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Afghanistan Pakistan

WORLD
April 11, 2011 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
Chinese police on Sunday detained more than 100 churchgoers who tried to hold an outdoor prayer service on a pedestrian bridge in Beijing after having failed to secure permission to open a church. Although it is not uncommon for police to raid unregistered churches, the bust in the very heart of the capital suggests that the dragnet around activists, bloggers, lawyers and intellectuals now includes Christian groups that in the past were able to slide under the radar. The 8-year-old Shouwang Church, with a congregation of about 1,000, has been popular among young professionals and academics.
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WORLD
January 29, 2011 | By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
Pakistani authorities in Lahore have arrested a U.S. Consulate employee who shot and killed two men he said he thought were going to rob him. Authorities said they will pursue murder charges against him in a case likely to inflame anti-U.S. sentiments in the nuclear-armed state. Police took the man to court Friday, where a judge ordered him held in custody for six days while an investigation continues. Police identified the man as Raymond Davis and said he works as a technical advisor in the consulate in Lahore, but U.S. Embassy officials in Islamabad would not confirm his identity and declined to discuss the case.
WORLD
May 15, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Alsanosi Ahmed, Los Angeles Times
Ahmed Haroun, a Sudanese ruling National Congress Party candidate wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, was elected governor of a central Sudanese state Sunday in an election opponents say was rigged. Haroun defeated opponent Abdul-Aziz Hilu of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement by about 6,500 votes to become governor of Southern Kordofan, a post to which he had been appointed in 2009. The opposition party withdrew from vote counting in Southern Kordofan on Friday, citing balloting irregularities.
WORLD
October 17, 2011
LONDON (AP) — A small town that honored British soldiers killed in Afghanistan as their bodies were returned home received a royal title Sunday for its compassion — the first such honor granted to a town in over 100 years. Princess Anne delivered the Letters Patent — official documents from her mother Queen Elizabeth II — to the town of Wootton Bassett, giving it official permission to change its name to Royal Wootton Bassett. The bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan used to be repatriated to the RAF Lyneham airbase near Wootton Bassett, 85 miles (135 kilometers)
WORLD
February 19, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan dropped in 2012 for the first time in six years, a sign of lessening hostilities, but insurgents dramatically expanded their campaign of assassinating government supporters, the United Nations said Tuesday. The annual U.N. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan documented a 12% decline in deaths, largely because of fewer ground operations, new limits on airstrikes by U.S.-led coalition forces and fewer suicide bombings by insurgents.
WORLD
June 16, 2011 | By Alex Rodriguez and Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times
The detention of Pakistanis suspected of supplying information to the CIA in advance of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden reflects the deep embarrassment within their country's military and intelligence circles over the unilateral U.S. operation, analysts said Wednesday. Pakistan's military has faced intense domestic criticism in recent weeks from lawmakers and commentators over its failure to detect the secret helicopter-borne U.S. commando team that slipped into the military city of Abbottabad on May 2 and killed the Al Qaeda leader.
OPINION
January 15, 2013 | By Max Boot
During the Vietnam War, Sen. George Aiken, a Vermont Republican, was famous for suggesting that we declare victory and go home. (What he actually said is a little more nuanced, but that was the popular perception.) President Obama seems to be pursuing a version of this strategy in Afghanistan. At least that is the inference one can draw from his claims of success at a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday in which the two leaders unveiled an acceleration of the timetable for U.S. troops to step back from combat.
WORLD
April 11, 2011 | By Amro Hassan and Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
  In his first public speech since he was forced from power two months ago, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Sunday that he and his family were victims of a campaign by political enemies seeking to tarnish their reputation by exaggerating their wealth with false charges of corruption. The pre-recorded audio address came the same day the Egyptian prosecutor general's office announced that Mubarak and sons Gamal — who many believed would have been his successor — and Alaa were summoned for questioning regarding the violence that left about 300 people dead during the revolt that toppled the regime on Feb. 11. The legal move appeared to be an attempt by the country's ruling military council to appease protesters who have criticized the army for not moving swiftly enough to indict Mubarak and his inner circle.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 21, 2012 | By Phil Willon and Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times
Federal agents' use of a paid informant to ensnare four Southern Californians plotting to join Al Qaeda is expected to be a focus of their defense against federal terrorism charges, allegations that continue to mystify family, friends and local Muslim leaders. An attorney for one of the suspects on Wednesday criticized the case for hinging on evidence gathered by a confidential informant who had been convicted of drug-related charges. The informant, who received $250,000 from the FBI and "immigration benefits" for his work over the four years, infiltrated the group in March and wore recording devices that provided evidence crucial to the case.
OPINION
October 18, 2012 | Meghan Daum
There goes Madonna, classing up the joint again. To show her support of Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot and critically wounded by the Taliban because of her advocacy for girls' education, the Material Girl (a.k.a. Madge, Esther, the Queen of Pop, the Hottest Bod in the AARP) took the opportunity during a recent concert at L.A.'s Staple Center to pull her pants down and reveal a (fake) tattoo of the girl's name inked across the small of her back. Take that, Taliban!
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