Sunday, January 21, 2018
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At least 5 dead after gunmen storm Kabul luxury hotelSmoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel during an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on January 21, 2018. Reuters

At least 5 dead after gunmen storm Kabul luxury hotel

21 Jan 2018 | 10:26 AM

KABUL: Gunmen killed at least five persons and injured eight others in an attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, an official said on Sunday, as the eleven hours-long siege continued. “Five are dead,” an official with the Afghan spy agency told AFP, adding 100 hostages have been released.

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Kabul, January 20

Gunmen killed at least five persons and injured eight others in an attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, an official said on Sunday, as the eleven hours-long siege continued.

“Five are dead,” an official with the Afghan spy agency told AFP, adding 100 hostages have been released.

Afghan security forces were still trying to clear the landmark hilltop hotel with at least one attacker on the loose, a security source said.

Dramatic images broadcast on Afghanistan’s Tolo News showed thick black smoke and flames billowing from the top floor of the hotel.

At least one person could be seen climbing over a top- floor balcony using bedsheets to escape, before loosing his grip and plunging to the ground.

Four gunmen burst into the hotel on Saturday night, opening fire on guests and staff and taking dozens of people hostage, including foreigners.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest assault in the war-torn Afghan capital that followed a series of security warnings in recent days to avoid hotels and other locations frequented by foreigners.

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Earlier, hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unhurt, said the attackers had got into the main part of the hotel through a kitchen and people tried to get out amid bursts of gunfire.

Officials said there were as many as four attackers and at least two of them had been killed as Afghan Special Forces cleared the first floor and moved up the building, battling the raiders, who appeared to have a large supply of hand grenades.

Hours after the attack began, firing appeared to ease as security forces settled in, waiting for dawn.

According to one witness, who did not want to be named, the attackers took some hotel staff and guests hostage. He said some foreigners were among the hotel guests but it was not clear what their nationality was.

The Intercontinental Hotel, located on a hilltop and heavily protected like most public buildings in Kabul, was previously attacked by Taliban fighters in 2011.

It is one of two main luxury hotels in the city and had been due to host an information technology conference on Sunday. More than 100 IT managers and engineers were on site when the attack took place, Ahmad Waheed, an official at the telecommunications ministry, said.

US warning

The attack came days after a United Nations Security Council visit to Kabul to allow senior representatives of member states to assess the situation in Afghanistan.

Many details of the incident were still unclear, but Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said a private company had taken over security about three weeks ago.

The U.S. embassy in Kabul had issued a warning to US citizens on Thursday, saying, “We are aware of reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul.”

The State Department said it was monitoring the situation and was in contact with Afghan authorities to determine whether any US citizens had been affected.

Captain Tom Gresback, spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, said they were also watching closely but it was not clear whether international forces took part in suppressing the attack.

“Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are leading the response efforts. According to initial reports, no Resolute Support or (US forces) members were injured in this incident,” he said in an emailed statement.

Although the NATO-led Resolute Support mission says the Taliban has come under pressure after the United States increased assistance to Afghan security forces and stepped up air strikes against insurgents, security remains precarious.

As pressure on the battlefield has increased, security officials have warned that the danger of attacks on high-profile targets in Kabul and other cities would increase.

After repeated attacks in Kabul, notably an incident last May in which a truck bomber killed at least 150 people outside the German embassy, security has been further tightened.

While it shares the same name, the hotel in Kabul is not part of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which issued a statement in 2011 saying that “the hotel Inter-continental in Kabul is not part of IHG and has not been since 1980”. Reuters

No let-up, soldier among 4 killed

No let-up, soldier among 4 killed

21 Jan 2018 | 2:18 AM

JAMMU/RAJOURI:Four persons, including a soldier, were killed on Saturday as Pakistan continued shelling border posts and civilian areas along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu region.

‘Trapped in danger zone, ran for our lives’

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21 Jan 2018 | 1:46 AM

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Yamunanagar school principal shot dead by Class XII boy

Yamunanagar school principal shot dead by Class XII boy

21 Jan 2018 | 1:46 AM

YAMUNANAGAR:A Class XII student of the local Swami Vivekanand Public School shot dead his school principal Ritu Chhabra while she was in her office this morning and tried to flee.

17 die in Delhi factory fire

17 die in Delhi factory fire

21 Jan 2018 | 1:36 AM

NEW DELHI: Seventeen persons, including 10 women, died and two others were injured after a fire ripped through a two-storeyed factory in outer Delhi’s Bawana industrial area this evening, a Delhi Fire Service official said.

