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Digest of international news for week Jan 31 – Feb 6, 2015

Beijing: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived here on a four-day visit to China during which she would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and hold talks with her Chinesecounterpart on wide-ranging bilateral and multilateral issues besides attending the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral.

Rome: Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge from Sicily who is seen as a symbol of Italy’s battle against organised crime, was elected Italy’s new president.

Beijing: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on an “outcome-driven” maiden visit to China before May 26, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says as she held talks with her Chinese counterpart on key issues and emphasised that maintenance of peace and tranquillity at the border was a pre-requisite for the development of ties.

Beijing: India and China exchange notes on modalities for opening the second route for the Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra in Tibet via Sikkim by June, that will allow more Indians to undertake the pilgrimage.

Tokyo: The Islamic State group claims in a video that it has beheaded a second Japanese hostage, drawing international condemnation and outrage from a visibly upset Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who denounced it as a “heinous and despicable” act.

Beijing: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calls on Chinese President Xi Jinping, who expresses full confidence in Sino-India relations, hoping that “new progress” would be made in the ties in the new year.

Islamabad: Pakistan successfully test-fires a new indigenously developed cruise missile capable of delivering nuclear and conventional warheads up to 350 km, bringing many Indian cities under its range.

Washington: President Barack Obama assures China not to feel threatened by good relations between the US and India, as he cautioned the Communist giant against “bullying” small countries like Vietnam or the Philippines on maritime issues.

Beijing: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj leaves for home after concluding a four-day visit to China during which she met President Xi Jinping and held talks with her counterpart to make preparations for the Prime Minister’s visit to the country expected to take place in May.

Dhaka: At least seven passengers, including two women, are charred to death when suspected opposition activists hurl petrol bombs on a packed bus in eastern Bangladesh, the worst attack during the current spate of political unrest that has claimed 54 lives in the country.

Taipei: Rescuers use a crane to hoist the fuselage of a wrecked TransAsia Airways plane from a shallow river in Taiwan’s capital as they searched into the night for 17 people missing in a crash that killed at least 26 others.

Islamabad: Pakistan accuses India of trying to change the demographic mix of Kashmir by settling non-Kashmiris in the Valley.

Washington: The US refutes allegations that President Barack Obama’s speech at the Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi, where he delivered a powerful message against religious extremism in India, was a “parting shot” aimed at the ruling BJP.

Amman: Dozens of Jordanian fighter jets bomb Islamic State targets including training centers and weapons storage sites, the military said, pledging to keep up the attacks until the militants are defeated.
Washington: US President Barack Obama hails “good friend” Dalai Lama during their first public encounter, calling the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as an “inspiration for freedom and dignity” in a move that is bound enrage China.

New York: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to break his “deafening silence” on religious intolerance, The New York Times says in an editorial today.
Washington: Less than 10 days after his historic second trip to India, President Barack Obama, in his new national security policy, tells Congress that the US is “primed to unlock” the potential of relations with India.

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