Afghan contenders sign unity deal

Abdullah Abdullah, left, and Ashraf Ghani signed the agreement in the presidential palace in Kabul


A deal to form a government of national unity in Afghanistan has been signed at a ceremony in Kabul.

The signing comes after months of wrangling following presidential elections in April and June.

Under the deal, Ashraf Ghani becomes president while runner-up Abdullah Abdullah nominates a CEO with powers similar to those of prime minister.

Later, the election commission declared Mr Ghani as winner of the bitterly fought poll.

“The Independent Election Commission declares Ashraf Ghani as the president, and thus announces the end of election process,” commission chief Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani said without declaring the number of votes for each candidate or the turnout figures.

Both sides had accused the other of fraud following the election and the months of uncertainty have damaged the economy and worsened insecurity.

Mr Ghani and Mr Abdullah signed the agreement at a televised ceremony inside the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul. They then stood and embraced each other.

Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai congratulated the two men, saying that the agreement was “for the progress and development of this country”.

“On behalf of the Afghan nation, I am congratulating them on this understanding and agreement,” he said in his speech.

The US hailed the deal as an “important opportunity for unity”.

“We support this agreement and stand ready to work with the next administration to ensure its success,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Nato, which operates the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan – said it hoped both leaders could move forward “in the spirit of genuine political partnership”.

The power-sharing deal was finally reached after a comprehensive audit of all eight million votes, brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

BBC Afghanistan correspondent David Loyn, who has seen a copy of the agreement, says it averts potential violence by supporters of Mr Abdullah.

The agreement says the new CEO will be answerable to Mr Ghani, although he has lost a battle to be sworn in after the announcement of the election result, our correspondent says.

The creation of the government of national unity will now diminish the importance of the election result. I understand that after the audit the final gap between the two candidates was less than three points – a significant cut from Ashraf Ghani’s lead after the first count of 13 points.

A president who has built an international reputation as an incorruptible technocrat is tarnished by the fact that most of the fraud in the election was discovered to be in his votes.

The new Afghan government will have a cabinet of ministers, including the CEO and two deputies, chaired by the president who will take strategic decisions. Day-to-day administration will be carried out by a new Council of Ministers, chaired by the CEO, and including all ministers.

One major issue that divided both camps was over appointments. Abdullah Abdullah won the fight to be able to appoint senior positions on terms of “parity” with Ashraf Ghani, and “the two teams will be equally represented at the leadership level”.

But appointments further down will be “equitably” shared – so there will not be a one-for-one handout of jobs across the country. Ashraf Ghani is impatient to make major reforms, and has secured the wording he wants on the formation of a “merit-based” mechanism to appoint senior officials.

What the Afghan power-sharing deal means

Profile: Ashraf Ghani

Profile: Abdullah Abdullah

The new chief executive – nominated by Mr Abdullah – will be side-by-side with the president when he is inaugurated in the next few days.

Mr Abdullah will be able to appoint senior positions on terms of “parity” with Mr Ghani. The agreement says “the two teams will be equally represented at the leadership level”.

However, our correspondent says there will not be a one-for-one handout of jobs further down and that could lead to arguments.

The agreement calls for a spirit of partnership. But after a bitter election campaign and months of wrangling, the stability of this government cannot be guaranteed, he adds.

Earlier, Mr Abdullah told the BBC that he accepted Mr Ghani should be leader.

A spokesman for Mr Ghani said that there was no longer any dispute between the two sides.

One of the new president’s first tasks is widely expected to be signing a bilateral security agreement with the US.

The deal will allow a small force of soldiers to remain beyond 2014 to train Afghan security forces.

President Karzai refused to sign the security agreement, which is linked to the continuation of aid needed to pay Afghan civil servants, teachers and soldiers.

Mr Ghani and Mr Abdullah have both promised to sign it.

