31 rebels killed in Syria blast

Damascus: An explosion at a rebels' meeting in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib killed 31 of them, a monitor group reported on Saturday.

The blast took place in a mosque in the city of Ariha in the southern countryside of Idlib on Friday, while rebels of the Al Qaida-linked Nusra Front and an allied jihadi group were having Iftar, the fast-breaking meal in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The Britain-based watchdog group said the toll is expected to rise as many of the wounded are in grave condition.

Philippines ferry capsize toll rises to 59

Manila: The toll in the ferry capsize in central Philippines' Leyte province has risen to 59, officials said on Saturday.

The passenger vessel MV Kim Nirvana-B, which capsized on Thursday near the port of Ormoc, was carrying 173 passengers and 16 crew members, Xinhua reported, citing the coast guard.

The ferry was sailing towards the Camotes Islands, some 40 km south-west of Ormoc when it was battered by huge waves and sank just 100 metres from the port of departure.


Key Taliban commander killed in Afghanistan

Kabul: A key Taliban commander in Afghanistan, Hajji Wazir, was killed in a raid on Saturday, police said.

"Hajji Wazir, the commander of Taliban militants in west Afghanistan, was chalking out a terrorist plan in a house when the security forces, acting upon intelligence report, raided the house on Saturday morning and killed him," Xinhua quoted provincial police chief Abdul Majid Rozi as saying.

Wazir commanded some 500 militants and his killing could be a major setback to the Taliban outfit in Herat and adjoining provinces, Rozi added.

Brazil unveils Rio 2016 Olympic flame

Brasilia : Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has vowed Rio 2016 will be a "historic" event after unveiling the Olympic torch.

The torch relay will begin at the Games' birthplace in Olympia, Greece, before embarking on its tour of Brazil in May 2016, reported Xinhua news agency.

White with blue and green waves inset in its upper half, the torch will start its Brazil journey in the capital Brasilia before traversing 300 cities across the country.

Russia warns of sabotage of Minsk agreements

Moscow : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that the Minsk agreements should not be violated by any country, nor should the peace progress in Ukraine be undermined.

"The Minsk agreements are just the package that cannot be violated," Lavrov stressed on Friday, warning "western colleagues" that any act of sabotage would be "unacceptable", Xinhua reported.


Netanyahu blasts UNHRC for endorsing Gaza war crimes report

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed a decision by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to endorse a report accusing Israel and Hamas in war crimes during last summer's war in the Palestinian enclave.

"The UNHRC is not interested in the facts and is not really interested in human rights," Netanyahu on Friday said in a statement released by his office, Xinhua reported.

India abstains in UNHRC vote against Israel

New Delhi: Marking a significant change in stance, India abstained on a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution condemning Israel over a UN report into the alleged war crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

But India on Friday stated that "there is no change in New Delhi's long-standing position on support to the Palestinian cause".

The ministry of external affairs spokesperson said that India's reason for abstention in the resolution A/HRC/29/L.35 was the reference to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Contain the IS epidemic

The attackers look at it as jihad and are misled to believe that killing others by killing themselves they become martyrs (shuhda). There is a need to educate the Muslim youth that suicide for any purpose is forbidden (haram) in Islam.

By Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam

The epidemic called the Islamic State (IS) has quickly spread from Iraq and Syria to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and, according to some reports, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a dangerous trend that spells de-stabilisation and anarchy, cutting a large swath across the Islamic world.

Russia's parliament gives citizens 'right to be forgotten'

Moscow : The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, passed a law on Friday, giving citizens the right to demand that internet search engines should erase all irrelevant information about themselves.

The document, informally called the law on the "right to be forgotten", caused heated debates in society and criticism from search engines but was subsequently finalised following active interaction between deputies and the industry’s representatives.

Ex-foreign secretaries to felicitate the Dalai Lama

New Delhi : India's three former foreign secretaries will felicitate Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama by speaking on his work at an event here, it was announced on Friday.

The event, which is being held to mark the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama on July 6, will see former foreign secretary Shyam Saran making an introductory remark.

Another former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh would speak on interfaith dialogue and harmony while former foreign secretary and national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon would talk on leadership and vision.