Australian police surround Sydney cafe where hostages are held, says no contact with armed offender

Sydney, Dec 15 (ANI): Australian police said on Monday they had not had direct contact with any armed offender holding an undisclosed number of people hostage at a cafe in central Sydney. When asked if the police know about the motivation behind the hostage situation, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said they are still determining it. Police said they are still determining what the flag means. New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said the public and police were being tested. Dozens of heavily armed Australian police hacve surrounded the Sydney cafe. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern for the people who are being held hostage. Modi on Monday called the incident inhuman and deeply unfortunate. He tweeted, "the incident in Sydney is disturbing. Such acts are inhuman and deeply unfortunate. I pray for everyone's safety." Dec 15, 2014

Sports community in Kolkata protests over Madan Mitra's arrest

Kolkata, Dec 15 (ANI): Sportspersons and enthusiasts held demonstrations against arrest of West Bengal Sports Minister Madan Mitra, in connection with multi-billion investment scam in Kolkata city. Hundreds of sporting personalities joined the protest where supporters of Mitra shouted slogans against CBI and BJP. The protesters burnt effigy of Modi and blocked traffic in different areas of Kolkata city. Former Indian footballer, Gautam Sarkar, said Mitra was an unparallel personality and his arrest was causing a great harm to sports and cultural sectors of the state. The Bengal sportspersons and enthusiasts have decided to continue their sit-in at a dais near the statue of former footballer Gostha Behari Paul until Mitra is released. Dec 15, 2014

Indian, Pakistani artists enthrall audience with musical performance

Ahmedabad, Dec 15 (ANI): A musical band comprising artists from India and Pakistan performed in Gujarat. The band mostly known for its Sufi rock compositions was invited to Ahmedabad city to entertain the public. Apart from composer Mekaal Hasan and Pakistani flutist Muhammed Ahsan Pappu, other three members -- drummer Gino Banks, bassist Sheldon D'Silva and vocalist Sharmistha Chatterjee were from India. Dec 15, 2014

Mobile science laboratory proves to be a boon for rural students in Assam

Assam, Dec 15 (ANI): Dahotia Hr. Secondary School in Jorhat is one of the good educational institutes of Assam. However, it lacks modern and state-of-the art science laboratory. Many a times, the students have to sacrifice with the unavailability of practical facilities. Now, the science students have a reason to cheer as they have got a 'laboratory on wheels', a mobile lab inaugurated by state Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on August 15. Mobile lab on wheels is an initiative of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), Assam in collaboration with UNICEF and the Assam State Technology and Environment Society. As on now, two mobile vans in Jorhat and Kamrup will cover the schools in rural areas of Upper Assam. After the success of these mobile labs, more such vehicles will soon be launched to facilitate all schools in rural Assam. Dec 15, 2014

Miss South Africa crowned Miss World 2014

Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the pageant's final in London on Sunday, with an estimated billion viewers watching on television around the globe. Dec 15, 2014

Abe re-elected in low-turnout Japan polls

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election Sunday in a snap poll he had billed as a referendum on his economic policies after early success faded into a recession. Duration: 00:38 Dec 14, 2014

Giant Paris skating rink opens for Christmas

The exhibition hall of the Grand Palais in Paris transforms into a giant skating rink for Christmas, recreating the feel of a frozen winter river. Duration: 00:50 Dec 14, 2014

Bangladesh pays homage to freedom fighters on Martyred Intellectuals Day

Dhaka, Dec 14 (ANI): Thousands of Bangladeshis took to streets in Dhaka to pay rich tributes to people who were killed by Pakistani forces and their collaborators at the end of 1971 Liberation War and observed Martyred Intellectuals Day on Sunday. Former prime minister and chief of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia paid homage to intellectuals who fell to brutal military regime during the Liberation War at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in Mirpur city. The day is observed just two days ahead of Liberation Day of Bangladesh, which is held on December 16. On Sunday, hundreds of floral wreaths heaped at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial as several political parties, members of social and cultural organizations and commoners paid homage to the intellectuals. A lecturer of Dhaka University, Momtaz Shirin, urged for speedy trial of war criminals. Dec 14, 2014

J ank K records overall voter turnout of 49 per cent in fourth phase of Assembly polls

New Delhi, Dec 14 (ANI): Deputy Election Commissioner of India Vinod Zutshi on Sunday said that overall voter turnout in the fourth phase of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir is 49 percent. The 18 Assembly constituencies in the state went to fourth phase of polls today to decide fate of 182 candidates. Talking about the two clashes in the state during the polls, Zutshi said that the clash between PDP and Congress worker was a minor one and was far from the polling stations. Referring to brawl between BJP's candidate and a voter, Zutshi said that the police have filed a FIR in the case and that investigation is on. Despite severe cold, long queues of voters were seen outside the polling stations to exercise their franchise at many polling stations. Dec 14, 2014

Arun Jaitley says BJP can change Kashmir's fate

Jammu, Dec 14 (ANI): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that only BJP can voice the concerns of Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing an election rally in Jammu, Jaitley said people had already started associating themselves with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Emphasising on Modi's effect on people, Jaitley said even during the last general elections, he had said that election is not about arithmetic it is about chemistry. Jaitley added that it doesn't matter who becomes the state chief as religion is not important, rather vision and personality are important. Dec 14, 2014

Jharkhand records 61.65% voter turnout in fourth phase of assembly elections

New Delhi, Dec 14 (ANI): Jharkhand Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha on Sunday while addressing a press conference said that the state has recorded 61.65 percent voter turnout in the fourth phase of the assembly elections. Polling took place for 15 seats and a total of 43,48,709 voters voted for 217 candidates, including 16 women. Adequate security arrangements were made at all the polling stations as many constituencies being Maoist-hit. Dec 14, 2014

Two killed, one injured after speeding cab mows down policemen

New Delhi, Dec 14 (ANI): A cab driver mowed down two cops and injured another in a bid to escape checking at a barricade in Kalindi Kunj on Sunday. The cops tried to stop the speeding cab but the driver rammed into the barricade. He then mowed down the policemen who tried to stop him. According to the reports, the driver was allegedly drunk and even dragged the policemen for about 100 metres after hitting them. He was then chased and nabbed by other cops some distance away from the spot. The cabbie has been identified as Hemant from Ghaziabad and has been arrested under sections of causing death due to negligence (304A IPC) and rash driving (279 IPC). The injured cop has been admitted at the Apollo hospital. Dec 14, 2014

J&K polls: BJP candidate from Shopian gets into brawl with voter.

Shopian, Dec 14 (ANI): BJP’s candidate from Shopian, Javed Ahmad Qadri, got into an argument with a voter on Sunday when polling was on for the fourth phase of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections. Qadri slapped the voter more than once for reasons not known yet. The top BJP leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh have campaigned extensively in Jammu and Kashmir for the assembly polls. The polling, which began at 8 a.m. on a dull note due to chilly weather conditions and fog in the morning, has started picking up in 16 assembly segments spread over three districts of Srinagar, Anantnag and Shopian in the fourth phase of five-phased elections. Dec 14, 2014