Technocrat and former World Bank official. Open to talks with Taliban

Former anti-Soviet resistance member. Wary of Taliban talks

Leading in Pashtun-dominated southern provinces

Ahead in mainly Tajik northern areas

Backed by Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek ex-warlord accused of human rights abuses

Supported by wealthy Balkh governor Atta Mohammad, a bitter Dostum rival

Has support of Qayyum Karzai, brother of President Karzai

Also has backing of Mohamed Mohaqiq, powerful leader of ethnic Hazaras

Ahmed Zia Masood, whose brother was a famous resistance hero, helped balance ticket

Gul Agha Sherzai, an influential Pashtun, helped bring ethnic balance to ticket

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The freedivers who swim with whales

Humpback whale and Dare Win diver on the surface of the water


Whales are extremely shy animals, making it hard to study them in their natural habitat. But a group of marine scientists has managed to record their behaviour up-close by freediving with humpbacks and sperm whales.

I’m floating in the Indian Ocean, six miles off the north-east coast of Sri Lanka. A sperm whale and her calf are facing me, 150ft (45m) away.

I can see them swimming towards me, hissing, blowing steam and clicking loudly like a pneumatic drill.

“Don’t swim, don’t move. They’re watching us,” whispers my guide Hanli Prinsloo.

She grabs my hand and pulls me beneath the surface where we watch a hazy black mass materialise. Details gradually emerge: a fin, a gaping mouth, a patch of white. An eye, sunk low on a knotted head, peers in our direction.

The mother is the size of a school bus – together, they look like submerged islands.

I never wanted to swim with sperm whales. I’m not an adrenaline junky with a death wish and yet, against my better judgement, and my mother’s protestations, I found myself floating in the open sea with a group of marine mammal scientists from Dare Win (Database Regional Whales and Dolphins), an independent non-profit research programme started by Fabrice Schnoller, a former lumber store owner from Reunion Island – a French territory in the Indian Ocean.

The gurgle of scuba equipment, submarines and robots that are normally used to study marine life tend to spook whales. To avoid scaring them, the Dare Win team have abandoned much of this technology and use freediving techniques instead, using only a mask, flippers, and a single breath of air to dive dozens of feet deep into the ocean.

With just one breath it’s possible for experienced freedivers to stay underwater for more than four minutes. Sperm whales and humpback whales (as in the top picture) are often attracted to the freedivers who look like no other marine mammal – and sometimes, with a little luck, welcome the divers into their pods for hours at a time.

Other people have dived with sperm whales, but usually only for a few minutes, and often for recreation. Dare Win is the first group to freedive with them with the sole intention of collecting data.

Schnoller’s methods are considered reckless by many marine mammal researchers. Sperm whales can be dangerous – they are the largest toothed predators on earth. They can weigh up to 100,000lb (45 tonnes) and grow up to 60ft (18m) in length. They have a row of eight-inch-long (20cm) teeth which they use to hunt giant squid at depths of 9,000ft (1.7 miles, 2.7km).

A sperm whale could swallow a human — a few humans — within a matter of seconds, without ever pausing to chew. According to historical records, they did that often. Whaling ship logs from the 18th and 19th Centuries are filled with accounts of vicious attacks on sailing boats, rowing boats and swimmers.

Paintings from that era depict scenes of enormous sperm whales causing mass destruction if anyone was foolish enough to hunt them.

Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick was based on a real sperm whale attack that destroyed the Essex whaling ship in 1820. Of the 21 crew members aboard the Essex, just eight survived and were rescued after more than 80 days at sea.

But the Dare Win team convinced me that many of the old logs and paintings were most likely exaggerations or in some cases outright fabrications.

Sperm whales, they said, don’t want to eat humans – they only attack when they are attacked, and then only do so rarely. The old myths have been perpetuated because so few people have studied the animals.

Nonetheless, while swimming side-by-side with them, sperm whales can accidentally smother you, decapitate you with their tails, and many researchers believe they can also vibrate your body to death with their most intense vocalisations if they choose – they are the loudest animals on the planet.

These vocalisations form part of their echolocation system – they send out a click from the front of their noses then listen for the echoes that resonate in a fatty sac beneath their mouths.

It’s the most precise and powerful form of biosonar ever discovered. They can detect a 10-inch-long squid from 1,000 feet (300m) away and a human from more than a mile (1.6km) away.

