NEW DELHI - India's universal health plan that aims to offer guaranteed benefits to a sixth of the world's population will cost an estimated 1.6 trillion rupees ($26 billion) over the next four years, a senior health ministry official said.
NEW DELHI - India's economy is expected to do better in the second half of the fiscal year to March 2015, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, adding that he expected to hit his revenue target.
China's defence ministry on Thursday expressed concern over reports that India plans to build 54 new border posts along their disputed border, long a source of tension between the two giant neighbours. In September, India eased curbs on building roads and military facilities within 100 km of the contested border in Arunachal Pradesh, so as to speed construction of 6,000 km of roads. Full Article
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered bureaucrats to forgo the luxury of flying first class and start paying for their spouses' air tickets as he tries to deliver on a promise to cut the fiscal deficit to a seven-year low. Full Article
A first group of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday to help push back Islamic State militants who have defied U.S. air strikes and threatened to massacre its Kurdish defenders. Full Article | Mass grave of tribesmen found
Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook publicly came out as gay in an article he wrote in Bloomberg Businessweek. Cook has never previously acknowledged his sexual orientation. "So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," Cook said in the article. Full Article
Twenty-nine people were killed and thousands of civilians forced to flee Pakistan's northwestern region of Khyber, the military said on Thursday, as it stepped up a two-week-old offensive against Taliban militants in the area. Read | U.S. drone strike kills five militants
Director Shonali Bose is hoping her new film, "Margarita, With a Straw", will throw a spotlight on gay rights in a country where homosexuality remains taboo and little progress has been made on repealing a law banning gay sex. Full Article | Bollywood
Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's top telecommunications carrier, reported a more than doubling of quarterly profit, beating street estimates, on higher voice call prices and rapid growth in mobile data usage. Story | Results
With the debt crisis building up in Europe, the rupee could possibly go down to the level reached in 2013 due to repatriation of FII investment. That is enough for the stock market to plunge. While the ECB will use all the tools at its disposal to prevent another debt crisis, one thing is almost certain - weakening of the euro currency, which may help Europe but not India. Read
“Many antique collectors unwillingly support terrorists like Islamic State, ” Michel van Rijn, one of the most successful smugglers of antique artifacts in the past century, told German broadcaster Das Erste. And smuggling is booming in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, 4,500 archaeological sites are reportedly controlled by Islamic State. Commentary
India, poised to become the world's largest importer of thermal coal, appears to be opening up its domestic mining sector to foreign competition just as Indonesia, its biggest supplier, is making it harder for exporters. Full Article
Iraq, like Syria, was a consequence of World War One and of the infamous, in Arab eyes, agreement between Sir Mark Sykes and Francois-Georges Picot which led to the division of the former Ottoman Turkish domains by Britain and France. That agreement appears in tatters, as both countries are broken, exhausted by years of war and sectarian division. Commentary
An analysis of Ebola cases helps draw a picture of why some people survive the disease, while others don't, including their age and the pace at which the virus replicates in their body. Read | No two quarantines quite the same