Five 'terror planners' arrested in France

Paris : Five Russians, believed to be Chechens, were arrested in southern France on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack, a media report said Tuesday.

According to The Independent, authorities said that a cache of explosives was discovered during a series of police raids overnight in the town of Beziers and near the city of Montpellier.

The explosives were found near a local football stadium, the report said, citing the local newspaper Midi Libre.

Guatemalan ex-police chief gets 90-year jail for 37 killings

Guatemala City : A court in Guatemala sentenced a former police chief to 90 years in prison on charges of murdering 37 people in 1980, media reported Tuesday.

The court Monday found Pedro Garcia Arredondo guilty of murder, attempted murder and crimes against humanity when he murdered 37 people at the Spanish embassy in Guatemala in 1980.

Garcia Arredondo, 69, was responsible for burning the people to death Jan 31, 1980, found the court after four months of hearings.

Among those who were burnt to death was the Spanish Consul Jaime Ruiz del Arbol Soler.


Argentina rocked by murder of prosecutor in terror case

Buenos Aires : The death of the prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernandez of concealing the involvement of Iran in a deadly 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires sent shockwaves across Argentine society Monday.

Alberto Nisman, 51, was found shot to death early Monday, hours before he was due to appear before Congress to present his reasons for seeking to indict the president, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and five other people in connection with 85 deaths in an explosion at the offices of the Jewish organisation AMIA.

Chechnya rallies against Prophet cartoons

Moscow : Over a million people rallied in Grozny, the capital of the Russian republic Chechnya, Monday to protest against the caricature of Prophet Muhammad in the media.

The event, called "Love for the Prophet Muhammad", was organised on the initiative of Chechen clerics, TASS news agency reported.

A Chechen leader quoted in the media accused European journalists and politicians of insulting the religious feelings of millions in the name of freedom of speech and democracy.

'Social neglect will turn ex-jihadis into walking time bombs'

London : Society, unfortunately, may not have been able to stop many a youth from treading a wrong path, but it is perhaps more unfortunate that those seeking to return to the mainstream are given the cold shoulder.

The mother of a British youth who fought with the Islamic State (IS) jihadis in Syria has precisely this tale to tell, sharing during a televised interview to BBC her despair at being left without support since her son's return, which The Independent cited Monday.


Post Paris - Let some of us stand apart

Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood,

The unfortunate attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine of Paris in January 2015 has brought to the fore a man-made cataclysm that has been threatening to shape up in the world for over two decades blatantly defying the existential necessity of 'maintaining an inter-community relationship balance' that's needed for the welfare of humanity and everything else in the multiverse. Like a clap it needs two hands.

Singapore ends search for crashed AirAsia flight

Singapore : The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Sunday, officially ended its deployment in the multinational search operation for the AirAsia plane, which crashed in the Java Sea Dec 28, with 162 people on board, the SAF said in a press release.

The Singapore Navy ship MV Swift Rescue, which found the fuselage of the ill-fated plane, returned to the Changi Naval Base Sunday morning, Xinhua reported, citing the SAF.


Rally in Russia condemns Prophet Muhammad's caricature

Moscow : Over 20,000 people staged a rally in the Russian republic of Ingushetia, Saturday, to protest against the unfavourable portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad in the media.

The participants at the gathering, called "Islam against Terrorism and Extremism", in Ingushetia's capital Magas, said Islam was a religion of peace and kindness and claimed to be outraged by the actions of those who continued to ignore the feelings of the Muslims and publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Bomb threat at Paris railway station

Paris : A railway station in French capital Paris was closed and evacuated Friday following a bomb threat, media reports said.

The state railway SNCF said the Gare de l'Est rail station was evacuated at 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) but reopened about an hour later, Xinhua reported without offering details.

The scare came as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris for a visit in the wake of the terrorist attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week.

UNSC reform: Negotiations to begin anew

By Arul Louis,

United Nations : General Assembly President Sam K. Kutesa said Thursday a diplomat appointed by him is working with UN members to produce a document that will be the basis of negotiations on reforming the Security Council and make a "qualitative difference" to the long-delayed process.

Reforming the Council to raise the number of permanent members is a diplomatic priority for India, which striving to win a permanent seat on an expanded Council.