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Wednesday, 14 March 2012 06:39

Avalanches Block Salang Highway

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Charekar (BNA)  Salang highway is still closed to traffic due to heavy snowfalls.  According to reports, currently the snowfall has stopped in the highway, but snowfall in the past three days has kept closed the highway to traffic.  Local officials for Salang highway said, “Heavy snowfall was followed with nearly 44 avalanches that have killed three people so far.”  General Rajab, head of preservation and protection for Salangs says if there is no snowfall in coming days, his workers will be able to clear the highway and will open the highway in three days.  According to General Rajab, currently the workers are busy in clearing the highway.  The victims of Monday’s incident in Salang were two truck drivers and one worker of the gas station.  Meanwhile, general Rajab says all vehicles including buses have been directed to safe places.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 06:35

Sweden Supports Afghan Peace Process

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Kabul (BNA) President Hamid Karzai met with the foreign minister of Sweden during which the Swedish foreign minister expressed his sympathies for the Panjwayee incident of Kandahar province and considered this as shocking incident. 
He also discussed the transition of security responsibility from the international forces to the Afghan security forces especially that of the Swedish forces to the Afghan security forces and called delivery of the Bagram prison as a bold and successful step by the Afghans. 
He also considered European and Afghan government’s long term cooperation treaties as important and added that these documents are comprehensive and shall cover all spheres of cooperation of European countries with Afghanistan. 
He also voiced support of the Swedish government towards the peace process led by the Afghans and assured that his country’s aid to the people of Afghanistan will continue. 
At the meeting president Karzai called Sweden as friend of Afghanistan and appreciated that country’s assistance in different spheres to Afghanistan.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Kabul (BNA) President Karzai met with elders, influential and relatives of martyrs of Kapisa province. 
At this meeting general Mehrabuddin Safi Governor of Kapisa and some other elders representing others expressed his sympathies over the tragic incident of martyrdom of civilians especially the children in Panjwayee district of Kandahar province and Tagab district and prayed for the soul of the martyrs of the country. 
Hajji Mohammad Ibrahim an influential of Kapisa asked for stopping of night operations and irresponsible arrest of the people of Afghanistan. 
Mawlavi Sharifi and elder of Alasai district said that the pain of all people of Afghanistan is the same and by hearing this tragic news were seriously saddened. 
Representing the people of Kapisa he asked the president to be precise in relation to the signing of strategic treaty with the US. 
Khwaja Ghulam Mohammad Zamari deputy head of provincial council of Kapisa said we do not want reconstruction in Kapisa against which our elders, and youths are being martyred. 
They also asked for attention of the government towards the Kapisa province especially that of Alasai including electricity provision, hospital, roads, agricultural medicine, improved wheat seeds and building of water dams as well as reconstruction of Alberuni University. 
President Karzai following the proposal of the elders once again expressed his condolences to the martyred families of Panjwayee and Tagab district and all other martyrs of Afghanistan and said that the Kandahar incident is open cruelty and oppression towards the people of Afghanistan. 
Regarding the recent agreement on delivering of the Bagram prisoners to the Afghan government said that after long time efforts we succeeded that the prison is delivered to us and in relation to the night operations we are continuing our efforts for the past several years and we shall succeed in this respect as well. 
He added that not only the night operations by the foreign troops be stopped but the Afghan forces acts should also be in accordance with the law and they do not have the right to enter people’s homes. 
He considered the demand of the elders in relation to the strategic cooperation agreement with the US as very justified and said that this strategic treaty with the US is to the benefit of Afghanistan saying that we he advanced conditions for signing of this treaty as respect should be made towards our sovereignty and it should be signed between the two independent nations. 
He promised that due attention will paid towards addressing the problems noted by the elders. 
President Karzai distributed cash assistance of the government to the martyr’s relatives of Kapisa province.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 06:24

