UN worker wounded in Afghanistan
KANDAHAR, Dec 8: A local United Nations worker was shot and badly wounded Thursday by unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles in Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar, an official said. The attackers opened fire as Assadullah, an employee of the UN political mission in Afghanistan, was going to work in the city, a former stronghold of the ousted Taliban regime AFP.
US embassy in Philippines reopens
MANILA, Dec 8: The US embassy in the Philippines reopened Thursday after closing for two days due to an unspecified threat, a spokesman said. The mission shut its consular and visa services after receiving what it called a "plausible threat" over the telephone. The caller gave specific details about the embassy premises, triggering an alarm AFP.
Japan extends Iraq mission
TOKYO, Dec 8 (AFP): Japan Thursday extended its military mission in Iraq for another year with an eye to withdrawing in 2006, despite growing calls around the world to pull foreign troops out of the country. The end of the military mission, Japan's first since World War II to a country where fighting is underway, would coincide with the departure of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, one of the closest allies of US President George W Bush AFP.
Indian foreign secretary to head to Nepal for democracy talks
NEW DELHI, Dec 8 : India's Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran will visit Nepal Sunday for talks with King Gyanendra to push for the return of democracy in the Himalayan nation, an official said Thursday. "Restoration of democracy" is an item on the agenda during the three-day visit, the official said requesting anonymity AFP.
Philippine military blames communists for building attack
MANILA, Dec 8: The Philippine army Thursday blamed communist rebels for an attack on an office building owned by the family of President Gloria Arroyo's husband and the bombing of a car owned by one her allies. The incidents Wednesday were meant to destabilize the government and take advantage of a tense political situation as congress revived a probe into alleged election fraud involving Arroyo, it said AFP.
Thousands to be trained to fight bird flu in rural Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Dec 8: Thousands of village veterinarians will be trained to fight bird flu along Cambodia's borders in a bid to keep out the virus that has killed dozens of people in neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, officials said Thursday. Starting Monday vets from the agriculture ministry will fan out across six border provinces in a campaign to educate and equip at least 1,500 veterinarians in villages, ministry Secretary of State Yim Voeunthan
Uzbek leader rails against Western
'imposition' of democracy
TASHKENT, Dec 8: Uzbek President Islam Karimov warned the West against interfering in the Central Asian country and trying to impose democracy by force, in a speech televised Thursday. "We will not accept any interference in our internal affairs. We will not accept any policy of pressure and intimidation ... aimed at controlling us," Karimov said in the speech, which marked Constitution Day AFP.
Zimbabwe grapples with bird
flu outbreak at ostrich farms
HARARE, Dec 8: Zimbabwe has suspended ostrich and poultry exports following an outbreak of bird flu at two ostrich farms but tests show that virus is not of the same strain that has claimed lives in Asia, a state daily reported Thursday. Tests of samples carried out in South Africa confirmed that the virus was of the H5N2 type "and therefore unrelated to the disease outbreaks in Europe and South East Asia", The Herald said, quoting the head of veterinary services Stuart Hargreaves AFP.
Kenyan president faces revolt as
new cabinet appointees desert
NAIROBI, Dec 8 : Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki's hours-old new government fell into disarray Thursday as growing numbers of cabinet appointees refused to take their posts amid harsh criticism of his selections.Within 12 hours of announcing replacements for the 30-strong slate he fired en masse last month after an embarrassing referendum defeat, nominees for at least two ministerial and 15 deputy positions said they would not serve. AFP