven't played a lot of matches, so I'm not going to look past anyone.

Tennis: Sharapova rebuffs waiter's 'selfie' request


MELBOURNE (AFP) - An Australian waiter's bold request for a selfie from Maria Sharapova has met with an icy response from the Russian world number three.Sharapova admitted she was taken aback when her bill at a Melbourne cafe arrived together with the waiter's smartphone and a request for a photo, along with an autograph.Sharapova, who was relaxing ahead of next week's Australian Open, duly took a picture -- not of herself, but of a man sitting nearby.I actually took a picture of the guy next to me. True story, she told journalists on Saturday.The brush-off suggests Sharapova is in no mood for frivolity as she embarks on the season's first Grand Slam, following a four-month lay-off with a shoulder injury.Sharapova, who has long struggled with her right shoulder and had surgery in 2008, said she was delighted to be in Australia after missing last year's US Open.I'm happy to be back playing a Grand Slam. I missed the last one at the end of last year, she said. I'm happy to get myself back in form and really start well here.Sharapova, a four-time Grand Slam winner who reached last year's semi-finals, added: You obviously have to lower your expectations a little bit and be a bit realistic about maybe the first few matches. You have to grind, work through them, hope to get better as the tournament goes on.

Football: Avenging United stop rot, Chelsea go top


LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United stemmed a run of three consecutive defeats by avenging last weekend's FA Cup loss to Swansea City with a 2-0 win over the Welsh club on Saturday.Defeats by Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea and Sunderland had left United at risk of losing four successive games for the first time since 1961, but they blew off the cobwebs with an assured display at Old Trafford.Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck claimed second-half goals to leave United four points outside the Premier League's top four in seventh place, six days after Swansea had dumped them out of the FA Cup on the same pitch.Teenage winger Adnan Januzaj was the catalyst for United's victory and he went close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute with a free-kick that struck the crossbar.Welbeck also squandered a glorious chance when he bundled wide, but the pressure told early in the second period when Valencia tapped home after Gerhard Tremmel parried a header from Shinji Kagawa.Januzaj provided the cross for Kagawa and he was also the source of United's second goal, in the 59th minute, with a centre that was cleared to Patrice Evra, whose first-time shot was deftly flicked home by Welbeck.Chris Smalling somehow contrived to volley over from a cross by Kagawa, who also had a shot blocked on the line, but while there were no further goals, the rediscovered swagger in United's play will have been a sight for the sore eyes of their fans.Earlier, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres scored two excellent goals as Chelsea won 2-0 at Hull City to climb to the top of the table.Hazard, who turned 23 on Tuesday, broke the deadlock in the 56th minute at the KC Stadium, gathering a flick from Ashley Cole, evading a pair of defenders, and drilling a shot into the bottom-right corner.Torres marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a late goal that saw him wriggle past Alex Bruce and slam the ball inside the left-hand post with his left foot.Victory moved Jose Mourinho's side into first place above former leaders Arsenal, who visit Aston Villa on Monday, and set them up nicely for next weekend's home game with United.Chelsea manager Mourinho dismissed French media reports linking man-of-the-match Hazard with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, saying: The club doesn't want to sell him.Last year you saw a talented Hazard; this year he is a much more mature player. He deserves more than man of the match, probably player of the month. Not many are doing what he is doing.Everton climbed back into the Champions League places with a 2-0 victory at home to Norwich City.Gareth Barry put Everton ahead in the 23rd minute with a fine 20-yard shot that fizzed into the top-right corner, before Kevin Mirallas scored direct from a free-kick on the hour.Tottenham Hotspur are a point behind Roberto Martinez's side in fifth place after beating Crystal Palace by the same score at White Hart Lane.After Palace winger Jason Puncheon horribly miscued an early penalty, Christian Eriksen broke the deadlock in the 50th minute from Emmanuel Adebayor's flick-on.A day after his transfer to Toronto FC was announced, Spurs striker Jermain Defoe was granted a warm reception after coming on as a second-half substitute and he claimed a well-taken goal with 18 minutes remaining.It was a typical Jermain Defoe finish, said Spurs manager Tim Sherwood.He's pounced on it and struck. I'll be sorry to lose Jermain. Toronto are getting a fine goalscorer.Adam Johnson scored the first hat-trick of his professional career as Sunderland won 4-1 at Fulham to climb off the foot of the table and close to within a point of safety.Johnson teed up Sunderland's other goal, for Ki Sung-yueng, with Steve Sidwell replying for the hosts.West Ham United spoilt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first home game as Cardiff City manager as goals from Carlton Cole and Mark Noble gave Sam Allardyce's side a 2-0 win that took them out of the bottom three at their hosts' expense.Meanwhile, a 66th-minute strike from captain Adam Lallana earned Southampton a 1-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion.

