SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Sino-Indian talks take off
New Delhi, July 26
The third round of Sino-Indian Special Representatives-level talks on the boundary issue started here today between National Security Adviser J.N. Dixit and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.
In video: (28k, 56k)

Iranian minister meets Natwar
New Delhi, July 26
The visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi today held talks with his Indian counterpart, Mr K. Natwar Singh, and National Security Adviser J.N. Dixit and also called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh meets Dr Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister of Iran, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Monday. External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh meets Dr Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister of Iran, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Monday. 
— Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Mufti: talks with Hurriyat soon
New Delhi, July 26
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed today admitted that Centre’s peace process talks with the Hurriyat Conference had hit a “temporary” road block but said the talks would start soon.

Members of the Indian Air Force contingent who are heading for a peace enforcement mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Members of the Indian Air Force contingent who are heading for a peace enforcement mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI



Flood-affected villagers receive relief supplies
Flood-affected villagers receive relief supplies brought in by an Indian Air Force helicopter in Mahaya, nearly 250 km north of Patna, on Monday.
— Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

BJP to move SC on HC order on bandh
New Delhi, July 26
Asserting that it would challenge the Bombay High Court order, imposing fine on it and the Shiv Sena for having called a bandh in Mumbai in the Supreme Court, the BJP today appealed to all political parties and sections of society to debate and express the ramification of such an order.

Left parties flay fuel price policy
New Delhi, July 26
Left parties today criticised the Union Cabinet decision granting limited freedom to the state-run oil companies in fixing the petrol and diesel prices within a narrow price band to insulate domestic consumers from global price volatility.

Business page: Oil cos allowed some freedom on prices

Uproar in House over staff stir
Dehra Dun, July 26
There was chaos in the State Assembly today with the BJP and other parties demanding answers to the prolonged government staff stir from the N.D. Tiwari-led Congress Government.

Punjab will abide by SC ruling, says CM
New Delhi, July 26
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said his government had enacted a law abrogating water accords with neighbouring states following “legal advise from top lawyers.” The Chief Minister, who came to the Capital for the first time after the Presidential reference on the SYL canal issue, said judiciary was the final authority and his government would abide by “whatever the SC says”.

Vajpayee meets  RSS leaders
New Delhi, July 26
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other senior party leaders today held a “strategy” meeting with RSS leaders here today. The meeting lasting over two hours at the RSS headquarters saw an exchange of views over the current political situation in the country. 

Cong flays NDA’s boycott decision
New Delhi, July 26
Describing the NDA’s decision to boycott all parliamentary committees as unfortunate, the Congress today said this only showed the irresponsible and reckless behaviour of the Opposition.

Warrant against ex-minister in 21-year-old case
Bhopal, July 26
The Shibu Soren episode is being enacted in Madhya Pradesh also. The Gwalior police, armed with arrest warrants, is looking for 14 persons who have “gone underground”. They include a former Congress minister. The warrants were issued by a Gwalior court on July 15 in a 21-year-old case.

Trial stayed in Bilkis case
New Delhi, July 26
The Supreme Court today granted interim stay in the Bilkis Yakub Rasool gangrape case till August 2 pending the plea of the victim for the transfer of the trial from Gujarat to Maharashtra on the ground that the atmosphere there was vitiated.

Tainted Orissa minister resigns
Bhubaneswar, July 26
Orissa Minister for Women and Child Welfare Pramilla Mallick today resigned from the council of ministers in the wake of a non-bailable warrant pending against her since 1999 in connection with an old case.

SC quashes PIL against HC judges
New Delhi, July 26
The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking initiation of the contempt proceedings against 25 judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court for going on leave en masse to protest against the functioning of the High Court Chief Justice.

Nanavati panel gets extension
New Delhi, July 26
The Union Cabinet today decided to extend the term of Justice Nanavati Commission set up to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots by another three months. The decision was taken today at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to an official spokesperson.

