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UN confirms Afghan civilian deaths in Taliban, Daesh attack

Author: 
Sayed Salahuddin
Mon, 2017-08-21 03:00
ID: 
1503258128962900500

KABUL: The UN on Sunday published its preliminary report on an onslaught by Daesh and Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan, confirming the deaths of civilians but finding no evidence of beheadings or sexual abuse.
Provincial authorities in Sar-i-Pul say Taliban and Daesh fighters jointly attacked Mirza Olang village more than two weeks ago, arresting several hundred civilians and killing more than 50 of them by beheading one group and throwing another off a cliff. Some officials even said the insurgents abducted women for sexual violence.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) launched a probe into the killings in the predominantly Shiite village.
“UNAMA verified allegations that Taliban and local self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh) fighters killed at least 36 persons, including civilians … during the attack on Mirza Olang,” it said in a statement.
“At least half of the killings took place on Saturday 5th of August when Anti-Government Elements stopped families trying to escape the village, separated women and young children, and killed at least 18 people, both civilians and Pro-Government Militia who were hors de combat (out of action) at the time of their killing. Others, including one woman, were reportedly shot while they tried to escape from the village.”
UNAMA said it found no evidence to substantiate claims of beheadings. Via interviews with witnesses and officials, it was also unable to verify claims about abductions of women and sexual violence.
UNAMA said further investigations by competent authorities are required into allegations of sectarian hatred as a factor in the killings.
The Taliban, forming the backbone of the insurgency against the Afghan government and US-led troops, denied involvement in the killing of civilians.
Media reports said Daesh claimed responsibility. Some disaffected Taliban members have joined Daesh in some parts of the country.
While Daesh affiliates have targeted Shiites multiple times in Kabul and in western Herat province over the past year, the massacre in Mirza Olang is the first of its kind in the north.
The attacks against Shiites have been portrayed by locals and government officials as a ploy by the insurgents to fan sectarian violence in Afghanistan, similar to that in Iraq and Syria.
The government faces deep divisions and growing public anger over rising insecurity amid unprecedented ethnic tensions.

Main category: 
related_nodes: 
Children pay the price in Afghan conflict: UN
Daesh kills 6 Afghan policemen
Afghan civilian casualties hit record high in 2016: UN
Read More

No Picture

UN confirms Afghan civilian deaths in Taliban, Daesh attack

Author: 
Sayed Salahuddin
Mon, 2017-08-21 03:00
ID: 
1503258128962900500

KABUL: The UN on Sunday published its preliminary report on an onslaught by Daesh and Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan, confirming the deaths of civilians but finding no evidence of beheadings or sexual abuse.
Provincial authorities in Sar-i-Pul say Taliban and Daesh fighters jointly attacked Mirza Olang village more than two weeks ago, arresting several hundred civilians and killing more than 50 of them by beheading one group and throwing another off a cliff. Some officials even said the insurgents abducted women for sexual violence.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) launched a probe into the killings in the predominantly Shiite village.
“UNAMA verified allegations that Taliban and local self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh) fighters killed at least 36 persons, including civilians … during the attack on Mirza Olang,” it said in a statement.
“At least half of the killings took place on Saturday 5th of August when Anti-Government Elements stopped families trying to escape the village, separated women and young children, and killed at least 18 people, both civilians and Pro-Government Militia who were hors de combat (out of action) at the time of their killing. Others, including one woman, were reportedly shot while they tried to escape from the village.”
UNAMA said it found no evidence to substantiate claims of beheadings. Via interviews with witnesses and officials, it was also unable to verify claims about abductions of women and sexual violence.
UNAMA said further investigations by competent authorities are required into allegations of sectarian hatred as a factor in the killings.
The Taliban, forming the backbone of the insurgency against the Afghan government and US-led troops, denied involvement in the killing of civilians.
Media reports said Daesh claimed responsibility. Some disaffected Taliban members have joined Daesh in some parts of the country.
While Daesh affiliates have targeted Shiites multiple times in Kabul and in western Herat province over the past year, the massacre in Mirza Olang is the first of its kind in the north.
The attacks against Shiites have been portrayed by locals and government officials as a ploy by the insurgents to fan sectarian violence in Afghanistan, similar to that in Iraq and Syria.
The government faces deep divisions and growing public anger over rising insecurity amid unprecedented ethnic tensions.