Athletics: Bolt, Fraser-Pryce win sportsperson of year


KINGSTON (AFP) - Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, and sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, were named Jamaica's Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year on Friday.The 27-year-old Bolt, who won his second IAAF World Championships sprint double title in Moscow in 2013, ended the Championships by anchoring a Jamaican quartet to the gold in the men's 4x100m relay.Bolt, who won ten 100m races and was unbeaten in his five races over 200m, was overjoyed with taking his third straight and fifth overall Jamaica Sportsman of the Year title.This year was a wonderful year, said Bolt. It was hard, lots of ups and downs, but overall it was a great season.The energy I got last year is continuing to grow and it helped me to grow in so many ways, said Bolt, who won ahead of training partner and World Championships 200m silver medalist Warren Weir.Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce, who had the best season of her career, won the sprint double in Moscow.She won the 100m in a world-leading 10.71 and three days later topped the 200m field in 22.17.Fraser-Pryce, who rounded off her fantastic season by securing the historic Diamond League sprint double, also said 2013 was a difficult year.It was a hard year, but a year that met all my expectations because I worked hard and I was fully committed to the task ahead, she said.Both Bolt and Fraser-Pryce were last November named IAAF Male and Female Athletes of 2013.

Golf: Fleetwood takes control in Durban


DURBAN (AFP) - Tommy Fleetwood shot a third round 69 to take a one shot lead at the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban on Saturday.The Englishman, seeking his second win on the European Tour, produced four birdies and a lone bogey to move to a ten under par total of 206.Breathing down his neck with a share of second on 207 were Frances Victor Dubuisson and Dutchman Joost Luiten, with last years winner Louis Oosthuizen two off the pace despite a triple bogey seven at the 16th.Fleetwood, who opened his Tour account in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles last year, was satisfied to be in the lead after a demanding days play.I played four or five really good holes, but obviously the rest of it I struggled, the 22-year-old told miss your tee shots youre always going to struggle for pars. I made one bogey but it was always coming at some point so I was quite cool and calm at the end of it.Three under around this golf course when youre not on your game is an absolutely brilliant score, and so I think its showing Im maturing as a golfer.He is hoping a win in Durban can set him up for an exceptional year leading to a place in Paul McGinleys Ryder Cup team.Dubuisson, third on the European Ryder Cup points list, had his short game to thank for a solid third round.Local hope Oosthuizen meanwhile was leading the pack with three holes to go before his triple bogey slip-up after striking his second into deep undergrowth and declaring it unplayable.Its frustrating that I finally got my seven birdies, which you need to do around this course, but made too many bogeys, the 2010 Open Champion said.I was not great off the tee and hit a few wayward shots but Im still happy to be right in there.Fellow South African Braden Grace is a shot further back on seven under with Wales Jamie Donaldson another stroke away alongside Frances Raphael Jacquelin.

