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N A T I O N

Meghalaya Crisis
Speaker saves the day for MPA
Guwahati, March 17
Meghalaya Speaker B M Lanong cast his vote to save the day for the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government led by Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy during the floor test today. The MPA government survived the test by the margin on just one vote (cast by the Speaker) in the 60-member Assembly.

India, Chile sign four pacts
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet with President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during an official reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. New Delhi, March 17
With a considerable improvement in his health since his bypass surgery, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stepped out of his 7, Race Course residence to hold talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the Hyderabad House.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet with President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during an official reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal



EARLIER STORIES

Cong man shot dead in Assam
Guwahati, March 17
A block-level Congress leader was killed in a violent incident in Assam today. The police informed that the president of Borkok Block Congress unit in Hamren sub-division of insurgency-hit Karbi Anglong hill district, Joy Singh Kro, was shot dead by unidentified tribal militants at around 2 pm today in full view of people.

Abu Salem appears in Lucknow court
Lucknow, March 17
Underworld don Abu Salem appeared before a CBI court here today in connection with a 1993 fake passport case.

J&K Killings
Army to submit report within 3 days
Jammu, March 17
Close on the heels of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s meeting with Defence Minister AK Antony, the GoC, 15 Corps, Lt General Bikram Singh called on Omar here this evening and informed him that the court of inquiry instituted by the Army in the incident, wherein two civilians were allegedly killed by security forces, would submit its report within two to three days. The Corps Commander assured the CM that those found guilty would be punished. Earlier, a section of media had reported that the Army had refused to cooperate in the inquiry.—TNS





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Meghalaya Crisis
Speaker saves the day for MPA
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, March 17
Meghalaya Speaker B M Lanong cast his vote to save the day for the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government led by Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy during the floor test today. The MPA government survived the test by the margin on just one vote (cast by the Speaker) in the 60-member Assembly.

Ten United Democratic Party (UDP) MLAs including the Speaker, 14 NCP legislators, two Independents and the lone BJP MLA voted for the MPA while 26 Congress MLAs and one Independent voted against the government.

As the Speaker had earlier suspended five MLAs including two Independents, two ministers and the Deputy Speaker for deserting the MPA, total number of members eligible to take part in voting today were 55. The Speaker had to cast his vote after equal numbers votes (27) cast in favour and against the government.

Four of the five legislators barring the former health minister Advisor Pariong, who had been suspended by the Speaker, also turned up in the House today and cast their votes. But their votes were declared of no use by the Speaker in view of their suspension.

The political crisis in the hill state was precipitated after two Independent legislators, Limison Sangma and Ismail R Marak, had pulled out of the ruling MPA coalition on March 9 last. The crisis turned for the worse on March 11 when the lone legislator from Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and urban affairs minister Paul Lyngdoh pulled out from the MPA.

Health Minister and one of the two HSPDP MLAs, Dr Advisor Pariong, resigned from the ministry on March 12 went incommunicado and went ‘missing’. Just a day later, Deputy Speaker and an NCP legislator Sanbor Shullai also went ‘missing’.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress has raised demand for imposition President’s rule in the state in view of the MPA being reduced to a minority group not enjoying support of even 30 MLAs in a 60-member House. The Congress has accused the Speaker of being biased and violating the provisions of the Constitution.

Deputy leader of Congress legislature party, Dr Mukul Sangma, said the party would take recourse to all legal and constitutional measures to ensure that the minority government did not last any more.

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India, Chile sign four pacts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 17
With a considerable improvement in his health since his bypass surgery, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stepped out of his 7, Race Course residence to hold talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the Hyderabad House.

According to officials, the Prime Minister appeared relaxed and spent nearly two hours with the visiting leader and her delegation and also witnessed the signing of agreements between the two countries.

This was the first time since his coronary bypass surgery on January 24 that he went to the Hyderabad House to meet a foreign dignitary. On doctors’ advice, he had met Benin President Bon Yayi at his 7, Race Course residence on March 10 and not at the Hyderabad House, where such meetings traditionally take place.

