Indian jewellery tycoon hunted over claims he cheated bank of $1.8bn

A worldwide search is under way for a billionaire Indian jeweller accused of cheating the state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) out of nearly $1.8bn. Nirav Modi, a third-generation jewellery tycoon whose clients have included Kate Winslet and Priyanka Chopra, is alleged to have colluded with bank employees to obtain huge unsecured loans over a seven-year period, according to a complaint filed by PNB. The borrowed funds, amounting to nearly one-third of PNB’s market value, caused shares in the bank to plunge this week. Some of the loans were used to…

Kosovo at 10: challenges overshadow independence celebrations

The bunting is going up on Pristina’s Mother Teresa Boulevard, stages are assembled for concerts starring the Kosovo-born British singer Rita Ora, and international dignitaries are starting to arrive. On Saturday the small Balkan state marks the 10th anniversary of its declaration of independence, and the air of pride and enthusiasm is palpable. “Independence was the best thing, the best thing, to happen to Kosovo,” says Granit Miftari, a 27-year-old singer in aviator sunglasses as he passes a stage. “This is one of the best holidays that we can have.” 51st state:…

State of emergency declared in Ethiopia amid political unrest

Ethiopia has announced a state of emergency after prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday announced his intention to step down amid a political crisis in the country. The ruling EPRDF coalition’s council met on Friday and decided to impose emergency rule for an unspecified period, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said. The council “came to the conclusion that imposing emergency rule would be vital to safeguarding the constitutional order of our country”. Further details are expected to be given by the defence minister on Saturday morning. An opposition leader said earlier on…

South Africa: Ramaphosa invokes Mandela in first major speech

Cyril Ramaphosa invoked the memory and message of Nelson Mandela as he pledged to restore economic growth, fight corruption and tackle entrenched inequality in South Africa in the first major speech of his presidency on Friday. “Guided by [Mandela’s] example, we will use this year to reinforce our commitment to ethical behaviour as well as ethical leadership. We are not merely honouring the past but building the future … South Africa belongs to all who live in it,” Ramaphosa, 65, said. “It is a new dawn that is inspired by our collective memory…

Pop star Denise Ho denied Malaysia permit ‘over LGBT views’

Hong Kong pop star Denise Ho says she has been denied a performance permit in Malaysia over her views on gay rights. Ho, who is openly gay and outspoken on LGBT issues, had been scheduled to perform in Kuala Lumpur in April. A Malaysian government minister did not confirm why her permit was declined, but told journalists that performances had to comply with “local values”. Homosexual activity is illegal in Malaysia under both secular and religious laws. About 23% of Malaysia’s population are ethnic Chinese, and Cantonese pop culture and…

US wasting billions on nuclear bombs that serve no purpose and are security liability – experts

The US is to spend billions of dollars upgrading 150 nuclear bombs positioned in Europe, although the weapons may be useless as a deterrent and a potentially catastrophic security liability, according to a new report by arms experts. US’s new nuclear policy ‘a blueprint for war’, Nobel peace laureate says A third of the B61 bombs in Europe under joint US and Nato control are thought to be kept at Incirlik base in Turkey, 70 miles from the Syrian border, which has been the subject of serious concerns. The threat to the base…

Grieving Florida community pleads for end to gun carnage after mass shooting

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that claimed 17 lives has provoked an eruption of impassioned calls for action against gun violence from young survivors, community leaders and law enforcement, as the suspect was reported to have confessed to carrying out one of the worst massacres in modern American history. Nikolas Cruz, 19, told interrogating officers of the Broward County sheriff’s office that he “began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds”, according to an official report obtained by the Associated Press. The teenager went on…

Lelaki Britain akui cyborg pertama dunia

DUBAI 15 Feb. – Seorang lelaki kelahiran Britain yang mempu­nyai antena tertanam dalam tengkoraknya mengisytihar dirinya se­bagai organisma sibernatik (cyborg) pertama di dunia. NEIL HARBISSON Neil Harbisson mendakwa gam­­bar pasport Britain miliknya menampakkan antena di kepalanya itu yang bermaksud kerajaan Bri­tain menerima bahawa peranti itu adalah sebahagian daripada dirinya, sekali gus mengiktirafnya sebagai cyborg. Menurut portal berita Mail Online, Harbisson membuat kenya­taan demikian kepada wartawan pada Sidang Kemuncak Kerajaan Sedunia di Dubai, Emiriyah Arab Bersatu (UAE) kelmarin. Lelaki berkenaan mempunyai antena yang ditanam di kepala­nya pada 2004 bagi membantunya melihat…

Winter Olympics 2018: South Korea to pay for North’s delegation

South Korea has approved a plan to pay the cost of hosting North Korea’s delegation to the Winter Olympics. The 2.86bn Korean won ($2.64m, £1.9m) will come from the South’s unification ministry budget. A group of more than 400 North Korean supporters and performers have travelled to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Games. Their visit was controversial with some South Koreans who questioned the North’s commitment to reconciliation. North Korea’s attendance at the Winter Olympics came as a surprise development after a year of increasing tensions between Pyongyang and the…

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma resigns

South Africa’s embattled President Jacob Zuma has resigned from his office with immediate effect. He made the announcement in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening. Earlier, Mr Zuma’s governing ANC party told him to step down or face a vote of no confidence in parliament. The 75-year-old has been under increasing pressure to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s new leader. Mr Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption. Earlier on Wednesday, police swooped on the Johannesburg home…