Blast Hits Kandahar City

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Kandahar (BNA) A blast occurred in Kandahar city around 8:00 am this morning.
According to reports, the blast occurred in Shor Andam area of Kandahar Airport Avenue.
A police official of Kandahar told this news agency, the event took place while police wanted to neutralize a bomb which was placed in a motorbike.
He said, Taliban wanted to target the caravan of Afghan and NATO forces. 
He has not said any report about the casualties of the event.
Meanwhile, Faisal head of Kandahar provincial press office told BNA, police defused and exploded a mine which was planted by Taliban in a motorbike along the airport avenue.
Faisal added, no one has got injure in this event.
T. Rateb

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 06:19

More support for passing on the red meat

Wednesday 14 March 2012,


NEW YORK: People who eat a lot of red meat are more likely to die at any given time than those who go light on the burgers and hot dogs, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that the more servings of processed or unprocessed red meat people reported eating daily, the higher their chance of dying over more than a 20-year span.

Red meat and especially processed red meat contains a lot of compounds and chemicals that have been linked to chronic disease risk," said Dr. Frank Hu, one of the study's authors from the Harvard School of Public Health -- and cooking red meat produces more carcinogens.

Research has suggested that the saturated fat and cholesterol in red meat is linked to plaque buildup in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart disease. Eating more meat was associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer in another recent study (see Reuters Health story of December 28, 2011).

Hu and his colleagues used data from two large, ongoing studies of U.S. doctors and nurses who filled out regular questionnaires about their typical eating habits as well as physical activity, smoking and family history.

The current report includes information from about 38,000 middle-aged men followed for an average of 22 years after their first survey and 84,000 women tracked for 28 years.

The lightest meat eaters reported getting half a serving or less of meat per day, while the study's biggest meat-lovers had red meat twice or three times daily.

Three ounces of unprocessed meat, one hot dog or two slices of bacon was counted as a serving.

About 24,000 study participants died over the two-plus decades that researchers followed them. Hu and his team calculated that the chance of dying was 12 percent higher for every extra serving of red meat the men and women had eaten each day.

Each extra serving was also tied to a 16 percent higher chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, in particular, and a 10 percent higher chance of dying from cancer.

That was after taking into account other aspects of health and lifestyle that could influence participants' chances of dying, like weight and smoking, as well as the rest of their diet and various socioeconomic factors.

Substituting one daily serving of red meat with fish, poultry, beans, nuts, low-fat dairy products or whole grains was tied to a seven to 19 percent lower chance of death, Hu and his colleagues reported Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The results are not really surprisingly given that previous studies have found consumption of red meat is linked to diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers," Hu told Reuters Health.

What's surprising is the magnitude... Even a small amount of red meat is associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality," he added.

Hu said that it's probably a combination of chemicals and compounds that are found in red meat, including saturated fat, cholesterol and lots of salt -- especially in processed meat -- that account for increased health risks in meat-eaters, although his study can't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Though he doesn't necessarily recommend everyone drop their burgers at once, Hu said it's not a bad idea to try to cut back on red meat, given this and other evidence of its less-than-stellar health record.

We're not talking about everyone becoming a vegetarian -- I think a small amount of red meat is still okay as part of a healthy diet," he said.

We're talking about no more than two or three servings of red meat a week. Basically, red meat should be an occasional part of our diet and not a regular part of our diet."

Wednesday 14 March 2012 ,

WASHINGTON: An Afghan national accused of drug trafficking and using the proceeds to support the Taliban has been convicted of conspiracy, distribution of heroin and narcoterrorism, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Haji Bagcho, of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for over five years for narcotics offenses, the Justice Department said.

Bagcho, who was brought to the United States in 2009 to stand trial, trafficked heroin to more than 20 countries including the United States, and was among the world's leading traffickers of the drug by volume, it said.

"The investigation revealed that Bagcho was one of the largest heroin traffickers in the world and manufactured the drug in clandestine laboratories along Afghanistan's border region with Pakistan," a department statement said.

"Proceeds from his heroin trafficking were then used to support high-level members of the Taliban to further their insurgency in Afghanistan," it added.

The suspect "used a portion of his drug proceeds to provide the former Taliban governor of Nangarhar Province and two Taliban commanders responsible for insurgent activity in eastern Afghanistan with cash, weapons and other supplies so that they could continue their 'jihad' against western troops and the Afghan government," it added.

