|Lull in Gaza fighting as US, UN call for durable ceasefire|
|JERUSALEM, July 28 (Agencies): Relative calm prevailed in Gaza today after Israel reduced its assault in the coastal strip and rocket fire from Hamas also declined considerably even as both the US and the UN called for a durable ceasefire to end the deadly 20-day conflict.
The UN Security Council late last night called for an "immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire" between Israel and Palestine, asking the parties to implement the truce beyond the Muslim holiday of Eid and allow the delivery of urgently needed assistance in Gaza with the raging conflict having killed 1,030 Palestinians and 46 Israelis.
An emergency session of the council backed a UN statement calling for a truce over Eid al-Fitr "and beyond".
The Security Council endorsed a statement from Rwanda, the curren...|
|Downing of MH17 may amount to war crime: UN|
|KIEV, July 28 (Agencies): The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 "may amount to a war crime", the UN said today, adding that fighting in east Ukraine has claimed over 1,100 lives with both government and rebel forces using heavy weaponry in built-up areas.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the "horrendous shooting down" of the Malaysian passenger jet in rebel-held territory that killed all 298 people on board, and demanded a "thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation".
"This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime," she said in a statement.
"Every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to just...|
|6 children among 15 dead in Aleppo bombing: Syria Monitor|
|BEIRUT, July 28 (Agencies): Six children were among at least 15 civilians killed in overnight bomb attacks by government and rebel forces in the divided city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said today.
"At least nine civilians, three of them children, were killed in barrel bombs (dropped by regime aircraft) in Shaar," an eastern district, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based group, which relies on an extensive network of medical, military and activist sources on the ground, warned the death toll could rise because of the large number of people of seriously wounded.
"Six more civilians, including three children and a woman, were killed in mortar shelling by rebels" of the government-held district of Jabiriyeh, the Observatory said.
The northern metropolis of Al...|
|Chinese nationals may be fighting in Iraq: Special Envoy|
|BEIJING, July 28 (Agencies): Expressing concern over the growth of Islamist militant groups in the Middle East, China's special envoy to the region today said that radicals from its restive Xinjiang province may be taking part in the recent upsurge in violence in Iraq and Syria.
Wu Sike, who recently returned from the region, said that Beijing is worried about the role of extremists in Syria and Iraq, more so as some of the militants may have gone there from China.
The crisis in Syria has turned the country into a training ground for militants from many countries, he said.
Their influence is now spreading to Iraq where the Islamic State (IS) forces have captured large swathes of territory to establish a Caliphate (Islamic State).
The militants taking part in the conflicts in Syria and...|
|Swaraj describes Nepal visit as 'very successful'|
|KATHMANDU, July 27 (Agencies): External Affairs Sushma Swaraj today described her three-day visit to Nepal as very successful during which the two neighbours agreed to finalise the text of a power trade deal and "review" and adjust" a crucial treaty of 1950 to reflect the current realties.
"It was a very successful trip and the achievements were more than my expectations," Swaraj said at Tribhuvan International Airport here before leaving for New Delhi.
Swaraj said both sides removed hurdles and agreed to step up cooperation in a number of key areas.
During her visit, the External Affairs Minister met Nepal's top leaders including President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. Swaraj also met UCPN-Maoist chief and Leader of Opposition Prachanda.
Swaraj this morning calle...|
|Israel resumes Gaza strikes atfer Hamas rejects ceasefire|
|JERUSALEM, July 27 (Agencies): Israel today resumed its military offensive on Gaza after Hamas militants continued to fire rockets rejecting a 24-hour humanitarian truce requested by the UN as the 20-day conflict killed 1,050 Palestinians and 46 Israelis, including an Indian-origin soldier.
"Following Hamas' incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip," the Israeli Defence Forces said in a statement.
Israel late last night extended by another 24 hours the humanitarian truce announced yesterday, but Hamas rejected it saying no ceasefire is valid without Israeli tanks withdrawing from Gaza Strip and continued to fire rocket...|
|Shiite militia display dead bodies in Iraqi city|
|BAQUBAH, July 27 (Agencies): Shiite militiamen in Iraq's city of Baqubah dragged the bodies of Islamic State jihadist fighters through the streets today and hung them from a bridge and a utility pole.
An AFP correspondent saw two bodies displayed in the centre of Baqubah, a Shiite-dominated city barely 60 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, but security officials counted at least four.
The city is under the control of the Iraqi Army and allied Shiite militiamen but is surrounded by many Sunni villages, which have been captured and recaptured several times in recent weeks.
"Several members of Daash were killed yesterday in a battle just north of Muqdadiyah," a nearby town, a police captain said, using the Islamic State's former Arabic acronym.
"Militiamen brought four bodies back and para...|
|Gaza Crisis: 815 Palestinians killed, no sign of ceasefire|
|JERUSALEM, July 25 (Agencies): Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip today killed six persons, including a pregnant woman and two children, taking the Palestinian toll to 815, as the 18- day conflict threatens to spread to the West Bank after deaths of two youths in anti-Israel protests in north of Jerusalem.
A top leader of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, a Hamas ally, and his sons were also killed today in Israeli attacks, Gaza emergency services officials said. Salah Hasanein and his sons, 12 and 15, were killed in the strike in the southern city of Rafah, they said.
Another raid killed a 23-year-old pregnant woman in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah after her house was hit. However, surgeons saved the life of the woman's unborn child.
