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Sunday, March 21, 1999
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22 labourers die in truck accident
PATNA, March 20 (PTI) — At least 22 of the 40 labourers travelling on a coal-laden truck were killed when it overturned and fell into a roadside ditch near Sikaripara in Dumka district of south Bihar today, the police said. Seventeen injured labourers were admitted to Chitra and Dumka hospitals where condition of 12 was stated to be critical.

Sasikala’s nephew
CHENNAI, March 20 (PTI) — K.V. Mahadevan, nephew of Ms Sasikala Natarajan, a close friend of AIADMK leader Jayalalitha, was arrested today at Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district in connection with the alleged assault on an auditor here last week, police said. Mahadevan, stated to be absconding ever since an FIR was registered against him, was taken into custody by a special police party this afternoon, the police said.

Troops kill 8 rebels
COLOMBO, March 20 (AFP) — Sri Lankan troops killed eight Tamil Tiger rebels in separate confrontations, a day after the guerrillas shelled a key military base, killing 12 persons, the Defence Ministry said here today. Commandos from the elite police special task force shot dead five members of the rebel LTTE in the north-western region of Mannar yesterday.

7 Maoists shot dead
KATHMANDU, March 20 (DPA) — The police has killed seven Maoist insurgents in a gunbattle in Dahal village in Kavrepalchowk district, authorities said yesterday. Among those killed in the fighting yesterday were four women. According to the police, the clashes came after they were tipped off that the Maoists were in the village, about 80 km east of here. The police opened fire "after the Maoists suddenly began attacking the police party", the official report said.

ATC officers
NEW DELHI, March 20 (PTI) — Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) Guild officers today went on a fast unto death to protest against the arrest of four of its members in Mumbai, but promised not to disrupt air services. In a letter to the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, the general secretary of the guild, Mr Brijendra Shekhar, alleged that the Airport Authority of India had continued its "high handed attitude" and persecution of the controllers despite directives against it by the Delhi High Court. He said four controllers who were arrested today had been dismissed on February 18 without any hearing or inquiry on "false" and "fabricated" charges.

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Church leaders
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, March 20 (PTI) — Heads of major Churches in Kerala have planned to deliver a condemnatory message from the pulpit tomorrow expressing grave concern over the incidents of attacks on minorities, even as the state BJP branded the move as a step towards nurturing fundamentalism. The joint circular would be read out in all Churches in Kerala tomorrow during Sunday mass.

Iraqi pilgrims
SAUDI ARABIA, March 20 (AFP) — Some 18,000 Iraqi Muslim pilgrims returned to Iraq today, snubbing an offer from Saudi King Fahd to finance their pilgrimage to Mecca, a Saudi official told AFP. "All the Iraqi pilgrims have gone back and crossed the border to their country," said Mr Ahmad Shamoun, Director of a pilgrimage camp at the broder post of Ar’ar.

Majority for GNLF
SILIGURI, March 20 (PTI) — The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Mr Subash Ghising attained two-third majority in the 28-member Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council poll. Of the 21 seats results of which were declared so far, the ruling GNLF has bagged 17, rebel GNLF one, GNLF supported independent one while the United Front partner the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League captured two seats.

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