The clicks are so powerful they can penetrate flesh and allow whales to see not only where objects are, but what they look from the inside out. In essence, sperm whales have X-ray vision.

Getting “scanned” in this way is not only incredibly loud, it can also be incredibly painful. One Dare Win researcher told me how he was diving with sperm whales a year ago and attempted to push a calf away from his camera. The calf’s nose was vibrating so violently from the clicks that it paralysed the researcher’s hand for four hours.

A different type of vocalisation, using what are known as coda clicks, is also used to communicate with other sperm whales and can be heard hundreds of miles away.

Dare Win researchers have recorded dozens of hours of these noises which they and a team of researchers from the University of Paris are now studying. They believe the coda clicks form a sophisticated language. Sperm whales have the largest brain ever identified, about five times larger than the human brain.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Britannica and Natural History Museum

As we swim beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean, the mother and her calf approach head-on but then, 30ft (9m) before colliding with us, start to veer away pulling softly to the side. The calf bobs its head slightly, staring with an unblinking eye. Its mouth turned up at the end, like it is smiling. The mother wears the same expression, as all sperm whales do.

The rhythm of the clicks shifts – it seems that the echolocation clicks have become coda clicks. The whales are identifying themselves to us, they are, perhaps, trying to make contact.

They keep their gaze upon us as they pass within a dozen feet of our faces, softly shower us with clicks, and retreat slowly back into the shadows. The coda clicks turn back to echolocation clicks, then the echolocation fades, and the ocean, once again, falls silent.

James Nestor is the author of Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves

He spoke to Outlook on the BBC World Service. Listen again on iPlayer or get the Outlook podcast.

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Flying axe near-miss on US motorway

Photo shared by MSP of axe through windshield


A car passenger is “shaken up” after an axe flew off the back of a lorry on a motorway and crashed midway through the windscreen, police say.

Massachusetts State Police said the passenger was uninjured but they have fined a landscaper $200 for failing to properly secure the axe.

The incident happened around 11:00 local time on the busy I-95 motorway.

Police said if the driver had been going faster, the axe might have hit someone in the car.

“We are very thankful that this situation did not have a worse ending,” state police said in a Facebook post.

“The passenger, who is partially seen in the photo, was shaken up (who wouldn’t be?) but not injured,” they wrote.

Hamilton warns of strain on PSNI

Chief Constable George Hamilton was speaking at the British-Irish Association Conference


(bursaxx.com)The chief constable has said a current piecemeal approach to our history” is placing a “significant strain” on the PSNI.

George Hamilton was speaking at the British-Irish Association Conference in Oxford on Saturday.

He said although the PSNI was committed to dealing with the past, he had to balance this with everyday policing.

Mr Hamilton said the strain of this was being felt in operational resources and in terms of public confidence

He said that he was facing a rapidly reducing budget and the level of cuts would place a  substantial impact” on the delivery of services.

The chief constable added if politicians could not reach consensus on how to deal with the past, then he believed more “hands on support from the British and Irish Governments would “seem appropriate and necessary

There is no doubt that policing, and indeed the criminal justice system, are being left to absorb the shock of the past he said.

in the absence of a more holistic solution, the Police Service of Northern Ireland is left in a lonely position, caught between legal obligations; financial constraints; and public expectation

Mr Hamilton added financial challenges had been brought into starker focus in recent weeks and the status quo is now simply not an option

He addressed delays in the PSNI disclosing material to some of the ongoing legacy inquests

It takes significant time and resource to bring a case before the courts he said.

There is little understanding of the PSNI’s duties in this established legal process

Disclosure is an unwieldy and complex exercise, involving the review of large volume of documentation and balancing legal obligations

Mr Hamilton said as his immediate obligations had to be with keeping people safe, the police would continue to meet their legal obligations but there would now have to be a change in how they responded to the demands of the past

Hamilton warns of strain on PSNI

Chief Constable George Hamilton was speaking at the British-Irish Association Conference


The chief constable has said a current piecemeal approach to our history is placing a significant strain on the PSNI

George Hamilton was speaking at the British-Irish Association Conference in Oxford on Saturday

He said although the PSNI was committed to dealing with the past, he had to balance this with everyday policing

Mr Hamilton said the strain of this was being felt in operational resources and in terms of public confidence

He said that he was facing a rapidly reducing budget and the level of cuts would place a substantial impact on the delivery of services.

