International

Inater national news

Washington: In the wake of the worst diplomatic spat with India over the arrest of an Indian diplomat for allegedly underpaying her nanny, the White House has come out with a strategic action plan for human trafficking "victims".

The plan does not name Devyani Khobragade, India's then consul general in New York, but it does address issues relating to domestic workers brought to the US by foreign diplomats and officials working for international organisations.

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Photo: Reuters

New York: India and the US turned to the gods to ease tensions after their month long diplomatic spat when the US returned three recovered, 'most wanted' stolen antiquities valued at over $1.5 million to India.

The objects, including a 350-pound sandstone sculpture stolen from an Indian temple in 2009 and listed as one of INTERPOL's top 10 most wanted stolen works of art, were returned at an event Tuesday at the Indian consulate to consul general Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay.

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London: British Prime Minister David Cameron has directed his Cabinet Secretary to establish the facts behind claims that Margaret Thatcher's government may have helped Indira Gandhi plan Operation Bluestar in 1984.

Labour MP Tom Watson and Lord Indarjit Singh had demanded an explanation after recently declassified documents indicated that Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) officials had been dispatched to help India on the planning on the raid of the Golden Temple to flush out militants from the shrine, an operation left more than 1,000 people dead.

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Bangkok: The Thai government is able to control the present situation and a string of measures would be rolled out to ensure tourist safety and normal flight operations, Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Tuesday.

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Brussels: The European Union has lauded India's victory over polio but warned that polio could return in areas of conflict.

No polio case has been reported in India for three years.

"While we applaud the progress in India, we also see that where conflict rages and health systems are destroyed, we see the return of polio. Syria is the most striking example," an EU statement said.

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Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh.

Islamabad: Pakistan has said Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh's statement on ceasefire violations was provocative and regrettable.

In a clear warning to Pakistan, General Bikram Singh said on Monday any militant who crosses the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir would be fired at.

Pakistan's Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) said in a press release later that it is contrary to the facts on ground.

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Washington: US President Barack Obama defended his Afghanistan policy, saying he continues to have "faith" in the US mission in the country.

"What's important is we got the policy right, but this is hard and it always has been," Obama told reporters Monday at the White House, rejecting criticism from former Pentagon chief Robert Gates.

Gates, who was defence secretary from 2006 to 2011, questioned in a new memoir whether Obama supported his own policy in Afghanistan, Xinhua reported.

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Damascus: The Syrian army said Monday that its soldiers recaptured five towns east of Aleppo and thus enhanced the security around the northern city's international airport, Xinhua reported citing state-run SANA news agency.

The Syrian army recaptured al-Nakkarin, al-Zarzour, al-Taaneh, al-Subeihieh and Height 53 in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, eliminated a large number of "terrorists" and seized their weapons and ammunition, an army statement said.

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Cairo: Egypt's prosecution Monday referred 1,211 Islamists to criminal court, accusing them of damaging two police stations in Minya governorate south of the capital Cairo, official Al-Ahram news website reported.

The defendants are mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood group, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails. The group has recently been branded a "terrorist organisation" by the interim government, Xinhua reported.

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Washington: In damage control mode, the US has sought to distance itself from anti-India comments attributed to a US diplomat expelled from New Delhi in retaliation of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's expulsion.

"Those comments absolutely do not reflect US Government policy, nor were they made on any official US Government social media account," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters Monday in response to a question.

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