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developments in the region and abroad
Pakistan bans Afghan TV

          PAKISTAN, Mar 18 (Internet): According to reports from news agencies, Pakistan has banned two Afghan television channels from being carried by cable networks as they did not obtain broadcast rights.
There are two Kabul based channels, Ariana and Tolo that were carried by Pakistan cable operators until they were told by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to stop relaying the Pashtun supported channels.
The ban comes amid recent tensions between the two countries over Islamic militants that the Afghan government says are launching attacks in Afghanistan from bases across the border in Pakistan.

India asks Danish PM to defer visit

NEW DELHI (Internet): New Delhi has told Danish Prime Minister Anders Fog Rasmussen to defer his visit to India till autumn as the government feared massive demonstrations by Muslims and other groups over blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (SM).
The Indian Foreign Office quietly told the Danish government to reschedule Prime Minister Rasmussen's trip, which was to take place from April 2 to 7.
Though the proposal for postponing the visit was made by the Indian government, Denmark accepted it without any hesitation as it agreed that circumstances were not conducive to the high-level visit at this juncture.
There were massive protests all over India in the first week of March over sacrilegious cartoons published in a Danish newspaper, with the protestors demanding that India's diplomats be recalled from Denmark.
The Indian government had lodged protest with the Danish government over these controversial cartoons and had asked the publisher to apologisthe Muslim community.

Britain to push for new talks with Iran

VIENNA (AP): Britain favours drawing the United States into new talks with Iran over its nuclear program and may float such a plan Monday at a high-level meeting outside the U.N. Security Council, a U.N. diplomat said Saturday.
Under the plan, the five permanent members of the U.N. council plus Germany would offer Tehran a new but unspecified package of incentives in exchange for a negotiated settlement on Iranian plans for uranium enrichment, said the diplomat. He demanded anonymity in exchange for divulging confidential strategy.

Myanmar culls tens of thousands of birds

YANGON (The Daily News): Authorities have slaughtered more than 40,000 chickens and quails since a bird flu outbreak was confirmed in central Myanmar, state-run media reported Saturday.
Hospitals across the impoverished Southeast Asian nation, meanwhile, braced for the possibility that people may become infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, the reports said.
According to the World Health Organision, H5N1 has killed at least 98 people, most in Asia, since 2003. Myanmar has reported no human infections, although Monday it confirmed that 112 chickens at a farm near the city of Mandalay had contracted H5N1.
Nevertheless, medical staff at hospitals around the country have been holding meetings to determine the best approach to treating patients if the virus jumps to people, the New Light of Myanmar and other official newspapers reported.
Since confirming the outbreak Monday, authorities have slaughtered 41,000 chickens and quails within a 7-kilometer radius of the affected farm to prevent the disease from spreading, the New Light of Myanmar said. A further 50,000 quail eggs were also destroyed, it said.

Gunmen shoot, kill former lawmaker in Pakistan

KARACHI (AP): Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a car carrying a former provincial minister in southern Pakistan Saturday, killing him along with his bodyguard before fleeing, police said.
Badar Iqbal, a leader in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, was attacked on a road in the heart of port city Karachi, said Tariq Aslam, an area police chief.
He said one passer-by was also injured when a stray bullet hit him, but gave no further details.
Iqbal was a provincial minister in the 1990s.
At the time, he was a member of the country's ethnic-based Mutahida Qami Movement (MQM) party. However, he changed political loyalty recently and joined the ruling party.
MQM, a party mainly representing Urdu-speaking migrants from India, is also a partner in the coalition government that rules the southern Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital.


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