Sri Lankan ex-president to contest as PM candidate

Colombo: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa would contest as a prime ministerial candidate in the August 17 parliamentary elections, a source said on Sunday.

Kumara Welgama, a former minister in Rajapaksa's government, said the former president would look to contest under the betel leaf symbol of the opposition United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Xinhua news agency reported.


Drone strike kills five militants in Afghanistan

Kabul: Five militants were killed following an airstrike by International Forces in eastern Afghanistan's Nuristan province, an official said on Sunday.

"NATO-led forces' unmanned planes targeted a hideout in Mardish area of Want Waygal district on late Saturday, killing five militants and injuring three others," the official told Xinhua news agency.

A local Taliban leader named Ghulam Ullah was among those killed in the attack, the official added.

Taiwan park fire leaves 516

Taipei: The number of injured in a recreational water park blaze, caused by large amount of flammable powder explosion in Taiwan on Saturday, swelled to 516 on Sunday morning, authorities said. No death was reported.

A total of 194 people were severely wounded, with no death reported yet, reported Xinhua citing New Taipei city health bureau.

The fire broke out in Taiwan's New Taipei city late Saturday at the main stage of a water park, which was having a Colour Play Asia party.

The injured people were rushed to 39 nearby hospitals.


15 British nationals killed in Tunisia attack

London: At least 15 British nationals have been killed in Friday's attack in Tunisia, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said on Saturday.

In the latest press release, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood said the number may well rise as "several more have been seriously injured in this horrific attack", Xinhua reported.

Dozens of people, including foreign tourists, were killed when at least one gun man opened fire on a Tunisian beachside hotel in the popular resort of Sousse on Friday, according to Tunisia's interior ministry.

'Hamas hindering formation of Palestinian unity government'

Ramallah : The Hamas movement has put "impossible" conditions ahead of the formation of a new Palestinian unity government, a senior Palestinian official said on Saturday.

"Hamas says it accepts the formation of a government, but on the other hand it has put conditions to topple the idea," Xinhua quoted Amin Maqbool, secretary general of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah Party's revolutionary council, as saying.

India recalls envoy to New Zealand after wife accused of assaulting staff

New Delhi/Wellington: India on Saturday asked its envoy in New Zealand to return following allegations that his wife assaulted a member of the domestic staff. The envoy said he was not leaving because of the assault allegations but because he wanted to take care of his mother living in India.

High Commissioner Ravi Thapar said this to reporters in Wellington on Saturday.

Thapar's wife Sharmila has been accused of physically assaulting a domestic help, the chef, at their residence.

ICC suspends United States membership

Bridgetown (Barbados): The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board, exercising its power under Article 2.7 of the ICC's Articles of Association, has unanimously decided to suspend the membership of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) with immediate effect.

Not leaving New Zealand because of allegations: Indian envoy

Wellington: India's High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar on Saturday said he was not leaving the country because of assault allegations against his wife but because he wanted to take care of his mother living in India.

Thapar's wife has been accused of physically assaulting a domestic help at their residence. He has denied the allegations and said his wife was an "experienced diplomatic spouse" incapable of assaulting an "able-bodied man".

18 suspects arrested for Kuwait bombing

Kuwait City: Eighteen suspects were arrested following a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque here that killed 27 people and left 222 wounded on Friday, a media report said on Saturday.

After holding an emergency meet on Friday, the cabinet declared Saturday as the national day of mourning, the Kuwait Times reported.

A suicide bomber sneaked into the Imam Al-Sadeq Mosque near Kuwait's famous Al-Sawaber district at the end of Friday afternoon prayers.

Death toll rises to 39 in Tunisia attack

Tunis: The death toll has risen to 39 in the deadly attack on a tourist resort in Tunisia's Sousse district, the health ministry said.

The fatalities rose from the initial 27 to 39 as some of the critically injured victims died at a hospital, Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying on late Friday.

The main perpetrator of the massacre, a 23-year-old Tunisian student, was killed by security forces. Another 39 people were wounded in the horrific attack.