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Friday, December 4, 1998
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23 kids killed in orphanage fire
MANILA, Dec 3 (AP) — Atleast 28 persons, mostly children, were killed in a pre-dawn fire today that raged through an orphanage in a Manila squatter area, fire officials said. About 70 persons were inside the orphanage and children's home when the fire broke out at about 2 a.m., officials said. The dead included at least 23 children. Rescuers gingerly lifted the bodies of small infants wrapped in blankets from the remains of the buildings, which included a two-storey main structure and two cottages, all built between 1913 and 1927. Toys and children's clothes were scattered among the debris.

Train mishap
JALGAON, Dec 3 (PTI) — At least eight persons were killed and 42 injured when 11 coaches of 8029 down Kurla-Howrah Express derailed near Mhasawad railway station early today. The injured, including two in a serious condition, have been admitted to Jalgaon Civil Hospital, the police said. A Central Railway spokesman in Mumbai said. The cause of the accident was yet to be ascertained adding that the Central Railway had set up information booths at various stations to provide information. Several trains had been cancelled or rescheduled.

‘Fire’ screening
NEW DELHI, Dec 3 (PTI) — Over 10 Shiv Sainiks stormed, Regal cinema in the heart of the Capital this afternoon and stopped the screening of "Fire", the controversial Deepa Mehta film on lesbian relationship, protesting 'vulgar scenes' in the movie. The sainiks, including three women, armed with sticks smashed the panes of the ticket and food counters of the cinema located in Connaught Place, tore off posters and billboards of the Shabana Azmi-Nandita Das starrer and shouted 'Har Har Mahadev' and other slogans against the film.

Endeavour launch
CAPE CANAVERAL, Dec 3 (Reuters) — NASA today postponed the scheduled pre-dawn launch of the space shuttle Endeavour because of a mysterious alarm sounding in the cockpit just minutes before lift-off. Officials said the mission, to begin the construction of the international space station in orbit, would be delayed by atleast 24 hours. The alarm sounded four-and-a-half minutes before the blast-off, scheduled for 3:58 a.m. EST (0858 GMT), and caused technicians to scramble for an explanation as the narrow launch window ticked away.

50 drowned
LAGOS, Dec 3 (AFP) — Fifty persons were drowned when a boat carrying them capsized on Benue river in central Nigeria the state-run Daily Times reported today. The newspaper quoted witnesses as saying the incident occurred at the Buruku crossing when the boat was hit by the backwash of another boat. It did not indicate when the disaster took place.

Protest day
NEW DELHI, Dec 3 (PTI) — Nearly 23 million Christians across the country will observe a national protest day tomorrow demanding that the Centre and state governments check growing violence against members of the community. A rally will be organised near Parliament and a day-long prayer meeting will be held at Rajghat, United Christian Forum for Human Rights, which is spearheading the agitation, said in a release here today.

CPSTU stir
NEW DELHI, Dec 3 (PTI) — The Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions (CPSTU) has decided to restrict its country-wide strike in the public sector units to December 11, instead of two days. The CPSTU has received requests from other central trade and public sector unions to go in for one day strike instead of two days to enable them to join the strike, the committee said in a release here today.

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Bihar bandh
PATNA, Dec 3 (PTI) — Seven Left parties today gave a call for "Bihar bandh" on December 11 to protest spiralling prices, Centre's policies of liberalisation and privatisation, communalism and alleged deterioration of law and order in the state. Addressing a press conference, senior CPI leader Suraj Prasad said the opening up of the insurance sector to foreign capital would prove detrimental to the Indian economy at a time when it was under severe stress due to skyrocketing prices.

Anti-Taliban revolt
KABUL, Dec 3 (AFP) — The Afghan opposition today said that a series of popular revolts against the Taliban rule had erupted across northern Afghanistan. Opposition spokesman Abdullah said the people in the north and remnants of opposition forces had turned on the militia's rule and its strict interpretation of Islamic law in five provinces. "The Taliban were not able to gain popular support and this has been their biggest setback," he said.

Primakov's visit
MOSCOW, Dec 3 (AFP) — Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov will make an official visit to India on December 20-21. Interfax news agency said today quoting his press service. The announcement corrected a previous report, quoting a government source, which said the visit would take place on December 20-23. According to Primakov's spokeswoman, Tatiana Aristarkhova, the Premier will visit Kazakhstan on December 22-23.

Chandra Shekhar meets Laloo
PATNA, Dec 3 (PTI) — Former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar today met former Bihar Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra under remand in Beur Adarsh Central Jail in a fodder scam case. The meeting lasted for about 35 minutes, sources close to Mr Shekhar said. Mr Chandra Shekhar inquired about the health of the two leaders, the sources said, adding former Union Minister Ram Bahadur Singh and former RJD MLA Ram Naresh Singh accompanied him to the jail.

Train mishap
JALGAON, Dec 3 (PTI) — Nine persons were killed and 19 injured, nine of them seriously, when 11 coaches and engine of the Kurla-Howrah Express derailed near Mhasawad railway station early today. A Central Railway spokesman in Mumbai said the cause of the accident was yet to be ascertained adding several trains were cancelled following the mishap. An ex-gratia payment of Rs 15,000 to kin of the deceased, Rs 5000 to seriously injured and Rs 500 to those who sustained minor injuries was made, the spokesman said.

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