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Blast at US embassy in Afghanistan on 9/11 anniversary

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afghanistan blast

Kabul, Sep 11 A powerful explosion occurred near the US embassy in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, shortly after midnight on Wednesday, the anniversary of the 9/11 attack in the US. No casualties have been reported so far.

Images on social media show a plume of smoke rising near the building of the US embassy in the exclusion zone of Kabul where several other embassies are also located, Xinhua news agency reported.

The blast was caused by a rocket attack, a local reporter said.

An alarm was sounded by the US embassy after the explosion and it could be heard in surrounding areas.

There is no official report of any casualty yet but some casualties are feared.

No government official could be reached for more details and no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

This is the first major attack in the Afghan capital since US President Donald Trump abruptly called off US-Taliban peace talks to end America’s longest war lasting almost 20 years.

Last week, two car bombs killed several people, including two members of an international NATO mission.

Trump said those attacks, in which one American soldier also died, were the reason he calls the US-Taliban talks “dead”.

Following Trump’s comments, the Taliban pledged to continue fighting against US forces.

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Washington would regret turning its back on talks spearheaded by high-level officials from both sides.

“We had two ways to end the occupation in Afghanistan. One was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations,” Mujahid said.

“If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it,” he said.

September 11 marks the 18th anniversary of the attacks by al-Qaeda on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001. The US invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 in response to the attacks.

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Historic UK Parliament suspension ruling on Tuesday

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London, Sep 24 The UK Supreme Court will on Tuesday make a historic ruling on whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was lawful.

If the judgement, due at 10.30 a.m. local time, goes against Johnson, Parliament could be reconvened immediately, the BBC reported.

The Supreme Court will first determine whether prorogation is a matter for the courts – and, if so, whether the decision of Johnson to prorogue Parliament was lawful.

The government has said that it would “abide by the ruling” of the Supreme Court.

But Johnson, who is currently in New York for the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, has refused to rule out seeking to prorogue Parliament for a second time if the ruling goes against him.

Asked whether he would resign if the Supreme Court ruled against him, Johnson told the BBC: “I’m going to wait and see what the judgement is,” adding that the government “fully respects the law and fully respects the judiciary”.

Parliament is currently due to return on October 14, with the UK scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on October 31.

The three-day hearing at the Supreme Court dealt with two appeals – one from campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller, the second from the government.

Miller was appealing against the English High Court’s decision that the prorogation was “purely political” and not a matter for the courts, while the government was appealing against the ruling by Scotland’s Court of Session that the prorogation was “unlawful” and had been used to “stymie” Parliament.

The challenge in the Scottish Court was brought by a cross-party group of MPs and peers led by the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) Joanna Cherry.

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US-North Korea working-level n-talks in 2-3 weeks: Seoul

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Trump-Kim meeting at DMZ

Seoul, Sep 24 The US and North Korea are expected to resume working-level nuclear talks within the next two or three weeks, South Korea’s intelligence agency said on Tuesday.

If the two sides can reach an agreement at the upcoming talks, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could hold their third summit this year, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said.

The NIS held a closed-door briefing to the chiefs of political parties sitting on the parliamentary intelligence committee, reports Yonhap News Agency reported.

Trump and Kim agreed to hold working-level nuclear talks during their surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border village in June. The meeting came after their second summit in Vietnam in February fell through without a deal.

Since then, progress for working-level negotiations has stalled. But as Trump signaled a push for a “new method” in dialogue with Pyongyang, Kim Myong-gil, the North’s new nuclear envoy, welcomed it last week.

During their summit in New York on Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Trump agreed to expedite the peace process on the Korean Peninsula on the basis of last year’s Singapore summit deal between Washington and Pyongyang.

At the meeting, Trump hinted of the possibility of meeting Kim by the end of the year, although he underlined that he was in no hurry.

“Kim Myong-gil will be the chief at the working-level talks and the North’s vice foreign minister Choe Son-hui will spearhead the whole negotiation process,” the NIS said on Tuesday.

The NIS added that, depending on the outcome of nuclear negotiations with the US, the North’s leader could visit South Korea in November to attend a special summit between the South and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Yonhap News Agency reported.

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PM Modi to meet President Trump in New York today

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Donald Trump and PM Modi at G7 summit

New York, Sep 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Tuesday afternoon.

“PM Modi will meet President Trump at 12:15 p.m. (local time) tomorrow,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a press briefing in New York.

On being asked about Donald Trump’s mediation offer on the issue of Kashmir, The Foreign Ministry said that there can be no third party mediation – is known.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “You are aware of our position. We have mentioned about this in the past. But my request is, just hold on. Hold on for the meeting tomorrow. It’s not very far.”

Trump met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and said that he is willing to mediate to resolve Kashmir issue.

On Sunday, US President had shared the same dais with the Indian Prime Minister to address nearly 50,000 Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans ‘Howdy, Mody!’ event in Houston.

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