Main category: 
related_nodes: 
Children pay the price in Afghan conflict: UN
Daesh kills 6 Afghan policemen
Afghan civilian casualties hit record high in 2016: UN

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Crisis in India’s IT sector amid mass layoffs

Author: 
Sanjay Kumar
Mon, 2017-08-21 03:00
ID: 
1503258128942900200

“In the last six months, I got more grey hair than I had in the last five years,” said an IT engineer who asked to go by the pseudonym Pankaj, fearing he would lose potential opportunities in the IT market if he revealed his identity.
“I live and breathe mental tension. What I see in front of me is just darkness, no light at the end of the tunnel,” he told Arab News, almost sobbing.
The 46-year-old was forced to resign from one of the top IT companies in the western Indian city of Pune in February after working there for six years.
He headed a team of six people, and was labeled a “high performer” for five consecutive years.
It was a comfortable life, and he was planning to buy a high-end car at the end of the year after his promotion.
But his 20-year career in IT and his dream came crashing down when in mid-February, he was asked to resign with immediate effect. He resisted for a few days but could not hold out for long. He has been jobless since.
Thousands of IT professionals in India are facing the same existential crisis. Most are middle-aged men and women.
An IT engineer who asked to be called Anil said he was suddenly removed from a project and asked to leave.
“It’s unethical and criminal to lay me off without giving me any explanation,” the 36-year-old, who has 15 years’ experience working in Europe and America, told Arab News.
“I still don’t understand what my fault was, where I erred. The company is performing well, so why this sudden removal?
This question is troubling many in Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the major IT hubs in India.
On Saturday, more than 100 professionals gathered at a lawyer’s house in Pune to seek legal remedy.
For them, this is the last resort as they got nowhere with the government or with top management in the IT industry.
The workers came together and formed the Forum for IT Employees (FITE) in various cities in India.
Every weekend, the group meets and chalks out a strategy to fight its cases. The group consists of employees from almost all the IT companies, big and small.
They do not want their identities revealed or their activities to be noticed by IT companies, fearing the loss of job prospects.
FITE also attracts those who are still employed. “I haven’t received any notice from my company, but I’m really worried with the way things are moving in the industry,” Dheeraj, 31, told Arab News.
“What I hear is that there’s a list in every IT company. Hundreds and thousands are being forced to resign in the name of cost-cutting and automation.”
This fear claimed the life of a young IT professional in Pune last month. He jumped from a terrace, and his suicide note read: “In IT there’s no job security. I’m worried a lot about my family.”
Industry watchers say in the last year, at least 100,000 people from different parts of the country have lost their jobs.
“There are 600,000 jobs that are at stake in the IT sector today,” Elavarasan Raja, one of the main coordinators of FITE, told Arab News.
“We’re getting more and more calls every day related to forced resignations and terminations from different parts of the country.”
He said companies are not listening to anyone, and “it’s high time the government intervenes before the crisis goes completely out of control.”
When asked about the reason for this crisis, Raja said: “It’s the greed and cost-cutting that drive the IT sector to take this kind of inhumane step.”
He also blames US President Donald Trump’s protectionist measures and restrictions in giving H1B visas to Indians.
“If Trump can make rules that benefit his own citizens, what’s our government doing to protect the interest of the Indian people?” Raja asked.
Economist Arun Kumar told Arab News that the Indian government is not in a position to do much.
“The IT industry is a specific case where external demand is a problem,” said Kumar, who teaches in New Delhi’s premier educational institute, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
“Protectionist measures adopted by some governments in the West have impacted the industry here. The Indian economy isn’t creating enough jobs.”
An economic survey released by the government last week cited rising protectionism, restrictive trade measures and risks in people’s mobility as concerns for India’s exports and economy.
The website of New Delhi Television (NDTV) quoted Arvind Subramanian, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top economic adviser, as saying: “Indian service companies gained scale over the last decade as the disrupters, creating the modern offshoring industry, but they are now the incumbents, challenged by a slew of specialized and niche start-ups bred in this new environment.”
The website added that Subramanian expressed concern that growing anti-globalization tendencies, expressed in the last US election and in Brexit, threaten Indian jobs.
Bangalore-based analyst Deepak Kumar said the market situation is responsible for the crisis in the IT industry.
The founder of company B&M Next told Arab News: “The economy runs on demand and supply. Demand for services generated by Indian IT service providers has come down, so there isn’t much need for the supply of people. The present situation reflects that reality.”
Some economists believe the IT sector’s contribution to India’s economy is hyped. Dhanmanjari Sathe of Pune University told Arab News that the crisis is “a blessing in disguise,” adding: “Finally, we may start thinking that it’s in the manufacturing sector where India’s natural strength lies.”
According to the Indian Brand and Equity Foundation, a trust established by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the IT industry employs about 10 million people.
The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) said the IT sector’s contribution constitutes 7 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate.
India’s IT industry is at a crossroad, as is Pankaj. It is a question of survival for both of them. “For me it’s a desperate situation,” he said.
“I have housing and car loans to pay, besides taking care of two kids. How will I manage all this?”