The chief constable added if politicians could not reach consensus on how to deal with the past, then he believed more hands on support from the British and Irish Governments would seem appropriate and necessary

There is no doubt that policing, and indeed the criminal justice system, are being left to absorb the shock of the past he said

In the absence of a more holistic solution, the Police Service of Northern Ireland is left in a lonely position, caught between legal obligations; financial constraints; and public expectation

Mr Hamilton added financial challenges had been brought into starker focus in recent weeks and the status quo is now simply not an option

He addressed delays in the PSNI disclosing material to some of the ongoing legacy inquests

It takes significant time and resource to bring a case before the courts, he said

There is little understanding of the PSNI’s duties in this established legal process

“Disclosure is an unwieldy and complex exercise, involving the review of large volume of documentation and balancing legal obligations.”

Mr Hamilton said as his immediate obligations had to be with keeping people safe, the police would continue to meet their legal obligations but there would now have to be a change in how they responded to the demands of the past.

Amnesty says torture rife in Mexico

Mexico launched a new police force last month to tackle organised crime


Torture is still rife in Mexico and is routinely used to extract confessions, according to a new report by human rights organisation Amnesty International.

The report says that complaints have risen by a staggering 600% over the past 10 years.

The methods used by Mexican police and armed forces include beatings, electric shocks and sexual assaults, it adds.

The government says it has been taking steps to eradicate torture.

The Amnesty report, entitled “Out of Control,” alleges that from 2010 to 2013, Mexico’s National Commission for Human Rights received more than 7,000 complaints.

It adds that the judicial system still accepts confessions obtained under extreme duress, despite the fact that torture is forbidden by law,

After an official visit by United Nations special Envoy on Torture, Juan Mendez, earlier this year, the Mexican authorities said that protecting human rights was a government priority.

The organisation is demanding an explanation of why, despite the numerous complaints, there have been only seven convictions in cases of torture in recent years.

Much of the violence in Mexico is related to the activities of the powerful cartels, which smuggle cocaine and other drugs from South America into the United States.

The criminal organisations are also involved in extortion, robberies and kidnappings.

How maggots can lower Kenyan hospital bills

Kurbağalar, yeşil şişe sinekleri tarafından koyulan yumurtalardan çıkarılır.


( Bursa eskort ) – Kenya’da hastalar kısa sürede asırlık uygulama kullanarak bir pilot çalışma umut verici sonuçlar sonra bir tedavi olarak canlı kurtçuklar almaya başlayabilir.

Birçok insanın ilaçlarını ödemek zorunda olduğu bir ülkede enfekte et yaralarını sinek larva ile iyileştirme yöntemi tıbbi faturaları düşürmeyi vaat ediyor.

Kenyatta Ulusal Çalışma Dairesinde görevli Dr. Christopher Kibiwot, “Sonuçlar iyi; pahalı antibiyotikler kullanırken üç ay boyunca burada kalacak ve ameliyat geçirecek hastalar hastaneden iki üç hafta sonra hastaneden ayrıldı” diyor. Hastane.

Yarayı temizler ve canlı dokuları yemeye devam etmeyecektir, böylece herhangi bir acıyı hissetmiyorsunuz

Maggot tedavisi erken uygarlıklara kadar uzanıyor.

Ancak 20. yüzyılda penisilinin keşfedilmesi ve antibiyotiklerin gelişmesi ile modern tıbbı hastanelerde tercih edilen tedavi olarak düşürdü

Doktorlar antibiyotiklere karşı dirençle artık artan bir meydan okuma ile alternatiflere bakıyorlar.