Misbah leads Pakistan's resistance to foil Sri Lanka


DUBAI (AFP) - Skipper Misbah-ul Haq led Pakistan's resistance with a gritty 97 to thwart Sri Lanka's victory bids on the fourth day of the second Test in Dubai on Saturday.Misbah missed his sixth Test hundred by a mere three runs but a career best 70 not out by Sarfraz Ahmed and a defiant 32 by Bilawal Bhatti kept Pakistan's fight to take them to 330-7 at close on a cloudy day.When bad light and drizzle ended play 15 overs before schedule, Saeed Ajmal was on seven and Pakistan were leading by 107 runs with a full day's play remaining.Sarfraz added an invaluable 67 runs for the seventh wicket with Bhatti to frustrate the Sri Lankan bowlers who bowled with discipline and patience on a pitch which had little response for bowlers.Sri Lanka will look for an early wrap up of Pakistan's second innings to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after the first Test ended in a draw in Abu Dhbai last week.The third and final Test will be played in Sharjah from Thursday.When left-arm spinner Rangana Herath spun one across Misbah's bat to hit the off stump just 20 minutes before tea it looked as if the match would be over soon but Sarfraz and Bhatti kept the fight before Eranga bowled Bhatti in the dying moments.Sarfraz said he felt more responsibility after Misbah's fall.When I was playing with Misbah, he was guiding me, said Sarfraz. But when he got out I felt more responsibility and I will continue to fight on Sunday and if we add another 100 then we can win this match.Sarfraz improved on his highest Test score of 40 he made against South Africa at Centurion earlier this year by posting his maiden half century. He has so far hit seven boundaries during his 123-ball stay.Sri Lanka had a good chance of dismissing Sarfraz at 51 but paceman Suranga Lakmal dropped a regulation caught and bowled chance to add to his team's woes after Misbah foiled them for nearly two sessions.Misbah's valiant effort helped Pakistan avoid their first-ever innings defeat against Sri Lanka before his 412-minute resistance ended.Herath said Sri Lanka will look for early wickets.The pitch is still 50-50 so if we can get them for another 50 more we can win, said Herath.Misbah, who took 38 balls to add to his overnight score of 53, hit eight boundaries and a six under difficult circumstances.He added an invaluable 129 for the fourth wicket with Younis Khan (77), 52 with Asad Shafiq (23) for the fifth and 45 for the sixth with Sarfarz to help Pakistan avoid innings defeat but finally succumbed to some persistent effort from Herath who has figures of 2-124.Paceman Nuwan Pradeep had the best figures of 2-50 while Eranga took 2-70.Pakistan resumed on 132-3 and needed Younis and Misbah to dig deep but Younis tried to drive a slightly wide delivery from Lakmal, managing only to edge it to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who held his eighth catch of the match.Younis batted for 235 minutes and hit five boundaries, adding 129 runs for the third wicket with his skipper.Sri Lanka took the second new ball with the score at 198-4 and were instantly rewarded in the second over when Eranga had Shafiq caught in the slip.Both Misbah and Sarfraz survived confident leg-before appeals -- with the skipper reverting Indian umpire Sundaram Ravi's decision on 78 to add to Sri Lanka's day-long frustration.

Will unite nation to avenge mother's martyrdom vows Bilawal Bhutto


KARACHI: (Dunya News) – Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has said that he will unite the entire nation against the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in an attempt to avenge the murder of slain mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.In a message on social networking website Twitter, Bilawal said he can follow the Taliban's principle of eye for an eye but he would rather deal with this in a 'better' way which he says is unite the nation against Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)."TTP assassinated my mother. Acc 2 their own rules I can kill their mothers eye4aneye. Im going 2 do better. Ill unite this country vs TTP"Bilawal went on to warn TTP about his vengeance saying:"Whn Im done their own mothers will want them dead…."And went on to reinforce his slogan against negotiations with Taliban saying Taliban supporters are traitors." Dehshatgardo Kay Jo yar hain, Ghadar hain, Ghadar hain." remaining part of the tweet said.PPP chairman often makes headlines with his outspoken statements on Twitter. Bilawal had tweeted He came in the limelight with his recent rebuttals to MQM chief's pressers through Twitter. Prior to that, Bilawal had attracted controversy by declaring Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief as 'buzdil khan', literally coward Khan.Bilawal had also lashed out at proponents of negotiating with Taliban by saying whoever is a friend of Taliban is nation's traitor.

