SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

PM leaves for Moscow today
Several pacts likely to be signed
New Delhi, November 10
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Moscow tomorrow affirming India's desire to strengthen the strategic relationship with Russia as well as bolstering the civilian nuclear and military ties with a time tested friend.

BJP to have first CM in south India
Bangalore, November 10
The BJP will have its first Chief Minister in a southern state with the swearing in of Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa on Monday but the marriage of convenience with the Janata Dal (S) will be far from smooth with the latter maintaining that the saffron party will have to abide by the 12 conditions laid down by the JD (S) supremo H D Deve Gowda.

IAF’s ‘red letter day’
To get first 2 Hawks today
New Delhi, November 10
The long wait of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to get a new range of jet trainers is finally over with the first two of the 66 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) “BAE Hawks” due to arrive from Britain at their new home at Air Force Station, Bidar in Karnataka tomorrow.






EARLIER STORIES




The Akshardham Temple at Gandhinagar, nearly 30 km from Ahmedabad, is lit with nearly 10,000 oil lamps for Diwali.
The Akshardham Temple at Gandhinagar, nearly 30 km from Ahmedabad, is lit with nearly 10,000 oil lamps for Diwali. — AFP

Fight for Nandigram, says Aparna Sen
Kolkata, November 10
Eminent film-maker and actress Aparna Sen today called on the people of West Bengal to fight for the cause of Nandigram just as they did in the case of Rizwanur Rahman.

1,000 more CRPF men for West Bengal
New Delhi, November 10
With sudden spurt in violence in trouble-torn Nandigram, the Union home ministry today decided to rush about 1,000 additional CRPF personnel to West Bengal to deal with the situation.

India monitoring situation in neighbourhood: Antony
New Delhi, November 10
Defence minister A.K. Antony today said that India might be called upon to play a significant role in ensuring peace and stability in its extended neighbourhood, and for the purpose the country's security apparatus should be well-equipped to deal with any challenges.

Women forest constables offer floral tributes to the martyrs on the occasion of Martyr's Day at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Women forest constables offer floral tributes to the martyrs on the occasion of Martyr's Day at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on Saturday. — PTI

Checking Fires
Govt to involve forest management panels
New Delhi, November 10
The government is planning to involve joint forest management (JFM)committees on a large scale in its centrally sponsored plan for modern forest fire control methods to avoid collosal monetary losses and damage to environment and bio-diversity due to forest fires. In the coming week, experts, academicians and forest officials will gather in the Capital to discuss subjects ranging from fire prevention management, its ecological and chemical effects to design a system for better prevention and control strategy.

More forces for poll-bound, violence-hit hills
Guwahati, November 10
Election to the tribal autonomous council in violence-ravaged north Cachar Hills in Assam will be held under heavy deployment of paramilitary forces and the police while the Army will continue to assist the administration in keeping the ultras under check.

Lakshmi brings cheers to parents
Bangalore, November 10
For the Tatmas from Bihar it was a Diwali with a difference. They lost the girl touted to be the goddess Lakshmi and named as such because she was born on Diwali day two years back with four pairs of limbs and got back a normal baby who is responding well after surgical intervention to remove her conjoined parasitic twin.

29 tourists booked off Rameswaram coast
Chennai, November 10
A group of tourists, mainly from north India and two foreigners, were nabbed by the Tamil Nadu police while enjoying a boat ride off the Rameswaram coast as all activities in the sea have been banned following escalation of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka.

Maoists kill 3 youths
Daltonganj, November 10
Proscribed CPI(Maoist) ultras killed three youths, suspecting them to be from two rival groups in this district of Jharkhand last night, the police said today.

Top ULFA leader held with explosives
Shillong, November 10
A hardcore ULFA militant was arrested in a joint operation by Army and police in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district along with RDX.

Rajasthan withdraws cases against Gujjars
Jaipur, November 10
The Rajasthan government has decided to withdraw cases pending in various courts against the Gujjars in connection with their agitation for ST status in May-June earlier this year.

SP MP’s property attached
Lucknow, November 10
The Allahabad district administration has seized immovable assets worth approximately Rs 3.5 crore of Samajwadi Party MP Atiq Ahmad, who reportedly threatened the main witness in the BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case.

Haj flight to Jeddah today
Patna, November 10
The first special flight carrying 105 Haj pilgrims from Bihar to Jeddah via Mumbai will be operated from Patna Airport tomorrow, opening a new opportunity for the Haj pilgrims from the state.

Foreign policy is not conducted in a vacuum: Ansari
New Delhi, November 10
Asserting that foreign policy is not conducted in a vacuum on the basis of a wishlist, Vice-President Hamid Ansari today expressed concern that non-state actors have become technologically empowered to unleash enormous destruction among states and societies since the concept of power and influence has undergone tremendous changes.

From cards to fruits, the postman is still busy
Shillong, November 10
Next time the postman rings at your door, you may be in for a pleasant surprise! Besides delivering greeting cards or letters, he may bring a packet of fruits along with wishes from a distant friend.

