Putin promises economic recovery, digs in on Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin tries to quell fears of economic collapse and vows rapid recovery from the worst financial crisis of his rule but stresses that his position on Ukraine has not shifted. Dec 18, 2014

Merkel says Russia sanctions remain 'unavoidable'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed Thursday that Europe's goal remains a free and whole Ukraine and that Western sanctions against Russia remain unavoidable until that goal is reached. Dec 18, 2014

Cuban prisoners freed in swap are heroes at home

The three Cubans released in a prisoner exchange that paved the way for a historic breakthrough in Havana's Cold War standoff with the United States are celebrated as heroes back home. Dec 18, 2014

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid arrives in New Delhi on official visit

New Delhi, Dec 18 (ANI): President of Bangladesh, Abdul Hamid, arrived in New Delhi on Thursday on a six-day official visit to India. India's President Pranab Mukherjee had invited him to visit India and also to be a guest at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Bangladeshi President is expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and other senior leaders. He was received at the airport in New Delhi by Junior Foreign Minister, General (retired) V.K. Singh. The Bangladeshi President's visit is expected to contribute to further strengthening and expanding the bilateral relations between the two countries. Hamid's visit comes in the backdrop of India making efforts to go ahead with Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh. Dec 18, 2014

Maoists attack construction site in Latehar

Latehar, Dec 18 (ANI): Maoist rebels targeted construction workers in Jharkhand early this week, leaving several injured. The attack took place in Latehar district, a stronghold of Maoist rebels. The rebels destroyed the make-shift tent and thrashed all the workers engaged in the construction of a bridge. The construction site was attacked sometime around midnight on the intervening night of Tuesday. The rebels also burnt machines at the site before leaving pamphlets behind in which they owned up for the incident. Meanwhile, six construction workers are undergoing treatment in a local hospital. Dec 18, 2014

Bail to Lakhvi will serve as reassurance to terrorists to perpetrate crimes, decision should be reve

New Delhi, Dec 18 (ANI): Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin on Thursday said that grant of bail to Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi will serve as reassurance to terrorists to perpetrate heinous crimes. He said that India cannot accept that a person designated as international terrorist is being released on bail. The MEA also called upon Pakistan to reverse the decision and said that there can be no selective approach towards terrorism. Akbaruddin also stated that 99 percent of evidence for 26/11 attack is in Pakistan and the rest 1 percent has been also handed to Pakistan by India. Dec 18, 2014

Navjot Singh Sidhu targets at Badal govt for stone pelting at his convoy in Jammu

Jammu, Dec 18 (ANI): BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday targeted the Parkash Singh Badal and his government in Punjab for the attack at his convoy in Jammu. Sidhu said that they cannot politically attack him and claimed that Punjab government is fuelling drug trade in the state. He further said that he won't bow down in front of these tactics and will continue to believe in democracy. Earlier in the day, the convoy of Sidhu was attacked with stones. Sidhu was present in the area to campaign for the BJP. Dec 18, 2014

Rajnath Singh terms bail granted to Lakhvi as 'unfortunate', hopes that Pak govt will appeal against

New Delhi, Dec 18 (ANI): Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday termed the bail granted to 2008 Mumbai attack accused and LeT commander Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi as 'very unfortunate'. Singh hoped that Pakistan government will appeal in a higher court so that the bail is cancelled. Meanwhile, India is also working with its mission in Pakistan to prepare a strong response against granting of bail to LeT commander Lakhvi. The decision comes a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to announce a 'national plan' to tackle terrorism within a week. Dec 18, 2014

After snowfall, Himachal Police asks tourists not to visit Manali

Shimla/ Bhopal/Amritsar, Dec 18 (ANI): Incessant snowfall and cold wave over the last five days have thrown normal life out of gear in Himachal Pradesh including the popular tourist resort town of Manali in the Kullu valley. Police has issued an advisory requesting the tourists not to visit Manali for the next few days as a two to three feet snow cover is there. The dip in mercury due to snowfall in the upper reaches has even impacted northern states such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Officials of meteorological department in Himachal Pradesh state have forecast similar weather conditions for the week. Meanwhile, dense fog has disrupted life in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh states. Flights and trains are running late due to low visibility. Dec 18, 2014