International

NASA’s InSight helps decode Martian weather

NASA’s InSight lander which touched down on the Martian equator in November 2018, has revealed secrets about the Red Planet’s weather patterns, including details about its surface tornadoes, and the steady, rumble of low-frequency sounds on the planet, a new study says. The research, published in the journal ‘Nature Geoscience’, noted that Mars experiences strong daily pressure and temperature fluctuations, stronger than on the Earth...

Adline Castelino wins Miss Diva Universe 2020

ADLINE Castelino has been crowned as the winner of LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2020 competition. Castelino, who hails from Mangalore, was crowned by Vartika Singh, the winner of the previous edition, at an event in YRF Studios on Saturday. She was closely followed by Aavriti Choudhary of Jabalpur who was bestowed with the title of Miss Diva Supranational by her predecessor Shefali Sood. Pune’s Neha Jaiswal was crowned Miss Diva Runner-up by Roshni Sheoran...

Death toll in China’s coronavirus climbs to 2,118

THE death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China has climbed to 2,118 with the death of 114 more people, while the overall confirmed cases increased to 74,576, Chinese officials said on Thursday. China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said the new confirmed cases declined to 394, registering the biggest drop since December when the first case was reported in Wuhan city in the central Hubei Province. The NHC said on Thursday that it received reports of 114 deaths on Wednesday from 31 provincial-level ..

Indian among 79 more test +ve for COVID-19 on Japan cruise ship

AS HUNDREDS of relieved passengers disembarked a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan on Wednesday after testing negative for the disease, an additional 79 cases have been discovered aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, bringing the total to 621. Among the new cases is one more Indian who was tested positive for the novel coronavirus and shifted to hospital, taking the number of Indian nationals infected with the virus on the vessel to seven, according ..

UN chief visits Kartarpur Sahib

UN CHIEF Antonio Guterres on Tuesday visited the revered Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, in Pakistan’s Narowal town. The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhik Committee and Evacuee Trust Property Board officials received the UN Secretary General at Kartarpur Sahib, some 125 kms from Lahore...

Pak to remain in FATF’s grey list

A SUB-GROUP of the global terror financing watchdog FATF on Tuesday recommended continuation of Pakistan in the ‘Grey List’ for its failure to check terror funding and a final decision will be taken on February 21, sources said on Tuesday. The decision was taken at the meeting of the FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG), held at the ongoing Paris plenary. “The ICRG meeting, sub group of the FATF, has recommended to retain Pakistan in the ‘Grey List.’ A final decision will be taken ..

UK MP deported due to invalid visa

LONDON, THE Indian High Commission in London confirmed on Tuesday that British lawmaker Debbie Abrahams, who was denied entry to India and deported to Dubai on Monday, did not hold a valid visa. Abrahams, who is an Opposition Labour Party MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kashmir, claimed she was travelling on a valid e-visa to India to visit family and friends but her visa was revoked without explanation. She questioned why her visa was suddenly revoked and also the possibility ..

Air India crew gets PM’s letters of appreciation for Wuhan evacuation

A TOTAL of 68 Air India crew members, who were part of the two special flights that evacuated 647 Indians and seven Maldivians from coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, were handed over letters of appreciation signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri handed over the letters of appreciation to each crew member in a ceremony held here. ..

China’s coronavirus death toll rises to 1,770

TOP WHO experts, including from the US, have joined the fight against the novel coronavirus in China that has claimed 1,770 lives, as Beijing stepped up its efforts by deploying 30,000 more medical staff in the worst-affected Wuhan city to contain the spread of the epidemic. ..

India serves strong demarche to Turkey over Kashmir comments

INDIA on Monday issued a strong demarche to Turkey over its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments expressing concern over the prevailing situation in Kashmir and comparing the “struggle” of Kashmiri people with that of the fight by the Turkish during the World War I...

