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Asia Top News and Analysis Afghanistan

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 11- Republican Mitt Romney would accelerate spending on new U.S. Navy warships, cut the Pentagon's civilian workforce and speed up development of new weapons systems if he wins the 2012 presidential election, two advisers said on Thursday.

  • HOUSTON-- Defense contractor KBR Inc. said Thursday that it has been picked as one of the main contractors on a project that gets Army equipment ready for deployment. KBR said that as the prime contractor, it will be able to bid on individual task orders from the Army.

  • WASHINGTON-- The watchdog for spending in Afghanistan is warning commanders that a safety system to protect U.S. troops from roadside bombs is incomplete or inadequate. It was sent Wednesday to the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, and commander for the Middle East, and Gen.

  • WASHINGTON-- Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is promising to get tough on China to help American workers, but his plans could backfire. Romney is pledging, on his first day in office, to designate China a currency manipulator, a step no administration has taken against any country for 18 years.

  • LONDON, Oct 11- Its $45 billion merger plan shot down, BAE Systems must now hunt growth elsewhere if the British arms maker is to find the cash needed to sustain big dividends and avert the possibility of a break-up. CEO Ian King is under pressure to spur the search for new business with a lucrative deal in Saudi Arabia now seen as crucial to bolster the balance sheet.

  • BERLIN/ LONDON, Oct 11- Europe's two biggest aerospace firms will go back to the drawing board to find new strategies after Germany stymied the world's biggest arms and aviation company merger.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 10- It's time to watch Washington to see just how bad your New Year's eve is going to be. Beginning on January 1, there's a new 3.8 percent surtax on investment income for people earning more than $200,000.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 10- It's time to watch Washington to see just how bad your New Year's eve is going to be. Beginning on January 1, there's a new 3.8 percent surtax on investment income for people earning more than $200,000.

  • The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Iran to deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The U.S. has pressed India to scale back its imports of Iranian crude to support those sanctions, but energy-starved India remains one of Iran's biggest oil purchasers.

  • *Calls to nationalise Kumtor rock the volatile nation* Fight against corruption key for public sector-led growth By Olga Dzyubenko. BISHKEK, Oct 10- Kyrgyzstan's economic growth-- hit by an output collapse at a flagship gold-mine-- is set to slow to just 1 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

  • NEW DELHI-- As Western sanctions squeeze Iran and its currency tumbles, the country's energy minister worked Wednesday to woo Indian businesses to invest in the beleaguered Iranian economy. The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Iran to deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

  • BEIRUT-- In Syria's cities and towns, entire blocks of apartment buildings have been shattered, their top floors reduced to pancaked slabs of concrete. Although there are some pockets of Syria that have been relatively shielded from the conflict, the destruction in most of the country's major cities is staggering.

  • Afghanistan's first female rapper Sosan Firooz pleads into her microphone. She sings about repression of women, her hopes for a peaceful Afghanistan and the misery she says she experienced as a small child living in neighboring Iran.

  • ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates-- Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates on Tuesday ruled out running for office, choosing not to join the parade of rich businessmen who have tried their hand at politics.

  • KABUL, Oct 9- Inhaling deeply on a cigarette, Laila Haidari sits on the floor of a new Kabul restaurant wondering if it will one day allow her to repay an eye-watering $26,000 borrowed from friends to launch a daring project to aid Afghan drug addicts.

  • *Kazakhstan says trial of Vladimir Kozlov fair and open By Robin Paxton. ALMATY, Oct 9- The United States on Tuesday accused Kazakhstan of using its justice system to "silence opposition voices" after a prominent critic of President Nursultan Nazarbayev was jailed for inciting violence.

  • KABUL, Oct 8- Inhaling deeply on a cigarette, Laila Haidari sits on the floor of a new Kabul restaurant wondering if it will one day allow her to repay an eye-watering $26,000 borrowed from friends to launch a daring project to aid Afghan drug addicts.

  • *NATO seeks ways to make scarce funds go further. *NATO chief calls for rises in defence spending post-austerity. BRUSSELS, Oct 9- NATO ministers wrestled on Tuesday with how to prevent austerity-driven defence cuts in many member countries from undermining the power of the 63- year-old Western alliance.

  • *No agreement yet by Britain, France, Germany on stakes. LONDON/ PARIS, Oct 8- Britain turned up the volume in a dispute over French state involvement in any tie-up of aerospace groups EADS and BAE Systems on Monday, leaving the European mega-merger on a knife-edge less than 48 hours before a deadline for the deal.

  • WASHINGTON-- Mitt Romney solely blamed President Barack Obama on Monday for potential defense cuts that Republicans in Congress worked out with the White House and Democrats and left the misimpression that Obama has ignored free trade initiatives.