20 civilians kidnapped in Afghanistan

Kabul : At least 20 civilians were kidnapped after unidentified armed men intercepted buses on a highway in Afghanistan's Zabul province.

"The incident took place in Shahjoy district after the armed men stopped three passenger buses and abducted 20 people," a security source told Xinhua news agency.

The majority of the abductees were from the Hazara ethnic minority, the source said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident yet.

Indian flag upside down at Modi-Abe meet

Kuala Lumpur : The Indian flag was upside down at a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe here on Saturday.

The flag was seen with the green on top and the saffron below in the photo op of Modi and Abe before their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 13th Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India Summit.

Amid furore, Trump disowns Muslim database idea

Washington : As his call to create a database to track Muslims in America created a political furore, Donald Trump said the idea was not his, while presidential rival Ben Carson suggested a database for all immigrants.

As Republicans and Democrats rivals alike blasted the database proposal as "abhorrent" and "shocking," the real estate mogul said the notion that he would implement a database as a way to follow Muslims was not his.

62 people arrive from Bangladesh after exchange of enclaves

New Delhi: The first batch of 62 people have arrived from Bangladesh following India's exchange of enclaves with its South Asian neighbour earlier this year, the government announced on Friday.

"The first batch of 62 people arrived through Changrabandha (India)-Burimari (Bangladesh) Immigration Check Post yesterday (Thursday)," the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

They were greeted with honour in a joyous ceremony organised by the Cooch Behar district administration, MP, MLA, district magistrate, and superintendent of police, according to the statement.

At least 18 dead as Mali security forces end hostage situation

Bamako (Mali): At least 18 people were killed on Friday after Malian special forces put an end to a hostage situation in a luxury hotel in capital Bamako.

There were no more hostages held at Radisson Blu hotel, said security minister Salif Traore, hours after gunmen stormed the hotel and held 170 people hostage.

Security sources said two attackers had been killed, but it remained unknown if the attackers were among the 18.

UNHCR does not have funds to put refugee children in school

New Delhi : Regretting the fact the children of refugee families are forced to work, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said the UN body does not have enough funds to put these children in school.

Participating in a discussion on refugee crisis at the Women in the World Summit here, photo journalist Lynsey Addario recounted her work with Syrian refugees and told how she saw children working early in the morning on fields picking cucumber and peaches.

Gunmen hold 170 hostage at Mali hotel, three killed

Bamako : At least three people were killed on Friday as gunmen took 170 people, including 20 Indians, hostage inside a five-star hotel in Mali's capital city Bamako.

"#MaliAttack: Acc'g to current info there are 20 Indians staying in the hotel. Our Amb is continuously in touch with them & monitor'g sitn," external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

The Radisson Blu Hotel chain said two armed men locked in 140 guests and 30 employees, CNN reported.

The victims comprised two Malian citizens and a French national, authorities said.

It is for India, Pakistan to talk Kashmir: US

By Arun Kumar

Washington: Amid reports that Pakistani Army chief Raheel Sharif had raised the Kashmir issue with Secretary of State John Kerry, the US said it was for India and Pakistan to work out issues between them.

State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday that he was not aware whether Kashmir or the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks by Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba had come up during Wednesday meeting between Sharif and Kerry.

Congress member compares Hollande, Indira Gandhi's emergency

Panaji : Congress Working Committee member and state Congress president Luizinho Faleiro has compared former prime minister Indira Gandhi's decision to impose emergency to the state of emergency imposed by French President Francois Hollande following the terror attacks in Paris.

Sri Lanka to increase women's involvement in local politics

Colombo : Sri Lanka's new cabinet on Thursday vowed to amend laws to increase the number of women in local politics and state institutions.

Addressing a weekly briefing in the capital, Media Minister and co-cabinet spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilaka said that following a proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the cabinet had agreed to amend the Local Authorities Act in view of having more involvement of women in local politics, Xinhua news agency reported.