SC notice to Centre on senior citizens
New Delhi, July 26
Taking note of the grim picture of the life of elderly citizens who face hardships ranging from retirement blues to lack of health care, the Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and state governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

MiG-21s very capable, says air chief
New Delhi, July 26
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy today defended the MiG-21 aircraft in the IAF fleet, several of which have crashed over the years, saying though modernisation was required, these war-planes were “very capable”.

Aug 21 AICC meeting to be a tribute to Rajiv
New Delhi, July 26
Now that the recast of the Congress organisation is complete and the new team in place, the next meeting of the AICC has been fixed for August 21. The last AICC meeting was held two years ago.

Cabinet okays
New Delhi, July 26
The Union Cabinet has approved a Rs 177.85 crore Astronomy Satellite project to study stellar objects covering a range of high-energy radiations. Briefing mediapersons about the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an official spokesperson said that the project had a foreign exchange component of Rs 106.59 crore. He said that it was an approved programme under the Tenth Plan. 

Pandey elected UP Speaker
Lucknow, July 26
State Labour Minister Mata Prasad Pandey was today elected unopposed as the 17th Speaker of the UP Legislative Assembly. Mr Pandey of the Samajwadi Party was the only MLA to file his nomination papers for the post on July 23.

Kohli handed over to Punjab police
Siliguri, July 26
The custody of the prime suspect in the rape and murder of British teenager Hannah Foster, Maninderpal Singh Kohli, was today given to the Punjab police by the SDJM’s court at Kalimpong in a passport forgery case. — PTI

Chandigarh page: Kohli may be brought to Mohali today


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Sino-Indian talks take off
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
The third round of Sino-Indian Special Representatives-level talks on the boundary issue started here today between National Security Adviser J.N. Dixit and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.

The talks, which are meant to tackle the border dispute between the two countries from the political perspective rather than the Expert Groups of either side, will continue tomorrow.

Mr Dixit’s delegation included Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Surie, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs Nirupama Rao and Mr Ashok Kanth, Joint Secretary looking after China affairs in the MEA. The Chinese team comprised senior officials of the Foreign Ministry.

Mr Dixit, a former Indian Ambassador to China, replaced Mr Brajesh Mishra as India’s Special Representative for talks with China after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government assumed office in New Delhi. Mr Mishra had led the Indian side at the two previous rounds of talks, held in New Delhi and Beijing.

The two governments had asked their Special Representatives to look at the boundary dispute after more than 10 rounds of official-level talks failed to make much headway in resolving the issue. 
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Iranian minister meets Natwar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
The visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi today held talks with his Indian counterpart, Mr K. Natwar Singh, and National Security Adviser J.N. Dixit and also called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Foreign Office spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters this evening that Mr Kharrazi invited Mr Natwar Singh to Iran, a proposal which the External Affairs Minister accepted. The dates of his visit to Iran would be worked out in due course through diplomatic channels.

The spokesman said the talks between the two foreign ministers spilled over to a working lunch and covered a wide gambit in bilateral, regional and international affairs

Boosting bilateral trade and stepping up cooperation in the transport sector dominated the discussions.

The proposed North-South corridor, which envisages to link India, Iran and Russia through a land-and-sea route also came up for discussion.
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Mufti: talks with Hurriyat soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed today admitted that Centre’s peace process talks with the Hurriyat Conference had hit a “temporary” road block but said the talks would start soon.

The Chief Minister, who today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil, said the process of talks with Hurriyat Conference had come to a temporary stand-still but it would begin again soon.

There is a general understanding among the people of the state that there cannot be any other alternative to talks for improving the situation, Mr Sayeed said.

Asked about the spurt in militancy including two attacks on Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma, he said despite violent incidents yearing for peace among people of the state was strong.

He said that cross-border infiltration was continuing but did not say if it had increased or reduced.