Indian-origin restaurateur uses steel tiffins on recycling mission in Britain

AN Indian-origin restaurateur, who runs an Indian restaurant in northern England, has been inspired by his father’s decades’ old stainless steel tiffin box to launch a takeaway system not reliant on plastic. Harry Khinda, whose family hails from Punjab before settling in the UK in the 1960s, said he hit upon the concept of offering discounts on takeaways using the reusable tiffin boxes as his very own recycling mission to fight against unsustainable single-use plastic...

Coronavirus could damage global growth in 2020: IMF

THE coronavirus epidemic could damage global economic growth this year, the IMF head said on Sunday, but a sharp and rapid economic rebound could follow. “There may be a cut that we are still hoping would be in the 0.1-0.2 percentage space,” the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, told the Global Women’s Forum in Dubai. She said the full impact of the spreading disease that has already killed more than 1,600 people would depend on how quickly it was contained. ..

Indian Embassy to make efforts to disembark Indians from cruise ship affected with coronavirus

THE Indian Embassy in Japan on Saturday said it is making efforts to disembark all the Indians on board the cruise ship moored off the Japanese coast after the end of the quarantine period as authorities confirmed that 218 people, including three Indians, have been infected with the deadly disease on the ship. A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the quarantined ship that arrived at the Japanese coast earlier this month. It was quarantined ..

Trump gets it wrong, says he is number 1 on FB while Modi ranks second

DONALD Trump on Friday claimed that he has been ranked “number one” in popularity on Facebook by its chief Mark Zuckerberg, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who the US President said ranks second. “Great honour, I think? Mark Zuckerberg recently stated that ‘Donald J. Trump is Number 1 on Facebook. Number 2 is Prime Minister Modi of India.’..

‘Twice as much food being wasted globally as thought’

LONDONCONSUMERS around the world may be wasting more than twice as much food as commonly believed, according to a study.   The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that in 2005, one third of all food available for human consumption was wasted, researchers from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands noted. This figure has continued to serve as reference for the extent of global food waste, they said.However, the FAO methodology does not ..

Govt plans massive ‘Kem Chho, Trump’ welcome

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump will get a red carpet welcome in Gujarat later this month -- on a grander scale than the event organised for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston last year. Sources said that the Government is organising ‘Kem Chho, Trump’, the Gujarati equivalent of Texas event ‘Howdy Modi’ in Prime Minister’s home State, Gujarat for President Trump and his wife Melania. In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi hinted at the ongoing preparations for President Trump’s two-day visit on February 24. ..

Coronavirus death toll rises to 908; WHO sends team to China

THE death toll in China’s coronavirus outbreak has gone up to 908 with 97 new fatalities reported mostly in the worst-affected Hubei province and the confirmed cases of infection crossing 40,000, Chinese health officials said on Monday, as a team of international experts led by the WHO is set to arrive in Beijing to help contain the epidemic. According to China’s National Health Commission, 91 deaths were reported in Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, two in Anhui, and one each in Heilongjiang, ..

Scientists race to develop vaccine for coronavirus

SCIENTISTS from the United States to Australia are using new technology in an ambitious, multi-million-dollar drive to develop a vaccine in record time to tackle China’s coronavirus outbreak. The new virus has spread rapidly since emerging late last year in China, killing more than 800 people in the mainland and infecting over 37,000...

Boy paid off lunch debt for school, Twitter applauds

AN INSPIRING story of an 8-year-old boy Keoni Ching from Washington is doing the rounds on the Internet who sold key chains to paid off $4,015 (Rs 2.87 lakh) of his school district lunch debt after he was inspired by former Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman...

US Senate acquits Trump

THE US Senate on Wednesday acquitted President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction to Congress - giving him a major political victory in an election year. The Republican-majority Senate voted 52-48 to acquit Trump of abuse of power and 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress, thus preventing the Democrats’ move to overthrow him, for which they required two-thirds of votes in the 100-member House...

