Afghan President announces ceasefire
KABUL • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani yesterday announced a unilateral, week-long ceasefire with the Taleban, underscoring the desire of the Afghan government and its backers for a political end to the conflict.
Speaking in a televised address, Mr Ghani said that local forces would halt offensive operations against the insurgent group from next Tuesday. It is the first time an Afghan leader has declared a ceasefire with the militants since the current war began in 2001. The Taleban had no immediate public response.
The announcement follows an unprecedented religious ruling, or fatwa, from a gathering of Afghan clerics this week declaring the insurgency illegitimate and proclaiming that suicide bombings, a frequent tactic of militants, are forbidden by Islam.
India concerned over data sharing reports
NEW DELHI • India has asked Facebook to respond by June 20 to media reports of sharing users' data without their explicit consent, a government statement said yesterday.
Facebook faced criticism in the United States on Wednesday from lawmakers who demanded that the social media company be more forthcoming about data it has shared with four Chinese firms.
"Recently there are media reports claiming that Facebook has agreements which are allowing phone and other device manufacturers access to its users' personal information, including that of their friends, without taking their explicit consent. The Government of India is deeply concerned," the Indian statement said.
Man scales building to save child in China
HONG KONG • A Chinese former soldier climbed the external facade of a building in central China to rescue a two-year-old who was dangling from the grille of a fifth-floor window, the South China Morning Post reported on its website yesterday.
Mr Zhang Xin's feat on Wednesday in Huaihua in Hunan province, which was posted on the Pear Video website, is similar to the so-called French "Spiderman" rescue of a child in Paris last week.