In his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Sayeed said the state’s financial requirements for the current fiscal year would be Rs 4,412 crore.

Mr Sayeed urged the Prime Minister to consider providing Rs 700 crore to finance the additional spending on power and liability arising out of merging 50 per cent DA with basic pay. The state, he said, was keen to meet the demand of the employees. A state government spokesman said the Prime Minister asked Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson to work out details about the demands. The spokesman said total Central assistance to fund Jammu and Kashmir’s plan was expected to be Rs 3800 crore this year. Mr Sayeed also had a one-to-one meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh for about 20 minutes.
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BJP to move SC on HC order on bandh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Asserting that it would challenge the Bombay High Court order, imposing fine on it and the Shiv Sena for having called a bandh in Mumbai in the Supreme Court, the BJP today appealed to all political parties and sections of society to debate and express the ramification of such an order.

“The BJP is a responsible political party and does not wish to join issue with the legalism involved in the judgement, which would, at an appropriate time, be raised on various judicial forums. However, since the issue concerns the right of political parties to organise protests, the BJP is concerned about several consequences emanating from the judgement,” BJP spokespersons Arun Jaitley told newspersons.

“Is it an encroachment upon free expression? Will it in future be extended to all trade union protests where members of trade unions picket at the gate of a factory? Will it apply to every section of society, including the traders, employees, lawyers, etc... Since this involves larger political and constitutional issues that can seek to encroach upon the right to express and right to protest, all political parties and sections of society must express their opinion on this issue,” he said.

Spelling out the BJP’s stand on the issue, he said “the BJP believes that it is a fundamental right of every citizen, every political party to organise protests. We are committed to non-coercive and non-violence instruments of protests.”

Meanwhile, the BJP condemned the reported decision of the UPA government to remove all photographs of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee along the national highways.

“This is part of a series of actions taken by the UPA government, which smacks of arrogance and intolerance,” Mr Jaitley said, adding that it had been the practice to honour various leaders, including former Prime Ministers, who have made contributions to the country.

“It is another unfortunate precedent, which the UPA government has set. It will give rise in future for reciprocal tendencies to change the names of various projects, schemes, structures and institutions which are named after the national leaders,” he added.
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Left parties flay fuel price policy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Left parties today criticised the Union Cabinet decision granting limited freedom to the state-run oil companies in fixing the petrol and diesel prices within a narrow price band to insulate domestic consumers from global price volatility.

“Such freedom, however, cannot be exercised to continuously shift the burden of any increase in the international crude prices on to the consumer automatically,” a joint statement issued by the four Left parties here said.

The Cabinet has decided that oil firms - Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp, IBP and Hindustan Petroleum Corp - may now raise or lower the petrol and diesel prices by up to 10 per cent every fortnight following variations in the cost.

The new pricing policy will come into effect from July 31, when the next fortnightly revision is due.

The statement said the oil PSUs, whose accumulated profits have soared since the dismantling of the administrative price mechanism, should also share the burden and the benefit of lower international prices should invariably be passed on to the consumers rather than shoring up the profits of the oil PSUs.

Left parties asked the Congress-led UPA government to bring forward much-needed reform in the duty structure of the petroleum products in order to give relief to the people.

The prices of petroleum products in India are unusually high because of the high import and excise duties. The UPA government is committed to review this duty structure and this should be done at the earliest, keeping in mind the need to provide relief to the people who are already suffering from periodic hikes in the prices.

“If such restructuring of the duty structure is done, then the much-talked about high levels of subsidies for certain petroleum products can be scaled down,” it added.
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Uproar in House over staff stir
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 26
There was chaos in the State Assembly today with the BJP and other parties demanding answers to the prolonged government staff stir from the N.D. Tiwari-led Congress Government.

