Ebola toll crosses 2,400: WHO

Geneva : The death toll in the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has exceeded 2,400 among 4,784 reported cases, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan said Friday.

Most victims died in worst-hit Liberia and in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

WHO officials expect several thousand more cases in Liberia over the next three weeks.

The outbreak began in December 2013 in Guinea. Cases have also been reported in Nigeria where eight people died and in Senegal where one patient is being treated in hospital.

Indian origin MPs conspicuous by their absence at Kashmir debate

London : Out of the 10 odd MPs of Indian-origin in Britain's House of Commons, eight were missing from action in India's hour of need at a potentially embarrassing debate on the political and humanitarian situation in Kashmir in Britain's parliament Thursday afternoon.

The two who were present were Virendra Sharma, an opposition Labour party MP who was present three years ago as well to speak in a debate on the same subject and Paul Uppal, a first time MP belonging to the ruling Conservative Party, who made his maiden appearance to defend India's corner.

Thai PM delivers policy statement, pledges comprehensive reforms

Bangkok : Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha Friday delivered his cabinet's policy statement to the provisional legislature, promising to bring changes in the country through reforms in an all-round way.

Prayuth, also chief of the National Council for Peace and Order that staged the May 22 coup, presented the government policies to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), detailing goals in 11 areas, including combating corruption, reducing social disparity and promoting social welfare, Xinhua reported.


Georgian climbers erect 9/11 memorial plaque on Mt. Kazbek

Tbilisi : Eleven amateur and professional climbers from Georgia reached the summit of Mount Kazbek in northern Georgia as a memorial service for the 9/11 victims.

The climbers Thursday erected a memorial plaque on the 5,034-metre mountain peak with victims' names from the 9/11 terror attack in the New York City in 2001, reports Xinhua.

The group of climbers started their Mount Kazbek attempt Sep 3.


Australia upgrades terror alert

Sydney : Australia Friday raised the national terrorism public alert level from medium to high after receiving advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the advice was not based on knowledge of a specific attack plan but rather a body of evidence that points to the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia, Xinhua reported.

Ebola suspect in Australia tests negative

Canberra: A man who sparked an Ebola scare in Australia has tested negative for the deadly disease, health officials said Friday.

The 25-year-old man had recently arrived back in Australia from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa and Thursday started complaining of Ebola-like symptoms, Xinhua reported.

The officials said it was highly unlikely that the Ebola virus disease would make it to Australia, but anyone who had traveled to the west African regions affected by the outbreak and who were concerned about their health should visit a doctor.

CIA triples estimate of Islamic State strength

By Arun Kumar,

Washington: A day after President Barack Obama vowed to strike the Islamic State (IS) terrorists "wherever they exist" to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the militant group, a CIA assessment increased its strength over three times to 31,500.

CNN cited a CIA spokesman as saying Thursday that the Sunni terror group that calls itself the Islamic State "can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria" as against 10,000 fighters earlier estimated by US officials.

Ready to jointly combat terrorism in Middle East: Saudi minister

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal has said the US and Arab allies were ready for a unified vision to combat terrorism through all means.

"Today's meeting was a good opportunity for us to discuss the phenomenon from different aspects, and probe its roots and causes in-depth, and we expressed keenness to come out with an unified vision on how to combat it militarily, security and intelligencewise, economically, politically and intellectually," Saudi Press Agency quoted Prince Saud as saying Thursday in a joint conference held after a meeting in Jeddah.

Obama marks 13th anniversary of 9/11 with new war on the horizon

Washington: President Barack Obama paid tributes to the victims of the Sep 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and emphasised the imminent end of the war in Afghanistan, although the US is on the verge of a new military intervention.

In a speech at the Pentagon Thursday, one of the sites of the attacks, the president did not overlook the fact that, besides the more than 3,000 deaths in the attacks undertaken by Al Qaeda using four passenger jets, in the wars launched as a result of that tragedy, more than 6,800 Americans have died.

Moral victory for India in British parliament's Kashmir debate

London: The British government Thursday condemned terrorism and violence and rejected mediation in the dispute between India and Pakistan on Kashmir in a parliamentary debate in which pro-India speakers among the MPs overwhelmed Pakistan supporters by almost three to one.