Rain failed to dampen spirits at India's Republic Day parade Monday as Barack Obama became the first US president to attend the spectacular military and cultural display in a sign of the nations' growing closeness. Thousands of cheering spectators braved wet weather and heavy security to watch the parade, which marks the birth of modern India and includes everything from tanks and state-of-the-art weaponry to camels and traditional dancers. The invitation to the annual celebration is one of the biggest honours the country can bestow on a foreign leader and underscores the increasing warmth between Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The display of military might came a day after Obama and Modi renewed a defence cooperation agreement, with the United States and India both seeking a counterbalance to a rising China.
Greek singer Demis Roussos, best known for his hit operatic pop ballads in the 1970s and 1980s, died in Athens at the weekend aged 68. A public funeral is to take place Friday at the First Cemetery of Athens, a resting place for many Greek politicians and cultural figures. Roussos, who was famous for his high-pitched voice and melodies inspired by Greek folklore, sold about 60 million records worldwide. Roussos was born in Egypt on June 15, 1946 to a Greek father who was forced to take the family back to Greece in 1961 in the midst of the Suez Canal crisis.