Main category: 

No Picture

Crisis in India’s IT sector amid mass layoffs

Author: 
Sanjay Kumar
Mon, 2017-08-21 03:00
ID: 
1503258128942900200

“In the last six months, I got more grey hair than I had in the last five years,” said an IT engineer who asked to go by the pseudonym Pankaj, fearing he would lose potential opportunities in the IT market if he revealed his identity.
“I live and breathe mental tension. What I see in front of me is just darkness, no light at the end of the tunnel,” he told Arab News, almost sobbing.
The 46-year-old was forced to resign from one of the top IT companies in the western Indian city of Pune in February after working there for six years.
He headed a team of six people, and was labeled a “high performer” for five consecutive years.
It was a comfortable life, and he was planning to buy a high-end car at the end of the year after his promotion.
But his 20-year career in IT and his dream came crashing down when in mid-February, he was asked to resign with immediate effect. He resisted for a few days but could not hold out for long. He has been jobless since.
Thousands of IT professionals in India are facing the same existential crisis. Most are middle-aged men and women.
An IT engineer who asked to be called Anil said he was suddenly removed from a project and asked to leave.
“It’s unethical and criminal to lay me off without giving me any explanation,” the 36-year-old, who has 15 years’ experience working in Europe and America, told Arab News.
“I still don’t understand what my fault was, where I erred. The company is performing well, so why this sudden removal?
This question is troubling many in Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the major IT hubs in India.
On Saturday, more than 100 professionals gathered at a lawyer’s house in Pune to seek legal remedy.
For them, this is the last resort as they got nowhere with the government or with top management in the IT industry.
The workers came together and formed the Forum for IT Employees (FITE) in various cities in India.
Every weekend, the group meets and chalks out a strategy to fight its cases. The group consists of employees from almost all the IT companies, big and small.
They do not want their identities revealed or their activities to be noticed by IT companies, fearing the loss of job prospects.
FITE also attracts those who are still employed. “I haven’t received any notice from my company, but I’m really worried with the way things are moving in the industry,” Dheeraj, 31, told Arab News.
“What I hear is that there’s a list in every IT company. Hundreds and thousands are being forced to resign in the name of cost-cutting and automation.”
This fear claimed the life of a young IT professional in Pune last month. He jumped from a terrace, and his suicide note read: “In IT there’s no job security. I’m worried a lot about my family.”
Industry watchers say in the last year, at least 100,000 people from different parts of the country have lost their jobs.
“There are 600,000 jobs that are at stake in the IT sector today,” Elavarasan Raja, one of the main coordinators of FITE, told Arab News.
“We’re getting more and more calls every day related to forced resignations and terminations from different parts of the country.”
He said companies are not listening to anyone, and “it’s high time the government intervenes before the crisis goes completely out of control.”
When asked about the reason for this crisis, Raja said: “It’s the greed and cost-cutting that drive the IT sector to take this kind of inhumane step.”
He also blames US President Donald Trump’s protectionist measures and restrictions in giving H1B visas to Indians.
“If Trump can make rules that benefit his own citizens, what’s our government doing to protect the interest of the Indian people?” Raja asked.
Economist Arun Kumar told Arab News that the Indian government is not in a position to do much.
“The IT industry is a specific case where external demand is a problem,” said Kumar, who teaches in New Delhi’s premier educational institute, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
“Protectionist measures adopted by some governments in the West have impacted the industry here. The Indian economy isn’t creating enough jobs.”
An economic survey released by the government last week cited rising protectionism, restrictive trade measures and risks in people’s mobility as concerns for India’s exports and economy.
The website of New Delhi Television (NDTV) quoted Arvind Subramanian, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top economic adviser, as saying: “Indian service companies gained scale over the last decade as the disrupters, creating the modern offshoring industry, but they are now the incumbents, challenged by a slew of specialized and niche start-ups bred in this new environment.”
The website added that Subramanian expressed concern that growing anti-globalization tendencies, expressed in the last US election and in Brexit, threaten Indian jobs.
Bangalore-based analyst Deepak Kumar said the market situation is responsible for the crisis in the IT industry.
The founder of company B&M Next told Arab News: “The economy runs on demand and supply. Demand for services generated by Indian IT service providers has come down, so there isn’t much need for the supply of people. The present situation reflects that reality.”
Some economists believe the IT sector’s contribution to India’s economy is hyped. Dhanmanjari Sathe of Pune University told Arab News that the crisis is “a blessing in disguise,” adding: “Finally, we may start thinking that it’s in the manufacturing sector where India’s natural strength lies.”
According to the Indian Brand and Equity Foundation, a trust established by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the IT industry employs about 10 million people.
The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) said the IT sector’s contribution constitutes 7 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate.
India’s IT industry is at a crossroad, as is Pankaj. It is a question of survival for both of them. “For me it’s a desperate situation,” he said.
“I have housing and car loans to pay, besides taking care of two kids. How will I manage all this?”

