Indian-origin woman picked to chair Santander UK

London: Shriti Vadera, an Indian-origin minister in former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government, has been named by the Spanish banking group Santander to chair its British business.

Vadera was a minister in the British government during the days of the global financial crisis.

She will replace Terence Burns in March, who had announced his plan to leave the board of the company in January.

Eight killed, 100 missing in Indonesia landslides

Jakarta : At least eight people have been killed and 100 went missing in the landslides caused by heavy rainfall in Indonesia's Java island, officials said Saturday.

The downpours were to be blamed for the disaster which occurred Friday evening in Banjanegara district.

"As many as eight corpses have been found and 100 others remain missing. They were buried under the houses," an official told Xinhua.


Canada court overturns Indian origin man's sexual assault conviction

Vancouver: A court in the Canadian province of British Columbia Friday set aside the conviction of an Indo-Canadian man in a sexual assault case.

The sexual assault conviction had led to the imprisonment and deportation of Gurdev Singh Dhillon, which the Crown later admitted was a "miscarriage of justice".

However, the British Columbia Court of Appeal considered the DNA evidence that was not disclosed to the defence counsel before the trial and overturned the 2005 conviction of Dhillon for assault and sexual assault, the South Asian Observer reported.

Russian minister proposes abolishing visas for Indian citizens

New Delhi: Russian authorities are discussing abolition of visas for Indian businessmen and tourists, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told TASS news agency Friday.

Abolition of visas mainly for entrepreneurs and also for tourists was discussed, he said after a meeting here with the leadership of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“The next step is abolition of visas for tourists and entrepreneurs. We constantly discuss it, and I think the process to settle it will not be long,” Manturov said.

Israel blames Palestinians for shots near Athens embassy

Jerusalem: Israel has blamed "Palestinian incitement" for a shooting near its embassy in Athens, Greece, early Friday, despite Greek police not yet disclosing more details regarding the incident.

"The attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens is yet another violent attack which is the result of anti-Israeli incitement by Palestinian Authority officials and pro-Palestinian organisations," Xinhua quoted spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry Emmanuel Nachshon as saying in an official statement.

Gunshots fired at Israeli embassy in Athens

Athens: Unidentified gunmen fired shots at the Israeli embassy in Athens Friday without causing any casualties, police said.

The attack took place after midnight when four men on two motorcycles fired Kalashnikov automatic rifles at the facade and the walls of the diplomatic building, according to an initial police report.

The police found 54 shell casings and cordoned off the area to search for more clues. They were also studying video recordings taken by the surveillance cameras to try to identify the attackers.


Modi's proposal of Yoga Day adopted at UN, backed by 175 countries

By Arul Louis,

United Nations: In a huge global endorsement for yoga, 175 out of 193 members of the UN, countries as diverse as the US and Syria, Russia and Britain, and China and the Philippines, agreed by acclamation Wednesday to declare June 21 the International Yoga Day, recognizing the ancient Indian science's "holistic approach to health and well-being".

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had proposed holding an international yoga day in his UN General Assembly speech Sep 27, voiced his elation on twitter. "Elated! Have no words to describe my joy."

Anti-Arab activists admit to Jerusalem school attack

Jerusalem: Israeli security agency Shin Bet has said that the three Jewish suspects arrested for setting fire to a Hebrew-Arabic bilingual school in Jerusalem are members of an extremist anti-assimilation group known as Lehava.

According to Shin Bet, the three suspects confessed their actions during questioning Thursday, Haaretz reported.

CIA chief admits use of brutal interrogation techniques

Washington: Some officers of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used brutal techniques on terrorist suspects and there was no proof of useful information yielded from the interrogation, the chief of the US spy agency has said.

John Brennan, in a rare televised press conference held at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Thursday acknowledged "unauthorised" and "abhorrent" practices by some officers, saying it was "unknowable" whether the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques produced key intelligence, Xinhua reported.

UN condemns attack on French institute in Kabul

United Nations: The UN Security Council has condemned "in the strongest terms" the suicide attack at the French Institute of Afghanistan in Kabul which killed one person and injured 20 Thursday.

"The members of the Security Council reiterated their serious concern at the threats posed by the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terror groups to the local population, national security forces, international military and international assistance efforts in Afghanistan," Xinhua quoted the UN as saying in a press statement Friday.