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International

UN chief condemns attack on mosque in Iraq

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned in the strongest terms the attack on a mosque in eastern Iraq Friday that killed up to 73 people.

Ban called on all Iraqi authorities to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and its perpetrators held accountable.

"Attacks on places of worship are completely unacceptable and are prohibited under the international law," Ban said in a statement from his spokesperson.

Media reports put the toll in the attack at between 68 and 73.

Website launched for Modi's US reception

Washington: The Indian American Community Foundation (IACF) has launched a website to give a community reception for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the US in September, a media report said Saturday.

The website, pmvisit.org, will ensure the success of the Sep 28 event where he will address an estimated 20,000 people, news analysis website Niti Central reported.

According to the IACF, more than 300 Indian American organisations have come together to organise the reception. It will be held at the Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York.

China used force to quell 2008 Tibet protests: Rights group

Dharamsala: Chinese security forces used machine guns to quell protests in Tibetan capital Lhasa in March 2008, a human rights watchdog here has said.

"A leaked document provides irrefutable evidence that Chinese security forces killed Tibetans in different localities in Lhasa city during the initial protests in March 2008 that ignited the uprising in large parts of the Tibetan plateau," the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said.

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New Zealand becoming popular with Indian students

Mumbai: New Zealand has emerged as a popular destination for Indian students, the country's high commissioner to India has said.

There was an increase of 83 percent in the number of student visas issued to Indians between January and July this year, compared to the same period last year, Grahame Morton said here Friday.

According to latest figures released by the state-run Education New Zealand (ENZ) department, first-time student visas issued to Indians for studying in that country shot up by a staggering 123 percent in 2014.

WHO to unveil response plan for Ebola

United Nations: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it will unveil a response plan to deal with the current Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa.

"The WHO has announced that it is working on a six to nine-month plan against Ebola, an operational document that will detail the strategy against the virus," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Friday.

"That plan should be presented early next week," Xinhua quoted Dujarric as saying.

Hamas attack kills boy in Israel

Jerusalem: A four-year-old boy was killed Friday evening by a mortar attack on southern Israel by Hamas, authorities said.

The child was killed when a mortar barrage launched from the Gaza Strip hit a car near a kindergarten in Sdot Negev Regional Council near the Israel-Gaza border, Xinhua quoted a spokesperson with the Israeli military as saying.

It is the first Israeli casualty since a fresh round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates Gaza, started Tuesday, Magen David Adom, Israel's Red Cross, said.

Nearly 200,000 killed since start of Syrian crisis: UN

United Nations: The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, Friday said that more than 191,000 people have been killed in Syria between March 2011 and April 2014, saying that the ongoing fighting there "has dropped off the international radar".

"Pillay said that the number released by her office is more than double the number documented a year ago," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily press briefing here. "But, she said, tragically, the new figure is probably underestimates the real total number of people killed," Xinhua reported.

US targets key financiers of Al Qaeda, Al Nusra Front

Washington: The US Friday imposed sanctions on two alleged key financiers of al-Nusra Front and Al Qaeda, authorities said.

Abdul Mohsen Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Sharikh and Hamid Hamad Hamid Al-Ali were added to the Department of Treasury's list of specially designated global terrorists, a move that entails sanctions barring American citizens from doing business with them and freezing all of their assets under US jurisdiction, Xinhua reported.

NATO chief condemns Russian aid convoy entry into Ukraine

Kiev: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Friday condemned the entry of a Russian humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without Kiev's consent and without involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Rasmussen criticised the move a "breach of Russia's international commitments," including those made recently in Berlin and Geneva, Xinhua reported.

The NATO chief said the disregard of international humanitarian principles raises further questions about the purpose of Russia's aid convoy.

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Looking forward to working with Modi government: Singapore PM

Singapore: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Friday said his country hopes to work with India in areas of infrastructure and education, and expressed his desire to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi who "came in with a thumping mandate", a media report said.

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