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.

Court rejects appeal of five Islamic extremists in Australia

Sydney: Five members of a Sydney terrorist cell will remain behind bars after a court here Friday dismissed their appeals filed against convictions and sentences.

Khaled Cheikho, Moustafa Cheikho, Mohamed Ali Elomar, Abdul Rakib Hasan, and Mohammed Omar Jamal are facing jail terms from 23 to 28 years for plotting terrorist attack in Sydney between July 2004 and November 2005.

They were among the nine men arrested in 2005 under Operation Pendennis, the largest counter-terrorism investigation undertaken in Australia.

US Congress narrowly averts government shutdown

Washington : Beating a midnight deadline, the US Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown with the Senate agreeing to a two-day extension of current funding levels to consider a $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by the House.


Obama to sign Venezuela sanctions bill

Washington : US President Barack Obama plans to sign into law a bill expanding sanctions on Venezuelan officials accused of violently oppressing protests against the country's leftist government, the White House said Thursday.

The administration shares Congress' concerns about the situation in Venezuela, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Obama will continue working with the Congress to prevail upon Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to respect basic freedoms and democratic norms, Earnest said.


Brazil murder suspect confesses to 41 other killings

Rio de Janeiro : A man arrested after the stabbing death of a woman in the Rio suburb of Nova Iguaçu has confessed to 41 additional homicides, Brazilian police said Thursday.

Sailson Jose das Graças, 26, told investigators that over the past nine years he has killed 37 women, three men and a 2-year-old boy.

The toddler was the son of one of his female victims, killed to stop his crying from alerting the woman's neighbours, police said.

Russia to supply $2.1 bn worth of rough diamonds to India

New Delhi: In a bid to create alternative import sources of rough diamonds for the Indian cutting and polishing industry, Russia's state-led Alrosa mining group has entered into direct selling agreements with 12 diamantaires for supplies worth $2.1 billion over three years.

Some of the top Indian exporters of cut and polished diamonds will benefit from the deal that is expected to create an alternative source of roughs for India, which is the world's largest hub for this industry, accounting for nearly 80 percent of volume, officials said.

Al Qaeda blames Obama for death of hostages in Yemen

Sanaa: Al Qaeda terrorists Thursday blamed US President Barack Obama for the deaths of two foreign hostages in Yemen and claimed that it was the result of "political hostility and war against the Muslims".

A senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Ali bin Nasr al-Ansi, said in a video that "Obama adopted his erroneous decision, which was signing of the death sentence against US citizen Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie".