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Tuesday, February 9, 1999
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Stir hits life in Bengal
CALCUTTA, Feb 8 (PTI) — Normal life was paralysed in West Bengal due to a 24-hour general strike called by INTUC and major trade unions today to protest against the hike in prices of essential commodities by the Centre. The situation was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state with security measures tightened to maintain law and order, Director-General of Police D. Sanyal said. City streets wore a deserted look as all modes of transport kept off streets and markets, business establishments, offices, schools and colleges remained closed.

CPI-ML MLA shot at
PATNA, Feb 8 (PTI) — A CPI-ML (Liberation) MLA, Mr Amarnath Yadav, was shot at and seriously wounded while his bodyguard was killed when unidentified assailants attacked them in Siwan yesterday, the police said today. The Police Superintendent, Siwan, Mr Satyendra Prasad Singh told PTI over phone that five armed assailants sprayed bullets on Mr Yadav from point-blank range at Mania village under Asawan police station around 2.30 p.m. yesterday. His bodyguard, Ashok, was killed on the spot.

Bank fraud
AIZAWL, Feb 8 (PTI) — A major bank fraud in Mizoram involving lakhs of rupees has been unearthed with arrest of four persons, including two non-tribsmen, a senior police official said here today. A large number of bank drafts found missing in Delhi, Panipat and other places had made their way to Aizawl and were encashed through local tribal accounts (main), Bawgkawn and Dawrpui Branches of SBI, SP Aizawl district Mr Zorammawia said. The fraud came to light when the culprits, who had already encashed Rs 70 lakh, tried to draw more money from Mission Veng branch of the SBI.

Meeting on energy
NEW DELHI, Feb 8 (PTI) — The annual meeting of the state secretaries for non-conventional energy sources will begin here tomorrow to review the progress of renewable energy programmes and consider new policy initiatives and strategies. The two-day meeting will be inaugurated by the Minister for Power, Parliamentary Affairs and Non-Conventional Energy Sources Mr P.R. Kumaramangalam. The first session would review the programmes of biogas and improved chulha and integrated rural energy programme.

Nandini Satpathy
CUTTACK, Feb 8 (PTI) — Eminent writer and former Chief Minister Nandini Satpathy has won the prestigious Sahitya Bharati Samman Award, 1998, for her outstanding contribution to Oriya literature. The award instituted by the Gangadhar Rath Foundation carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and a citation. She would be given the award at a function here on February 20.

Laloo courts arrest
LUCKNOW, Feb 8 (UNI) — Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal President Laloo Prasad Yadav and RJD Working President Ranjan Yadav were among those who courted arrest during the ongoing statewide "jail bharo" agitation of the Samajwadi Party here today. SP state unit chief Ramsaran Das, Leader of the Opposition, in the state vidhan parishad Ahmad Hasan and former MP Phoolan Devi were also arrested. They were released immediately after the token arrest at the collectorate premises.

15 LTTE men killed
COLOMBO, Feb 8 (AFP) — Navy gun boats destroyed two Tamil rebel craft during a confrontation in northern Sri Lanka today, killing at least 15 guerrillas, state radio here said. The navy attacked the boats of the LTTE near the islet of Delft and sank them, the radio said, quoting navy officials here.

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Patnaik meets Sonia
NEW DELHI, Feb 8 (PTI) — After a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Orissa Chief Minister J.B. Patnaik today said there was no pressure from the party on him to step down in the wake of violence against Christians, including the killing of two teenagers in Kandhamal district yesterday. Mrs Gandhi, who is concerned over the incidents, called Mr Patnaik for discussions on the recurrence of violence against the Christian community.

Shot dead
GOPALGANJ, Feb 8 (UNI) — Senior Samata Party leader Ashwani Singh was shot dead by criminals near Thave Durga Temple, about seven km from here, today. The police said three other party leaders sustained serious bullet injuries in the shoot-out. One of them Prashruram Singh was rushed to Gorakhpur Medical College and Hospital, while the other two were admitted to a government hospital here.

Three killed in Pak
MULTAN, Feb 8 (AFP) — Gunmen today shot dead three Shia Muslims in a sectarian attack in Pakistan’s province of Punjab, the police said. The assailants opened fire on the three in a bazaar at the town of Jehanian and fled the scene in a car. One of the victims was a witness in a sectarian murder case.

Trains cancelled
NEW DELHI, Feb 8 (PTI) — Four trains originating from the Eastern Railway have been cancelled due to Bengal bandh, a release from the northern railway said here today. The trains — the 3008 Udhyan Abha Toofan Express, the 3010 Doon Express, the 3006 Amritsar-Howrah Express and the 3152 Jammu-Tawi-Sealdah Express — respectively scheduled to leave Sriganganagar, Dehradun, Amritsar and Jammu Tawi on Wednesday have been cancelled and are being rescheduled.

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