BRICS bank to benefit developing countries: Brazilian president

Fortaleza (Brazil) : Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Tuesday expressed confidence that the expected creation of a BRICS development bank and a reserve fund would benefit developing countries.

Rousseff made the remarks when she left her hotel in this Brazilian city for the opening ceremony of the sixth summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, an emerging-market bloc known as BRICS, Xinhua reported.

During the meeting, the five major developing countries are expected to announce the establishment of the bank and the fund.

Interpol hands over Nigeria bombing mastermind

Abuja : Nigeria's defence headquarters Tuesday said Interpol had handed over the alleged mastermind of a bus station bombing which claimed at least 80 lives here in April.

The suspect, Aminu Ogwuche, was accused of fleeing Nigeria after the incident at Nyanya, on outskirts of the Nigerian capital in April 14, Xinhua reported.

He was sighted three weeks later in Sudan and was arrested by the Interpol which promised to facilitate his extradition.

Iran n-talks have 'real gaps' on key issues: Kerry

Vienna : Iran and six major world powers involved in the Middle Eastern nation's nuclear talks still have "real gaps on the key issues" as the July 20 deadline approaches, US Secretary of State John Kerry said here Tuesday.

Kerry made the comments after lengthy negotiations with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, Xinhua reported.

Meanwhile, Kerry said the nuclear talks have made some progress on some of the key issues, but declined to give details.

"It is clear we have more work to do," Kerry told reporters.


BRICS to strengthen political cooperation: Putin

Moscow : BRICS countries intend to strengthen the political element of their cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said here before leaving for the BRICS leaders summit in Brazil beginning Tuesday.

"We will develop the practice of mutual consultations and joint actions in international organisations, first of all, in the UN. In the long term, we will create a virtual BRICS secretariat," Putin told ITAR-TASS in an interview.

"At the same time, I would like to stress that we do not have any plans to form a BRICS military and political alliance," he added.

720,000 affected in China rains

Beijing : About 720,000 people from 240 townships in central China's Hunan Province has been affected due to heavy rainstorms since early Monday, flood control officials said Tuesday.

Initial investigation showed that 465 homes in the province have been toppled and 149,400 local residents have been relocated as a result of the storms, Xinhua reported.

In Hunan's Fenghuang County, more than 120,000 locals and tourists have been evacuated since Monday night as heavy rains hit the county.


Nepal to hold local elections in January

Kathmandu : Nepal will hold local elections in January 2015 after a gap of 16 years, Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam said Tuesday.

The elections for the leadership of local bodies -- village development committees and municipalities -- should have been held every five years. But due to political instability, there has not been any such election since 1998.


Israel agrees to Egypt's Gaza ceasefire proposal

London: The Israeli cabinet Tuesday agreed on an Egyptian initiative for Gaza truce, even as the Islamic Hamas movement rejected the proposal, saying that there will be no ceasefire before reaching an agreement.

Egypt presented a five-point initiative for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip Monday, calling for a ceasefire on the ground, and then inviting the conflicting parties to go to Cairo for a detailed agreement, BBC reported.

Nepal, India decide to set up boundary working group

Kathmandu: In a significant development, Nepal and India have agreed to set up a boundary working group at the surveyors-general level in order to settle some boundary issues, including Susta and Kalapani, and maintain and renovate border pillars.

According to a Kathmandu Post report Tuesday, the two sides recently exchanged a diplomatic note on setting up the boundary working group (BWG) and it is likely that an announcement of the mechanism will be made during the visit of India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Kathmandu.

Modi meets Xi, seeks solution of border, trade imbalance issues

Fortaleza (Brazil)/ New Delhi : Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday met Chinese President Xi Jinping and called for a solution to the "boundary question" as the two countries sought to expand their economic relations and rectify the trade imbalance.

In his first meeting with Xi since becoming prime minister, Modi called for enhanced Chinese investment in India's infrastructure as the two leaders engaged in a freewheeling discussion and focused on building personal rapport in the discussion that went beyond the scheduled time.

US, Qatar sign $11 bn arms deal

Washington: US and Qatar have signed an arms deal on Qatar's purchase of US Patriot defence systems and Apache helicopters to the tune of $11 billion, the US Defence Department said in a statement Monday.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel hosted Qatar's Minister of State for Defence Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah at the Pentagon Monday to sign letters of offer and acceptance for Apache helicopters and Patriot and Javelin defence systems worth $11 billion, Xinhua reported.