Westerners join Iraqi Christian militia to fight Islamic State in Iraq

Iraq, Feb 16 (ANI): Thousands of foreigners have flocked to Iraq and Syria, most of them to join Islamic State, but there are few who came to fight on the other side by joining a small Christian militia. The militia they have joined is called Dwekh Nawsha - meaning self sacrifice in the ancient Aramaic language still spoken by Assyrian Christians, who consider themselves the indigenous people of Iraq. Dwekh Nawsha operates alongside Kurdish peshmerga forces to protect a cluster of Christian villages on the front line. Twenty-eight year old Brett is one of the volunteers who came from overseas, a US army veteran who recently returned to Iraq to fight Islamic State in what he sees as a wider war between good and evil. Brett is the only one of the foreign volunteers to have engaged in fighting so far. The others only recently arrived, and were turned back from the front line on Friday by Kurdish security services because they did not have necessary approval from the authorities. Feb 16, 2015

Egypt vows response after IS beheading video

The latest video released by Islamic State militants purports to show the beheading of a group of Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya. The video, which Reuters cannot verify, shows militants Feb 16, 2015

ISIS releases video purporting to show beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya

Libya, Feb 16 (ANI):Islamic State released a video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages in Libya. Egypt's state news agency MENA quoted the spokesman for the Coptic Church as confirming that 21 Egyptian Christians believed to be held by Islamic State were dead. In the video, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jump suits, to a beach that the group said was near Tripoli. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded. The video appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports Islamic State, which has seized parts of Iraq and Syria and has also beheaded Western hostages. A caption on the five-minute video read:"The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church." Before the killings, one of the militants stood with a knife in his hand. Feb 16, 2015

Shelling could mean ceasefire violations

Signs of continued fighting are evident in eastern Ukraine less than 24 hours after a ceasefire agreement was to have taken affect. Large holes, damaged buildings and shells could be seen in Popasna- Feb 16, 2015

Cricketers' families relish India's win over Pakistan in World Cup

Nagpur/Moradabad/Jammu, Feb 16 (ANI): As Indian cricket team defeated Pakistan in its opening match in World Cup 2015, family members of Indian cricketers celebrated the emphatic win with great zeal. Indian cricketer Virat Kohli scored an imperious century to steer India to an imposing 300 for seven against Pakistan in a frenzied atmosphere at the Adelaide Oval stadium. Miles away in Moradabad city, bowler Mohammed Shami's family was rejoiced with the victory. It was a proud moment for them as they watched Shami take four wickets against the rival Pakistan team. Cricketer Umesh Yadav's family and friends were basking in his success in Nagpur. Feb 16, 2015

Sri Lankan President arrives in New Delhi on first state visit

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in India on his first state visit abroad, as a part of efforts to repair relations with New Delhi which soured under the previous government. Sirisena earlier pledged to pursue a more global foreign policy in a break from his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa's pursuit of close ties with China, a key supporter of Sri Lanka's economy since its 26-year civil war ended in 2009. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted that he was looking forward "to welcoming President Sirisena later this month." Modi is scheduled to make a reciprocal trip in the second week of March, according to Sri Lankan government officials. Sirisena will return on Wednesday. Feb 16, 2015

PM Modi congratulates Team India for stunning win against Pak

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian cricket team for their stunning performance against arch-rivals Pakistan in the World Cup opener match at the Adelaide Oval in Australia. "Congrats Team India. Well played. We are all very proud of you," Prime Minister Modi tweeted. Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee also took to twitter and wished the Indian team good luck for the remaining matches of the tournament. "Congratulations Indian Team on victory in ICC World Cup's first match; wish you continued success in coming matches," President Mukherjee tweeted. Earlier, India kicked off their World Cup campaign by beating Misbah-ul Haq-led side by 76 runs to keep their record of never losing to Pakistan in a World Cup tournament intact. Man of the Match Virat Kohli's splendid ton helped India put up a 301-run target for Pakistan. Feb 16, 2015