COAS Raheel Sharif pays tribute to Aitzaz Hasan


RAWALPINDI (Dunya News) - Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has highly appreciated Aitzaz Hasan, Hangu student and dubbed him a national hero.According to a statement released by the ISPR on Saturday, COAS General Raheel Sharif said that Aitzaz Hasan is a national hero, who has sacrificed his today for our tomorrow.The young student of Grade IX set a great example of bravery and valour with his act.Aitzaz Hasan embraced martyrdom while trying to stop a suicide bomber from entering a school in Hangu.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also on Friday recommended Sitara-e-Shujaat for 15 year old school boy who sacrificed his life tackling a suicide bomber in an attempt to save the lives of over 2000 schoolmates in Hangu.Earlier, the Senate passed a unanimous resolution and paid rich tribute to Aitzaz Hasan who sacrificed his life to save his fellow students.According to the reports, the 15-year-old Aitzaz was playing with friends outside school when they saw a man wearing a suicide vest heading towards the school. Aitzaz was then warned by fellow students not go near the bomber but the teenaged hero had decided to brave the fear and confront the apparent suicide bomber.It is during this confrontation that the bomber detonated his vest killing himself and Aitzaz. According to media reports, an estimated number of 2000 pupils were inside the school at the time and the casualties would have been multiplied had the bomber reached his aim.The incident took place at a Shia-dominated area of Hangu and targeting based on sectarian profiling has increased in numbers especially in the recent times. According to reports, banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had claimed the responsibility of this terrorist attack.Aitzaz Hasan's cousin while speaking to a British media said that his cousin wanted to capture the attacker as he believed the bomber was going to attack his friends and other pupils inside the school building. Aitzaz's cousin further said that without the sacrifice of his cousin, the school would have been a sight of destruction.The family and friends termed the actions of teenage hero as brave and insisted on celebrating his bravery instead of focusing on the sorrow brought about by his death.Speaking to the media, Aitzaz's father said that his son made his mother cry but saved hundreds of mothers from crying. He went on to say that he is ready to sacrifice his second son as well and that he is now one of the proud fathers whose son is amongst the martyrs of the nation.The family requested the government to award either Tamgha-e-Shujaat or Nishan-e-Haider award for the bravery of Aitzaz. This call was also echoed by members of civil society and activists especially in the cyber space.The students, teachers and the principal of the school have expressed grief over the incident saying they are still in shock and at loss of words to describe the incident. They termed this attack as the attack on education and paid respect to the young hero for sacrificing his life for the cause of education as this was the only school in the area.Criticizing the provincial and federal governments, the principal of the school said that he is surprised that no official has visited the family as their son died in an attempt to foil an attack on education. Aitzaz's class fellow Atif Hussain is quoted by media saying his friend has sacrificed his life for the cause of education and that no one can snatch his memories and right to education from them.The sectarian violence incidents have increased in numbers in the recent years targeting the minority sects. The region itself is a troubled one as it has witnessed Taliban-struck violence for a very long time.The incident has attracted attention on the cyber space and members of civil society have called for the award of Nishan-e-Haider for the young martyr which is a highest posthumous military prize awarded to soldiers with extraordinary sacrifices. The social media in this regard is especially abuzz with people sending their tributes to the unsung hero.Notable personalities on social media have compared the young hero's courage with that of Malala Yousafzai s, who was shot by Taliban over a year ago for advocating for women's right to education.

