Taliban militants gunned down and killed six people in Afghanistan working on a government-backed literacy project in the northern province of Faryab, officials said on Wednesday. The insurgent group is stepping up attacks on state workers ahead of presidential elections due in April 2014, fanning security concerns as foreign troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of next year.

Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed has called for fresh presidential polls under a caretaker leader, after police halted the vote. He said President Mohamed Waheed Hassan should resign to let the parliamentary speaker oversee the elections. On Saturday, police prevented ballot papers from being sent out, saying two candidates had failed to approve the registry of voters.

Stand on a bustling street corner in Azerbaijan's prosperous capital, and the world can seem to move very fast. Ask a local resident who he thinks will lead the country for the next five years, however, and time suddenly seems to screech to a halt: "There's no doubt that Ilham will be chosen for the post," he says. "He will be president. There's no other way."

Election authorities in Afghanistan have wrapped up a three-week process of registering candidates for next April’s crucial presidential vote. By the end of the deadline on Sunday, about 20 political heavyweights, including Islamist warlords, had submitted their candidacies for the country’s top office. While the list of registered contenders for the April 5 presidential election has ended weeks of speculation over who is going to seek to replace President Hamid Karzai, the race remains wide open, with no clear front-runner.

With 250 million people the fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia will soon elect a new leader. Prabowo Subianto is a man transformed, driven by a persistent ambition to serve the Indonesian people as its head of state. Once the feared head of Indonesia’s notorious special forces known as Kopassus, now Prabowo puts those days firmly behind him.

September 12, 2013

As news of the election of Tony Abbott spread around the world, many could not hold back their glee at being able to berate Australia. British comedian Bill Bailey was quick to jump on the bandwagon, tweeting "Abbott as PM, it MUST be TV reality show 'Faking It' where a hapless twonk passes himself off as a politician. Can't be real." Many others bandied around reworkings of the joke “And we thought America was stupid for electing George W Bush ... Australia was just 10 years behind as usual."

With my pen and a notebook, I was trying to take on Zimbabwe: the country in southern Africa I call home and maintain a fierce love-hate relationship with. Indeed, there was a feeling that day of writing to an aloof and self-satisfied lover, whose transgressions one has been cataloguing in silence, waiting for an opening to iron things out. But instead of finding new things to rant about, novel problems to propose solutions to, I found myself confronted by the sameness and repetitiveness that characterizes Zimbabwe’s politics.

The world attention was focussed on the historic General Elections in Pakistan in May 2013, amidst an air of excitement and trepidation, as these signified transfer of civilian power, for the first time in the 67 years of its existence. There were also concerns over Army’s role and fears of likely disruption by the terrorist outfits. The return of General Musharraf to Pakistan, to join the election fray, added an element of drama.