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Indonesia: Three attackers shot dead in Riau police headquarters

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Jakarta, May 16:  Indonesian police shot dead three men on Wednesday after one attacked them with a samurai sword, wounding two officers, at Riau police headquarters in Sumatra, Reuters reported citing an internal police report.

This was the second attack on a police premise in the country since Monday.

The militants had arrived in a white minivan at the headquarters in Pekanbaru at 9 a.m. They sprayed a hail of bullets and used swords to stab police personnel, Xinhua news agency reported.

While the police managed to shoot four of the attackers, the remaining five escaped, said the police chief of Riau. A search is on to nab the rest.

The attack comes days after over two dozen people were killed in a series of terrorist strikes in Indonesia, including suicide bombings by a family of six in three churches on Sunday in the islands second largest city, Surabaya.

It is said to be the deadliest since the 2002 Bali attack. A suicide bombing was also reported at the city’s police headquarters on Monday when bike borne attackers blew themselves up at the check point to the precinct.

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2 Americans, 1 Afghan injured in Kandahar shooting

The US added 3,000 soldiers in 2017 to the already existing 8,000 strong contingent under NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

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Kabul, Oct 18 : At least two Americans and an Afghan were injured in a shooting at the Governor’s complex in the country’s Kandahar province on Thursday, but the commander of Nato’s Resolute Support Mission, Austin ‘Scott’ Miller, escaped unhurt.

NATO mission spokesperson Knut Peters said that there was an incident at the Kandahar palace and initial reports indicated an Afghan on Afghan situation, Efe news reported.

Peters said two Americans were wounded in the crossfire while Miller, who was coming out of a meeting with the authorities in the building, escaped uninjured.

An official said that the provincial governor’s spokesperson Aziz Ahmad Azizi was wounded in the incident.

The US added 3,000 soldiers in 2017 to the already existing 8,000 strong contingent under NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Since the end of NATO’s combat mission in January 2015, the government in Kabul has been losing territory to the insurgents and the Special Inspector-General for Afghanistan Reconstruction of the US Congress said that the Afghan government now controls only 56 per cent of its territory.

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There’s no God: Stephen Hawking in his last book

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New Delhi, Oct 18: In “Brief Answers To The Big Questions”, the last book published in renowned physicist Stephen Hawkings name, he has reached the conclusion that there is no God.

“There is no God. No one directs the universe,” he writes in “Brief Answers to the Big Questions, a copy of which is with IANS.

“For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God,” he adds. “I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature,” Hawking writes.

The book was released in the West on Tuesday and arrived at Indian bookstores on Wednesday.

It has been completed by Hawking’s family after his death, and features answers to several pertinent questions that were put to the physicist during his illustrious life.

Among Hawking’s other important assertions and findings, sequences concerning extraterrestrial life and artificial intelligence will interest readers.

Hawking has concluded that there is alien life in existence and has anticipated that artificial intelligence, for all that it is worth, may outsmart humans.

“There are forms of intelligent life out there,” he writes. “We need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further.”

He has also asserted that time travel cannot be ruled out.

“Travel back in time can’t be ruled out according to our present understanding,” he says, predicting that “within the next hundred years we will be able to travel to anywhere in the Solar System.”

For most of his adult life, Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is a neurodegenerative disorder, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The scientist died while still working on the book, which his family and colleagues finished with the help of his vast personal archives.

His many publications included “The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime” with G F R Ellis, “General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey”, with W Israel, and “300 Years of Gravitation”, with W Israel.

Among the popular books Stephen Hawking published are his best seller “A Brief History of Time”, “Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays”, “The Universe in a Nutshell”, “The Grand Design” and “My Brief History”.

IANS

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Sri Lankan President calls Modi, rejects assassination reports

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New Delhi, Oct 17 Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday rejected media reports alleging an Indian hand in a plot to assassinate him and a former Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka during a telephone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena called Prime Minister Modi today,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.

“The President of Sri Lanka stated that he categorically rejected the reports in sections of media about him alluding to the involvement of India in any manner whatsoever in an alleged plot to assassinate the President and a former Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka,” the statement said.

“He mentioned that the mischievous and malafide reports were utterly baseless and false, and seemed intended to create misunderstanding between the two leaders as well as damage the cordial relations between the two friendly neighbours,” it stated.

According to the statement, Sirisena apprised Modi of the “urgent steps taken by him personally and the Sri Lankan government to publicly reject these reports.

“The President also stated that he regards the Prime Minister as a true friend of Sri Lanka, as also a close personal friend,” the statement said.

“He stressed that he greatly valued the mutually beneficial ties between India and Sri Lanka, and remained steadfast to work with the Prime Minister for further strengthening them.”

According to the PMO statement, Modi appreciated the prompt steps taken by Sirisena and the Sri Lankan government to firmly refute the malicious reports by publicly clarifying the matters.

“He (Modi) also reiterated India’s emphasis on ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and the priority the government of India and he personally attach to developing even stronger all-round cooperation between the two countries,” it stated.

This development comes ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India starting on Thursday.

Modi and Wickremesinghe are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting here on Saturday.

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