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Inater national news

Kabul: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday arrived here on a visit during which he is expected to hold talks with Afghan leadership, including President Ashraf Ghani, and inaugurate the Parliament building which has been constructed by India at a cost of USD 90 million.

Modi who flew in the wee hours from Moscow, where he had annual summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was received by Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and deputy Foreign minister Hekmat Karzai.

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Beijing: Syria is ready to participate in peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending its brutal civil war, the country's foreign minister said Thursday during an official visit to China.

"Syria is ready to participate in the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva without any foreign interference," Walid Muallem said during a press briefing following his meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

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Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin presented visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a page from the diary of Mahatma Gandhi and an 18th century Indian sword.

Putin presented the items to Modi while hosting the latter for a private dinner on Wednesday evening.

“President Putin presented to the Prime Minister a page from the diary of Mahatma Gandhi. The page contains Gandhiji's handwritten notes,” the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

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Riyadh: At least 25 people were killed and more than 100 injured on Thursday in a fire at a hospital in Saudi Arabia's Jizan city, authorities said.

The Saudi civil defence directorate said the fire started on the first floor of the hospital at about 2.30 a.m. (local time), Al Jazeera reported.

The intensive care unit and maternity ward are both on the first floor.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

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Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin after arriving here on Wednesday evening on a two-day visit during which the two leaders will participate in the 16th India-Russia annual summit.

Putin hosted Modi for a private dinner ahead of Thursday's hectic schedule of engagements between the two countries.

"Building Druzhba-Dosti over dinner. President Putin @KremlinRussia_E hosts a private tete-a-tete for PM @narendramodi," external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

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Seoul: South Korean health authorities declared an official end to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, more than seven months after the first patient was found on May 20.

The health and finance ministry said on Wednesday that the MERS will end "at midnight tonight" in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s standards, Xinhua reported.

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Islamabad: Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said on Monday that only an announcement of a 34-state alliance, including Pakistan, was made by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is awaiting further details to reach a decision in this regard.

Aziz said Pakistan wants a political solution to the Yemen crisis, adding that the present government has been strictly following the policy of non-interference in other countries, The News International reported. 

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Beijing: Chinese lawmakers consider amending the family planning law to allow couples to have two children amid efforts to counter shrinkage of the work force and an ageing population.

"The State advocates that one couple can give birth to two children," Xinhua cited a draft amendment submitted for review at the bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee which opened on Monday.

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Former Miss Universe Paulina Vega, center, reacts before taking away the crown from Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez, left, before giving it to Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach at the Miss Universe pageant on Sunday. 

Las Vegas: Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines was announced as the Miss Universe 2015, after the ceremony's host Steve Harvey admitted to making a big mistake by mixing up the names of the winners.

There were as many as 80 contestants vying for the coveted Miss Universe title here on Sunday.

After beating others in rounds like national costume, swimsuit and evening wear, beauties from the Philippines, Colombia and the US made it to the top three.

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Madrid: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will form a new government as his People's Party (PP) emerged the biggest political force in the general electiosn, though it lost absolute majority in Congress.

The PP on Sunday lost 3.7 million votes and 63 seats in Congress compared with the 2011 elections. Its 123 seats falls well short of the 176 needed for a majority, Xinhua reported.

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