Number of Ebola cases may reach 20,000: WHO

Geneva : The number of people infected with the Ebola virus in Western Africa could reach 20,000, six times more than the current estimates, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Thursday.

This is one of the main conclusions the WHO presented Thursday in its assessment of the epidemic, in which suggestions and guidelines to contain the virus are included.

To date, WHO has recorded 3,069 cases of Ebola virus disease and 1,552 deaths in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria).

Ukraine kicks off early parliamentary election campaign

Kiev : Ukraine Thursday started a two-month campaign for an early parliamentary elections in October, the country's electoral authority said.

The political parties have the rights to register their candidates before Sep 16, while self-nominated candidates may submit application to contest for the race until Sep 26, Xinhua reported citing the Central Election Commission (CEC) website.

The eighth Ukrainian parliamentary elections, scheduled for Oct 26, will be conducted under a mixed system.


Erdogan sworn in as Turkish president

Ankara : Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in as president of Turkey at the Parliamentary General Assembly here Thursday.

Representatives of some 90 countries from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, including the emir of Qatar and Iran's foreign minister, attended the swearing-in ceremony, Xinhua reported citing Erdogan's office.


Riots in US town prompt soul-searching on nation's racial divide

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : Ferguson, the predominantly black small US town where a white policeman shot dead an unarmed black teen triggering weeks of protests has touched a raw nerve exposing America's persistent racial divide.

The protests, riots and looting of stores including some owned by Indian-Americans in the St Louis, Missouri, suburb of 21,000 people, nearly 70 percent of them black, but policed by 53 police officers all but three of them white, also has raised uneasy questions.

Ukraine seeks urgent UN meeting as tensions escalate

Kiev : Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk Thursday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the Russian military presence in the country.

"I consider it necessary to ask our Western partners to call an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council because Russia has significantly increased its military presence in Ukraine," Yatsenyuk said during his meeting with the representatives of the Ukrainian World Congress.


$7 bn Mars rocket set for 2018 debut: NASA

Washington : The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced to launch its $7 billion Space Launch System (SLS) - the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond earth and eventually to Mars - by November 2018.

NASA officials approved the programme's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.


Miami to have 1,000 feet observation tower

Miami : The voters of Miami in the US have approved a proposal by a real estate promoter to build a 1,000 feet high observation tower here.

Sixty-nine percent of the voters approved the plans of developer Jeff Berkowitz to erect the SkyRise tower, and work on the project should commence next week and be finalised as early as 2017.

Berkowitz expressed his happiness with the result of the referendum and said that what he calls 'Miami's Eiffel Tower' will become Florida's tallest structure.


12 Indian firms among Forbes Asia's Fabulous 50

Washington: A dozen Indian firms figure in this year's Forbes Asia's Fabulous 50 list of the region's best big publicly traded companies with HDFC Bank making the list more times than any other company.

China boasts the most companies on the list, as it has for the last three years. But the number fell to 16, down from 20 last year and 23 the year before, according to the list published in the web edition of Forbes Asia.

Australia to help US in Iraq air strikes

Canberra: Australia has expressed willingness to contribute its Super Hornet fighter jets to help US-led air strikes in Iraq.

Defence Minister David Johnston said Wednesday night that Australia was ready to assist the US with air strikes targeting IS terrorists in Iraq, Xinhua reported.

Johnston said the Australian defence force started to develop its readiness after the emergence of "beheadings, mass executions, genocidal wiping out and ethnic cleansing."

He said the US was already carrying out air strikes in Iraq with the purpose of "preserving civilian lives."

Kidnapped US journalist's mother pleads IS to release son

Washington: The mother of a US freelance journalist, who was kidnapped in Syria by the Islamic State(IS), Wednesday released a video in which she urged the jihadist group to "be merciful" and release her son.

She also asked the group through the vedeo to "follow the example set by the Prophet Mohammed".

"We have not seen Steven Sotloff for over a year and we miss him very much. We want to see him home safe and sound," Shirley Sotloff said, directing her message to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.