New Zealand parliament holds its first session after polls

Wellington : New Zealand's 51st Parliament Monday held its first sitting since last month's general election for the swearing-in of all 121 members.

David Carter, a member of the National Party, was re-elected the speaker, Xinhua reported.

The ceremony began with the three Royal Commissioners - the Chief Justice, the Court of Appeal president, and the Chief High Court Judge - declaring the new parliament open.

Governor-General Jerry Mataparae will outline the government's legislative agenda over the three-year term at the State Opening of Parliament Tuesday.


Japan's justice minister quits

Tokyo : Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday accepted the resignation of Justice Minister Midori Matsushima after she offered to quit over an allegation of misusing campaign funds.

Two of the five women in Abe's cabinet resigned Monday, beset by allegations of misusing political funds, dealing a blow to the prime minister's efforts to boost the profile of women, Japan Times reported.


Jokowi sworn in as Indonesian president

Jakarta : Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, locally known as Jokowi, was sworn in as the seventh Indonesian president at the parliament building Monday, replacing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Jokowi's pairing with Jusuf Kalla won the direct presidential election three months ago, defeating rival former general Prabowo Subianto with running mate Hatta Rajasa, Xinhua reported.


Australian PM to attend Indonesian president's swearing-in

Sydney : Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will join other world leaders Monday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of new Indonesian president Joko Widodo in Jakarta.

Abbott said his attendance reflected the "huge importance" Australia placed on its relationship with its neighbour, Xinhua reported.

"The inauguration is an important occasion for Indonesia and also for Australia because Indonesia is a hugely important neighbour," he said in a statement.


Japanese PM accepts trade minister Obuchi's resignation

Tokyo : Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday accepted Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi's resignation filed early Monday over alleged misuse of political funds at Abe's official residence, media reported.

The 40-year-old minister handed the resignation letter early Monday to Abe over alleged misuse of political funds in a move to take the responsibility for the fund scandal, the first such case since Abe took office in December 2012, Xinhua reported citing the Kyodo News.


'India-Japan co-operation to help link south India to ASEAN'

Kolkata:Stressing the importance of enhancing connectivity in India's northeastern states, Japanese Ambassador to India Takeshi Yagi Saturday said the "bigger picture" is to eventually link south India with ASEAN countries.

"This is a part of increasing connectivity between India and ASEAN. We already have concrete projects. Another aspect is the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor - the bigger picture we have in mind is to enhance connectivity between southern part of India and ASEAN," Yagi said at a lecture at the Observer Research Foundation here.

US plane on secret mission returns to Earth

Los Angeles: After spending about 22 months orbiting the Earth on a secret mission, a US Air Force X-37B unmanned, reusable space plane has finally returned.

The spacecraft which blasted off in December 2012 for its third space mission touched down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base Friday, Xinhua reported.

"The mission is our longest to date and we're pleased with the incremental progress we've seen in our testing of the reusable space plane," the US Air Force said in a statement.


Chennai-born Indian-American scientist to get rare honour

By Arun Kumar ,

Washington: Chennai born Indian-American engineer and scientist Subra Suresh is set to be inducted into the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on Sunday, making him the only university president to be elected to all three national academies.

Suresh the current president of Carnegie Mellon University is one of only 16 living Americans to be elected to the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

Blind dancers of Articulate Ability perform in Boston

From Darkness Unto Light, they lead us all ...

By Umang Kumar,

Boston: They ended their performance by dancing to a piece which took its title from a Sanskrit sloka, “Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya,” - “Lead me from Darkness unto Light,” - urging the powers Almighty to lead them towards light - and yet it seemed that it was they who were leading us in the audience to ever-increasing light and vision.

UN Security Council condemns terrorists attacks in Iraq

United Nations: The UN Security Council Friday condemned the recent vicious string of attacks in Baghdad and its surrounding provinces, demanding perpetrators be brought to justice.

Those attacks, perpetrated by the terrorist organisation operating under the name "Islamic State(IS), have killed scores of Iraqis, said the 15-nation UN body in a statement issued here Friday night.