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Trump, Melania to visit India late Feb

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PM Modi and Donald Trump
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New Delhi, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit India from February 24-25, during which they will also travel to Prime Minister Narendra Modis home state.

This will be Donald Trump’s first visit to India as the US President.

The announcement of his two-day visit came just a week after he was acquitted by the US Senate in his impeachment trial. He was accused of illegally seeking help from Ukraine to influence the forthcoming presidential elections in November.

In an official statement, the US Press Secretary said the President and the First Lady “will visit Ahmedabad, which is in Prime Minister Modi’s home state of Gujarat and played such an important role in Mahatma Gandhi’s life and leadership of the Indian independence movement”.

During a phone call over the weekend, Trump and Modi agreed “the trip will further strengthen the US-India strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people”.

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Afghan Cabinet still not finalized: Prez Palace

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Abdullah Abdullah

Kabul, Aug 11 : The Afghan Presidential Palace has said that Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for Reconciliation, waas yet to introduce his nominated Ministers for the new Cabinet.

On Monday, the Palace’s deputy spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal said that nominees for Ministers must meet the criteria, so that the President can send them to the National Assembly for a vote of confidence, reports TOLO News.

“As soon as our political partners make a list according to the criteria, the government will send it to the parliament for a vote of confidence,” said Menapal.

On the other hand, Fraidoon Khwazoon, spokesman for Abdullah, said that they have sent their nominee list to the Presidential Palace.

“For our part, the problem is solved and we have sent the list of nominated ministers that is relevant to us and it will be implemented according to the agreement,” he said.

A number of politicians and citizens of the country consider the existence of differences between Ghani and Abdullah as one of the main reasons for the delay with the cabinet.

“The big reason is that these two people do not get along with each other and that is why they do not agree on governors and ministers,” said Abdul Rauf Shapoon, a lawmaker.

In May, a power-sharing agreement was signed between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah to end the political deadlock following last year’s presidential election.

Under the agreement signed on Sunday, Ghani remains as President, while Abdullah will head the High Council for National Reconciliation to lead the peace talks with the Taliban.

Abdullah, who served as Chief Executive in the previous government and contested the presidential poll on September 28, 2019, had challenged the outcome of the vote in which the Election Commission declared Ghani as winner.

When the delayed results of the election were finally announced in February, Ghani was again declared President by the Independent Election Commission after earning a slightly higher percentage than Abdullah, reports TOLO News.

But the tensions increased after Ghani and Abdullah, both held inauguration ceremonies on the same day in their adjacent respective palaces, after the latter rejected the outcome.

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New Zealand reports new COVID-19 case after 102 days

This case brought New Zealand’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 1,220.

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Coronavirus Symtoms

Wellington, Aug 11 : New Zealand reported one new COVID-19 case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after a period of 102 days, taking the total number of active cases in the country to 22, all in managed isolation or quarantine facilities, according to the Ministry of Health.

Tuesday’s case was a man in his 20s who arrived in New Zealand on July 30 from Melbourne, Xinhua news agency quoted Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield as saying at a press conference.

He was in managed isolation at the Grand Millennium and tested negative for COVID-19 around day three of his stay, but turned positive some nine days later and has now been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility, Bloomfield said.

This case brought New Zealand’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 1,220.

None of those people are receiving hospital-level care, he said.

The Ministry is planning for a COVID-19 immunization program, and while there is still significant uncertainty on what a potential COVID-19 vaccine might be and how it will be delivered.

The death toll stands at 22.

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Afghan president signs decree to free 400 Taliban inmates

However, the presidential palace said provisions of the issued decree about Taliban pardon do not prevent individuals from suing for their right.

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Ashraf Ghani

KABUL, Aug. 10 : Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree on Monday to pardon and release about 400 controversial Taliban inmates, the Presidential Palace confirmed.

The palace tweeted that Ghani signed the decree late Monday evening for pardon of punishment of convicted Taliban prisoners, who are included in the 5,000 prisoners listed by the Taliban group.

The move came one day after participants of a 3,400-member Loya Jirga, or the Grand Assembly, voted for the release of 400 hardcore Taliban inmates.

A peace deal agreement signed between the United States and Taliban in Qatar in February required the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban inmates in exchange for Taliban’s release of 1,000 soldiers or government staff.

Since early March, the Afghan government had released 5,100 Taliban inmates and Taliban freed 1,000 Afghan soldiers or government staff.

Under the agreement, U.S. and NATO-led coalition forces would leave Afghanistan by July next year depending on whether the Taliban outfit meets the conditions envisaged in the agreement, including severing ties with foreign terrorist groups.

However, the presidential palace said provisions of the issued decree about Taliban pardon do not prevent individuals from suing for their right.

It was not immediately known when the 400 Taliban inmates will be freed.

According to unnamed officials, following the release of 400 Taliban inmates, the long-delayed peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government will begin later this month.

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