Peshawar, Jan. 12 (Reuters): The Pakistani Taliban said today that they would not attack the Pakistani army in the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan but concentrate attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Thousands of Pakistani soldiers are stationed in North Waziristan, along the Afghan border. There have been infrequent clashes there between the soldiers and Taliban but a leaflet issued by Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud ordered those to stop. A senior commander confirmed the pamphlet’s veracity.
Moscow (Reuters): Russia voiced support on Saturday for international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi but insisted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s exit cannot be a precondition for a deal to end the country’s conflict. A foreign ministry statement following talks on Friday with the US and Brahimi reiterated calls for an end to violence in Syria, where more than 60,000 people have been killed since March 2011.
Washington (Reuters): R&B singer Alicia Keys, country guitar slinger Brad Paisley and pop star Katy Perry are some of the A-list performers who will entertain partygoers at President Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration, organisers said on Friday. Obama’s swearing-in ceremony on January 21 is expected to draw up to 8,00,000 people, less than half of the 1.8 million who flocked to Washington in 2009 to celebrate the US’ first African American president.
London (Reuters): Two European airlines said on Saturday they were halting services to Iran, a sign of the crumbling purchasing power of Iranians as their economy buckles under the weight of Western sanctions. Air France-KLM will suspend its Amsterdam-Tehran service starting April 2013, a spokesperson said. Austrian Airlines, a unit of Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa, will cancel its services to Iran because of a lack of demand, a spokesperson said. Its last flight from Vienna to Tehran will be on January 13.
London (PTI): A tiny 18th century portrait that puzzled experts for centuries has been identified as that of musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The identity of the young, grey-haired man in the picture bemused experts for centuries. Experts at Salzburg’s Mozarteum museum concluded that the model in the picture is indeed the musical genius, the Daily Mail reported.