Main category: 

No Picture

N. Korea slams US-South Korea military exercises

Author: 
AFP
Sun, 2017-08-20 09:20
ID: 
1503252510722485900

SEOUL: North Korea warned Sunday that the US will be “pouring gasoline on fire” by conducting an annual war game in the South next week amid heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
Combative rhetoric between the nations spiked after Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month that appeared to bring much of the US within range, sparking an intense warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain “fire and fury” on the North.
Pyongyang then threatened to fire a salvo of missiles toward the US territory of Guam — a plan that leader Kim Jong-un last week delayed, but warned could go ahead depending on Washington’s next move.
Amid the fiery volley of threats, Seoul and Washington will begin Monday the “Ulchi Freedom Guardian” (UFG) joint military exercises involving tens of thousands of troops that Pyongyang views as a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion.
“The joint exercise is the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won’t evolve into actual fighting,” said an editorial carried by the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.
“The Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises will be like pouring gasoline on fire and worsen the state of the peninsula,” the paper said.
Warning of an “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war” on the peninsula, it added: “If the United States is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else’s doorstep far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever.”
Seoul and Washington have said the largely computer-simulated UFG exercise, which dates back to 1976, will go ahead as planned, but did not comment on whether the drills would be scaled back in an effort to ease tensions.
Around 17,500 US troops will participate in this year’s drills — a cutback from last year — according to numbers provided by Seoul’s defense ministry.
But South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the allies were mulling scrapping an initial plan to bring in two aircraft carriers to the peninsula to take part in the drill.
South Korea’s top military officer said Sunday that the current security situation on the peninsula was “more serious than at any other time” amid the North’s growing nuclear and missile threats, and warned Pyongyang of merciless retaliation against any attack.
“If the enemy provokes, (our military) will retaliate resolutely and strongly to make it regret bitterly,” said Gen. Jeong Kyeong-Doo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in his inauguration speech.

Main category: 
related_nodes: 
N. Korea stages large-scale artillery drill as US submarine docks in South
N. Korea warns of ‘merciless’ strikes as US carrier joins S. Korea drills
A look at US-South Korea war games and how Pyongyang might respond

No Picture

N. Korea slams US-South Korea military exercises

Author: 
AFP
Sun, 2017-08-20 09:20
ID: 
1503252510722485900

SEOUL: North Korea warned Sunday that the US will be “pouring gasoline on fire” by conducting an annual war game in the South next week amid heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
Combative rhetoric between the nations spiked after Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month that appeared to bring much of the US within range, sparking an intense warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain “fire and fury” on the North.
Pyongyang then threatened to fire a salvo of missiles toward the US territory of Guam — a plan that leader Kim Jong-un last week delayed, but warned could go ahead depending on Washington’s next move.
Amid the fiery volley of threats, Seoul and Washington will begin Monday the “Ulchi Freedom Guardian” (UFG) joint military exercises involving tens of thousands of troops that Pyongyang views as a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion.
“The joint exercise is the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won’t evolve into actual fighting,” said an editorial carried by the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.
“The Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises will be like pouring gasoline on fire and worsen the state of the peninsula,” the paper said.
Warning of an “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war” on the peninsula, it added: “If the United States is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else’s doorstep far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever.”
Seoul and Washington have said the largely computer-simulated UFG exercise, which dates back to 1976, will go ahead as planned, but did not comment on whether the drills would be scaled back in an effort to ease tensions.
Around 17,500 US troops will participate in this year’s drills — a cutback from last year — according to numbers provided by Seoul’s defense ministry.
But South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the allies were mulling scrapping an initial plan to bring in two aircraft carriers to the peninsula to take part in the drill.
South Korea’s top military officer said Sunday that the current security situation on the peninsula was “more serious than at any other time” amid the North’s growing nuclear and missile threats, and warned Pyongyang of merciless retaliation against any attack.
“If the enemy provokes, (our military) will retaliate resolutely and strongly to make it regret bitterly,” said Gen. Jeong Kyeong-Doo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in his inauguration speech.