One-year-old Indian baby wins $1 million in UAE raffle draw

A ONE-YEAR-OLD Indian baby boy in the UAE, whose father purchased a lottery ticket in his name, won a jackpot of USD 1 million in a monthly raffle draw here, media reports said on Wednesday. Mohammad Salah’s father Ramees Rahman has been participating in the Dubai Duty Free promotions for a year now and bought the winning ticket number 1319 online in Series 323 under his son’s name, the Gulf News reported. The news of Rahman’s ticket’s lucky draw was announced on Tuesday...

World Bank calls for global effort against coronavirus

THE World Bank has called for countries to step up programmes to fight the new coronavirus outbreak, and said it was considering mobilising its own resources against the disease. “We are calling on all countries to strengthen their health surveillance and response systems, which is essential to contain the spread of this and any future outbreaks,” the institution said in a statement. “The World Bank Group is reviewing financial and technical resources that can be mobilised quickly to support affected ..

Coronavirus toll in China reaches 490

THE death toll in China’s coronavirus outbreak rose to 490 on Wednesday while the total number of confirmed cases mounted to 24,324, Chinese health officials announced on Wednesday. A total of 490 people had died after being infected and 24,324 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions, China’s National Health Commission reported. It said 65 deaths were reported on Tuesday, all from Hubei province and its capital Wuhan...

Toll in China’s coronavirus jumps to 425, confirmed cases soar to 20,000

THE death toll in China’s coronavirus rose sharply to 425 with 64 deaths on Monday alone while 3,235 new confirmed cases were reported, taking the number of those infected with the deadly disease to 20,438, Chinese health authorities said on Tuesday. The 64 people who died on Monday were all from the Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, China’s National Health Commission said. Also, 3,235 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection were reported, a big increase in a day. Another 5,072 ..

Death toll in China’s coronavirus jumps to 361

THE death toll in China’s coronavirus epidemic soared to 361 with 57 deaths on Sunday alone while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 17,205, Chinese health officials announced on Monday. China’s National Health Commission in its daily report on Monday said that 2,829 new cases of coronavirus were reported nationwide on February 2, taking the total number of infection to 17,205...

Scientists snap first-ever images of ‘notorious’ Antarctic glacier’s foundation

USING a robotic submarine, researchers have taken the first-ever images of the Antarctic Thwaites glacier’s foundations, a step towards better monitoring of the ice sheet which is notorious for its contributions to sea-level rise. According to the researchers, including those from Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, Thwaites accounts for about four per cent of global sea-level rise, causing concerns that a tipping point in its stability may result in a run-away collapse of the glacier, and ..

Coronavirus toll soars to 259 in China

SEVERAL countries, including India, scrambled to evacuate their nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll in China soared to 259 and nearly 12,000 people infected with the deadly virus...

Do not travel to China: US issues level 4 advisory

WASHINGTONTHE United States told its citizens on Thursday night “do not travel” to China, raising its advisory status to the highest level of alert because of the coronavirus epidemic.  (L) A local resident using a drone sprays disinfectant at a village in Pingdingshan, in China’s central Henan province during the virus outbreak in Hubei’s city of Wuhan. Students are checked by body thermal scanners as a precautionary measure against the spread of a new virus at a ..

European Parliament debates anti-CAA motion; vote delayed till March

THE European Parliament has postponed until March a vote on a joint motion, combining five different resolutions tabled by its members against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which was debated at its Plenary session in Brussels. The debate opened on Wednesday with a statement by Helena Dalli, the Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who spoke strongly in favour of the “rich, frank and open” relationship the European ..

Most detailed pictures of Sun captured

THE Sun’s turbulent surface has been revealed in unprecedented detail in the first observations by a newly operational telescope in the US, which scientists say will play a critical role in the better understanding of our star, as well as the space weather...

