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International

BBC exposes Tory cuts on benefits

By Anasudhin Azeez,

London : The Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron is facing the wrath of vulnerable sections of British society after the BBC exposed documents revealing suggestions for scrapping several benefits affecting them.

The leaked files belong to the department for work and pensions under Iain Duncan Smith. Commissioned by Tory officials, they also suggest a regional benefits cap and taxing disability benefits as ways to help cut 12 billion pounds from the welfare budget by 2017-18, BBC reported.

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Nigeria votes to elect president

Abuja : Polling stations across Nigeria opened on Saturday amid tight security, as more than 56 million eligible voters went to cast their ballots to elect a new president, Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission said.

Registration started at 8 a.m. and voting began at 1:30 p.m., Xinhua news agency reported.

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Religious minorities vulnerable amid IS violence: UN chief

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday that religious minorities remain highly vulnerable since the Islamic State (IS) affiliated groups are targeting minorities and attacking religious sites in Libya, a media report said on Saturday.

Ban made the remarks at a Security Council open debate on the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East, saying the main parties in Libya must quickly reach agreement to end conflict to prevent the country "falling in the hands of terrorist groups", Xinhua reported.

Obama expresses support for Yemen action with Saudi King

Washington: US President Barack Obama spoke with Saudi King Salman, discussing recent developments in Yemen and emphasised the US support for the action taken by Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council members, the White House has said in a statement.

Both agreed that their goal is to achieve lasting stability in Yemen through a negotiated political solution, the statement on Friday said. Obama also underscored his commitment to Saudi Arabia's security, Xinhua reported.

'Be vigilant against threat of biological weapons'

United Nations : UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday urged the whole world to continue to remain vigilant against the threat of biological weapons despite the progress made by the international community in preventing their spread, media reported on Friday.

In his message marking the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Biological Weapons Convention, the secretary-general noted that "the norm against the use and possession of biological weapons remains strong, and no country identifies itself as possessing biological weapons," reported Xinhua.

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Building fire injures 12 in New York

New York:A massive fire broke out after an explosion in a building in New York City's East Village neighbourhood, leaving 12 injured, three critically, the Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The explosion on Thursday afternoon caused partial collapse of the building and more than 200 firefighters responded to the ensuing blaze engulfing the five-story commercial and residential building in Manhattan, a FDNY spokesperson has said, Xinhua reported.

Heavy smoke billowed from the building near Second Avenue and Seventh Street. Flames also spread to nearby buildings.

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European Imams join forces against extremism

By Anasudhin Azeez,

London : Imams from Britain and Europe gathered here on Thursday to condemn the atrocities taking place in the name of Islam and issued an appeal to all Muslims to reclaim the "digital space from those who wish to tarnish their faith".

Over 120 Imams attended an anti-extremism summit in the British capital and released a digital magazine to promote the true face of Islam, Asian Lite daily reported.

Co-pilot deliberately crashed Germanwings plane: French prosecutor

Paris : The co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 appears to have deliberately crashed the aircraft killing 144 passengers and six crew members on board, the French prosecutor said on Thursday.

The action of the first officer, Andreas Lubitz, of the crashed Germanwings' A320 "can be analysed as his intention to destroy the aircraft", said Brice Robin at a press conference held on Thursday in Marseille, Xinhua news agency reported citing BFMTV.

Robin said that the 28-year-old first officer appears to have deliberately refused to open the cockpit door for the captain.

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Cambodian PM accuses Michelle Obama of making 'false promises'

Bangkok : Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has accused US first lady Michelle Obama of making "false promises" during her recent visit to the country to promote girls' education, media reported Thursday.

Obama launched the Cambodian component of the US government's “Let Girls Learn” initiative during a visit to Siem Reap last weekend.

The global initiative promotes quality education for adolescent girls.

At the launch, Obama encouraged 10 female students to continue studying.

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FBI to track hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, Arabs

Washington : Six US lawmakers along with leading advocacy groups have welcomed the inclusion of Sikh, Hindu, and Arab American communities in the Department of Justice's hate crimes tracking effort.

This is the final step in the long-fought effort to encourage the US federal government to finally begin tracking and quantifying hate crimes against these at-risk communities, the lawmakers said at an event on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

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