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Chatter: Tensions rising on the India-Pakistan border

India and Pakistan trade accusations across the flashpoint Kashmir border, Hugo Chavez is too ill to be sworn in, and AIG contemplates biting the hand that bailed it out.
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Need to know:
India has accused Pakistani troops of "inhuman" behavior, after they allegedly killed two Indian soldiers near the neighbors' hotly contested Kashmir border.

India's Ministry of External Affairs says the soldiers' bodies were subjected to "barbaric and inhuman mutilation" by their killers. One of them was reportedly found beheaded.

Pakistan's military, meanwhile, denies the accusations. Officials claim India made the report up to shift attention from a cross-border firefight on Sunday, which Pakistan blames on an alleged incursion by Indian troops.

Want to know:
Take down the streamers and deflate the balloons: Venezuela has postponed the inauguration of Hugo Chavez, the strongman president who's no longer feeling quite so, er, strong.

Chavez was due to be sworn in tomorrow, but asked lawmakers to agree to delay the ceremony while he recovers from cancer surgery and other complications. No new date has yet been set.

That's problematic for a number of reasons, not least that the Venezuelan constitution says the president must be sworn in on Jan. 10. Chavez's government says the date is merely a formality; yet the opposition is calling for the Supreme Court to intervene and a caretaker president to take over.

Dull but important:
Really, American International Group? Really?

The insurance firm, better known as AIG, will decide today whether to sue the US government for billions of dollars in damages – for spending $182 billion to save the company from ruin. AIG shareholders have filed a lawsuit alleging that the terms of the 2008 bailout were "unfair" and that the federal government's high interest rates "deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars."

The company's board of directors meets later today to discuss joining the complaint and alienating, oh, just the entire American public.

Just because:
Three of the five men accused of gang raping a 23-year-old woman in Delhi last month will plead not guilty, their lawyer has said.

Meanwhile the other two suspects plan to act as witnesses against them, possibly in an attempt to escape the death penalty. But in a case as emotive as this one, can they really expect anything less than the harshest penalty – and is there any hope of a fair trial?

In Delhi, GlobalPost's Jason Overdorf asked lawyers for their insight into what's shaping up to be the highest-profile rape case India has ever seen.

Strange but true:
File under "sense of humor failure," subsection "socking it to the Minh": an eighth-grade Vietnamese schoolgirl finds herself suspended for one year after posting a parody of one of Ho Chi Minh's most famous speeches on Facebook.

It's not a bad take-off, adapting the revered revolutionary's rousing call for an uprising against the French colonizers into a pledge of resistance against exams. (Sample: "Those who have health will use their health, those who have heads will use their heads. Those who have neither health or head have to copy or use cheat sheets.")

Unfortunately, the girl's teachers didn't see the funny side. They accused her of insulting her school and "distorting history," and doled out what seems like a pretty harsh suspension. Sheesh.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-tensions-rising-the-india-pakistan-border

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