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Asia Top News and Analysis Afghanistan

  • 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.

  • WASHINGTON-- A new estimate puts the deficit for the just-completed 2012 budget year at $1.1 trillion, the fourth straight year of trillion dollar deficits on President Barack Obama's watch.

  • SYDNEY, Oct 5- The Manila- based Asian Development Bank has signed an agreement with the Islamic Financial Services Board to help member countries adopt the IFSB's prudential standards. In contrast, only seven IFSB members come from Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the world's three most populous Muslim-majority countries.

  • WASHINGTON-- President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney spun one-sided stories in their first presidential debate, not necessarily bogus, but not the whole truth.

  • HERAT, Afghanistan, Oct 4- Afghanistan has imposed a cap on U.S. dollar flows across the border with Iran amid clashes there between Iranian police and protesters prompted by a collapse in the rial currency, Afghan police said on Thursday.

  • HERAT, Oct 4- Afghanistan has imposed a cap on U.S. dollar flows across the border with Iran amid clashes there between Iranian police and protesters prompted by a collapse in the rial currency, Afghan police said on Thursday.

  • WASHINGTON/ LONDON, Oct 3- To win approval for their planned $45 billion merger, EADS and BAE systems must persuade Washington to let a pan-European behemoth control some of the most sensitive U.S. defence contracts, without triggering a political backlash.

  • WASHINGTON-- A new book says President Barack Obama hoped to put Osama bin Laden on trial, showing the U.S. commitment to due process under law, if the al-Qaida leader had surrendered during a U.S. raid in Pakistan last year. A team of Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011 and killed bin Laden.

  • The volatile Central Asian state has seen several attacks on the government since Kyrgyzstan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The bloodiest protests, in March 2005 and April 2010, toppled two presidents, who then fled abroad.

  • SEOUL, South Korea-- Along with the now inevitable galaxy of stars promoting blockbusters from across Asia, this year's Busan International Film Festival will screen a North Korean film for the first time in almost a decade as well as six classic Afghan movies that were hidden in a wall to save them from the Taliban.

  • The volatile Central Asian state has seen several assaults on the government since Kyrgyzstan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The bloodiest protests, in March 2005 and April 2010, toppled two presidents, who then fled abroad.

  • BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan-- Protesters clashed with police and tried to break into a building housing the parliament and government offices in Kyrgyzstan's capital Wednesday during a rally to demand the resignation of the prime minister and other top officials.

  • MANILA, Oct 3- The Asian Development Bank released its revised 2012 outlook for 45 economies in developing Asia, which spans the Pacific to Central Asia. Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.