Justice Subba sworn in as Sikkim HC judge
Gangtok, November 10
Justice A P Subba today took oath as the judge of the Sikkim High Court here. Governor Sudarshan Agrawal administered the oath of office to Justice Subba at a simple ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan this afternoon.

Tea production line to be showcased at IITC
Guwahati, November 10
The three-day India International Tea Convention (IITC) will be held here from November 22. It will facilitate the buyers from India and abroad to visit tea plantations and tea factories in Assam besides interacting with the representatives of all Indian tea companies at a single venue.

Trader’s son freed after 10 days
Silchar, November 10
The son of a businessman in Cachar district of Assam who was kidnapped by suspected rebels on November 1 from Bidyaratanpur village near Mizoram border, returned home early today.

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PM leaves for Moscow today
Several pacts likely to be signed
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Moscow tomorrow affirming India's desire to strengthen the strategic relationship with Russia as well as bolstering the civilian nuclear and military ties with a time tested friend.

Dr Singh's summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will facilitate the two leaders send a message that the special ties between India and Russia based on mutual trust and understanding is as relevant today as evidenced during the Cold War. This assumes importance following certain developments in the recent past which New Delhi believes did not warrant any reaction.

Clearly, Moscow is seeking India's enduring commitment to expanding its multi-faceted ties with Russia despite its engagement with other major powers of the world.

The two countries are expected to sign several agreements pertaining to trade, energy and technology transfer, including one on jointly developing and producing a multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA). On the anvil are also agreements on resolving the rupee-rouble trade, cooperation in preventing drug trafficking and transnational crime as well as space cooperation.

The Prime Minister is expected to take up the issue of delays in arms delivery and cost escalations by Russia. This is a point that has not gone down well with the defence establishment even though India continues to depend on Russia for nearly 50 per cent of its military hardware. Russia is substantially behind in respect of the $ 1.5-billion contract to modernise Adm Gorskhkov, an aircraft carrier that India purchased from Russia in 2004.

A resolution of this issue during the Singh-Putin talks might be an important breakthrough thus reducing the irritants in the India-Russia relationship.

To set at rest Russian concerns, the Prime Minister will assure Putin that Russia will continue to be India's most important partner in defence cooperation despite the US and Israel being important suppliers of military hardware to India.

A bilateral agreement enabling Russia to build four additional power reactors at the Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu is being firmed up. A protocol of intent for this was signed during Putin's visit to India in January this year when he was the the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. The two sides are in the final stages of getting the protocol ready.

The Prime Minister will also discuss roadblocks connected with visa procedures and high transportation costs impeding the two countries from achieving the trade target of $ 10 billion by 2010.

Meanwhile, Dr Singh told the RIA Novosti news agency in an interview that "Russia occupies a special and unique place in India's foreign relations. Our time tested relationship is based on deep mutual trust and understanding."

Emphasising that defence cooperation was an "integral element" of the Indo-Russain strategic parntership, Dr Singh stressed that "Russia is the only country with which we have a formal mechanism of an Inter-Governmental Commission for Military-Technical Cooperation which meets annually under the chairmanship of the two defence ministers."

The Prime Minister concludes his two-day visit on Monday evening and scheduled to return to the capital in the early hours of Tuesday.

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BJP to have first CM in south India
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 10
The BJP will have its first Chief Minister in a southern state with the swearing in of Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa on Monday but the marriage of convenience with the Janata Dal (S) will be far from smooth with the latter maintaining that the saffron party will have to abide by the 12 conditions laid down by the JD (S) supremo H D Deve Gowda.

There is also some friction amongst the coalition partners on allocation of portfolios. According to sources, the JD (S) does not want to give away the plum portfolios of Home, PWD, Energy and Urban Development which were with it earlier and are slated to be handed over to the BJP under the earlier power sharing agreement. Tough bargaining is already on between the coalition partners and since no solution is in sight as of now only a two member ministry of the Chief Minister and his deputy will be sworn in on Monday.

The BJP also has to contend with the conditions laid down by Deve Gowda. The conditions, if met, will virtually ensure that Kumaraswamy as head of the Coordination Committee of the coalition with rule the roost and all decisions will have to be routed through him. Though Kumaraswamy had said the conditions were only “suggestions” and offered ‘unconditional’ support to the BJP, the JD(S) has again waved the condition banner boldly in the face of the saffron party even before the government has been sworn in. JD (S) spokesman Y S V Datta said the BJP will have to abide by the conditions laid down by Gowda and that this was a pre-condition for support to the saffron party.

The saffron party is however keeping mum on all contentious issues and will tackle them only when Yeddyurappa is installed in the ‘gaddi’. The swearing in ceremony, which will be conducted on the steps of the Vidhan Sabha at 12.25 pm according to the laid down auspicious moment, is expected to be a show of strength and a herald for things to come for the BJP. Top BJP leaders including L K Advani and Rajnath Singh will attend the ceremony.

