India, Britain ink MoU on cultural cooperation

New Delhi: India and Britain Wednesday inked an agreement on cultural cooperation for the next five years.

Culture Minister Shripad Yesso Naik and visiting British Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Sajid Javed signed a MoU on Cultural Cooperation which will form the bulwark of the Indian-British cultural relations for the period 2014 to 2019 after talks here.

Over 100 Ukrainian soldiers surrounded by separatists

Kiev : Pro-Russian militias have surrounded more than 100 Ukrainian troops in the eastern town of Lugansk, said Gennady Moskal, the governor of the region, who is loyal to Kiev.

"The situation is critical. Approaching the scene of the fighting is impossible due to continued bombing with heavy artillery deployed by the militants in a wooded area", local agencies quoted Moskal as saying Wednesday.

He added that 112 members of the army and the National Guard had fallen into an ambush in the Bakhmutka area, where the pro-Russian militias have about 20 tanks.


MH17 victims' belongings to be transferred to Netherlands

Kiev : Two trucks loaded with personal belongings of the victims aboard the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 arrived Wednesday in Ukraine's government-controlled eastern city of Kharkov before being transferred to the Netherlands, authorities said.

The belongings, which had been handed over by the search and rescue team to a group of Dutch experts, came from the crash site of the plane in the Donetsk region, the Xinhua reported citing a Kharkov regional state administration online statement.


PM-in-exile Sangay raises Tibet issue with Czech MPs

Dharamsala : Tibetan Prime Minister-in-Exile Lobsang Sangay has expressed concern over the Czech Republic's position on the Tibet issue despite the country's known stand for democracy, human rights and equality.

Sangay raised the issue during his meeting with members of the Czech Parliament in Prague Tuesday, said a post on the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).


Philippines' Abu Sayyaf to negotiate for German hostages

Manila : The Abu Sayyaf rebel group Wednesday said that it is ready to negotiate with Filippino Foreign Minister Alberto Del Rosario for the release of two German hostages.

In an interview with a local radio station, Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Rami said they are willing to allow del Rosario to serve as a mediator and secure their demands, Xinhua reported.

"We would like to talk to the Philippine Foreign Affairs chief because his agency isn't corrupt. We would reiterate to him our demands," the spokesman said.


Mozambique votes to elect fourth president

Maputo : Mozambicans went to poll Wednesday to elect the country's fourth president since its independence in 1975.

The presidential race will largely be a showdown between former defence minister Filipe Nyusi of the ruling Frelimo party, leader of the main opposition Renamo Afonso Dhlakama, and leader of the second-largest opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) Daviz Simango, Xinhua reported.

More than 10.7 million people are registered to vote in the country's 11 provinces.


Austrian anti-terror chief warns of IS threat

Vienna : Austria is under "a certain kind" of threat of terrorist attacks from the extremist group of Islamic State (IS), a senior security official said.

"About 150 people, most of whom have Russian citizenship and are believed to be Chechens, have travelled from Austria to take part in conflicts in Syria and Iraq," Peter Gridling, director of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter Terrorism, said in an interview to the Kleine Zeitung newspaper, reported Xinhua.


US Telugus contribute $100,000 for cyclone Hudhud relief

Washington: Telugu Association of North America (TANA), the largest Telugu organization outside India, has announced that it will be making an initial contribution of $100,000 for relief efforts for the victims of cyclone Hudhud.

Expressing shock at the unprecedented disaster caused by cyclone Hudhud in the northern districts of Andhra Pradesh, TANA President Mohan Nannapaneni said TANA intends to help with both immediate relief and long term rebuilding measures.

Mark Zuckerberg donates $25 mn to fight Ebola

Washington: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on that social networking site that he and his wife, Priscilla, have donated $25 million to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for the fight against the Ebola virus disease.

"We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn't spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio," he said in a Facebook post Tuesday.


Over 1 mn Somalis facing starvation risk, UN envoy

United Nations: The UN envoy in Somalia has warned that despite some political and security gains, the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa country has deteriorated, with over 1 million Somalis who do not have enough to eat.

This number is up 20 percent compared to six months ago, Xinhua quoted the UN secretary-general's special representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, as telling the Security Council Tuesday while briefing it on the situation in the country.