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Afghan VP Dostum to return after more than a year in exile

KABUL: Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum is expected to return to Kabul Sunday, more than a year after fleeing the country during an investigation into the rape and torture of a political rival.  The powerful ethnic Uzbek leader and former warlord, who is linked to a catalogue of human rights abuses in Afghanistan, will fly from Turkey to Kabul where he will be welcomed by high-ranking officials at a special ceremony, Afghan officials said. "At 4:00 pm (1130 GMT) today General Dostum's flight will land at Kabul…

Zimbabwe ex-army chief who helped oust Mugabe sworn in as VP

HARARE: Zimbabwe’s former army commander who led a military takeover that helped end Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule was on Thursday sworn in as one of the country's two vice presidents. General Constantino Chiwenga, 61, took the oath of office in Harare, pledging to be "faithful" to Zimbabwe and to "obey, uphold and defend the constitution". "I will discharge my duties with all my strength and to the best of my knowledge and ability," said Chiwenga, dressed in a black suit at a ceremony held on the lawns of the…

Grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University cancels meeting with US Vice President

CAIRO: Al-Azhar University's Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb cancelled a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence after President Donald Trump's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Al-Azhar said Friday. In a statement, Al-Azhar, Egypt's highest educational institution, said Tayeb had reversed his previous decision to meet Pence, who is due to travel to Egypt and Israel in the second half of December. Trump’s decision to reverse decades of U.S. policy and recognize Jerusalem has been met by days of protests…

PPP senator expresses alarm at mounting external debt

KARACHI: Pakistan People Party Parliamentarians (PPP-P) Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman slammed the government over Pakistan’s mounting external debt which has swollen to a whopping $83 billion. The senator in a statement said the alarming rise in the external debt shows the downward trajectory of the government’s lacklustre economic vision. “The gross public debt now stands at Rs. 21.4 trillion or 67.2% of GDP. The figure was Rs. 14.7 trillion during the last year of the PPP government. “External debt…

Pence denies double standard as private email use uncovered

WASHINGTON:  US Vice President Mike Pence denied charges of hypocrisy on Friday, after it emerged he used a private email as governor of Indiana and while lambasting Hillary Clinton for doing the same. Pence said there was "no comparison whatsoever" between his use of an AOL account that was hacked and Clinton's private server. He accused Clinton of "having a private server, misusing classified information, destroying emails when they were requested by the Congress." Emails obtained by his home state Indianapolis…

Sanctions threaten Iran climate efforts: vice president

TEHRAN: Iran's vice president and environment chief, Massoumeh Ebtekar, has told AFP that the West's failure to fully implement the nuclear deal and lift sanctions are endangering her country's efforts to meet climate targets. In an exclusive interview, Ebtekar said Iran had already seen temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees over the past 20 years, and urgently needed to work with international partners. "We're facing the consequences of climate change already in Iran. It's not a matter of the future, it's a matter of…

Afghan vice-president escapes unhurt after Taliban ambush convoy

KABUL: Afghan Vice-President Abdul Rashim Dostum escaped unhurt from an ambush by Taliban insurgents as his convoy returned from overseeing fighting at a northern battlefield, Afghan officials said on Monday. In their effort to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul, Taliban fighters have battled their way into the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand, in recent weeks. Sunday's ambush took place during a frontline visit to Faryab province by Dostum, who has recently been spending…