47% land for bullet train project acquired: Chairman

THE Indian Railways will acquire rest of the 53 per cent of land required for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Train project, which is also called Bullet train project, in next six months, an official said on Wednesday. Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav said, “Till date 47 per cent of the land has been acquired for the 508-km long Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed rail project, and rest of the 53 per cent will be acquired in next six months.”..

Coronavirus toll in China 132

THE death toll in China due to the novel Coronavirus increased to 132 on Wednesday, with 5,974 confirmed cases, as foreign governments started to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak. According to China’s National Health Commission, the total number of patients in serious condition stands at 1,239, while 103 people were discharged, reports Efe news...

Govt issues advisory against travel to China

THE Union Health Ministry on Wednesday asked Indians to refrain from travelling to China where the novel coronavirus has claimed over 100 lives. The Ministry issued a fresh travel advisory and also urged people travelling to China to monitor their health closely. It asked people to use 24x7 helpline (011-23978046) for queries related to respiratory infection...

India used digital platforms to reduce disparities: UN

INDIA successfully managed to use digital platforms to reduce disparities among population groups, a flagship UN study has said, noting that the country’s experience of complementing mobile technologies with the Aadhaar identification system to reduce inequality is likely to be replicated in other countries in future. The World Social Report 2020, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), notes how India harnessed the potential of digital technologies for more inclusive ..

China virus toll jumps to 106; over 4,500 infected

CHINA has reported 24 more deaths from coronavirus epidemic, taking the number of fatalities to 106 as confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by outbreak stand at 4,515, the health authorities announced on Tuesday. Barring Tibet, all Chinese provinces have reported the virus cases, posing a major challenge for the health authorities to contain it. Overseas confirmed cases have been reported in Thailand (7), Japan (3), South Korea (3), the United States (3), Vietnam (2), Singapore (4), Malaysia (3), Nepal ..

New mission to take first peek at Sun’s poles: NASA

NASA, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), is launching a new spacecraft next month to snap the first pictures of the Sun’s north and south poles, the US space agency announced on Tuesday. The Solar Orbiter spacecraft will have its first opportunity to launch from Cape Canaveral in the US on February 7, 2020, NASA said in a statement. The spacecraft will use Venus’s and the Earth’s gravity to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane -- the swath of space, roughly aligned with the Sun’s ..

India, Brazil ink 15 pacts to boost ties

INDIA and Brazil on Saturday inked 15 agreements to ramp up cooperation in a wide range of areas, including oil and gas, and unveiled an action plan to further broadbase their strategic ties after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. The two leaders also vowed to work closely at the global anti-terror watchdog FATF to effectively confront challenges of terror financing and state-sponsored terrorism. Modi and Bolsonaro pitched for united global ..

Top Indian philanthropists join hands to fight climate change

IN A bid to solve India’s pressing climate challenges, country’s foremost philanthropists on Wednesday joined hands to form the India Climate Collaborative (ICC) that will work to strengthen the climate community locally, build a climate narrative and drive solutions that will ensure both the natural world and people thrive. The ICC marks the first-ever collective response by industry leaders such as Ratan N. Tata, Anand Mahindra, Rohini Nilekani, Nadir Godrej, Aditi and Rishad Premji, Vidya Shah ..

Pichai pitches for common global rules for AI

DAVOS, GOOGLE chief Sundar Pichai on Wednesday said the world needs a free and open Internet for everyone and hoped that all countries will come together for a common regulatory framework for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Speaking here at WEF 2020, Pichai also said privacy cannot be a luxury good and it has to be safeguarded for everyone...

Trump impeachment trial opens amid acrimonious scene over witnesses

THE US Senate has started the historic impeachment trial of President Donald Trump amidst an “acrimonious scene” among the Senators from the ruling Republican party and the Opposition Democrats over the rules of the game and witnesses. The impeachment trial began on Tuesday and comes nearly a week after the House of Representatives, where the Democrats enjoy a majority, voted to send articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate. In a 228-193 vote, which was mainly on party lines, ..

