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Showing posts from July 3, 2014

Pakistan Approves Sweeping Antiterror Bill, Prompting Warnings From Rights Groups

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s Parliament on Wednesday approved sweeping new powers for the country’s security forces, with an antiterrorism measure that the government says is needed to combat the Taliban, but that rights activists warned could result in state-sponsored human rights violations.

The Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 allows the security forces to shoot suspects on sight, arrest suspects without a warrant and withhold information about where detainees are being held or what they are being charged with.

It comes at a time of great public trepidation in Pakistan. The military is engaged in a large-scale offensive against the Pakistan Taliban and allied jihadist groups in the North Waziristan tribal district. Many Pakistanis fear violent militant reprisals in the country’s main cities.

In presenting the measure, one cabinet minister, Zahid Hamid, said it would “send a message that the government stands with the military in the operation against terrorists.
The bill offers “st…

Presidents of China and South Korea Reaffirm Push for North Korean Denuclearization


President Xi Jinping of China with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea on Thursday in Seoul.CreditPool photo by Ahn Young-joon

SEOUL, South Korea — The leaders of China and South Korea sent a strong message to North Korea on Thursday saying they were united in their opposition to the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, but they fell short of announcing how they would pursue that goal.

After a three-hour meeting, China’s president, Xi Jinping, and South Korea’s leader, Park Geun-hye, issued a joint statement that smoothed over the differences in approach that have stalled a more aggressive stance toward the unabated development of nuclear weapons by North Korea, and its leader, Kim Jong-un, China’s ally.

Their joint communiqué said the “two countries reaffirm their firm opposition to the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula,” phraseology that the Chinese have always preferred because it does not specifically cite North Korea.

With Mr. …