Ebola cases jump to over 13,700: WHO

Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed Wednesday that 13,703 people have been infected with the Ebola virus since the epidemic began in March.

Of that number, 13,676 of the cases were reported from three West African countries-- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry -- where international efforts are focused to control the epidemic, xinhua reported citing the statement.

In a country-by-country breakdown, WHO said that 6,535 cases were registered in Liberia, 5,235 in Sierra Leone and 1,906 in Guinea.

US trys to ease spat with Israel

Washington: The US Wednesday tried to calm down a war of words with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dismissing comments by an anonymous US official as "counterproductive."

The senior US official's description of Netanyahu as "a chickenshit" drew a sharp response from the Israeli leader Wednesday, who countered that Israel's "supreme interests" -- with the security and unity of Jerusalem being the main one "are not the main concern of those anonymous officials who attack us and me personally", xinhua reported.

14 bodies found after Sri Lanka landslide

Colombo : Fourteen bodies have been found after a massive landslide hit central Sri Lanka, and authorities say more than 150 people remain missing.

The landslide smashed into a row of plantation homes in a mountainous area in Haldummulla town in Badulla district early Wednesday, Xionhua reported.

The 14 bodies were found at the site, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said.

Police, army and the state-run Disaster Management Center (DMC) were involved in rescue operations.


UN to help Myanmar move out of least developed countries

Yangon : The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) vowed to provide technical assistance to Myanmar to help lift it out of the least developed countries (LDC) list, the president's office said Wednesday.

The Geneva-based UNCTAD made the pledge after Myanmar Vice President U. Nyan Tun met with visiting UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi in Nay Pyi Taw capital city, Xinhua reported.


UN General Assembly again urges US to end Cuba embargo

United Nations : The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to demand that the US end its 52-year-old economic embargo against Cuba.

The assembly has adopted a similar resolution every year going back to 1992.

Tuesday's vote was 188-2, with three abstentions.

Israel joined the US in voting 'no', while Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands abstained.

The embargo has cost Cuba more than $1 trillion and imposed tremendous hardships on the population, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in presenting the resolution.


President can contest third term: Sri Lankan PM

Colombo : Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne said President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be able to contest the upcoming presidential elections despite the opposition saying he does not have the legal right to do so.

Jayaratne said Rajapaksa will be able to contest for a third term in office as a result of the constitutional changes brought in by the government through the parliament, Xinhua reported.

The prime minister Tuesday confirmed that presidential election would be held January next year.


Belgian PM commemorates martyrs at World War I memorial

Brussels : The new Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, paid tribute to those "who died for freedom" during the World War I at a special ceremony in the town of Ypres Tuesday.

The ceremony was part of a commemoration that took place in the towns of Nieuport and Ypres -- the places most associated with the devastation of the Great War Tuesday.

Speaking at Ypres, where a special sounding of the Last Post was played before visiting dignitaries, Charles Michel said "peace has a price and requires investment on the part of everyone."


Japan wants North Korea to probe abduction of 1970s

Pyongyang : Japan has asked North Korea to carry out a prompt investigation into the fate of Japanese nationals abducted decades ago and inform it of the result at the earliest possible time, an official said Tuesday.

The special investigation committee of North Korea started talks earlier Tuesday with the Japanese delegation led by Junichi Ihara, director general of Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, for an update on the reinvestigation into the abduction during the 1970s and 1980s, Xinhua reported.


Indian in US gets 15 years in jail for backing Hezbollah

New York: An Indian citizen residing illegally in the US has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly trying to provide material support to Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organisation.

Patrick Nayyar, 50, who was convicted in March 2012 after a seven-day jury trial, was sentenced Monday in Manhattan federal court by US District Judge Robert W. Sweet.

Announcing the sentencing, Preet Bharara, the Indian-American US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, praised the investigative work of the FBI's New York Joint Terrorism Task Force.

N-deal possible in a month: Iranian president

Tehran: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that a final nuclear deal between Tehran and the six world powers may be possible within a month.

In a meeting with Norwegian Ambassador to Tehran Odyssey Norheim Monday, Rouhani said that Iran has taken positive steps in the previous rounds of nuclear talks with the P5+1 group -- the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany -- last year, Press TV reported.