Indian storekeeper wins luxury car, USD 54,000 in Dubai raffle

AN INDIAN storekeeper in the UAE has won a luxury car and a whopping 200,000 dirhams in a Dubai raffle, ending a decade-long wait to hit the jackpot, according to a media report on Tuesday. Sreejith has been buying raffle tickets every year for the last 10 years, ‘Khaleej Times’ reported...

8 Indian tourists die due to possible gas leak in Nepal

TRAGEDY struck a group of 15 tourists from Kerala in Nepal when eight of them, including four children, died after they fell unconscious probably due to a gas leak from a heater in their room at a mountainous resort, amidst cold wave in the Himalayan region...

IMF lowers global growth forecast for 2019, cites slowdown in India

DAVOS, THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday lowered growth estimate for the world economy to 2.9 per cent for 2019, citing “negative surprises” in few emerging market economies, especially India. Providing an update to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) ahead of the inauguration of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual summit here, the fund also revised downwards its forecast for India to 4.8 per cent for 2019...

Over 80 soldiers killed in Yemen missile, drone attacks

MORE than 80 Yemeni soldiers have been killed and scores injured in a missile and drone attack blamed on Huthi rebels in central Yemen, medical and military sources said on Sunday. Saturday’s strike follows months of relative calm in the war between the Iran-backed Huthis and Yemen’s internationally recognised Government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition. The Huthis attacked a mosque in a military camp in the central province of Marib -- about 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of the ..

Half of world economy dependent on nature: WEF study

FLAGGING huge risks to the economy from dangers of biodiversity loss and climate change, a new WEF study on Sunday said businesses are more than dependent on nature with an estimated exposure of USD 44 trillion or half of the world GDP. Releasing the Nature Risk Rising Report ahead of its 50th Annual Meeting, the World Economic Forum said about 25 per cent of our assessed plant and animal species are threatened by human actions, with a million species facing extinction, many within decades. China, ..

Prince Harry, Meghan sign up to formal exit deal from royal family

PRINCE Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have signed up to a formal exit deal from the royal family, which will see them forsake their His and Her Royal Highness (HRH) titles and will no longer receive UK taxpayers’ funding for their duties. The deal, which comes into effect by spring in a few weeks’ time, means the couple will no longer be representing the Queen in an official capacity. “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members ..

Bodies of Ukrainian victims of downed plane arrive in Kiev

THE flag-draped coffins of the 11 Ukrainians who died in a plane mistakenly shot down by Iran during a spike in tensions with Washington arrived in Kiev on Sunday. President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Oleksiy Goncharuk and other officials attended the solemn ceremony at Kiev’s Boryspil airport to see caskets with the remains of the downed plane’s nine Ukrainian flight crew and two passengers being removed from the aircraft...

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw conferred with Aus’ highest civilian honour

AUSTRALIA has conferred its highest civilian honour, the Order of Australia honour, on Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw for her contribution towards advancing the country’s relationship with India. Australia’s High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu invested Mazumdar-Shaw as an Honorary Member within the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division at a ceremony in Bengaluru on Friday, the Australian High Commission said in a statement...

Trump’s impeachment trial begins

WASHINGTONTHE US Senate opened impeachment trial of President Donald Trump with quiet ceremony on Thursday — senators standing at their desks to swear an oath of “impartial justice” as jurors, House prosecutors formally reciting the charges and Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.   The trial, only the third such undertaking in American history, is unfolding at the start of the election year, a time of deep political division in the nation. Four of the senators sitting ..

China’s attempt to raise Kashmir issue on Pak’s behalf at UNSC fails again

CHINA’S latest attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Pakistan’s behalf has failed, with an overwhelming majority of the body expressing the view that it was not the right forum to discuss the bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. China, Pakistan’s ‘all-weather ally’, on Wednesday made the fresh pitch to raise the Kashmir issue under “other matters” during closed consultations in the Security Council Consultations Room. The overwhelming majority of the 15-member ..

