233

We Want To Solve War Through Dialogue: Afghan Taliban

New Delhi: The Taliban has said they want to end Afghanistan's war through dialogue but warned that their willingness to find peace did not mean they were exhausted.

A more aggressive U.S. strategy in Afghanistan including a surge in air strikes introduced by President Donald Trump in August has pushed the Taliban back from several district centres and two provincial capitals.

But the militants control large parts of the countryside and have responded to the more aggressive U.S. strategy with two attacks in Kabul in the past few weeks, killing nearly 150 people.

210

South Africa Declares Drought A 'National Disaster'

New Delhi: South Africa has declared a "national disaster" over a drought that has ravaged parts of the country and threatened to leave the city of Cape Town without domestic tap water.

In a notice published in the government gazette, the department of cooperative governance said it had elevated the drought to a "national disaster" after reassessing its "magnitude and severity".

Cape Town is in the grip of a catastrophic three-year-long drought as sparse winter rains have failed to bring relief, and dam levels have dropped to dangerously low levels.

209

Trump Pushes Immigration Deal, Says 'Last Chance' To Pass

New Delhi: President Donald Trump is touting his proposals on immigration and infrastructure as they face uncertain prospects in Congress.

In a tweet, Trump asserted that Democrats and Republicans must act now to provide legal protections to young "Dreamer" immigrants in the US illegally. He writes: "This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity! March 5th."

Trump was referring to deadline after which he has said a programme protecting young immigrants from deportation would end. In fact, a recent court ruling has rendered that deadline meaningless.

188

UN To Take Part In Rohingya Repatriation: Bangladesh

New Delhi: Bangladeshhas signed a deal to involve the United Nations in the controversial process of returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

Junior foreign minister ShahriarAlam said the government was involving the UN refugee agency so that it could not be accused of sending anyone from the stateless Muslim minority back against their will.

He gave few details, but said refugees would be asked to fill out repatriation forms in the presence of UN officials.

Bangladesh reached a deal with Myanmar late last year to repatriate the nearly 700,000 Rohingya who have fled across the border since August to escape a brutal military crackdown.

166

Trump Questions Israel's Interest In Making Peace

New Delhi: President Donald Trump has questioned Israel's interest in making peace with the Palestinians.

In a media interview Trump also cast doubt on the Palestinians' desire to strike a deal. But his comments about Israel mark rare criticism from a president who has publicly sparred with the Palestinians while forging warm ties with Israel ahead of the expected presentation of a US peace outline.

"Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace. So we are just going to have to see what happens," Trump was quoted as saying. He did not disclose details about the anticipated peace plan.