Bench headed by CJI to hear Judge Loya case

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21 Jan 2018 | 1:33 AM

NEW DELHI:Petitions seeking an independent probe into the mysterious death of Judge BH Loya—who was presiding over Shohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case—will now be heard by a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Monday.

112 ‘First Ladies’ break into male bastion, feted

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21 Jan 2018 | 1:33 AM

NEW DELHI:In a rare convergence of talents, 112 women from across the country today assembled in the capital to share their unique journeys towards breaking into male bastions.

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Farm suicides: Bill proposes aid for kin

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21 Jan 2018 | 9:38 AM

NEW DELHI: The government shall provide financial assistance to the widows and families of farmers who committed suicide to enable them to earn sustainable livelihood, according to a private member Bill introduced by NCP MP Supriya Sule.

Bombs found near Mahabodhi Temple amid Dalai Lama visit

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21 Jan 2018 | 1:20 AM

PATNA:Two crude bombs were found near the Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya district, where Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is camping, prompting authorities to heighten security.

CITY FOCUS

City jeweller booked for abetting driver’s suicide

City jeweller booked for abetting driver’s suicide

21 Jan 2018 | 2:07 AM

ZIRAKPUR: A day after 50-year-old Avinash Yadav committed suicide by jumping before a train at Gazipur village here, the Government Railway Police (GRP), Lalru, today registered a case of abetment of suicide against his employer Ajit Jain, a Chandigarh jeweller, at whose place robbers had struck on January 9.

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21 Jan 2018 | 2:00 AM

CHANDIGARH: The stage is set to elect mayors of three municipal corporations — Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala. With MLAs and ministers vying with each other to get their “loyalists” as leaders the local bodies, the elections are likely to expose the ruling party as a divided house.

CM: Can’t afford to waive more debt

21 Jan 2018 | 1:53 AM

CHANDIGARH: Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has appealed to the farmers to shun the path of agitation, saying his government could not afford to waive any more debt at the present juncture, but was committed to alleviating their woes at the earliest.

No

Adesh varsity V-C penalised for giving false information

21 Jan 2018 | 1:53 AM

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Medical Council (PMC) has cancelled the registration of the Vice-Chancellor of Adesh University, Bathinda, for furnishing false information.

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Rapist to be hanged if victim 12 or below, promises CM

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21 Jan 2018 | 1:14 AM

KARNAL: Following the recent spurt in cases of rape in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar took a tough stand on crime against women today, announcing that a law would be enacted to hang those convicted of raping girls aged 12 years and below.

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Uproar in House over civilian killings

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21 Jan 2018 | 1:01 AM

JAMMU: The heat of heightened tension on the border between India and Pakistan today reached the J&K Assembly when the Opposition staged a walkout from the House to protest government’s “failure” to protect the lives of border dwellers in the ceasefire violations.

Doon-Pantnagar flight from Feb

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DEHRADUN:The Centre’s Udan scheme will finally become a reality in Uttarakhand with Air Deccan starting services in February between Dehradun and Pantnagar with an 18 seater aircraft.

US govt shuts down after Senate rejects funding bill

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21 Jan 2018 | 12:59 AM

WASHINGTON: The US government officially shutdown today for the first time in five years after the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running, marking a chaotic end to Donald Trump’s first year as President.

Indian-origin steel tycoon to bid for French assets

20 Jan 2018 | 1:47 PM

LONDON: UK-based Indian-origin steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House Group is set to make an “unconditional and comprehensive offer” for the assets of two flagship French steel businesses.

NoSimona Halep celebrates after beating Lauren Davis 4-6 6-4 15-13 in Round 3 of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday. AFP

Back from the dead

21 Jan 2018 | 1:33 AM

MELBOURNE: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic kept up their relentless march towards a semifinal meeting at the Australian Open today as Maria Sharapova suffered a crushing defeat by Angelique Kerber.

Strikers Mandeep, Dilpreet take India past Kiwis

21 Jan 2018 | 1:33 AM

TAURANGA (NEW ZEALAND): A structured defence and clinical attack saw India beat hosts New Zealand 3-1 in the final round robin match of the four-nation invitational hockey tournament here today. India will play the final tomorrow against Belgium, who beat Japan 4-1.

Ronak is NRAI observer, Mansher, Suma in line for India coaching jobs

21 Jan 2018 | 1:33 AM

NEW DELHI: Suma Shirur and Mansher Singh, two of the most recognisable faces on the Indian shooting ranges, are in line to take up coaching roles with the Indian team.

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