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No drawdown ,Obama to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2017

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OBAMA

US President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that he will maintain about 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan into 2017 through the end of his administration, slowing the planned drawdown of the US military presence in the country.

Obama said the security situation in Afghanistan remains “precarious” and the country’s security forces are still “not as strong as they need to be”.

His original plan was to draw down US troops in Afghanistan to 5,500 by the end of this year, Xinhua news agency reported.

“My decision today also sends a message to the Taliban and all those who have opposed Afghanistan’s progress,” the US president said in a televised address at the White House. “You have now been waging war against the Afghan people for many years. You’ve been unable to prevail.”

Obama said the troops will remain focused on narrow missions of supporting Afghan forces and going after terrorists.

“Maintaining our forces at this specific level, based on our assessment of the security conditions and the strength of Afghan forces, will allow us to continue to provide tailored support to help Afghan forces continue to improve,” he said.

The US President said the new decision was based on recommendation of US military leaders and following extensive consultations with his national security team, as well as the Congress, the Afghan government and international partners.

He added that Wednesday’s decision best positions his successor to make future decisions about US presence in Afghanistan.

“The decision I’m making today ensures that my successor has a solid foundation for continued progress in Afghanistan as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves,” he said.

Disaster

Indonesia’s Sulawesi island volcano erupts,spewing ashes upto 7.5 km high

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Jakarta, Dec 16 : A volcano erupted in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province on Sunday, spewing a column of ash measuring 7.5 km to the sky.

Mount Soputan erupted twice — first at 7.43 a.m. and the second at 8.57 a.m., an agency spokesman told Xinhua news agency.

There were no reports of casualties and the ash was not considered a threat to aviation, agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said on Sunday.

Ashes were spread toward south west and south of the crater and small tremors jolted the area.

“In anticipating the hot ash from sliding into the flank of the volcano and flows of cool lava, the community is prohibited from having activities at the radius of 4 km from the crater, and for the area at southwest of the crater the no go-zone has been declared at 6.5 km,” the spokesman said.

Mount Soputan is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia which lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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Wickremesinghe reinstated as Sri Lankan PM

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Colombo, Dec 16 : Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was forced out of office in October, was sworn in as Sri Lankan Prime Minister on Sunday by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) said on its official Twitter account that the deposed leader took oath before President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday.

“We thank the citizens of the country who fought the illegal seizure of power and ensured that democracy was restored,” the UNP said on Twitter.

His reinstatement has ended a nearly two-month political crisis,but has brought major embarrassment for Sirisena, who had replaced him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa following differences over policymaking and other issues.

However, Rajapaksa failed to win a parliamentary majority and resigned on Saturday as a government shutdown loomed.

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Chhota Shakeel’s brother Anwar Babu Sheikh detained in Dubai

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Chhota Shakeel

Mumbai, Dec 15 : The D-company received a major blow as  Gangster Chhota Shakeel’s brother Anwar Shaikh, who is wanted in Mumbai for 1993 Mumbai serials blasts, was arrested from Abu Dhabi Airport on Friday.Chhota Shakeel is considered the trusted right hand of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.

Sheikh, who is wanted in Mumbai and Thane in connection with several offences including the March 1993 Mumbai serials blasts, was detained and questioned by the Dubai Police at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Among other things, Sheikh is wanted for allegedly co-ordinating the Mumbai serial blasts from a location abroad.

After the Mumbai serial blasts red corner notice has been issued against him  and Indian authorities are trying to seek Anwar’s custody.

After search and interrogation, the Dubai Police are understood to have recovered a Pakistani passport from Sheikh, raising questions on his extradition to India.

Both Indian and Pakistani embassies in the UAE are said to be in touch with the Dubai authorities seeking his deportation to their respective countries.

 

Mumbai and Thane police sources said that Sheikh is linked to Pakistan’s ISI and was involved in several terror acts in India before he fled this country.

Earlier this year, Thane Anti Extortion Cell chief Pradeep Sharma had nabbed couple of persons for illegally keeping AK-56 Army assault rifles in their Mumbai suburban home in Goregaon.

 

 

 

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