Two suicide bombings hit mosque in Yemen, 30 killed

Sanaa : Nearly 30 people were killed and 100 others injured when two suicide bombings targeted a Houthi-controlled mosque in Yemen's capital Sanaa.

A security official of the country's interior ministry, which is controlled by Houthi rebels, said that a Shia mosque in Al-Jiraf district of Sanaa was hit by a suicide attack during evening prayers.

Shortly after, a bomb-laden vehicle exploded when members of the public were helping victims, Xinhua news agency reported.

France drops investigation into Arafat's death

Paris: French investigating magistrates have decided to drop an inquiry into the death in France of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose widow alleged he was poisoned, Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

Arafat, who signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord with Israel but led an uprising after subsequent talks broke down in 2000, died aged 75 in a French hospital four weeks after falling ill.

The official cause of death was a massive stroke, but French doctors were unable at the time to determine the origin of the illness and no autopsy was carried out.

31 militants killed in Pakistan airstrikes

Islamabad: At least 17 militants were killed when Pakistani military launched an airstrike in country's North Waziristan area on Wednesday, local media reported.

The airstrike pounded four hideouts of suspected militants in Shawal and Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, a restive tribal area along Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Dawn reported.

Identities of the killed militants have not been revealed yet, but the targeted areas are home to militants linked with outlawed outfits Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Palestinian children under house arrest, awaiting trial

Jerusalem : Dozens of Palestinian children are being held within the walls of their homes in East Jerusalem, by order of the Israeli authorities, while waiting to go on trial.

This practice, denounced by organisations such as Defence for Children International Palestine, (DCIP), "have serious consequences for their education and mental health," noting that many house arrests last several weeks, while there are teenagers who spend months without being able to leave their homes, or even go to school.

Uber rape: Indian woman withdraws US case

By Arun Kumar

Washington : An Indian woman executive who sued Uber after allegedly being raped by a driver for the cab-hailing service in India has voluntarily withdrawn her lawsuit, a media report said citing a court filing.

The 26-year-old woman filed her lawsuit in January in the US, about a month after she was allegedly raped and assaulted on a Uber ride in Delhi.

The woman's alleged attacker, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was quickly arrested and confessed to the crime a week later during interrogation, according to Delhi Police. He is currently awaiting trial in India.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani sends secret letter to Pakistan PM

New Delhi : A three-member delegation from the Hurriyat Conference belonging to the Syed Ali Shah Geelani faction met Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit here on Tuesday and handed over a confidential letter for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

"We handed over Geelani sahab's letter for PM Sharif to the officials at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi," Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for the Hurriyat Conference, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Geelani's top aides -- Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah and Altaf Ahmad -- met Basit at his office and stayed for more than an hour.

Indian government not cooperating in Geeta's case: Counsel

Islamabad : Indian lawyer Momineen Malik, who has filed an application through Pakistani lawyers for the custody of deaf-mute Geeta, has blamed New Delhi for failing to cooperate with him in securing the repatriation of the stranded girl, media reported.

According to Dunya News, Malik said his government was not cooperating with him in the matter of ensuring Geeta's return to her rightful family. In this connection, he wished to have blood tests done of the five Indian families which claimed to be her guardians, he said.

Afghan Taliban commander arrested

Kabul: A key Taliban commander in Afghanistan has been arrested, intelligence agency National Directorate for Security (NDS) said on Wednesday.

"Qari Salahudin Ayubi, the shadowy governor of Faryab province, was arrested on Tuesday in the Herat province," it said in a statement.

Qari Ayubi was enroute from Herat to Kandahar province when security personnel identified and captured him.

The capture of Qari Ayubi, according to the statement, is a major setback for the Taliban.


UN calls for endorsement of new development agenda

United Nations : UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for endorsement to new global sustainability agenda .

"Agenda 2030 aims high," he said. "This agenda marks a paradigm shift. It completes the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), lifts the level of ambition and tackles emerging issues and challenges."

"Today we are ready to hand over this agenda to world leaders for endorsement at the Summit later this month," Xinhua quoted him as saying.


Italy rescues 600 migrants off Libyan coasts

Rome : Italian navy and coast guard vessels carried out at least four rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, saving 600 migrants off the Libyan coasts.

Four women were found dead aboard an overcrowded inflatable boat during the first of such operations on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency quoted the navy as saying.

The craft was about 50 km north of Libya and was carrying another 112 people on board. The nationality of the victims was not immediately clear.