With the Opposition quizzing the government on the delayed government staff strike, there was uproar in the Assembly. The members trooped into the well of the House and raised slogans. Pandemonium led to adjournment of the House till noon and later for the day. The strike is hampering smooth functioning of various government departments, state BJP President Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said the government ought to look into their demands and resolve the issue to avoid further hindrance in the administrative work.
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Punjab will abide by SC ruling, says CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said his government had enacted a law abrogating water accords with neighbouring states following “legal advise from top lawyers.” The Chief Minister, who came to the Capital for the first time after the Presidential reference on the SYL canal issue, said judiciary was the final authority and his government would abide by “whatever the SC says”.

Replying to a volley of questions on the SYL Canal issue, the Chief Minister said the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act was enacted to “protect the interests of the state.” Asked if he would resign if the SC ruling on Presidential reference did not uphold the step taken by him, the Chief Minister said “there is no connection between the two.”

The Chief Minister, who has sought appointments with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said he had read “media reports” about the Congress chief being unhappy with him over the controversial Punjab Act. “If she is angry, she will tell on my face,” the Chief Minister said. Capt Amarinder is expected to tomorrow meet Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was recently put in charge of Punjab in the AICC reshuffle.
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Vajpayee meets RSS leaders
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other senior party leaders today held a “strategy” meeting with RSS leaders here today. The meeting lasting over two hours at the RSS headquarters saw an exchange of views over the current political situation in the country. The meeting assumes significance as it was Mr Vajpayee’s first visit to the RSS Headquarters in six years.

BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu said later that it was an “informal” meeting in which post-election situation was discussed.

RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said there was no directive from the Sangh. On Mr Vajpayee visiting the RSS headquarters after six years, Mr Madhav contended he was unable to do so as he was the Prime Minister.Top

 

Cong flays NDA’s boycott decision
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Describing the NDA’s decision to boycott all parliamentary committees as unfortunate, the Congress today said this only showed the irresponsible and reckless behaviour of the Opposition. Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the parliamentary standing committees are entrusted with very serious work as they scrutinise the demands for grants of various ministries and actually discuss the real budget.

By boycotting these committees, the Opposition is not only behaving irresponsibly but it is also displaying a lack of faith and respect for the institution of Parliament, he said.

“There is no justification to warrant such an action,” Mr. Sharma said. Basically, the BJP has been quarelling with the electoral verdict from day one and has adopted a path of confrontation, he said.Top

 

Warrant against ex-minister in 21-year-old case
N.D. Sharma

Bhopal, July 26
The Shibu Soren episode is being enacted in Madhya Pradesh also. The Gwalior police, armed with arrest warrants, is looking for 14 persons who have “gone underground”. They include a former Congress minister. The warrants were issued by a Gwalior court on July 15 in a 21-year-old case.

The matter relates to Hiranvan Kothi, supposed to be a part of the Scindia estate but in possession of the family of Sardar Angre, who was personal secretary to the late Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia. Mr Angre’s daughter, Chitralekha, had made a criminal complaint on October 11, 1983, that Madhavrao Scindia and 15 others had entered into a conspiracy to forcibly take possession of the kothi and had committed dacoity.

The police teams have in the past few days carried out extensive searches and raids on possible hideouts of the accused. Their special target appears to be Mr K.P. Singh, Congress MLA from Pichhor in Shivpuri district, who was a member of the erstwhile Digvijay Singh Cabinet. Top

 

Trial stayed in Bilkis case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
The Supreme Court today granted interim stay in the Bilkis Yakub Rasool gangrape case till August 2 pending the plea of the victim for the transfer of the trial from Gujarat to Maharashtra on the ground that the atmosphere there was vitiated.

Bilkis, whose family and relatives were killed by a mob during the post-Godhra riots, had alleged that the atmosphere in the state was not conducive for trial as witnesses were still being threatened.

A Bench comprising Justice Ruma Pal, Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice S.H. Kapadia, while posting her petition seeking the transfer of the trial to August 2, granted the interim stay on the proceedings even as the Gujarat Government denied the charge that the atmosphere was not conducive for fair trial.