Alleged 'affairs' raises stakes for French president Hollande


PARIS (AFP) - Allegations that French President Francois Hollande is having an affair with an actress come at a bad time as he prepares to showcase efforts to tackle the country's economic and social woes.Already unpopular in the opinion polls, Hollande, who has yet to win his bet to reverse the trend in unemployment, is now under attack in his private life.The French president, 59, who officially lives with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, has not denied the relationship with 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet but reacted furiously to Friday's publication of the allegation in Closer magazine.He threatened legal action over what he called a violation of his right to privacy.It's a real passion that has... turned their lives upside down and makes them take insane risks, Closer said in a special edition Friday detailing the president's alleged infidelity.The timing of the alleged affair is particularly bad for the French president.Hollande, whose popularity ratings have hit record lows in recent months, had been expected to use his bi-annual press conference on Tuesday to announce a new strategy aimed at lifting France out of its economic difficulties.He was due to outline the responsibility pact he is offering a disgruntled business community whereby companies would benefit from lower labour taxes in exchange for job creation.The number of France's unemployed rose to 3.29 million in November, even though Hollande claimed in October he had met his electoral pledge to halt the rise in joblessness by the end of 2013.Closer's article, which describes a president travelling at night on the backseat of a scooter to see his lover, could spoil Hollande's new year, newspapers warned.Tuesday's press conference was expected to mark a political resurgence by confirming the social-democratic shift the president hinted at in his New Year address, L'Est Republicain said in an editorial.But all eyes will now be on the president's reaction to the alleged affair, it said.Hollande, who intended to have what he called a normal presidency, has since his election had to walk a fine line between his private and public life after his companion Trierweiler tweeted her support for the local political rival of Segolene Royal, Hollande's ex partner and mother of their four children.Private affairs are resolved in private. And I have told this to those close to me so they can scrupulously accept this principle, Hollande said in a bid to defuse the crisis.But he later told the people magazine Gala in October 2010 that Trierweiler was the love of my life, a woman the Americans call the first girlfriend, making official his relationship with the journalist.Such scrutiny of the president's private life was unthinkable several years ago, as the French media had shown almost complete discretion about the privacy of politicians.Former president Jacques Chirac is believed to have had many extra-marital conquests, as did his predecessor Francois Mitterrand, who even had a daughter born to a mistress.But much of this has been swept under the carpet as France's media is subject to strict laws on invasion of privacy, which can be punished with a year's jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($61,000).Closer's allegations are catastrophic in every possible way for Francois Hollande, L'Alsace newspaper commented.French people thought he was occupied by his duties, devoting every moment to getting the country back up. And as the results are not there, they then learn that the president of the republic has time to woo an actress.

Iran invites EU foreign affairs chief Ashton to visit


TEHRAN (AFP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has invited EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to visit the Islamic republic, Mehr news agency cited his deputy as saying on Saturday.Ashton has received an open invitation from Zarif to travel to Iran whenever she wants, Abbas Araqchi, the deputy negotiator in talks on Iran's disputed nuclear programme, said without giving any dates for the proposed trip.Iran and world powers agreed Friday on how to implement a landmark deal on containing Tehran's nuclear programme, but it must still be approved by each country before it can take effect.The negotiations were carried out in the atmosphere of mutual understanding and we found solutions for all the three points of disagreement, but the capitals should decide whether they accept or reject the solutions, said Araqchi.Under the deal clinched in November, Tehran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear drive for six months in exchange for receiving modest relief from international sanctions and a promise by Western powers not to impose new measures against its hard-hit economy.Two days of talks between high-level Iranian and EU negotiators ended in Geneva Friday with very good progress on all the pertinent issues, said Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.Ashton represents the so-called P51 group of world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- in the decade-long nuclear negotiations with Iran.

