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Saarc Summit begins in Kathmandu

By Anil Giri,

Kathmandu : With all eyes on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's take on the future of South Asia, the 18th Saarc Summit commenced here Wednesday morning.

Apart from host Nepal, all seven heads of state and government are in Kathmandu to attend the summit. As chair of Saarc, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul opened the summit and handed over the responsibility of the chair of the regional bloc to Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

This is the third time Nepal is organising the summit -- first in 1987 and then again in 2002.

India, Nepal ink nine deals; Modi inaugurates trauma centre, bus service

Kathmandu : Nepal's happiness "gives us joy", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here Tuesday on his second visit to the Himalayan country in 100 days as both sides inked nine agreements, further cementing their close ties.

Modi, who in his departure statement said the fact that he was visiting Nepal twice in the six months since he took over "reflects the importance we attach to our unique and special relations with Nepal", also held delegation-level talks with his Nepali counterpart Sushil Koirala.

Gadkari flags off India-Nepal bus service in Delhi

New Delhi : Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari Tuesday flagged off the Delhi-Kathmandu bus service here and said the government was planning to start similar services to every neighbouring country soon.

"This initiative by the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to extend good relations between India and Nepal, which has existed since its independence," Gadkari told reporters while flagging off the bus from the Ambedkar Stadium bus terminal here.

Saarc leaders to meet amid hopes of South Asian integration

Kathmandu : The 18th Saarc Summit begins here Wednesday with focus on deeper integration among the eight South Asian neighbours, amid high hopes that the leaders of India and Pakistan will meet to break their diplomatic ice.

With speculation mounting that Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan may meet on the sidelines of the summit, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj briefly met and shook hands with Sartaj Aziz, the national security adviser to Sharif, Tuesday.

Modi hands over Dhruv chopper to Nepal

Kathmandu : Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday handed over the indigenous Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv to his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala here for use by the Nepal Army.

Built by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in Bengaluru, the multi-utility chopper's mark-3 version is fitted with Shakti engines, advanced glass cockpit and avionics.

Modi is in Kathmandu to attend the two-day Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit starting Wednesday.

Lessons to learn from Sino-Indian border management: Chinese daily

Beijing : The lessons learnt from China-India land border dispute management can help settle the maritime dispute between China and Japan and the disputes in the South China Sea, a leading Chinese daily said Tuesday.

“On the eve of (Chinese) President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in September 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined the term 'Inch towards Miles' that underpins his hopes for the future of the (India-China) relationship,” an opinion piece in the China Daily stated.

Foreign monitors for Sri Lanka polls

Colombo : Sri Lanka Tuesday said it will invite foreign monitors to witness the presidential election in January.

Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said he would, however, not invite UN election monitors, Xinhua reported.

He told reporters that UN monitors play a role only if an election is being held for the first time or if there were serious concerns over the electoral process.

Dishapriya said that usually election monitors from Asia, the European Union and the Commonwealth were invited to see a major election.

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Missing Mexican students: President to make 'important announcement'

Mexico City : With the missing students crisis getting out of hand and due to the resulting embarrassment in the international arena, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will make an "important announcement" about the restoration of legality in the country, a senior government official has announced.

"The president will have to take decisions on what has not worked, on what has to be replaced and changed. He will make an important announcement this same week," government secretary Miguel Angel Osorio said Monday.

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Indian-American Renu Khator to lead Dallas Fed board

Washington : India born Renu Khator, University of Houston(UH) president and UH System chancellor, is set to lead the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Khator joined the board in 2011 and was appointed deputy chair in 2013.

The Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC, recently announced her appointment along with 11 other Federal Reserve Banks across US, according to a university release.

"I am excited and honoured to receive this opportunity, and for the recognition it brings to the University of Houston," Khator said.

Japan opposition party unveils election manifesto

Tokyo : The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) unveiled on Monday its manifesto for the upcoming general elections, with focus being on challenging "Abenomics" and retracting a cabinet bill granting the right to collective self-defense.

The political platform criticised Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policies, dubbed "Abenomics", saying it has worsened Japanese people's living conditions and citing recent data on Japan's gross domestic product that suggests the world's third largest economy has slipped into recession, Xinhua reported.

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