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.


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.

Malaysia receives bodies of MH17 victims on day of mourning

Bangkok : Malaysia Friday paid tributes to victims of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane which was shot down last month in eastern Ukraine, as the remains of 20 of the 43 countrymen on board were brought home.

The coffins of the first Malaysian victims identified in the Netherlands reached Kuala Lumpur airport, where soldiers took them out of the plane that flew them home and draped them in the national flag.

Journalist beheading: US defends refusal to pay ransom to kidnappers

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : Amid the shock and horror of American photojournalist James Foley's beheading and revelations that his captors had demanded a ransom of $132 million, the US has defended its policy of no negotiations with terrorists.

US policy on ransom for hostage takers is clear, National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden told CNN Thursday as an official with GlobalPost, the US-based online publication Foley was working for at the time of his abduction in Syria in 2012 revealed the ransom demand.

Boat carrying Haitian migrants intercepted in Bahamas

Nassau : Bahamian authorities have detained more than 100 illegal Haitian migrants who were traveling on a boat.

The boat carrying the migrants was intercepted off Flamingo Cay Light in the Northern Ragged Island Chain, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force said Thursday.

A "search of the vessel resulted in the apprehension of undocumented Haitian nationals consisting of 100 males, 16 females, and eight children", the defence force said.

The migrants were subsequently taken into custody and will be handed over to immigration authorities for further investigation.