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Iran welcomes dialogue with Saudi Arabia

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Tehran, Oct 2 (IANS) Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s proposal for holding talks to resolve mutual issues, Tasnim news agency reported.

“We welcome (Saudi Crown Prince) Mohammed bin Salman being quoted as saying he wants to resolve issues through talks with Tehran,” Larijani said on Tuesday.

He said any dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia could help solve many security and political issues in the region, Xinhua reported.

On Sunday, Crown Prince Mohammed reportedly said that he would prefer a political and peaceful solution to a military one to resolve its disputes with Iran.

On Monday, Ali Rabiee, spokesman for Iranian government, confirmed that Saudi leaders had sent messages to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani through the head of a third state for holding negotiations on mutual issues.

Besides, Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced Monday that Iran is open for holding dialogue with Saudi Arabia to settle mutual issues and talking with regional states to set up a coalition for the security of the region.

Tensions have been rising between the two rivals since Sept. 14 when two major Saudi oil facilities were attacked and forced it to cut half of its oil exports.

The Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran for behind the attacks. Iran has repeatedly denied the charges, while warning that any attack on the Islamic republic could spark a regional war.

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Prachanda faction expels Prime Minister Oli from party

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Discord and division continue inside the Nepal Communist Party, which has not split formally but has virtually fallen apart after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli unilaterally decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 without the party’s consent.

Since then, the Nepal Communist Party is acting like two parties — one headed by Oli himself and the other led by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both sides are running separate programmes across the country under the same banner as they await official recognition from the Election Commission.

Amid this row, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has taken disciplinary action against Oli.

A Standing Committee meeting of the faction held on Sunday decided to expel Oli from the party, its spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the media.

The dissident faction has alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party Chairman.

According to Pampha Bhusal, leader of the dissident faction, Sunday’s meeting decided to expel Oli even from the general membership, accusing him of violating the party statutes.

“He (Oli) is not even an ordinary member of the party now,” Bhusal said.

The faction had earlier asked Oli to furnish, within three days, an explanation why not action should be not taken against him for anti-party activities.

The faction had handed over this notice to the Prime Minister’s residence. However, Oli did not respond to the letter. Sunday’s meeting also reviewed the protest programme and discussed a new protest plan.

The faction had taken to the streets against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, terming the move unconstitutional and undemocratic.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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