Ukraine's economy minister resigns

Kiev : Ukrainian Economy Minister Pavlo Sheremeta Thursday submitted his resignation to parliament over what he called "inability to work with people who adhere to old values".

On his official Facebook page, Sheremeta explained that he has a lot of disagreements with the government over the country's future economic policies, Xinhua reported.

"Instead of fighting with yesterday's system, I decided to focus on the work with tomorrow's people who will create the system of the future," he wrote.


Ebola toll rises to 1,350: WHO

Geneva : The death toll due to the Ebola virus continues to rise in West Africa and currently stands at 1,350, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

Of that number, 576 have died in Liberia where the outbreak is most severe and efforts to contain the virus are deemed most critical, WHO said in a statement Wednesday.

The toll in Guinea and Sierra Leone stands at 396 and 374, respectively, while four people have died from the disease in Nigeria.

US gurdwaras to help project positive Sikh image

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : Over 100 representatives from gurdwaras across the US have pledged support for National Sikh Campaign's plan to engage top US political operatives and media firms for presenting the community positively.

Meeting here over the weekend for a grassroots meeting called by the newly formed NSC, the gurdwara representatives set a target of raising $5 million to shape the Sikh image in America, according to a media release.


Thai military chief selected as interim PM

Bangkok : Thailand's National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Thursday selected military junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha as the interim prime minister.

A total of 194 NLA members were present, with 191 of them voting for the sole candidate Prayuth and the other three, including the NLA president and two deputies, choosing to abstain, reported Xinhua.

The result will be forwarded to Thailand's king Bhumibol Adulyadej for endorsement.


Bush takes ice bucket challenge, nominates Clinton

Washington : Former US president George W. Bush has joined celebrities across the world to take the ice bucket challenge to help raise money for Lou Gehrig's disease and has nominated his predecessor Bill Clinton to do it next.

In a video clip posted Wednesday on Bush's Facebook page, the former president, wearing a navy blue crewneck while sitting at a table, said he was challenged by his daughter Jenna Bush Hager to take the challenge, Xinhua reported.


Peace? Sri Lanka is still at war -- within (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy,

Title: This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War; Author: Samanth Subramanian; Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (Penguin); Pages: 320; Price: Rs.499.

US admits failure to rescue journalist in Syria

Washington: The US had recently attempted to rescue a number of American hostages, including slain journalist James Foley held in Syria by the Islamic State, but the mission failed, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Wednesday.

This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within IS.

Unfortunately, the secret mission this summer in Syria was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location, Xinhua quoted the official as saying.

Israel to step up Gaza offensive: Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Israel will step up the offensive in the Gaza Strip until rocket firing from there into Israel stops, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday in response to renewed Gaza rocket attacks against central and southern Israel earlier in the day.

"Our policy is simple, if they (Hamas) will shoot, they will be hit back seven-fold," Xinhua quoted Netanyahu as saying on TV.

Israel will use "all means" to "restore the quiet" across the country, he added. His remarks came just a day after the indirect Gaza truce talks in Cairo collapsed.

UN chief condemns American journalist's killing

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of American journalist James Foley by extremist Islamist militants, calling it "an abominable crime".

"The secretary-general condemns in the strongest terms the horrific murder of journalist James Foley, an abominable crime that underscores the campaign of terror the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (now called Islamic State) continues to wage against the people of Iraq and Syria," Xiinhua quoted a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson as saying.

White House says beheading video authentic

Washington: The Barack Obama administration Wednesday confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the decapitation of a US journalist who was abducted in November 2012 while covering the civil war in Syria.

"The US intelligence after analysing the recently released video showing James Foley and Steven Sotloff have reached the judgment that this video is authentic," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.