A grand jury returned an indictment against Bagcho in 2006 for heroin trafficking for import to the United States. In 2010 a superseding indictment added charges of conspiracy related to heroin traffkicking, and engaging in drug trafficking to financially support a terror group.

He faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and as long as a life sentence. His sentencing is set for June 12

Tuesday March 13, 2012,

NEW YORK: Women, especially younger women, are more likely than men to show up at the hospital with no chest pain or discomfort after having a heart attack, a new study suggests.

Those symptoms, or lack of symptoms, can result in delayed medical care and differences in treatment that might in turn help explain why women in the study were also more likely to die of their heart attacks, according to researchers.

"They might not even know they're having a heart attack," said Dr. John Canto, from the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida, who worked on the report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 800,000 Americans have their first heart attack every year, and heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Although the results are based on a study of more than a million heart attack patients, Canto cautioned, they are still preliminary. But, he added, they do challenge the notion that chest pain and discomfort should be considered "the hallmark symptom" for all heart attack patients.

"If our results are in fact true, I would argue that rather than the one-size-fits-all symptom message, we also have to tailor that message to say that women less than 55 are also at higher risk for atypical presentation," which includes jaw or arm pain, Canto told Reuters Health.

He and his colleagues’ analyzed medical records in a national database of heart attack patients from 1994 to 2006, including about 1.1 million people treated at close to 2,000 hospitals.

They found that 31 percent of male patients didn't have any chest pain or discomfort, compared to 42 percent of women.

The likelihood of having such an "atypical presentation" differed most between younger women and younger men, the researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Women under 45 were 30 percent more likely than men in their age group to present without chest pain; between ages 45 and 65 the difference dropped to around 25 percent, and after 75, it all but disappeared.

A similar pattern, with smaller differences between sexes, was seen in the likelihood of death.

Almost 15 percent of women died in the hospital after their heart attack, compared to about 10 percent of men. Younger women with no chest pain were almost 20 percent more likely to die than male counterparts. But after age 65, the women's risk fell below that of men.

Dr. Patrick O'Malley, an internist at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, said at least part of that difference could be due to lack of action by patients and doctors when symptoms are unusual.

"We tend to not think of heart disease in younger women if they're not having chest pain... and therefore we're not going to be as aggressive," he told Reuters Health. "It does delay treatment."

For patients, "because it's not chest pain, they'll be coming later," added O'Malley, who didn't participate in the new research.

Women tend to be older than men when they have a first heart attack, and in this study the average age difference was seven years.

"Young women shouldn't be having heart attacks, so when a young woman has a heart attack, there's something biologically different in that patient," Canto said.

He said those biological differences may include variations in hormones or the way clots form in younger women.

The registry used in the new study was funded by Genentech, and some of the authors report financial partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.
Instead of chest pain, some people having a heart attack may instead have unexplained shortness of breath, or pain in other areas, including the jaw, neck, arms, back and stomach, Canto said.

Women, especially those who are predisposed to heart attacks because they have diabetes, have a family history of heart disease or are smokers, should know that a lack of chest pain doesn't rule out the possibility of a heart attack, he added.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a cardiologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, agreed.

The findings, he told Reuters Health in an email, "emphasize the need for women and men of all ages to recognize that heart attacks can present without chest pain and that symptoms including shortness of breath, weakness, a feeling of indigestion, or unexplained fatigue require immediate medical attention."

Fonarow, who also wasn't involved in the new study, added that "an even better approach than early recognition and treatment is to prevent having a heart attack in the first place," by understanding heart risks and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Tuesday March 13, 2012,



MIRANSHAH: A US drone strike on Tuesday killed five militants when it targeted a vehicle travelling along the Afghan border, Pakistan  security officials said.

According to initial reports, the attack took place in the remote Drey Nishtar area of South Waziristan and targeted a vehicle. As a result of strike, five militants were killed.

Tuesday March 13, 2012,

(BNA)Kabul- The US soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting rampage could face the death penalty if convicted, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday.

The Pentagon chief told reporters aboard his plane en route to Kyrgyzstan that the suspect in the Afghan shooting spree would be brought to justice under the US military legal code, which allows for the death penalty in some cases.