Main category: 
related_nodes: 
N. Korea stages large-scale artillery drill as US submarine docks in South
N. Korea warns of ‘merciless’ strikes as US carrier joins S. Korea drills
A look at US-South Korea war games and how Pyongyang might respond

No Picture

Grace Mugabe returns to Zimbabwe despite assault claim

Author: 
AP
Sun, 2017-08-20 03:00
ID: 
1503252401572471000

HARARE: The wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe returned home from South Africa on Sunday despite calls that she be prosecuted for allegedly assaulting a young model at a luxury hotel in Johannesburg.
A report by Zimbabwean state broadcaster ZBC showed Grace Mugabe greeting government and military officials at the Harare airport after returning on an Air Zimbabwe flight with her husband, who had attended a summit of southern African leaders in Pretoria.
The South African government said Saturday that it was deciding whether to grant diplomatic immunity to Grace Mugabe at the request of the Zimbabwean government, though there was no immediate comment from South African authorities on Sunday. South African police had issued a “red alert” at borders to ensure she did not leave undetected and said they were waiting for a government decision on the immunity appeal.
Gabriella Engels, a 20-year-old model, said Zimbabwe’s first lady attacked her on Aug. 13, whipping her with an extension cord that cut her forehead.
In reaction to the news that Grace Mugabe had returned to Zimbabwe, a group representing Engels said Sunday they will go to court to challenge the South African government if it is confirmed that immunity was granted to Mugabe.
“We will take a long term approach on this,” said Willie Spies, legal representative at AfriForum, an organization that primarily represents South Africa’s white Afrikaner minority.
“She may be back in Zimbabwe, but it may mean that she will find it very difficult to come back to South Africa in the future,” Spies said.
The Zimbabwean president’s outspoken wife has been criticized for a fiery temper and lavish shopping expeditions, but her rising political profile has some asking whether she is maneuvering to succeed her husband. She recently said that Zimbabwe’s ruling party should restore a provision in its constitution stating that one of the party’s vice presidents should be a woman, and has publicly challenged her 93-year-old husband to name a successor.
President Mugabe is expected to preside at a state funeral for a former minister in Harare on Sunday; it is unclear whether his wife will attend.
Amid the scandal over Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwe blocked flights by South Africa’s government-owned airline on Saturday after an Air Zimbabwe flight was grounded at Johannesburg’s main international airport on the previous evening. Both countries said they imposed restrictions because planes did not have a “foreign operator’s permit.”

Main category: 
related_nodes: 
‘Red alert’ over Zimbabwe first lady, accused of assault
Grace Mugabe turns self in to S. Africa police over alleged assault
South Africa has granted Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity — source
Pretoria plans diplomatic immunity for Grace Mugabe

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‘US reached decision on Afghan strategy after rigorous debate’

