Kerala Tourism, UNESCO sign MoU for promoting Spice Route heritage

Kochi, Aug 02 (ANI): The tourism industry of Kerala signed an agreement with UNESCO to begin a historic cooperation between the two bodies to promote and protect the Spice Route Heritage. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Secretary of Kerala Tourism, Suman Billa, and Director and UNESCO representative to India, Shigeru Aoyagi, in the presence of the state tourism minister, AP Anil Kumar and Deputy Chairman of Kerala State Planning Board, KM Chandrasekhar. The MoU seeks to formalize a framework of cooperation in the areas of cultural heritage protection and promotion of spice tourism in the state. Aug 2, 2014

Kashmir observes shutdown against Kausar Naag pilgrimage

Srinagar, Aug 02 (ANI): Shops remained closed and vehicles were off the road in Srinagar city on Saturday, as separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani gave a call for complete shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir to protest declaration of Hindu pilgrimage to a revered temple. Security personnel were patrolling the streets to prevent any untoward incident. Geelani, chairman of the Hurriyat Conference (G), claimed that the state government’s move to declare the ecologically-fragile Kausar Naag lake for annual pilgrimage would have disastrous consequences on the environment and water resources. He said the area was a very important source of drinking water for millions of people and also irrigates millions of acres of agricultural land. Kashmir is considered as one of the best tourism destinations in the country with the hospitality of the valley well-known that adds to the popularity of the tourism sector. Aug 2, 2014

Boat owners hope for tourism boom as cleaning up of Nagin Lake begins

Srinagar, Aug 02 (ANI): State authorities in Jammu and Kashmir launched a drive to clean the picturesque Nagin Lake in a bid to attract more tourists. Tourists from different parts and ethnicities are seen enjoying Shikara boat rides and staying in house boats in the lake. Labourers were employed to undertake the cleaning drive of the lake, the beauty of which has been marred by the filth floating on the water and moss and weed growing inside it. House boat and Shikara owners hailed the step by the authorities as this would help to boost their tourism-driven businessThe initiative was taken up by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), which plans to restore the lake through a traditional cleaning process. The drive conducted annually in the lake polluted by increasing encroachments in the valley, will continue till the entire water body is cleaned up. Aug 2, 2014

The perils of the Mezcal boom

Mezcal, a lesser known Mexican spirit than Tequila, is experiencing an unprecedented rise in popularity both at home and abroad. The boom, however, is only favouring producers big enough to capitalize on the luxury export market. Duration: 02:17 Aug 2, 2014

Dutch police: MH17 probe to take 'several more weeks'

Dutch police heading up the international probe into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 said Friday that work at the crash site was likely to take 'at least several more weeks.' Duration: 00:36 Aug 2, 2014

Obama: New truce 'very hard' if no confidence in Hamas

US President Barack Obama urged Hamas Friday to show it is serious about wanting a ceasefire and called on Islamic militants to release an Israeli soldier reported captured earlier in the day. Duration: 00:50 Aug 2, 2014

Liberia spreads message to its population: 'Ebola is real'

The World Health Organization warned west Africa's Ebola-hit nations on Friday that the epidemic was spiralling out of control and could spread to other countries, causing "catastrophic" loss of life and severe economic disruption. Duration: 00:41 Aug 2, 2014

Spain PM vows to block Catalonia independence vote

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy repeated on Friday his threat to block attempts by leaders of the economically powerful Catalonia region to hold an independence referendum in November. Duration: 00:51 Aug 2, 2014

Uganda court scraps controversial new anti-gay law

Uganda_s constitutional court on Friday overturned tough new anti-gay laws that had been branded draconian by rights groups, saying they had been wrongly passed by parliament. Duration: 01:10 Aug 2, 2014

Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise free to leave Russia

Greenpeace_s ship Arctic Sunrise, held in custody by the Russian authorities since September last year, has departed the Russian city of Murmansk en route for its home port of Amsterdam. Duration: 01:04 Aug 2, 2014

Obama_s Africa summit to confront Islamist threat

US President Barack Obama hosts an unprecedented gathering of African leaders next week. Among items under discussion will be the security threat posed by Islamist groups such as Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. Duration: 02:37 Aug 1, 2014