Indian priest released eight months after being abducted in Afghanistan
Indian government has secured the release of Christian priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar from Afghanistan eight months after being abducted by suspected Taliban militants on June 2, 2014 in Herat. News of his release was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter. Kumar was the Afghanistan director of Jesuit Refugee Service, an international NGO working in the field of education. He had accompanied teachers to a school supported by JRF in Sohadat village and was abducted while on his way back.

Centre reaches out to opposition ahead of Budget session
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the opposition on Sunday ahead of the crucial budget session to commence from February 23. Modi emphasised on taking collective responsibility to ensure a smooth budget session. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu drove to Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s residence to seek her co-operation. While all eyes are set on the budget, the centre will also look to pass the Land Acquisition Act among six ordinances. The Congress has already signalled its intentions to oppose the bill. The Congress chief had held a meeting with her senior party members on Saturday to discuss their approach in the session. Apart from the ordinances, the government hopes to pass 66 bills in the upcoming session.

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi  to be unveiled in London
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday announced that a statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be unveiled at the Parliament Square in London on March 14. India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to be the chief guest for the occasion. The announcement came as donations to the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust crossed the million-pound mark. Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and Infosys board member KV Kamath have contributed 100,000 pounds and 250,000 pounds respectively. “The statue in Parliament Square not only marks his huge importance in the history of both our countries, but will enrich the firm bond of friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest,” said the Prime Minister. Gandhi’s statue will stand alongside those of Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela.

Ferry accident in Bangladesh claims 48 lives
At least 41 people are confirmed dead and many are still missing when a double-decker ferry carrying about 140 people capsized after colliding with a cargo ship on the Padma River in Bangladesh on Sunday. Some 50 people managed to survive by swimming to the shore while some were rescued by other vessels. The ferry was heading from Daulatdia in Rajbari to Paturia in northwest Dhaka. The official number of people missing is unknown even as the rescue and search mission continues.

Navy submarine Sindhughosh collides with fishing trawler
Indian Navy submarine Sindhughosh collided with a fishing trawler damaging its periscope during a major naval exercise - Theatre Readiness Operational Level Exercise, off Mumbai coast on Thursday night. The exercise was to be carried out in pitch dark conditions and required the conditions to be under water with no lights or sound. With many vessels around, one of them hit the periscope. The submarine did not suffer any major damage and returned to naval dockyard in Mumbai for repairs.