Pakistan denies visa to Indian actor Anupam Kher

Indian actor Anupam Kher has said he’s been denied visa to attend the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), which begins February 5. Kher, who was among the 18 Indians invited to participate, was to deliver a speech at the festival. Kher took to Twitter to express his disappointment. “I feel bad for all those people who were looking forward to meet me in Pakistan and vice versa. Sorry to them. Hopefully one day.” Thereafter, in a series…

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India is in Afghanistan to contribute, not compete: Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the Parliament of Afghanistan Eight centuries ago, a famous son of Balkh Province, one of the greatest poets in human history, Jalaluddin Rumi, wrote, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that gives flowers, not thunder”. This is the wisdom of this magnificent land and a great nation. A land where legends are born – of poetry and beauty, of valour and honour, of pride and…

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India foils suspected terror bid by Pakistan

Four suspected terrorists from Pakistan, who were supposedly sailing in a fishing boat in the direction of Gujarat in India, blew themselves up when intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on January 1, 2015 in the Arabian Sea, India’s defence ministry said in a statement on Friday. The ICG had warned the occupants of the boat – which was “carrying explosives” according to the defence ministry statement – to stop for inspecting its cargo….

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India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations

On the first day of the New Year, India and Pakistan exchanged the list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral treaty that bars the two countries from attacking each other’s atomic facilities. This is an annual practice in vogue since 1991 when the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations was signed between the two South-Asian nuclear powers. Thursday’s was the 24th such exchange between the two countries, the first one having…

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Abe wins re-election in Japan’s snap polls

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe got a shot in the arm with his ruling coalition winning a new two-thirds majority in the elections held on Sunday. The win, in which Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) retained its majority in the House of Representatives, is seen as a referendum on his economic policy, known as Abenomics. LDP and its coalition partner Komeito party have together won 325 seats (LDP 290 seats, Komeito 35), two-thirds of the…

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Climate deal clinched at Lima

After two weeks of intense talks during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru, delegates from 194 countries came to an agreement on how to tackle climate change. The deal – the “Lima call for climate action” – includes a framework for setting national pledges, which will be submitted to another summit slated to be held in Paris next year. The Paris summit is supposed to finalise the framework, which…

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Russia to retain its position as India’s top defence supplier

During his sixth visit to India on 11 December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin received an assurance from India that Russia would remain a top defence supplier for India. “Even as India’s options have increased today, Russia will remain our most important defence partner,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement after his meeting with Putin at the 15th annual India-Russia summit. This is significant in that it is meant to clear Russia’s…

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The ticking nuclear bomb

The threat of use, or misuse, of nuclear weapons is real and the consequences of such an event will be catastrophic, the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons warned. The two-day conference, which ended on December 9, 2014 in the Austrian capital, sought to draw global attention to the impact of nuclear weapons on health, environment, agriculture and food security, migration and economy, among others. High-ranking officials from 158 countries and representatives…

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Senate report puts CIA in the dock

The interrogation methods used by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on detainees were ineffective, much harsher than previously revealed and often produced wrong information, according to the executive summary of a report de-classified by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released on Tuesday. Only the 528-page summary has been de-classified. The full report of about 6,700 pages remains classified. The very first point under the “findings and conclusions” in the summary is that, “The…

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Obama names Ashton Carter as new defence secretary

US President Barack Obama picked the man who described the US as “the single most important provider of security in the world” as the new defence secretary. The nomination of Ashton Carter as Pentagon Chief comes about a week after Obama reportedly pressured former defence secretary Chuck Hagel to resign. The Senate still needs to confirm the President’s nomination to make the appointment effective. Carter, a former Deputy Secretary of Defence, has a “unique blend of…

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