A joint statement issued after the talks said the two leaders reiterated that early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism was imperative to consolidation of counter-terrorism efforts within the UN.

The two sides also signed four pacts, including one on cooperation in exploration and utilisation of outer space for peaceful purposes. The two countries also decided to support each other’s candidature for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2011-12 (India) and 2014-15 (Chile).

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Cong man shot dead in Assam
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, March 17
A block-level Congress leader was killed in a violent incident in Assam today. The police informed that the president of Borkok Block Congress unit in Hamren sub-division of insurgency-hit Karbi Anglong hill district, Joy Singh Kro, was shot dead by unidentified tribal militants at around 2 pm today in full view of people.

The hill district falls under Diphu Parliamentary constituency of the state. Tribal militant groups in the district are known for their interference in election process. The constituency is now represented by Congress MP Biren Singh Ingti.

In another incident, suspected militants of the banned ULFA shot dead a surrendered leader of the outfit, Nayanjyoti Roy (35) in the heart of Kokrajhar town in western Assam this morning.

The police said the former ULFA militant was shot with 9 mm pistol from close range near Kokrajhar Government Higher Secondary School.

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Abu Salem appears in Lucknow court
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, March 17
Underworld don Abu Salem appeared before a CBI court here today in connection with a 1993 fake passport case.

As the investigating officer in the case could not appear today, the CBI court asked Salem to appear again on March 31. Originally from Sarai Mir in Azamgarh, Salem arrived at Charbagh railway station from Mumbai by Pushpak Express.

Surrounded by a posse of policemen, he was presented before the court of special judicial magistrate Saif Ahmad. 

He had to appear in person after CBI's request to hold the trial through video conferencing was turned down by the court, quoting lack of facilities. 

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BRIEFLY

Two youths commit self-immolation
Chennai
: Despite continuous appeals by the leaders of the Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement, two more youths today committed self-immolation in Tamil Nadu, demanding immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka to save the suffering Tamils in the island nation.A 23-year old man Anand, belonging to the coastal district of Cuddalore, today succumbed to burn injuries after he committed self-immolation, shouting slogans against the Centre and urging it “to stop military support to the island government”. Another 24-year old cadre of the PMK, a constituent of the UPA, also committed self-immolation at Kattunagaleri in Ariyalur, in central Tamil Nadu. The youth, Rajasekar, was admitted to a government hospital, where he succumbed to burn injuries today. — TNS

School kids held taking BA exam
LUCKNOW
: Education officials in Uttar Pradesh were in for a shock when they found students of Class 8 and 9 answering question papers at an under-graduate exam in Azamgarh district, officials said on Tuesday. The school students were caught solving the paper with the help of invigilators on Monday when officials of the administration and education department raided two private colleges in Azamgarh following a tip-off. The paper was for BA first year students of Social Science. — IANS

Protest march
COIMBATORE
: Farmers, including women wearing vegetable necklaces and capsicum earrings, took out a protest march against field trials of genetically modified crops in Coimbatore. Farmers, along with Green Peace activists, who took part in the protest, said they would continue their protests till the permission for field trials were withdrawn. Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, has started field trials for genetically modified corn in India. — ANI

Cultural policing
BANGALORE
:A regional language film director, whose plans to install a statue of famous comedian Charlie Chaplin ran into a controversy, received permission to hold a protest rally against cultural policing. The controversy arose after director Hemanth Hegde planned to install a 62-feet-high statue of Charlie Chaplin as a backdrop to a song sequence in ‘House Full’, his Kannada language film. — ANI

Historic canons traced
AIZWAL
:A canon, believed to have been used in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, which had gone missing with another historic canon from here in 2003, have been found in Arunachal Pradesh, according to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. The canons were on display in front of the Assam Rifles Quarter Guard here for over a century. Assam Rifles men had taken the two canons with them when its first battalion was shifted from here to Arunachal Pradesh. — PTI

Insulin bank for poor kids
NEW DELHI
:The Diabetes Care Foundation of India has launched an insulin bank system that would benefit kids suffering from Diabetes I. The pre-requisite for availing this free treatment would be a BPL card or a letter from an authorised government office. — ANI

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