Author: 
AFP, Reuters
Mon, 2017-08-21 19:07
ID: 
1503249065492172900

AMMAN: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who arrived in Jordan on Sunday on the first day of a five-day swing through the Middle East and Eastern Europe, confirmed that the Trump administration had decided on a new strategy for Afghanistan after “rigorous” debate, but said President Donald Trump would be the one to announce it.
Mattis refused to hint at any details of the decision, which came after months of speculation over whether Trump, frustrated with a stalemate after 16 years in Afghanistan, would allow the Pentagon to boost troop numbers on the ground in the country.
However, Mattis appeared satisfied after what he described as an in-depth review of the policy by much of the president’s Cabinet and top security officials at Camp David on Friday.
“I’m very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous, and did not go in with a preset condition in terms of what questions could be asked and what decisions could be made,” he said.
“Everyone who had equity was heard,” he said, including budget officials responsible for funding the effort.
Trump had several options on the table that ranged from backing away from the country to stepping up US efforts to defeat the Taliban. In June, he gave Mattis the power to increase troop numbers above the estimated 8,400 that have been in the country — close to 4,000 more, according to reports.
But Mattis said he was loathed to move before he had a true picture of the numbers, which he said were actually higher than 8,400, and before Trump had his say on the broader strategy.
“The president had to make strategic decisions,” Mattis said.
“He delegated to me, when he came in, the tactical and operational decision. He did not delegate one ounce of the strategic decision.”
“He really did come in with very different courses of action, and I think he now needs the weekend to collect his thoughts about how he’s going to explain it to the American people.”
In Jordan, he is scheduled to meet with King Abdallah on regional security matters. In Turkey, he will hold discussions with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top military officials focused on the Syria conflict and the fight against Daesh. In Ukraine, he will discuss US support for the country’s military fighting pro-Moscow rebels and attend celebrations for the country’s national day.
Joint Taliban, Daesh raid
A combined force of Taliban and “self-proclaimed” Daesh militants killed at least 36 people in what may amount to war crimes during a raid on a northern Afghan town this month, the UN said on Sunday.
The dead in the town of Mirza Olang included civilians and pro-government fighters who had been disarmed before they were shot, a preliminary UN report concluded.
The killings occurred during fighting between Aug. 3 and 5 after the militants attacked the town, which lies in Sar-e-Pul province. At the time Afghan officials put the death toll at 62, with at least 36 bodies recovered from mass graves last week.
A spokesman for the Taliban called the UN report “baseless allegations” and “false claims.”
Zabihullah Mujahid repeated an earlier statement that the Taliban had killed 28 pro-government militia fighters, but no civilians were harmed. He also denied that Daesh was involved in the fighting.
Daesh issued a statement last week saying it had led the attack and killed about 54 Shiite Muslims.
The report said it was unable to verify reports of sexual violence, and did not find evidence to support claims that many of the victims were beheaded.

Main category: 
related_nodes: 
US defense chief Mattis says a decision is closer on strategy for Afghanistan
Taliban ‘surging’ in Afghanistan, US defense chief warns
Mattis to visit, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar, Djibouti

No Picture

Finland marks minute of silence for stabbing victims

Author: 
AFP
Sun, 2017-08-20 11:56
ID: 
1503243637621706500

HELSINKI: Finland observed a minute of silence on Sunday for the victims of a stabbing attack in the city of Turku that left two people dead and eight injured.
Friday’s stabbing is being investigated as the country’s first terror attack.
At Turku’s market square, where the attack happened, several hundred people gathered to hold a minute of silence at 10:00 a.m. (0700 GMT).
Candles and flowers lay on the square, with city officials, rescue crews in uniform, police officers and the public forming a ring around the makeshift memorial.
Archbishop Kari Makinen, the head of Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, was also present.
A note posted next to a bouquet of flowers read “Peace and Love — No Violence Finland.”
Bells from the Turku Cathedral, the country’s largest church, rang for 15 minutes before falling quiet for the minute of silence.
One of those injured in the attack, Hassan Zubier — a British paramedic visiting Turku who came to the aid of a woman who later died — attended the ceremony in a wheelchair, arriving directly from the hospital.
“I wanted to show my respect to the victims,” he told Swedish daily Aftonbladet before returning to hospital for further treatment.
Similar ceremonies were held across the country.
Finnish police said Saturday that an 18-year-old Moroccan asylum seeker deliberately targeted women in the attack.
His motive was not yet known.
Police shot and wounded the knife-wielding suspect, detaining him minutes after the afternoon rampage in the southwestern city.
All of the victims were women, including the two dead, except for two men who tried to fend off the attacker.
An Italian, a Swede and a Briton were among the injured.
Police were to interrogate the suspect on Sunday. He has so far refused to speak to investigators.
Prior to the minute of silence, police re-enacted the crime at the market square as part of their investigation.

Main category: 
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Moroccan asylum seeker “targeted women” in Finland knife attack
3 people dead, several injured after stabbings in Finland and Germany

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Missing British-Australian boy, 7, killed in Spain attack: official

Author: 
AP
Sun, 2017-08-20 03:00
ID: 
1503241257171545300

BARCELONA: Spanish authorities have positively identified the body a 7-year-old boy who has been missing since the rampage Thursday.
National and regional emergency services said Sunday that a boy with dual Australian-British nationality was one of the 13 people killed when a van swerved a pedestrian walkway in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district.
Nacho Solano, spokesman for the Catalan government’s emergency services, confirms that the child was Julian Cadman, an Australian with dual British nationality.
The Australian, Philippines and British governments announced Friday that the 7-year-old son of a woman seriously injured in the attack had become separated from her and was missing.

Main category: