Oman ambassador-designate meets Kerala CM

Thiruvananthapuram: Indian ambassador-designate to Oman Indra Mani Pandey on Monday called on Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and said the embassy in the sultunate will become a one-stop destination for all Indian expatriates.

"I have met Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister for Diaspora, K.C. Joseph, and other top officials. My visit to Kerala was to call on the chief minister and others to seek their support," said Pandey, who will take charge of his new assignment on August 10.

Determine own future without outside help: Obama to Africans

Nairobi : US President Barack Obama on Sunday encouraged Africans to take the reins of their own future after spending "too much time" seeking "salvation" abroad and blaming others for the continent's problems.

The future of Africa depends on the Africans, Obama said in front of a huge crowd at the Safaricom Arena in Nairobi, although he warned that "difficult" decisions must be made so that Africa can move forward.

Pakistan keen to boost trade with Iran

Islamabad : The lifting of economic sanctions on Iran will open "massive trade" opportunities for Pakistan, a senior official said.

Syed Tariq Fatemi, prime minister's special assistant for foreign affairs, said that both Pakistan and Afghanistan were committed to promoting dialogue between the Kabul government and Tali璪an, Dawn online reported.

Fatemi expressed the hope that Iran-Pakistan pipeline project would transform the energy markets of South Asia by bringing gas to the energy-starved region.

Modi greets Liberia on National Day  

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday greeted the people of Liberia on their National Day.

"Best wishes to the people of Liberia on their National Day. I hope India-Liberia ties grow further in the times to come," he said.

Liberia, once a part of the American Colonisation Society, declared its independence on July 26, 1847, which the US recognized on February 5, 1862.

Norway bans e-cigarette advertising

Oslo : Norway has notified vendors of electronic cigarettes that all pictures and positive reviews of the products must be removed from websites, media reported.

"E-cigarette is a tobacco surrogate and is therefore covered by the ban on advertising," Xinhua quoted Hilde Skyvulstad, a senior official of the Norwegian Directorate of Health, as saying.

Sellers of the products fear that an advertising ban will hurt their business even though many of their products are nicotine-free and do not look like cigarettes, said local business newspaper DN.

Obama promotes equality for gays in Africa

Nairobi : US President Barack Obama spoke on behalf of equality for gays in Africa, the continent with the most countries which criminalise same-sex relations.

On a visit charged with symbolism because of Obama's family ties with Kenya, he criticised the homophobia prevalent in many regimes on the continent.

He is the first sitting US president to set foot in this African nation.

In a joint press conference on Saturday with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama said that no country should discriminate against citizens because of their sexual orientation.


Indian junior hockey girls lose 0-1 to England

Breda (The Netherlands) : India lost to England 0-1 in their last league match of the women's Volvo International Under-21 hockey tournament here on Saturday.

Kate Holmes struck the sole goal of the match in the 47th minute as the Indians ended the league phase with one win, one draw and three losses.

The first half of the match saw India dominating the game by continuously penetrating England's half and they managed to secure a penalty corner but it was saved by England goalkeeper Amy Tennant.

Pakistan may purchase military equipment from Russia

Washington : Pakistan might purchase weapons and military equipment from Russia and counts on cooperation with Moscow in the energy sphere, a senior official has said.

The efforts of last couple of years made in the Russian-Pakistan relations "are now bearing fruit," Tass quoted Tariq Fatemi, the special assistant to prime minister on foreign affairs, as telling reporters here.

Over the last one-and-a-half years, Russia and Pakistan "made significant progress in moving forward," he said, adding "a memorandum on mutual understanding on cooperation in defense was signed."

US saw 204 mass shootings in 2015: Report

By Arun Kumar

Washington : As yet another mass shooting in the US put the spotlight back on the contentious issue of gun control, media reports said that there have been 204 mass shootings in as many days in 2015 so far.

Thursday night's shooting by a white man at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theatre showing the comedy "Trainwreck", that left two women killed and nine injured was the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks.

54 missing soldiers believed to be in Pakistan: Parrikar

New Delhi : As India prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with Pakistan, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday informed the Lok Sabha that 54 defence personnel missing during 1965 and 1971 wars were believed to be in Pakistan custody.

"Fifty-four missing defence personnel of the 1965 and 1971 wars are believed to be in the custody in Pakistan. The (central) government has repeatedly been taking up with the Pakistan government the release of the missing defence personnel," Parrikar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.