India, Japan sign Kyoto-Varanasi partnership agreement

Kyoto: India and Japan Saturday signed the Kyoto-Varanasi partnership agreement, an official said.

The partnership, which focuses on how to preserve heritage while building smart cities, was signed between Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa and India's Ambassador to Japan Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

"Partners in heritage. Kyoto-Varnasi partnership agreement signed in presence of @PMOIndia and PM @abeshinzo in State Guest House," Akbaruddin tweeted.

Four gen-next Indian-origin economists in IMF list of 25

Washington: Four economists of Indian origin have been featured in in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) list of 25 economists under 45 who are shaping the way one thinks about the global economy

The "Generation Next" list of "economists under 45 (who) will have the most influence in the coming decades on our understanding of the global economy," was compiled by IMF with information from "readers, assorted international economists and journal editors."

The list is published in the September issue of "Finance & Development."

Militants take hostate 44 peacekeepers in Golan

United Nations: At least 44 peacekeepers have been taken hostage by the militnts in the Golan Heights, a UN spokesperson said Friday.

"The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) reported that 44 Fijian troops were detained and 72 Filipino troops still stranded in the region," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily briefing.

"The United Nations continues to engage with a wide range of parties within Syria, and is making every effort to ensure the safety and security of its personnel," he said.

US identifies citizens fighting for Islamic State

Washington: US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have identified around a dozen of its citizens, who have traveled to the Middle East to join jihad led by the Islamic State, officials said.

As the group has grown stronger in recent months, more foreigners have gone to Syria to fight in its ranks, which has forced European and US authorities to dedicate more resources to keep them from leaving their countries of origin, the sources said.

IS has become more attractive than Al Qaeda for potential fighters because it rules the territory with strict Islamic law.

Racial discrimination in US cause of concern: UN panel

Geneva: The United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Friday said that racial and ethnic discrimination in the US remain a major cause of concern.

In its concluding observation on the periodic report of the US on its implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the committee expressed grave concerns over the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials in the US, Xinhua reported.


Russia to enhance nuke capability for own security: Putin

Moscow : Russia will continue building up its nuclear potential not for the purpose of intimidation but for ensuring its security, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

"We are strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces. They are getting more compact and more efficient at the same time. They are getting more modernised in terms of their supply with the latest armaments. We continue building up this potential and we'll be doing this in the future," Putin said at a youth forum in central Russia's Tver region.


Ban, UN Council deplore detention of peacekeepers

United Nations : UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council have strongly condemned the detention of UN peacekeepers serving in the Golan amid increased fighting in the area between Syrian government forces and armed rebels, and demanded their immediate release.

The 43 Fijian peacekeepers from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were detained by armed militants of the opposition in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah, according to the world body.


Tamil party agrees to resume talks with Sri Lanka government

Colombo : Sri Lanka's main Tamil party has announced it is willing to restart talks with the government after a lapse of nearly three years to find a political solution to a dragging ethnic issue after a three-decade civil war ended in 2009, an official said here Friday.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it was ready to resume discussions with the government to reach a lasting solution to the ethnic crisis based on power devolution within a united Sri Lanka, Xinhua reported.


Putin urges Ukraine militants to open humanitarian corridor

Moscow : Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday urged militants in southeastern Ukraine to open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian soldiers to allow them to get out of the combat areas.

"I am calling on forces to open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian soldiers in order to avoid senseless casualties, enable them to get out of the combat areas, reunite with their families and to provide urgent medical aid," the presidential address released by the Kremlin press service said.


Israeli opposition criticises Netanyahu's speech on Gaza war

Jerusalem: Israeli opposition leader strongly criticised the speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the military operation in Gaza, saying it is a sad victory, media reported.

On his Facebook page, Isaac Herzog, said Netanyahu lost the confidence of Israelis, especially those in the south and areas close to the Gaza Strip, MENA news agency reported citing the Radio Israel.

The Israeli army won the war in Gaza but the cabinet failed, he said.

"This government failed in every parameter -- economically and diplomatically," Herzog said.