DYFI protests 'victimisation' of Teesta Setalvad in Mumbai

Mumbai, Feb 16 (ANI): Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) staged protest in Mumbai for filing of misappropriation case against social activist Teesta Setalvad. In January 2014, police had registered a case against Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and others for allegedly usurping rupees 15 million collected by them in form of donations to turn the 2002 riots hit colony into a riots museum. But the Supreme Court of India has stayed the arrest of Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and others named in the case, till February 19. The slogan-shouting members of the DYFI claimed that Setalvad was being framed. The Gujarat High Court had rejected Setalvad's anticipatory bail plea in a criminal case of embezzlement of funds collected on behalf of 2002 riot victims of Gujarat. Feb 16, 2015

Bihar deadlock: Manjhi meets Rajnath in Delhi

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who is under sharp criticism from the Janata Dal (United) for being defiant, met Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Manjhi's meeting with Singh assumes significance as the JD (U) has alleged that the former is working at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Manjhi is presently in the national capital to attend the wedding reception of BJP president Amit Shah's son. Senior JD (U) leader and former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had earlier accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP of 'attempting to throttle democracy'. Feb 16, 2015

Pakistan frees 172 Indian fishermen as 'goodwill gesture'

Karachi, Feb 16 (ANI): Pakistan released 172 Indian prisoners, all of them fishermen, as a "goodwill gesture. The Indian prisoners were freed from Malir jail in the port city of Karachi. All the released inmates were sent to Lahore by train. They will be handed over to Indian authorities at the land Wagah border on Monday. The fishermen had been arrested for illegal fishing in Pakistani waters. Pakistan and India routinely detain fishermen for entering each other's waters for fishing. They mistakenly enter other's waters as there is no demarcation of maritime boundaries. Feb 16, 2015

Sri Lanka and India are committed to take discussion on civil nuclear issue forward: MEA

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin on Monday said that talks on civil nuclear cooperation may figure in the dialogue with Sri Lankan delegation. Sri Lanka's President, Maithripala Sirisena, arrived in India on Sunday, on his first state visit abroad, as a part of efforts to repair relations with New Delhi which soured under the previous government. In the past, the two neighbours have had talks on a possible civil nuclear agreement but failed to reach any concrete understanding. Akbaruddin also said the two neighbours would talk on a slew of issues. Sirisena will leave India on Wednesday. Feb 16, 2015

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena gets ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena got a ceremonial reception on Monday at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi as he begins his first state visit after assuming office last month. Sirisena arrived in India on Sunday evening for a four day trip. On his arrival at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, he was welcomed by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sirisena walked along the red carpet as military bands played music. Srisena, who is accompanied by his wife, Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari, met delegates after his ceremonial reception. Sirisena is likely to meet President Pranab Mukherjee in the evening, which is to be followed by a presidential dinner in his honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Feb 16, 2015

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena pays tribute at Rajghat

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday reached Raj Ghat and laid wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial. Reportedly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on him at his hotel, ITC Maurya, after which he is slated to hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House. Sirisena is also likely to meet President Pranab Mukherjee in the evening, which is to be followed by a presidential dinner in his honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena had arrived in India on his first state visit abroad, as a part of efforts to repair relations with New Delhi which soured under the previous government. Feb 16, 2015

Bihar Crisis: No intention of dissolving the assembly or recommending President's rule: Manjhi

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday said that he had no intention of dissolving the legislative assembly or recommending President's rule in the state. He added that he has come to Delhi to meet the ministers in the central government and no to meet any BJP leader. Meanwhile, Manjhi was expelled by his party JD (U) after he refused to step down as CM to make way for Nitish Kumar. Feb 16, 2015

No end in sight to 'slow-burn' Bangladesh turmoil

Dhaka's main hospital is overflowing with victims of a lethal standoff, the latest casualties of the decades-long enmity between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia. Duration: 0:41 Feb 16, 2015