Hamas' military wing claimed it fir...|
|64 killed in 2 Typhoons in China, 21 still missing|
|BEIJING, July 25 (Agencies): The death toll in the two recent typhoons in China has reached 64 with another 21 people still missing, according to latest figures released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs here.
Super typhoon Rammasun and typhoon Matmo battered Chinese coast this week. 62 people died in the devastation caused by typhoon Rammasun, while two others were killed in Typhoom Matmo.
Natural disasters like floods and hail, typhoons and earthquakes have affected 120 million Chinese people so far this year in which 533 people were killed and 97 missing, the Ministry said.
The strongest typhoon to hit south China in four decades, Rammasun brought gales, downpours and floods to southern China, affecting over 11 million people in Guangdong, Hainan, Yunnan and Guangxi, it said.
|No survivors among 116 on board crashed Air Algerie flight|
|BAMAKO, July 25 (Agencies): France announced today there were no survivors among the 116 people on board the Air Algerie flight that crashed over Mali, saying bad weather was the likely cause of the disaster.
"Sadly, there are no survivors," President Francois Hollande said on television, a day after flight AH017, carrying 51 French nationals, went down shortly after take-off from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.
The wreckage of the McDonnell Douglas 83 plane, operated by Spanish charter firm Swiftair on behalf of Air Algerie, was located 50 kilometres north of the Burkina Faso border in Mali's Gossi region.
In addition to the French victims, passengers and crew hailed from Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Algeria, Spain, Canada, Germany and Luxembourg.
It was unclear exactly how many people were o...|
|Black box found at site of Air Algerie crash|
|PARIS, July 25 (Agencies): French soldiers today secured one of the black boxes from the Air Algerie plane that went down in restive northern Mali with the loss of at least 116 people, French President Francois Hollande said today.
Terrorism has not been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely cause is bad weather.
The black box was recovered from the wreckage, in the Gossi region near the border with Burkina Faso, and is being taken to the northern city of Gao, where a French contingent is based, Hollande told reporters after a crisis meeting with top ministers.
"There are, alas, no survivors," Hollande said. "I share the pain of families living through this terrible ordeal." Nearly half of the passengers aboard the flight were French, many headed on to Europe aft...|
|Russia trained rebels who shot down MH17: US|
|WASHINGTON, July 23 (Agencies): Senior US intelligence officials said Russia trained and equipped separatists responsible for the shooting down of MH17 with a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, but noted that the rebels may have targeted the plane presuming it to be a Ukrainian military jet.
Officials released some sensitive intelligence information, including satellite images, to a select group of reporters yesterday claiming them to be evidence that Russia had trained and equipped rebels responsible for the attack, The Washington Post reported.
The United States and Ukraine have blamed Russian-backed separatists for the tragic incident that killed all 298 people on board Malaysia Airline MH17.
Russia has denied its direct involvement.
According to the daily, intelligence officials...|
|26/11 trial in Pakistan adjourned for seventh time|
|LAHORE, July 23 (Agencies): For the seventh time in a row, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court trying the seven accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks case adjourned the hearing today till September 3 as the judge has gone on a summer vacation. The court office notified that ATC Rawalpindi Judge Attiquer Rehman has gone on a summer vacation.
The last hearing in the case and the one on June 25 could not be held because the judge was on leave. The case proceedings have not been held on a regular basis following the absence of the prosecution lawyers.
In the May 28, June 4, June 18 and July 2 hearings, the prosecution lawyers had not appeared in the ATC Rawalpindi primarily owing to security concerns.
The prosecution lawyers had drawn the court's attention to ensure their security in the face of...|
|China's special envoy to Afghanistan praises Pakistan, ISI|
|BEIJING, July 21 (Agencies): China's new special envoy to Afghanistan today gave a clean chit to Pakistan and its powerful spy agency ISI amid allegations that they backed terrorist outfits.
"The Pakistan government has done a lot of positive contribution to the fight against terrorism," Sun Yuxi told his first media conference here.
He was replying to a question about the allegations of involvement of Pakistan based groups Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the attack on Indian Consulate in Herat in May and whether China will engage with Pakistan to bring such groups under control.
"I believe that in future the Pakistan government will play an important and positive role in the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and fight terrorism together with the international community," said Sun, a for...|
|Pak to release 57 Indian fishing boats in mid-Sept|
|KARACHI, July 21 (Agencies): Pakistan today announced that it will release 57 fishing boats seized from Indian fishermen, who were arrested for allegedly violating the country's territorial waters.
The decision to release the boats came after instructions from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
A nine-member Indian delegation visited Karachi from July 18-20 to inspect the boats and discuss modalities for the release with officials of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).
While every effort is made by the PMSA to keep the boats in good condition, however, some minor repairs are still required before the boats could be physically handed over, Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.
"In this regard, a follow up visit of Indian officials would take place sometime in August to overs...|
|Australia circulates draft UN Resolution on MH17 disaster|
|UNITED NATIONS, July 21 (Agencies): Australia has circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding that pro-Russian separatists provide "full and unfettered access" to the crash site of the downed Malaysian jet in eastern Ukraine, diplomats said today.
The document -- that could be put to vote as early as tomorrow -- also calls on everyone in the region to fully cooperate in an international probe of the incident, according to a copy obtained by AFP.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed last Thursday by what is believed to have been a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 passengers and crew. Among the dead were 28 Australian citizens.
The draft resolution "demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that...|