Briefs, February 20, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 4:16am

Pakistani Shiites stop protests after arrests

QUETTA - Pakistani Shiites agreed to bury those killed in the most recent sectarian bombing, ending four days of protests, after the government said it had arrested 170 suspects linked to the attack. Saturday's bombing in the northwestern city of Quetta killed 85 people, and grieving relatives refused to bury their kin in a powerful rebuke to a government they say has repeatedly failed to protect them. But Shiite leaders called off the protest after Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said four suspects had been killed and 170 people arrested within hours of the government announcing an operation against the militants. Reuters


Cameron pledge over helicopter bribes probe

NEW DELHI - India and Britain agreed to work together to investigate any possible wrongdoing by a British company involved in a US$750 million deal to sell helicopters to India's military that has been clouded by charges of kickbacks and bribes. Visiting Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would respond to any request for information on the deal by the Italian firm Finmeccanica and its British subsidiary, AgustaWestland. AP


Nepali PM to resign ahead of June elections

KATHMANDU - Nepal's prime minister has agreed to resign to make way for the chief justice to lead the politically deadlocked country into elections by June, the government said. Baburam Bhattarai would submit his resignation to the president after the nation's four largest parties ended a protracted stalemate by agreeing to form a unity government headed by the country's top judge, deputy prime minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar said. Party leaders were to offer Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi the prime minister's job today. AFP


Maldives' opposition to shun presidential poll

COLOMBO - Maldives' main opposition party is threatening to boycott the presidential elections scheduled this year unless they are held under a transitional government. A Maldivian Democratic Party spokesman said on Monday that his party could not trust President Mohammed Waheed Hassan to hold a fair election. The party wants a transitional government under the speaker of parliament for two months as allowed under the constitution. Former president and MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed has taken refuge at the Indian Embassy for the past week. Nasheed says he was ousted in a coup and forced to resign. AP