Temelde kurtçuklar ölü dokuda beslenirler, buna nekrotik doku dediğimiz şey Dr Kibiwot’u açıklıyor

Böylece, bakterilerle yemek için yarışırlar … böylece bakteri gelişmez. Yaranın antibiyotik kullanmadan iyileşmesini sağlamanın bir yolu bu

Kurbağalar üretmek için, yeşil şişe sineklerinin kolonileri Kenya Tarımsal Araştırma Enstitüsü (Kari)

Kurtçuk üretimini denetleyen Kari’deki entomolog Phoebe Mukiria, çok özel olmalarının nedeni, ölü dokuya beslenmesidir.

Yarayı temizler ve canlı doku yemeye devam etmeyeceği için söylediği acıyı hissetmiyorsunuz.

Özünde Ms Mukiria kurtçukların ölü dokuyu sıvıya dönüştürdüğünü ve bu şekilde yiyecek olarak emilebileceklerini söylüyor.

Doktor, bunu özel kimyasallar içeren tükrük salgıları atarak attığını söylüyor

Mikro cerrahlar deniyor, çünkü cerrahların ulaşamadığı yerlere ulaşabiliyorlar Ms. Mukiria.

Kari’deki sinekler, küp biçiminde bir küp içine konur ve kepek ve şekerle beslenir; Suya batırılmış süngerler de içine yerleştirilir.

Kanatlı sinekler genellikle yumurtalarını bırakmaya hazırdır; bu yumurtaları haftada üç kez, genellikle bir karkas veya çürüyen etlerden bir biçim içinde

Kurbağalarla bölgeyi bantlamamaya özen gösteriyorum çünkü boğuluyor olabilirler.

Böylece Ms Mukiria, kafesin içine bir inek in vajina karaciğeri getirir ve karşı taraflarında iki delik bulunan plastik bir kap ile örtüler.

İki saat sonra, karaciğeri çıkarır ve karaciğer krem rengi yumurta ile kaplanır.

Yumurtalar daha sonra sodyum hipoklorit içinde sterilize edilir ve 24 saat inkübe edilir; bu süre zarfında minik 1 mm- (0.04 inç) uzun kurtçuklar taranır.

Birkaç saat sonra yeniden yıkanıp poşete benzeyen torbalara sarılırlar.

Bunlar hastaneye teslim edilmeye hazır, serin bir kutuya yerleştirilir.

Soğuk tutulmaları halinde 24 saat yaşayabilirler, bu yüzden onları uzaktaki hastanelere götürdüğümüzden eminim Ms Mukiria

Başkent Nairobi’deki Kenyatta Ulusal Hastanesi’nde Dr Kibiwot, antibiyotik almaya gücü yetmediği için hastalarından biri olan Hannah Wagio’yu terapi için hazırladı.

Doktor, bazı hastalar tedaviyle ilgili oldukça şüpheci davranıyorlar.

“Başlangıçta, elbette, şu korku faktörü var: ‘Ben hala yaşarken ben kurtçukları neden içeriye seriyorsun?’

Ancak sonuçlarını açıkladıktan sonra hastanede kalış sürelerini kısaltacaklarını ve herhangi bir şey denemek için hazır olduklarını söyledi.

Topuk üstünde topuklarını yitip gitmesine izin vermeyen Bayan Wagio, gitmeyi kabul ediyor.

Doktor yaraları temizlediğinde acı çekiyor – cildin bir kısmı sanki çevrilmiş topuktan asılı duruyor.

Dr Kibiwot daha sonra her bir yaranın üzerine kurtçuk poşeti yerleştirir ve bazı pansuman uygular.

Bandajları sarmalamayı bitirdiğinde “Boğulabileceği için kurtçuklarla bölgeyi bantlamamaya özen gösteriyorum” dedi.

İki gün sonra, onları kaldırma zamanı geldiğinde, Bayan Wagio iyimser gözüküyor.

Ağrının gittiğini ve doktorun gülümsemesinin giyinmeyi geri aldığını söyledi.

Yaralar temiz ve kuru görünüyor ve kurtçuk poşetleri şişti.

