Singapore to jail, cane two Germans for vandalism

Singapore : Two German men were sentenced on Thursday to nine months in jail and three strokes of the cane in Singapore for vandalism and trespassing.

Andreas Von Knorre, 22, and Elton Hinz, 21, were charged with entering Bishan Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) station without authorisation three times in the wee hours of November 6, 7 and 8 in 2014, The Straits Times reported.

On November 8, they used paint to spray graffiti on an SMRT train at the depot.


Call to add Diwali to New York school holidays with Eid

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : As New York City public schools added two Muslim holidays - Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr - to the school calendar, a US lawmaker asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to do the same for Diwali too.

"Adding these holidays to the school calendar reflects and recognizes the rich and vibrant diversity that exists in our great city," said Democrat Grace Meng, who represents Queens, a New York borough with a large concentration of Indian-Americans, in the US House of Representatives.


Hindu prayer opens Idaho state senate session amid protest

New York : For the first time the opening prayer for the Idaho state senate was said Tuesday by a Hindu cleric amid protests by some senators who claimed the United States was a Christian nation and denounced Hinduism, local media reported.

Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed, who said the prayer in Sanskrit and English, made a call for the legislators to "act selflessly without any thought of personal profit" because "selfish action imprisons the world".


Iran says Israel PM's speech in US Congress 'show of deception'

Tehran: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech in US Congress on Tuesday on a potential agreement on Iran's nuclear issue was a "show full of deception," Iran's foreign ministry said.

Netanyahu's speech was the sign of "weakness and isolation" of the radicals in Israel and their attempts to influence the international policies, ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham was quoted as saying by Iran's Student News Agency (ISNA).

US military satellite explodes in space

Washington: A 20-year-old US military weather satellite exploded in orbit last month following a sudden temperature spike in its power system, producing at least 43 pieces of space debris, US media reported Tuesday.

The explosion of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 (DMSP-F13) occurred on February 3, and investigators have ruled out a collision with a piece of space junk and other external factors as the cause.


Former female rebel arrested in Sri Lanka

Colombo: Police in Sri Lanka have arrested a former top female Tamil Tigers leader who headed a naval unit of the rebels, officials said on Tuesday.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said women's wing leader Murugesu Bairahi was arrested at Colombo's main international airport while she was about to leave the country, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rohana said the Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) of police had launched a probe over reports that the rebel leader had arrived in the country.

Terrorist in FBI's list arrested in Somalia

Mogadishu: One of the most wanted terrorists on the list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been arrested in Somalia, the country's intelligence agency said on Tuesday.

Liban Haji Mohamed, a Somali-born US citizen and former taxi driver in Washington, was captured while he was travelling from the Somalian city of Juba to its capital Mogadishu, Xinhua reported citing the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) statement.

10,000 families homeless after huge fire in Manila

Manila : More than 10,000 families were displaced after a fire that raged for 12 hours and destroyed over 5,000 houses in Metro Manila, capital of the Philippines, authorities said on Tuesday.

The fire broke out at the Parola Compound in Tondo, a slum area, at around 6 p.m. on Monday and, fanned by winds from the Manila Bay, quickly spread across the more than one-hectare lot, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).


No ‘disrespect’ meant to Obama: Netanyahu

Washington : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his speech to Congress scheduled for Tuesday is not meant to signal any "disrespect" for US President Barack Obama but he feels "a moral obligation" to warn lawmakers of the dangers of cutting a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme.

The White House and Netanyahu, however, appeared far apart on how to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu's speech will coincide with a new round of talks in Geneva between Iran and six world powers led by the US.


Obama slams Netanyahu's stand on Iran ahead of Congressional speech

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : Ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the US Congress, President Barack Obama slammed his approach on a nuclear deal with Iran even as the Israeli prime minister struck a conciliatory note.

Pointing to the 2013 interim deal with Iran, Obama told Reuters news agency on Monday that Netanyahu, who has come to Washington at the invitation of Republican speaker John Boehner in the face of White House opposition, has been wrong before.