The interim order followed the information given by her counsel Harish Salve that an Ahmedabad court is scheduled to frame charges against the 20 accused on July 29.Top

 

Tainted Orissa minister resigns

Bhubaneswar, July 26
Orissa Minister for Women and Child Welfare Pramilla Mallick today resigned from the council of ministers in the wake of a non-bailable warrant pending against her since 1999 in connection with an old case.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told newspersons at his chamber here that Ms Mallick had tendered her resignation and he had forwarded the resignation to the Governor M M Rajendran for consideration.

Earlier, five Opposition parties demanded immediate arrest of the minister and her dismissal from the state Cabinet.

In a joint statement issued here, the Congress, the CPI, the CPM, the Janata Dal (S) and the Orissa Gana Parishad also demanded that the Chief Minister apologise to the people of Orissa for inducting Ms Mallick into his Cabinet.

It was most shocking that Ms Mallick was taken into the Cabinet despite a warrant pending against her for the last three years, the leaders of the Opposition parties said. — UNI
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SC quashes PIL against HC judges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking initiation of the contempt proceedings against 25 judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court for going on leave en masse to protest against the functioning of the High Court Chief Justice.

The petition filed by Advocate Vikas Vashishth was dismissed by a bench of Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice G.P. Mathur observing that no case of contempt was made out against them. The HC judges reportedly went on leave when the Chief Justice had asked for an explanation from some of them for accepting the membership of a controversial club at Chandigarh.
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Nanavati panel gets extension
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
The Union Cabinet today decided to extend the term of Justice Nanavati Commission set up to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots by another three months. The decision was taken today at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to an official spokesperson.

The commission’s term, which was to expire on August 2, 2004, has now been extended up to November 2, 2004.

The commission is probing the riots in the wake of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The spokesperson said the inquiry would help in bringing out the sequence of events leading to the violence and riots and all related facts.

It would also infuse a sense of security and confidence in the public in general and the Sikh community in particular, she added.
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SC notice to Centre on senior citizens
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Taking note of the grim picture of the life of elderly citizens who face hardships ranging from retirement blues to lack of health care, the Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and state governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

A Bench comprising Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Mr Justice D.M. Dharmadhikari issued the notices on a petition filed by Brig (retd) J.S. Bawa after hearing arguments from his counsel S. Muralidhar.

The petitioner sought a direction to the government to place before the court a time-bound action plan to implement the various recommendations contained in the National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) issued in 1999 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

He said the NPOP had pointed out that in another 30 years India would have a population of 198 million people over the age of 60 years which would increase to 326 million in 2050 and added that unless concrete steps were taken their living conditions would deteriorate.
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MiG-21s very capable, says air chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy today defended the MiG-21 aircraft in the IAF fleet, several of which have crashed over the years, saying though modernisation was required, these war-planes were “very capable”.

Pointing to the US Air Force report on the recent joint exercises at Gwalior, he said it was testament to plane’s and the force’s capabilities.

Talking to reporters after flagging off the IAF contingent to Congo on a UN peace-keeping mission, he said: “We feel concerned. There is a requirement for modernisation ... but they are very capable machines.”

He said the American forces had acknowledged that the MiG-21s and their operational capabilities, as they had witnessed during the exercise, were equivalent to the US F-15 fighters.Top

 

Aug 21 AICC meeting to be a tribute to Rajiv
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Now that the recast of the Congress organisation is complete and the new team in place, the next meeting of the AICC has been fixed for August 21. The last AICC meeting was held two years ago.

The upcoming AICC meeting will be held at the Talkatora Stadium, which will be christened “Rajiv Gandhi Nagar” for the duration of the day-long deliberations.

These will be preceded by a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on August 20, which is also late Rajiv Gandhi's 60th birth anniversary. "The CWC meeting will be dedicated to Rajiv Gandhi's memory," AICC general secretary Janardhan Diwedi told presspersons here today. He also explained that this is a meeting,to be attended by the 1,100 AICC members, as opposed to a session which has a much larger participation.

