Bush takes ice bucket challenge, nominates Clinton

Washington : Former US president George W. Bush has joined celebrities across the world to take the ice bucket challenge to help raise money for Lou Gehrig's disease and has nominated his predecessor Bill Clinton to do it next.

In a video clip posted Wednesday on Bush's Facebook page, the former president, wearing a navy blue crewneck while sitting at a table, said he was challenged by his daughter Jenna Bush Hager to take the challenge, Xinhua reported.


Peace? Sri Lanka is still at war -- within (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy,

Title: This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War; Author: Samanth Subramanian; Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (Penguin); Pages: 320; Price: Rs.499.

US admits failure to rescue journalist in Syria

Washington: The US had recently attempted to rescue a number of American hostages, including slain journalist James Foley held in Syria by the Islamic State, but the mission failed, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Wednesday.

This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within IS.

Unfortunately, the secret mission this summer in Syria was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location, Xinhua quoted the official as saying.

Israel to step up Gaza offensive: Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Israel will step up the offensive in the Gaza Strip until rocket firing from there into Israel stops, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday in response to renewed Gaza rocket attacks against central and southern Israel earlier in the day.

"Our policy is simple, if they (Hamas) will shoot, they will be hit back seven-fold," Xinhua quoted Netanyahu as saying on TV.

Israel will use "all means" to "restore the quiet" across the country, he added. His remarks came just a day after the indirect Gaza truce talks in Cairo collapsed.

UN chief condemns American journalist's killing

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of American journalist James Foley by extremist Islamist militants, calling it "an abominable crime".

"The secretary-general condemns in the strongest terms the horrific murder of journalist James Foley, an abominable crime that underscores the campaign of terror the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (now called Islamic State) continues to wage against the people of Iraq and Syria," Xiinhua quoted a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson as saying.

White House says beheading video authentic

Washington: The Barack Obama administration Wednesday confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the decapitation of a US journalist who was abducted in November 2012 while covering the civil war in Syria.

"The US intelligence after analysing the recently released video showing James Foley and Steven Sotloff have reached the judgment that this video is authentic," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

40 soldiers in Nigeria face execution for mutiny

Abuja : Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff Kenneth Minimah has said some 40 soldiers in north-eastern Nigeria, who refused to fight the Islamist Boko Haram group, would be court-martialled and sentenced to death if convicted of mutiny.

He stressed that the army had no room for rebels, adding that punishment for soldiers and officers involved in mutiny remained death sentence, MENA news agency reported Wednesday.

According to him, soldiers caught sabotaging the ongoing war against insurgents in the northeast would be seriously sanctioned.


47 arrested in US town after fresh riots

Washington : Forty-seven people were arrested overnight in Ferguson in the US state of Missouri after protestors hurled bottles at police in fresh outbreak of violence over the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by police 11 days ago.

Until a little before midnight, protests in Ferguson were peaceful, unlike the previous days when clashes began as soon as night fell.

Clashes broke out after rioters threw glass bottles at the officers, leading to the arrest of 47 people, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said at a press conference.


IS claims beheading US journalist

Damascus: The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed beheading a US journalist who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, a media report said Wednesday.

The Sunni militant group has released a video showing one of its fighters beheading James Foley, an employee of the media company GlobalPost who was kidnapped November 22, 2012 by unidentified gunmen, Al Jazeera reported.

The IS militants said that they acted in revenge for US strikes against the group in Iraq and threatened to kill another US journalist.

2,240 Ebola cases in West Africa: UN

United Nations : The number of Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, has reached 2,240 and a total of 1,229 deaths were also registered, UN spokesman Steaphane Dujarric said here Tuesday.

"WHO is working with the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure that people in the quarantine zone receive regular food aid and other non-medical supplies," Xinhua uoted Dujarric as saying at a daily news briefing here.

He gave the lates statistics quoting information from the World Health Organisation (WHO).