South Asia weekly round-up: Jan. 31

NEW DELHI – Hugs and smiles were the lasting image of U.S. President Barack Obama's three-day trip to India. 

Both he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were keen to display a new closeness in the relationship between their two countries.

Obama became the first U.S. president to attend India's annual Republic Day parade as chief guest. They claimed to have made a "breakthrough" on a nuclear energy agreement -- though no details were shared -- and renewed defense agreements. 

– India raised more than $3 billion on Friday by selling off shares of state-owned Coal India, which produces 80 percent of India's coal. 

KABUL, Afghanistan – The appointment of a cabinet for Afghanistan's new government has become a long-running saga, with nominees forced to drop out because of disputes about dual nationality, educational qualifications and criminal allegations. 

Half of President Ashraf Ghani's nominations failed to receive a vote of confidence in parliament this week, including a top army chief chosen for the Ministry of Defense. It took more than 100 days for Ghani and his power-sharing partner Abdullah Abdullah to produce a list of nominations they both agreed on.

DHAKA, Bangladesh – A fishing boat smuggling up to 100 people from Bangladesh to Malaysia capsized in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday, killing at least seven people. Rescuers recovered more than 40 people, who said there could be more missing. 

KARACHI, Pakistan – At least 50 people were killed in an attack on a Shia mosque in southern Pakistan during Friday prayers. More than 5 kilograms of explosives were remotely detonated in the second attack on Shia-minority Muslims in Pakistan this month.

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