The AICC meeting will follow this up by paying a special tribute to Rajiv Gandhi by adopting a special resolution on panchayati raj since he was a strong believer in the decentralisation of power.

This, Mr. Diwedi said, will be in addition to the resolutions on the political situation, foreign affairs and the economy.

Besides being billed as a tribute to Rajiv Gandhi, the coming AICC meeting is also significant for other reasons.

Not only is the meeting being held after two years, but much has changed since then. After a gap of nearly a decade, the Congress is in power at the Centre.

But, for the first time, the grand old party is heading a coalition, which is a brand new experience for it.

Perhaps the biggest challenge before the Congress today is to see how it can use this opportunity to rebuild its base without treading on the toes of its allies.

It is also the first time that the party and the government are headed by two persons, which has led to the redrawing of relations between the party and government.

It will also underscore Congress president Sonia Gandhi's unchallenged leadership since it is the first such meeting after she declined the Prime Minister's post. It will also testify to the fact that this time round, it is the party, and not the government, which is supreme.Top

 

Cabinet okays astrosat project
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
The Union Cabinet has approved a Rs 177.85 crore Astronomy Satellite (ASTROSAT) project to study stellar objects covering a range of high-energy radiations. Briefing mediapersons about the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an official spokesperson said that the project had a foreign exchange component of Rs 106.59 crore. He said that it was an approved programme under the Tenth Plan. 

To be developed and launched by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) by 2007, the project envisaged design, development, fabrication and launch of a multi-wavelength astronomical observatory satellite for studies of cosmic sources. 
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Pandey elected UP Speaker

Lucknow, July 26
State Labour Minister Mata Prasad Pandey was today elected unopposed as the 17th Speaker of the UP Legislative Assembly. Mr Pandey of the Samajwadi Party was the only MLA to file his nomination papers for the post on July 23.

Officiating Assembly Speaker Waqar Ahmed Shah announced Mr Pandey as the new Speaker — UNI
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BRIEFLY

Recruitment scam: 2 held
Agra:
The police on Monday arrested a constable and another employee for securing appointments allegedly through fraudulent means as part of a racket involving some persons at the police headquarters at Allahabad. “One of the arrested, Sunil Kumar Singh was working as an assistant accountant at Agra, while the other, Jagvir Singh was a constable in Mathura”, SHO of Hariparbat police station, N.K. Yadav said. — PTI

Bihar flood toll 383
Patna:
With 90 more deaths reported from various areas of 19 flood-affected districts of north Bihar, the toll in the current spell of floods has risen to 383. Of the killed, 233 hailed from three worst-hit districts of Samastipur, Darbhanga and Sitamarhi, official sources said. While Samastipur accounted for 91 deaths so far, Darbhanga (74) and Sitamarhi (68), official sources said. — PTI

Recruitment: 13 hurt in stampede
Baharampur:
At least 13 persons were injured in a stampede during an army recruitment drive in Murshidabad here on Monday when thousands of aspirants tried to enter a stadium where the test was scheduled to be held. Nearly 35,000 youths gathered in front of the Baharampur Stadium early Monday morning where the recruitment test was to be held, sub-divisional officer, Baharampur Sadar, Amal Karmakar said. As soon as the gate of the stadium was opened at 3 am, there was a tremendous rush among the waiting youths to enter the venue triggering the stampede, he said. — PTI

Copter crashes in Bihar, 1 killed
Patna:
One person was killed when an IAF helicopter dropping food packets in flood-hit Begusarai district of Bihar crashlanded in a marshy area today. A loader, who was on board the Mi-17 helicopter, jumped to death from the open hind of the aircraft when it was going down, an IAF spokesman said, adding that the rest of those on board, including the crew members, escaped while a gunner received minor injuries. — PTI
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