Martin Place siege: Australia PM says unknown if hostage situation politically motivated

Sydney, Dec 15 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday issued a short statement on the hostage incident in Martin place in Sydney. He said that the New South Wales police is responding to the incident well. He added that, however, it is yet not known whether the attack is politically motivated. He further stated that he had spoken to NSW Premier Mike Baird and offered him all possible Commonwealth support and assistance. Hostages have been held inside a central Sydney cafe in Australia on Monday where a black flag with white Arabic writing was seen in the window, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants. Dec 15, 2014

Germany beat Pakistan to win Champions Trophy

Bhubaneshwar, Dec 15 (ANI): Olympic champions Germany proved too strong for Pakistan in hockey's Champions Trophy final. Goals from Christopher Wesley in the 18th minute and Florian Fuchs three minutes from time were enough to give Germany a superb 2-0 victory over Pakistan, with a sell-out crowd witnessed the Germans claim their 10th Champions Trophy Gold medal but their first since 2007. The Bronze medal contest between Australia and India ended in another medal for the World Cup winners, who overcame the host nation to take a 2-1 win. Eddie Ockenden silenced the crowd with a field goal in the 18th minute.India got back on level terms from a penalty corner on 42 minutes, Lalit Upadhyay eventually putting the ball in the back of the net. But Australia took the win when Matt Gohdes netted eight minutes from time. Dec 15, 2014

Police arrest Maoist commander in Jharkhand

Latehar, Dec 15 (ANI): Police arrested a Maoist commander in Jharkhand. Acting on a tip-off, police had set up a special team to conduct raids and nabbed Santosh Kherwar, who was wanted in the eight cases. Superintendent of Police Michael Raj said police recovered live bullets, money and mobiles phones and SIM cards from the rebel. Maoists seek the violent overthrow of the Indian state but have so far not managed to spread significantly into urban areas. They have killed police and politicians and targeted government buildings and railway tracks in an insurgency that has killed thousands since the 1960s. Dec 15, 2014

Tourists enjoy season's first snowfall in Manali

Manali, Dec 15 (ANI): Tourists were delighted as hill town of Himachal Pradesh received season's first snowfall. Snowfall is a boon for northern states in high altitudes as the inflow of tourists increases during snowfall which boosts the tourism industry. The snow-covered Manali city in the state ushered in a cheerful mood, just days before Christmas. On the eve of Christmas and New Year, people rush out of their homes and book hotels for a perfect celebration in the snow laden tourist destinations. Snowfall in these regions has a direct impact in other northern states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Dec 15, 2014

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