No standoff with US over diplomat row: India


NEW DELHI (AFP) - India said Saturday there was no standoff with Washington after it expelled a US diplomat in a bitter row over the arrest and strip search of an Indian consulate official in New York.Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid's comments came a day after New Delhi gave a US diplomat 48 hours to quit the country over the dispute that has seriously strained bilateral ties.There is no standoff between India and the US, Khurshid told reporters, adding if there are any issues the countries will sort them out mutually.Relations began fraying when Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul-general in New York, was arrested last month on charges of visa fraud involving her domestic servant and lying about how much she paid her.Shortly before her indictment Thursday, Washington granted the Indian officer -- who has denied all charges -- full diplomatic immunity, allowing her to return to India in what appeared to be a compromise worked out with New Delhi.But the announcement late Friday that India had ordered the US diplomat to leave in apparent reprisal for its envoy's treatment in New York suggested New Delhi was not ready to be entirely forgiving.The deeply unpopular Congress government, struggling to win back favour in general elections due by May, has been under heavy pressure to act tough with Washington as opposition politicians have pounced on US actions.They have denounced the treatment of the Indian diplomat as a violation of national sovereignty and said the United States should not be allowed to ride roughshod over Indian interests.Revenge expulsionNews of the US embassy official's expulsion was splashed over newspaper front pages Saturday along with photos of Khobragade arriving home in Delhi late Friday, her palms pressed together in a traditional Indian greeting.The Indian Express newspaper said: Delhi goes for revenge expulsion.The exact timing of the US diplomat's departure from India was unclear as the US embassy was not returning phone calls.I am really thankful for all your support. My government will speak for me, my lawyer will speak for me, Khobragade, 39, who left her husband and two children behind in the United States, told reporters Saturday.Khurshid, in other comments on Saturday, called it unfortunate that the diplomat couldn't complete her (US) tenure.The United States said late Friday it deeply regrets India's expulsion of the US official and wanted to mend a partnership Washington has seen as a potential bulwark against China's growing might.We're looking to move our relationship forward. We're looking to move past this challenging time, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.US President Barack Obama had earlier called relations with India one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.Khobragade allegedly obtained a visa for her maid by promising to pay her $4,500 a month and then struck a secret deal to pay her 30,000 rupees ($573) a month, far below the US minimum wage.Despite its soothing words, Washington has said the Indian diplomat cannot return to the United States unless she surrenders to the court.The US embassy would not identify the expelled official but Indian newspapers named him as Wayne May, who managed security staff. The expelled US diplomat was of similar rank to Khobragade, the media said.The diplomat's arrest outside her children's school and treatment in custody, where she was cavity searched, outraged India, which insisted she had diplomatic immunity.India used bulldozers to remove security barriers at the US embassy in New Delhi and even stopped the mission importing duty-free alcohol.While Americans took the maid's side, many affluent Indians who pay their servants far less than Khobragade was accused of paying hers, supported the diplomat and viewed her treatment as high-handed superpower behaviour.Even traditional US supporters were angered by Washington's actions.The US is so good at arm-twisting -- India is just playing their game, the national president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Chella Srinivasan, told AFP in a recent interview.

Football: Lamela not leaving Spurs: Tim Sherwood


LONDON (AFP) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood says that misfiring record signing Erik Lamela will not be allowed to leave the club during the January transfer window.Lamela signed for Spurs from Roma for a fee of $49.4 million (36.2 million euros) in August, but has since started just three Premier League games.It has prompted reports that the 21-year-old Argentine forward could be set to follow Jermain Defoe out of the club, after the England striker signed forToronto FC, but Sherwood has vowed that that will not happen.He won't be leaving on loan in this transfer window, Sherwood said.He has a big future here, absolutely. We know what a talented player Erik is. We also understand that players need time to settle.He needs time to acclimatise to this country. He doesn't speak English and he isn't used to the pace of the games, especially over the Christmas period when they come thick and fast.He is not 100 percent fit either. He's still feeling fatigued in one of his thighs, so we were very cautious with him.We are going to take it nice and steady with him. I really want to put him on the stage when he's ready to perform, rather than let people judge him when he's half-cocked.

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