India

'Double mutant' Covid variant found in India

Officials are checking if the variant, where two mutations come together in the same virus, may be more infectious or less affected by vaccines.

Some 10,787 samples from 18 Indian states also showed up 771 cases of known variants - 736 of the UK, 34 of the South African and one Brazilian.

Officials say the variants are not linked to a spike in cases in India.

India reported 47,262 cases and 275 deaths on Wednesday - the sharpest daily rise this year.

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.

Man killed by his own bird in cockfight in India

The bird's owner was impaled in the groin by the knife as the animal tried to escape. The man died on the way to hospital from a loss of blood.

Police are now searching for 15 more people involved in the event, which took place in the village of Lothunur in Telangana state earlier this week.

The animal was held at a police station before being transferred to a farm.

Dozens dead as bus plunges into canal in India

Some 60 people were on board when the packed bus veered off a bridge and fell into the canal on Tuesday in Sidhi district.

Officials say that seven passengers, including the driver, managed to swim to the shore. Rescue teams are looking for the remaining passengers.

The state government has ordered an inquiry into the accident.

Eyewitnesses say that the driver lost control and the bus hit the boundary of the bridge before falling into the Sharda canal.

Dozens missing after India dam collapses

The floodwaters burst open a dam and a deluge of water poured through a valley in the state of Uttarakhand.

Villages have been evacuated, but officials warned more than 125 people may have been caught in the torrent.

Video showed the floodwater barrelling through the area, leaving destruction in its wake.

One witness said a wall of water and rock sped down the Dhauli Ganga river so quickly there was no time to sound the alarm.

India state Gujarat renames dragon fruit 'lotus'

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the fruit would now be called kamalam, Sanskrit for the lotus flower.

The lotus is sacred to Hindus and is India's national flower.

Relations have nosedived in recent months between India and China, whose troops are locked in a tense stand-off along their long Himalayan frontier.

Fire at India hospital ward kills 10 babies

Seven infants were rescued from the blaze before firefighters arrived at the Bhandara District Hospital in the western state of Maharashtra.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the incident as a "heart-wrenching tragedy".

The cause of the fire is not yet known and an investigation is under way.

State health minister Rajesh Tope said initial evidence suggested it might have been caused by a short circuit.

The fire started at about 02:00 local time (20:30 GMT Friday), according to hospital officials.

Four men in India charged over gang rape and death of woman

The woman was admitted to hospital in Delhi after an attack in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in September.

She later died of her injuries.

The handling of the investigation was widely criticised, with allegations that local police had deliberately mismanaged the case.

The case was later transferred to India's Central Bureau of Investigation.

The four suspects, who all belonged to a higher caste, allegedly attacked and raped the victim in a field in Hathras district. She died two weeks later.

Indians asked to eat more sugar to tackle oversupply

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said it wants to bust myths about sugar and its health effects.

On average, Indians eat around 19kg a year, which is well below the global average.

Still, the country is the world’s biggest consumer of the sweetener overall.

India’s production is expected to rise by 13% this year to 31m tonnes but the government has indicated that it might stop export subsidies aimed at clearing surpluses.

ISMA's new website features short articles with titles such as “Eat, Drink & Be Healthy: A little sugar not all that bad”.

Bollywood star questioned in India’s drug case

Padukone was among six people - including two other actresses - to be summoned for questioning over the case.

Rajput's girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly buying drugs for him - claims she has denied.

The case has fuelled months of media coverage and speculation in India.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) widened its investigation of the case on Saturday, questioning Padukone for six hours in Mumbai.