Jaishankar holds talks with Iranian Minister Javad Zarif

EXTERNAL Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Thursday held extensive talks on the fast-evolving situation in the Gulf region in the wake of frayed Iran-US ties over the killing of Commander Qasem Soleimani. Zarif apprised Jaishankar about the overall situation and Tehran’s position on it in the meeting held over breakfast, officials said. In a statement, the External Affairs Ministry said the two sides exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, ..

Frosty India-Pak ties impacted Afghan tremendously: Karzai

ASSERTING that the “unfortunate state” of the Indo-Pak relationship has impacted Afghanistan tremendously, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Thursday said maintaining a balance in ties with the two neighbours has been very difficult for his country. Karzai also said dialogue with the Taliban was the way forward in Afghanistan, asserting that, “it isn’t our war. It is not our conflict, it is somebody else’s conflict.” ..

21st to be an Indian century: Jeff Bezos

MAKING major investment announcements for small and medium businesses (SMB), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday said that the 21st century will be the century of India. Speaking at the Amazon SMBhav event here, Bezos announced that Amazon would invest $1 billion in digitising SMBs in the country. He further said that the e-commerce major would use its global footprint to export Made in India goods worth $10 billion by 2025...

7-bn-year-old stardust in meteorite discovered

SCIENTISTS have discovered the oldest solid material ever found on Earth -- seven-billion-year-old stardust trapped inside a meteorite. This stardust provides evidence for a ‘baby boom’ of new stars that formed seven billion years ago, contrary to thinking that star formation happens at a steady, constant rate. The meteorite fell 50 years ago in Australia...

India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in Gulf: Iran Foreign Minister

INDIA can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who was on India visit for the Raisina Dialogue, said on Wednesday. His remarks come amid tensions between the US and Iran over the killing of Iranian General Major General Qasem Soleimani. India has been maintaining that it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and the country has been in touch with key players, including Iran, United ..

World’s oceans were the warmest in 2019: Study

THE world’s oceans were the warmest in 2019 than any other time in recorded human history, especially between the surface and a depth of 2,000 metres, according to a study. The study, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, also found that the past ten years have been the warmest on record for global ocean temperatures, with the last five years holding the highest record...

US removes China’s label as currency manipulator

THE United States has removed the currency manipulator label it imposed on China last summer, in a sign of easing tensions between the two economic powers after nearly two years of conflict. Just two days before President Donald Trump is set to sign a “phase one” trade agreement with China, the US Treasury said in its semi-annual report to Congress that the yuan has strengthened and Beijing is no longer considered a currency manipulator...

Iran makes first arrests over Ukrainian airliner downing

IRAN on Tuesday announced its first arrests over the shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran last week, after a third night of angry protests over the disaster. The Ukraine International Airlines plane was brought down by a missile shortly after takeoff on Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board. Tehran for days denied Western claims based on US Intelligence that the Boeing 737 had been downed by a missile. It came clean on Saturday when Revolutionary Guards aerospace commander ..

Pakistan top court annuls Musharraf’s death penalty

IN A major relief for Pakistan’s self-exiled former military dictator, a top court here on Monday declared his “complaint and trial” in the high treason case as “unconstitutional” leading to the annulment of his death penalty by a special tribunal...

Wanted: Girlfriend to fly to the Moon with Japanese billionaire

A JAPANESE billionaire has launched an online wanted ad for a girlfriend who will fly around the Moon with him on a SpaceX rocket. Yusaku Maezawa, who recently announced his break-up with a Japanese actress, is accepting applications from “single women aged 20 or over” who want to enjoy life to the fullest. The matchmaking exercise is being turned into a TV show for a web streaming service. The flamboyant entrepreneur said he agreed to the idea due to loneliness in middle age...

