Italian troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan

Italian troops are preparing to leave Afghanistan as NATO winds up its combat mission. Some will remain to help train the Afghan army but there are concerns that more violence is on the way after foreign troops withdraw. Dec 19, 2014

Granting bail to Lakhvi will make mockery of Pak's commitment to fight terror groups: MEA

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): Even as the reports suggest that the Pakistan government is ready to appeal against the bail granted to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused of plotting the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai in 2008, India condemned the step by the neighbouring nation. Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin said that the bail to terrorist commander will make the mockery of Pakistan's commitment to fight terror groups. Akbaruddin said that there have been repeated assurances on the persecution of seven accused of 26/11 Mumbai attack but no action by the other side. He further said that granting of bail to Lakhvi has taken this saga to another level and that India has strong concerns in the matter. Lakhvi was granted bail on Thursday by an anti-terror court in Islamabad which said the prosecution has been unable to provide evidence against him. He was among seven people arrested in the Mumbai attacks trial in Pakistan in 2009. Dec 19, 2014

Congress President Sonia Gandhi admitted to hospital fore respiratory tract infection

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram hospital in New Delhi. Gandhi is suffering from infection of the lower respiratory tract, which affects the airway and the lung. Her condition is stable, a hospital official said. According to sources, Gandhi came to the hospital Thursday evening with complaints of breathing difficulty and chest congestion. The Congress president was admitted under the care of Arup Kumar Basu, senior consultant in the chest medicine department. Basu is leading a team of doctors who are closely monitoring Gandhi. Doctors said that the problem was quite common in the winter season. Dec 19, 2014

Varanasi girl set on fire for resisting sexual harassment

Varanasi, Dec 19 (ANI): Days after anniversary of Delhi gang rape, a 20-year-old girl in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency, Varanasi, was set on fire, allegedly by three men. The girl was set on fire at the Lallapura area of Varanasi for resisting sexual harassment. Sustaining 70 percent burns, she is battling for life at a local government hospital. The girl's parents alleged that the men used to pass lewd comments when she passed by and that they had filed FIR over the same many times earlier. The police have arrested one of the accused, but are waiting to record the girl's statement to further the investigation. Dec 19, 2014

Survivors of Mumbai attack express anguish over granting of bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi

Mumbai, Dec 19 (ANI): Victim and survivors of 2008 Mumbai attacks expressed disappointment and deep anguish after a Pakistani court granted bail to man accused of masterminding the carnage. The decision to grant bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi drew quick condemnation from India and is likely to hinder attempts to patch up relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Lakhvi was arrested in Pakistan in 2009 in connection with the attack on Mumbai by Pakistani militants in which 166 people were killed. Reacting over his bail, wife of deceased police inspector Vijay Salaskar, Smita Salaskar, said those who were killed in the carnage will get justice only when the masterminds behind the attacks are punished. Meanwhile, Mumbai attacks survivor Devika Rotavan also appealed for harsh punishment for the accused. Dec 19, 2014

Bengaluru police commissioner assures fair investigation in ISIS Twitter handle case

Bengaluru, Dec 19 (ANI): Police assured parents of popular pro-Islamic State Twitter account holder of fair investigation in the case. The account traced to an engineer in Bengaluru as security agencies combed through tens of thousands of followers to identify sympathisers of the militant group. Bengaluru police commissioner MN Reddi, assured of speedy probe.The police also produced the accused in the court to seek further remand. As per media reports the court sent accused to 15-day police remand. Dec 19, 2014

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid visits Rajghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): Bangladesh's President Abdul Hamid, who is in India on a six-day official tour to strengthen and expand bilateral relations between the two countries, paid homage to father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial, Rajghat, in New Delhi. He was accompanied by Indian and Bangladesh's delegates to the memorial where he paid floral tributes. Hamid is scheduled to visit places of historical and cultural importance both in and outside Delhi. This is the first visit by a ceremonial Head of State of Bangladesh since 1972. The Bangladeshi President is expected to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and other senior leaders. Mukherjee had paid a state visit to Bangladesh in March 2013. Dec 19, 2014

India mourns death of children in Peshawar school attack along with Pak

Amritsar/ Bengaluru, Dec 19 (ANI): People in ancestral village of Pakistan Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif in India mourned the death of school children who were killed in a grisly attack by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Peshawar city. At least 132 students and nine staff members were killed on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen broke into the school in Peshawar city and opened fire, in the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years. People of Jati Umra village in Punjab state prayed for peace of departed souls. Sharif also lifted a moratorium on the death penalty on Wednesday in wake of the incident. Meanwhile, people Bengaluru also paid tribute to the victims through a candlelight vigil. The Afghanistan Taliban have also condemned the attack. Dec 19, 2014