Chess forbidden in Islam, rules Saudi grand mufti

London : Saudi Arabia's grand mufti Sheikh Abdullah al-Sheikh has said that playing chess is forbidden in Islam, a British newspaper reported on Thursday.

Responding to a question on a television show in which he issues fatwas (religious decrees) after listening to viewers' questions, Sheikh said playing the board game is "haram" (forbidden) as it encourages gambling and is a waste of time, The Guardian reported.

He claimed that the game was "included under gambling" and was "a waste of time and money and a cause for hatred and enmity between players".

14 Indian diaspora students picked to compete in top US science contest

New York: Fourteen students from the Indian diaspora have been selected to compete for $1 million in prizes at the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search Competition this year by fielding high-level projects ranging from cancer vaccines to complex mathematical theories.

They are among the 40 US high school students who made it to the finals of the competition sponsored by Intel Corporation and conducted by the Society for Science & the Public.

Dalit scholar's suicide an indictment of BJP's Hindutva agenda, say Indian Americans

By TCN News

Washington: The Indian American Muslim Council, an advocacy group aimed at safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, expressed shock and outrage over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University. Vemula and four other members of Ambedkar Students Association were victimised and subjected to relentless harassment by the University officials, said the Council.

Modi condemns Pakistan university attack

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday condemned the terror attack at the Bacha Khan University in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

"Strongly condemn the terror attack at Bacha Khan University in Pakistan. Condolences to families of the deceased. Prayers with the injured," Modi tweeted.

At least 15 people, including four gunmen, were killed when terrorists stormed the university campus earlier on Wednesday, Dawn reported citing sources from the Edhi Foundation emergency assistance service.

IS releases 270 out of 400 kidnapped in Syria

Damascus: The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group released 270 out of the 400 people it had kidnapped when its militants stormed a town in Syria's eastern province of Deir al-Zour earlier this week, a monitor group reported on Wednesday.

The 270 released people were kids under 14, and men over 55 years old, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It added that 130 men between the age 15 and 55 were still held by the IS militants, who will interrogate them on charges of cooperation with the Syrian government in the town of Bughailiyeh.

Oral nutrition supplement may lower death rate in elderly

New York : Specialised oral nutrition supplement can lower by as much as 50 percent the death rate in older malnourished patients with a heart or lung disease, results from a new clinical trial reveal.

Results of the American study showed a significantly lower (50 percent) death rate for patients who received the specialised nutrition supplement.

Also, one life could be saved for every 21 patients who received the specialised nutrition supplement, the researchers at Texas A&M University, in the US, estimated.

A letter to Rohith Vemula from a young Muslim

Mahtab Alam for

Dear Rohith,

Pakistan urged to extend Afghan refugee status

New York: The Pakistan government should reduce rights violations against Afghan refugees by extending their legal residency status until at least end of 2017, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday.

On January 12, the government extended registered Afghan refugees’ Proof of Residency (PoR) cards until June 30, 2016.

Temple attack in Pakistan not because of faith: Reema Abbasi

Kolkata: Asserting that Hindus were not persecuted in her country, Pakistani journalist-author Reema Abbasi on Saturday attributed land-grabbing rather faith behind attacks on temples in Pakistan.

"No temple has been razed on ground of faith. Yes, when the Babri Masjid demolition happened, there was a backlash in Pakistan, but otherwise the attacks on temples were not because of faith," Abbasi said at the Kolkata Literary Festival.

India pledges steadfast support, 'special consideration' for poorer nations

United Nations : India has pledged its steadfast support to poorer countries on issues that matters to them and said it would give them special consideration.