Iran agrees to de-escalation amid rising tensions with US

QATAR’S Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei and other senior leaders on Sunday and agreed that de-escalation and dialogue were the only solutions to rising tensions in the Middle East between the United States and Tehran. Qatar and Iran agreed that de-escalation was the “only solution” to regional tensions, ‘Al Jazeera’ quoted Sheikh Tamim as saying after the meeting with Rouhani...

NASA satellite reveals more plants are growing around Mount Everest

RESEARCHERS have found that plant life is growing and expanding around Mount Everest and across the Himalayan region as the area continues to experience the consequences of global warming. According to the study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, research team from University of Exeter in UK, used satellite data to measure the extent of subnival vegetation - plants growing between the treeline and snowline - in this vast area...

8 rockets hit Iraq base hosting US troops

A VOLLEY of rockets slammed into an Iraqi airbase north of Baghdad where US forces have been based, wounding four local troops, the Iraqi military said on Sunday. Its statement said eight Katyusha-type rockets landed on Al-Balad airbase, wounding two Iraqi officers and two airmen. Al-Balad is the main airbase for Iraq’s F-16s, which it bought from the US to upgrade its air capacities...

Indian-American among NASA’s new astronauts; all set to conquer Moon, Mars

RAJA Jon Vurputoor Chari, an Indian-American US Air Force colonel, is among 11 new NASA graduates who have successfully completed their over two years’ of basic astronaut training and are all set to be a part of the space agency’s ambitious future missions to the International Space Station, Moon and Mars. The successful astronauts were selected among 18,000 applicants in 2017 after NASA announced its Artemis programme. Chari, 41, was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. He ..

Unintentionally shot down Ukrainian airliner: Iran

IRAN on Saturday said it unintentionally shot down the Ukrainian airliner that crashed this week killing 176 people, calling it an “unforgivable mistake”. The Ukraine International Airlines plane came down on Wednesday shortly after Iran launched missiles at bases hosting American forces in Iraq in response to the killing of Qasem Soleimani, one of Iran’s top Generals, in a US drone strike. “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted...

Iran sending messages to militias not to move against American targets: Pence

VICE President Mike Pence has claimed that the US has received some “encouraging Intelligence” that Iran has asked its militia not to move against American targets or civilians after the assassination of a top commander of its powerful Revolutionary Guards. Pence’s remarks came after US President Donald Trump said in an address on Wednesday that no Americans were harmed in the attack by Iran on US bases in Iraq. Iran launched 22 ballistic missiles in a pre-dawn attack on Wednesday targeting at least ..

US, Iran step back from the brink; region still on edge

THE US and Iran stepped back from the brink of possible war on Wednesday as President Donald Trump signalled that he would not retaliate militarily for Iran’s missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US troops. No one was harmed in the strikes, but US forces in the region remained on high alert. Speaking from the White House, Trump seemed intent on deescalating the crisis, which spiralled after he authorised the targeted killing last week of Iran’s top General, Qassem Soleimani...

US troops must leave: Iraq PM

IRAQ’S outgoing Prime Minister said on Tuesday that the United States has no alternative and must pull its troops out of the country, or else face an impending crisis, as the remains of a senior Iraqi militia commander killed in a US strike was brought to Iraq from Iran for burial. Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who resigned in November amid mass anti-Government protests, said Iraq wants a US troop withdrawal to avoid further escalation as tensions soar between American and Iran. His comments came just days after ..

Iran strikes two US bases in Iraq with 22 ballistic missiles

IRAN launched over a dozen of ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces’ are stationed in Iraq, which Tehran said was a “slap in the face” of America. According to Iranian State TV, the attacks were in revenge for the killing of the commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday, which was ordered by President Donald Trump. While the Iranian State television claimed that “at least 80 terrorist ..

Any peace initiative from India is most welcome: Iran envoy

IRAN will welcome any peace initiative by India to de-escalate tensions with the US following the killing of Iranian military Commander Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian envoy here said on Wednesday while asserting that his country wants peace not war. Iran’s Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni also expressed the hope that there would be no further escalation in hostilities between his country and the US...