Asked if the suspect could be sentenced to death, Panetta said: "My
understanding is in these instances that could be a consideration."

Panetta condemned the incident as a "terrible loss of life" and said it remained unclear what may have led the gunman to murder civilians.

After walking off his base, the suspect entered Afghan homes and fired on civilian families, "then at some point after that came back to the forward operating base and basically turned himself in. Told individuals what happened," Panetta said.

When asked if that amounted to a confession, Panetta said: "I suspect that was the case."

"We're not sure, what the reasons were. But he is in custody. I have assured President (Hamid) Karzai that he will be brought to justice and held accountable," the US defense chief said.

Panetta repeated the US administration's stance that the shooting, the latest in a spate of damaging incidents that have strained US-Afghan relations, would not derail the war effort or force a change to the current strategy, which calls for a gradual drawdown of US and NATO troops through 2014.

"We cannot allow these events to undermine our strategy or the mission that we're involved in," Panetta said. "It's important that we push on," he said.

The US soldier walked off his base in southern Kandahar province and broke into three village homes before dawn Sunday, killing 16 people including women and children

Tuesday March 13, 2012,

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday warned against "a rush for the exits" in Afghanistan, as questions mount about US war strategy after a US soldier killed 16 civilians in a shooting rampage.

"It's important for us to make sure that we get out in responsible way, so that we don't end up having to go back in," Obama said in an interview with Pittsburgh CBS station KDKA.

"But what we don't want to do, is to do it in a way that is just a rush for the exits."

Obama said the shooting rampage, which mostly targeted women and children, was "absolutely heartbreaking and tragic," but stressed that a withdrawal from Afghanistan involving tens of thousands of troops had to be done responsibly.

"We have got hundreds of advisers in civilian areas as well, we have got huge amounts of equipment that have to be moved out. We have got to make sure that the Afghans can protect their borders to prevent Al-Qaeda coming back."

In a separate interview with Denver CBS affiliate KCNC Obama added that it was "important for us just to make sure that we are not ... in Afghanistan longer than we need to be."

The White House had earlier insisted that its Afghan strategy would not be impacted by the "awful" rampage.

"Our strategic objectives have not changed and they will not change," said White House spokesman Jay Carney, adding the US goal remained defeating Al-Qaeda and empowering Afghans to ensure their own security.

Obama is committed to gradually withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan under an agreement with NATO partners which foresees a full drawdown by the end of 2014.

But a string of incidents, including Sunday's massacre, killing of coalition forces by Afghan troops and riots that followed the burning of Korans by US soldiers has some observers questioning the viability of US strategy.

"This is a challenging time, no question," Carney said, but added that the administration would continue to work on what it sees as vital US national security interests in Afghanistan.

"I don't believe this incident will change the timetable of a strategy that was designed and implemented to allow for the withdrawal of US forces, to allow for the transfer of lead security over to the Afghans," he said.

Carney added that discussions about the pace of the drawdown have been taking place with US allies and will certainly continue at the NATO summit in Chicago in May.

The Pentagon on Monday reiterated that the lone US soldier accused of the house-to-house murder spree would be prosecuted, but ruled out a demand from the Afghan parliament to put him on public trial in Afghanistan.

Investigations and prosecutions of US service members are governed by "agreements in place with the government of Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

He insisted the US military has "very strong means to address wrongdoing."

Little said the US Army sergeant alleged to have committed the Afghan killings is in his 30s, served three tours of duty in Iraq, and was deployed in Afghanistan for the first time.

"This is an isolated incident and we will pursue accountability for the alleged actions of this service member," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added her voice to the revulsion at the killings, after Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to offer their condolences on Sunday.

"This is not who we are and the United States is committed to seeing that those who are responsible are held accountable," said Clinton, speaking at the United Nations. She described the incident as "terrible" and "awful."

"I hope that everyone understands in Afghanistan and the rest of the world that the United States is committed to seeing Afghanistan continue its move toward a stable, secure, prosperous, democratic state."

She acknowledged, however, that after the burning of Korans last month sparked widespread protests "we have had a difficult and complex few weeks in Afghanistan."