US condemns religious and ethnic prosecution by ISIL in Iraq

State Department Spokesperson Jen PsakiWashington - The US has condemned in the strongest terms the systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"We are outraged by ISIL's recent announcement that Christians in Mosul must either convert, pay a tax, leave, or face execution in the coming days," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

Obama reaches out to global leaders for investigation on MH17

ObamaWashington: Hours after blaming Russia-baked Ukrainian separatists for the shooting down of a Malaysian Airline Plane that killed nearly 300 people, US President Barack Obama has called on his counterparts seeking an impartial international investigation.

In separate phone calls with Obama British Prime Minister David Cameroon; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, agreed on a prompt, full, unimpeded and transparent international investigation, the White House said in a statement.

Microsoft to scrap Android-based Nokia X, cut down 18,000 jobs

Microsoft to scrap Android-based Nokia X, cut down 18,000 jobsWashington, July 18 - Microsoft is planning to scrap off Nokia X and cut down 18,000 jobs next year.

The company is planning to replace their Android based Nokia X with a window phone, which is expected to launch next year.

Microsoft devices chief Stephen Elop said that they are planning to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices, The Verge reported.

He added that they expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.

Look in the eyes to know if its love or lust

Look in the eyes to know if its love or lustWashington, July 18 - A new study has revealed that eye movement of a person could tell the difference between their romantic love and sexual desire.

Specifically, where your date looks at you could indicate whether love or lust is in the cards. The new study found that eye patterns concentrate on a stranger's face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person's body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. That automatic judgment can occur in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns.

Facebook tests 'buy' button for online purchases in US

FacebookWashington, July 18 - Social networking website Facebook is testing a new feature that lets users 'buy' items from advertisements shown on the page.

Facebook believes that this feature will help merchants as well as users, as it would be easier for them to get products they want in a simpler way.

Instead of sending users to a merchant's website, Facebook will take care of the purchase within its network. When a user presses the ' buy' button, a third -party processor handles payments. It's currently testing the feature for 'a few' small and medium-sized US businesses, CNET reported.

Mars was warmer and wetter 3.7 bn yrs ago

Mars was warmer and wetter 3.7 bn yrs agoWashington, July 18 - Scientists have revealed that images and data captured by the rover Curiosity suggest that Mars would have been warmer and wetter some 3.7 billion years ago.

NASA rovers have shown Martian landscapes littered with loose rocks from impacts or layered by catastrophic floods, rather than the smooth contours of soils that soften landscapes on Earth. However, recent images from Curiosity from the impact Gale Crater.

Giant holes in Moon could shelter future astronauts

Giant holes in Moon could shelter future astronautsWashington, July 18 - According to the new observations from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft, there are over 200 lunar pits that could provide shelter to the future astronauts.

The pits range in size from about 5 meters across to more than 900 meters in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO's Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).

Science behind cutting 'fair pieces' of cake revealed

Science behind cutting 'fair pieces' of cake revealedWashington, July 18 - A new study has found the algorithm to divide goods such as cake and land.

Mathematician Julius Barbanel of Union College, and political scientist Steven Brams of New York University have shown a way to optimally share cake between two people efficiently, in equal pieces and in such a way that no one feels robbed.

According to the method, an objective referee is essential so that the potential cake eaters first reveal which parts of the delicacy they value most. The referee then marks out the cake at all points were the probability density functions of the disgruntled would-be cake eaters cross, and assigns portions.

Modi for ambitious India-US strategic partnership: McCain

Narendra Modi, John McCainWashington - A top American lawmaker has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to focus India-US partnership on an ambitious strategic agenda.

"It was my clear impression from meeting with the prime minister that he wants to focus our partnership on an ambitious strategic agenda," said Senator John McCain, who recently met Modi.

"That was certainly the impression we had as well in our conversation," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said in response.

A few days after McCain's meeting, Biswal accompanied Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to meet Modi in New Delhi this month.

India, US, Japan to participate in Malabar naval exercise

Lisa CurtisWashington - In an effort to strengthen the trilateral cooperation, Japan will participate in this year's Malabar naval exercise to be held at the end of this month, with India and the US.

"Japan will participate in MALABAR this year which is our largest bilateral naval exercise with India and it's scheduled to take place at the end of this month," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Amy Searight told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.

The Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said there is strong trilateral partnership between the three countries.

John Kerry calls Israeli PM to avoid further escalation

John KerryWashington: As Israeli soldiers launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid further escalation.

"The Secretary emphasised the need to avoid further escalation and to restore the 2012 ceasefire as soon as possible, reinforced our continuing commitment to the Egyptian initiative as the way to do so and underscored the importance of Hamas accepting this plan as soon as possible," State Department readout said.

Rising India is ameliorating influence on China: US

Washington: The US has said a rising India is going to be an ameliorating influence on China as there will be areas of both collaboration and competition between the two Asian giants to work on.

"A rising India is in some ways going to be an ameliorating influence on China and China's own growth and in China's own behavior in the region," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal said.

There are going to be areas between India and China of economic collaboration and competition. We want to see an India that is able to thrive and rise and want to see all the economies of Asia to grow in a sustainable way that mitigates against the areas of conflict, she said.

Boeing ready to assist probe into Malaysian airline crash

Boeing ready to assist probe into Malaysian airline crashWashington: Boeing, the maker of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft that crashed in eastern Ukraine, on Thursday said it was ready to assist authorities.

"Boeing stands ready to provide whatever assistance is requested by authorities," the Seattle-based company said in a statement on its website.

Ukrainian airspace, as well as their families and loved ones," it said amid reports that all 295 people on board the Boeing 777 plane died in the crash when the aircraft was shot down by "terrorists" in war- torn Ukraine. (PTI)

China to join military exercise with US, Australia

China to join military exercise with US, AustraliaWashington: China's military will take part in an infantry exercise for the first time with Australian and US forces in October, the Pentagon said today.

The joint exercise will take place in northern Australia and marks another step forward in efforts by Washington and Canberra to bolster relations with China's People's Liberation Army, officials said.

"This is a small-scale exercise," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporter.

The drill would involve "less than a 100 total personnel," including one or two squads of US Marines, Warren said.

Obama, Putin discuss US sanctions on Russia

Obama, Putin discuss US sanctions on RussiaWashington - US President Barack Obama on Thursday spoke over the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the latest American sanctions slapped against Moscow and also discussed the Malaysian airliner that was reportedly shot down over Ukraine.

The phone call was done at the request of Moscow, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters travelling with the president aboard Air Force One.

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