India

13 dead after falling into well in Kushinagar

Police said the victims - all women and children - were sitting on a metal slab covering the well when it collapsed under their weight.

Two more people have been injured in the accident, which took place in Kushinagar district.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the deaths "heart-wrenching".

The tragedy took place on Wednesday evening during the traditional "haldi" ceremony, in which relatives apply turmeric paste to the faces of the bride and groom as a marker of prosperity.

India bids farewell to beloved singer

Mangeshkar, whose voice was the soundtrack to hundreds of Bollywood films, died aged 92 on Sunday.

PM Narendra Modi and stars of the entertainment industry attended the funeral, where large crowds gathered to pay their respects.

Her extraordinary career spanned more than half a century and she recorded thousands of songs in 36 languages.

Two days of national mourning will follow the funeral and the national flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the country.

Plea to send lonely African elephant home from India

. Now, a plea in the city's high court seeks to send him back home.

The petition - filed by 16-year-old Nikita Dhawan, founder of the non-profit Youth For Animals - alleges that Shankar has been living in isolation for years. It demands that he be removed from the zoo and rehabilitated in a wildlife sanctuary that houses other African elephants.

It also accuses zoo authorities of mistreating the animal - the BBC contacted officials but they declined to comment.

Zee-Sony merger will create an Indian entertainment giant

The merged entity will include more than 75 television channels, film assets and two streaming platforms.

It is poised to become a major player in the country's fast-growing entertainment industry, challenging rivals such as Walt Disney's Hotstar.

India has more than 900 million TV viewers and some 800 channels.

These channels offer a variety of shows ranging from sports, melodramas to reality television.

Man beaten to death for 'sacrilege' attempt at Sikh Golden Temple in India

The incident took place during a prayer service at the city's Golden Temple on Saturday, according to local media.

The man allegedly barged into the inner sanctum, where Sikhism's holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, is kept.

He then grabbed a ceremonial sword placed next to the book, but was overpowered by guards and worshippers.

Sikhs regard the Guru Granth Sahib as not just the holy scripture of their religion but also as the living Guru, and believe it should be treated with respect as a human might be.

India reports first cases of new Covid variant

The men, who are 66 years and 46 years old, are currently under observation, a government spokesperson said.

These are the first cases of the new Omicron variant to be reported in India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Omicron poses a "high infection risk".

Officials said all primary contacts and secondary contacts of the two men have been traced and are being tested as well.

WHO approves India Covid vaccine for emergency use

The vaccine was approved in India in January while the third phase of clinical trials was still under way, sparking some concern and criticism.

Bharat Biotech, which makes the vaccine, has since published data suggesting 78 percent efficacy.

The WHO said in a tweet it believed the benefits far outweighed the risks.

Some experts had pointed to a fast-track approval and incomplete data, but the firm's chairman, Dr Krishna Ella, said the vaccine was "200% safe".

T20 World Cup: India's hopes damaged as New Zealand inflict second defeat

After a 10-wicket thrashing against rivals Pakistan in their opening game, Virat Kohli's side were woefully abject again - New Zealand chasing 111 with 33 balls to spare in Dubai.

India drones deliver Covid jabs to remote areas

Dr Samiran Panda said drones are being used to deliver doses in mountainous states in the country's north-east.

India aims to vaccinate all eligible citizens by the end of 2021 but experts say the drive needs to pick up a consistent pace to meet the target.

India has so far given more than 925 million doses of three approved jabs.

About 70% of the country's eligible population have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, according to official data.

US and allies promise one billion jabs for South East Asia

The joint commitment was made following the first leaders' meeting of the so-called Quad - a group formed in 2007.

The vaccines - expected to be the single-dose Johnson & Johnson product - are set to be manufactured in India.

The US said the "massive joint commitment" would initially focus on delivering doses to South East Asia.