Eldivenli elinin avucunda bir tanesini açan Dr. Kibiwot kurtçukların büyüdükçe ne kadar büyüdüklerini ve daha büyüdüklerini gösterir.

Wagio, kurtçukların hepsinin kaldırıldığına dair güvence talep ettiğini söyledi.

“Beni sonradan yiyebileceklerinden endişelendim, ama orada hiçbirinin kaldığını söylemedi” diyor.

Bayan Wagio gibi hastalar için terapi düşük sağlık faturaları, hastanede daha kısa süre kalma ve antibiyotiklere direnme endişesi anlamına gelmez.

Bunu elde etmekten mutluyum ve iyileşene kadar bunu almaya devam edeceğim. Ve iyileştiğimde başkaları umarım bu terapiyi kullanacaktır diyor.

SlovakAid tarafından finanse edilen Kenya’daki pilot çalışmanın sonuçları değerlendiriliyor.

Ancak kelime ülke çapında yaygınlaştı ve Kari, hastalardan düşük maliyetli kurtçuklar isteyen çağrıları zaten alıyor.

Dünyadaki yaklaşık 20 ülke, 2004’te medikal tedavi olarak kabul eden ABD ve Birleşik Krallık da dahil olmak üzere zaten kurtçuk terapisi kullanıyor.

Çok heyecan verici bir projeydi çünkü yeni ve inanılmazdı “diyor Ms Mukiria.

Ama bir kere ilk iki ya da üç kişiyi bulduk, şimdi hastalar bunun üzerinde olmak istiyorlardı.

Ve laboratuvarının ülke genelinde yeterli kurtçuk sağlamak için gereken her şey olduğunu söylüyor

More than 3m have fled Syria UN

Jim Muir reports from a refugee camp in Northern Iraq

More than three million Syrians are now registered as refugees and the desperate crisis is only getting worse, the UN’s refugee agency says.

The UNHCR says Syria is now “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era” with almost half of all Syrians forced to flee their homes.

The majority of refugees have fled to countries neighbouring Syria, with most now seeking shelter in Lebanon.

More than 190,000 have been killed in Syria’s three-year civil war.

Opposition groups in Syria have been fighting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since his government violently suppressed protests against his rule in March 2011.

The situation has been worsened in recent months by the formation and advance of the Islamic State group, which now controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

The UNHCR says one in every eight Syrians has fled across the border and a further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria. It says more than half of those uprooted are children.

The number of registered Syrian refugees has soared from two million just under a year ago.

Families arriving at refugee camps in neighbouring countries are exhausted and scared, with some having spent a year or more fleeing from village to village inside Syria.

The UN agency says the journey out of Syria is also becoming tougher, with many people forced to pay bribes to armed gangs.

1,175,504 in Lebanon

832,508 in Turkey

613,252 in Jordan

215,369 in Iraq

139,090 in Egypt

23,367 in North Africa

6.5 million others are displaced within Syria

Source: UNHC

In addition to the registered refugees, Syria’s neighbours estimate that hundreds of thousands more Syrians have sought sanctuary in their countries – causing enormous strain.

The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them said Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

The response to the Syrian crisis has been generous, but the bitter truth is that it falls far short of what’s needed.”

The response to the Syrian crisis has been generous, but the bitter truth is that it falls far short of what’s needed”

On Thursday, French President Francois Hollande voiced his regret that the West had failed “to find a solution for the situation in Syria,” saying the consequences were clear to all.

“Bashar al-Assad’s regime continues without restraint its policy of repression. Refugees continue to gather, their numbers increasing every day, in the neighbouring countries. And terrorist groups are winning more territory that’s the result he said.

The UN’s deputy humanitarian chief, Kyung wha Kang, said Islamic State was taking violence against civilians in Syria “to a new level” and threatening aid operations in the country

But US President Barack Obama insisted Thursday that the West would not contemplate working with President Assad against the extremist group

I don’t think there’s a situation where we have to choose between Assad or the kinds of people who carry on the incredible violence that we’ve been seeing there,” he told reporters at the White House