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Digest of foreign news for week Jan 17- Jan 23, 2015

Colombo: On the eve of its Foreign Minister’s visit to India, Sri Lanka today said good relations with India were a priority and it hopes to take bilateral ties forward.

Beijing: Twenty two people, including an Indian, who went missing after a tugboat capsized on Yangtze River in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province were declared dead today after the sunken vessel was lifted out of the waters.

Washington: Multiple gunshots were fired from a moving vehicle outside the Delaware residence of US Vice President Joe Biden, the Secret Service said as it launched an investigation into the incident.

Washington: Ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to India, the US is rushing through to meet his commitment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on counter-terrorism, including targeting underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and dismantling LeT, JeM, al-Qaeda and the Haqqanis networks.

Dhaka: The 17-day house arrest of Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia was today lifted unexpectedly by authorities, but the defiant former premier vowed to continue nationwide blockade and demanded an inclusive poll, dashing hopes of finding a solution to the deadly political violence.

Geneva: The probability of Indians dying pre-maturely from non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes has marginally increased, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today, asking, “India has reached the space age but what about its people.”

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged to implement India-backed constitutional amendment to give more autonomy to provinces to achieve reconciliation with the minority Tamil community.

London: The EU decided to lift a seven-month-long ban on the import of mangoes from India after the world’s biggest producer made significant improvements in plant health controls and certification system, clearing the way for them to return to the 28-member bloc by March.

Washington: US President Barack Obama vowed to relentlessly hunt down terrorists from Pakistan to the streets of Paris and called on Congress to approve new war powers against Islamic State militants and not rush into fresh sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

Davos: India said it has independent evidence of Indians having black money in Swiss accounts and Switzerland has promised expeditious sharing of information in this regard.

Davos: Wooing global investors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hinted at rationalising subsidies on kerosene and cooking gas, rebuilding credibility of taxation structure and calling a joint session of Parliament to get the insurance bill passed if it is not cleared in the coming session.

Islamabad: Facing intense international pressure, Pakistan has banned Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the dreaded Haqqani Network along with other terror outfits and slapped foreign travel restrictions on the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind.

Washington: A number of terror groups are functioning with impunity in parts of Pakistan, the White House said, as it stated that the US values counter-terrorism co-operation with India.

Riyadh: Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died and his half-brother Salman swiftly took over reigns of the world’s top oil exporting nation in a smooth transition of power and appealed for “solidarity and cohesion” in the Muslim world amid rise of ISIS and regional turmoil.

Davos: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hinted at not raising tax rates and providing incentives for manufacturing in the coming Budget while asserting that “structural changes” will have to be made to get the economy to 8 to 9 per cent growth.

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