Yeddyurappa himself in press conference today decided to present a pro-rural image, something which the JD (S) is known for. He said the government would focus on rural development besides rooting out corruption. He said the BJP was pro-farmer and it would be his challenge to ensure rural people were not depreived of any facility. He said issues of portfolios would be solved in consultation with senior leader Yashwant Sinha who is also expected to arrive in the city shortly.

Meanwhile, there is intense speculation in the JD ((S) as to who will be its nominee for the post of deputy Chief Minister. Former CM H D Kumaraswamy has thrown in his candidature on the basis of the support from the party legislature group while his brother H D Revanna and party state president Merajuddin Patel have the blessings of Deve Gowda. Though Kumaraswamy himself has said he does not have any interest in the post, he has also pointed out that it is the party legislators who will take a decision on the issue indicating he may be “forced” to accept the post. The JD (S) is meeting tomorrow in this regard.

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IAF’s ‘red letter day’
To get first 2 Hawks today
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
The long wait of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to get a new range of jet trainers is finally over with the first two of the 66 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) “BAE Hawks” due to arrive from Britain at their new home at Air Force Station, Bidar in Karnataka tomorrow.

It will mark another “red letter day” in the history of the IAF, which has been awaiting the planes for almost a quarter of a century. The two aircrafts, left Britain for their new home yesterday and another four of them are expected to arrive by the end of the year. This will be the IAF's first induction of new aircraft after the frontline Su-30MKI combat jets more than a decade ago.

The Rs. 80 billion ($ two billion) deal between the IAF and the BAE Systems was signed in March 2004 following protracted negotiations with the British company looking to get a higher price for the aircrafts from India.

As per the deal BAE Systems will supply 24 Hawks in flyaway condition and the remaining 42 will be manufactured under license by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Bangalore complex.

Although the two Hawks would arrive tomorrow, they would officially be inducted into the IAF by the year-end when the force receives its second batch of the AJTs.

60 IAF pilots have already undergone training in batches at the RAF Valley in Britain to fly the Hawks and who will in- turn, train other pilots at the Bidar airbase.

Currently, the IAF trains its rookie pilots on the sub-sonic Kiran-Mark II aircraft at the Bidar flying school, from where they are straightaway catapulted to the MiG-21 fighters and other combat jets.

The HAL has been working on the development of an intermediate jet trainer (IJT) that is on the verge of induction in the IAF.

In anticipation of the Hawk’s arrival, the facilities at Bidar have already been upgraded with the runway being extended and new hangars and parking bays being added.

Bidar is also home to the IAF's 52 Squadron or the Suryakiran aerobatic display team, as it is better known. They currently fly the Kiran-Mark II and at some stage, when adequate numbers are inducted, will convert to the Hawk.

Under the MoU, the British Government would ensure full support and cooperation for the supply of the AJTs as also licensed production and supply of spares.

The Cabinet committee on security headed by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had cleared in principle the deal to acquire Hawks in September 2003. However, trouble arose recently over the price which had been negotiated earlier as there had been an accounting error on the Indian side whereby the cost of tooling at the HAL had been overlooked while coming to a final price. India then informed the British High Commission that the price would have to be borne by the BAE.

With the IAF set to increase its strategic role in the coming years, the Hawk is set to play a major role for training pilots to fly supersonic fighters.

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Fight for Nandigram, says Aparna Sen

Kolkata, November 10
Eminent film-maker and actress Aparna Sen today called on the people of West Bengal to fight for the cause of Nandigram just as they did in the case of Rizwanur Rahman.

“Like we protested in Rizwanur’s case seeking a CBI probe into his mysterious death, we must also do the same in this case,” Sen said while joining social activist Medha Patkar and others at Esplanade here.

Cautioning the Left Front government in West Bengal, she said, “It may be running the state government, but the state is not its fiefdom.”

Likening the state to a slaughterhouse, Sen quoted from a Bengali poetry, saying “this bloodied slaughterhouse is not my country.”

“For our democratic rights, we must fight,” the much-acclaimed film-maker and actress said.

Sen, who said she was boycotting the Kolkata International film festival beginning today, also praised Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi for his statement criticising the CPI(M)’s forcible ‘recapture’ of Nandigram. — PTI

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1,000 more CRPF men for West Bengal

New Delhi, November 10
With sudden spurt in violence in trouble-torn Nandigram, the Union home ministry today decided to rush about 1,000 additional CRPF personnel to West Bengal to deal with the situation.

"Considering the overall situation in the state, the Central government has decided to make available one battalion (nearly 1,000 personnel) of the CRPF to the state government," a home ministry spokesman today said.

The ministry has also asked the state government to make optimum use of the state security force personnel who are familiar with the local language and terrain so as to achieve the desired objective of restoring peace and normalcy in the area, he said.

The decision to send additional force to Bengal comes after Union home minister Shivraj Patil received a request from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya recently in the wake of fresh incidents of violence involving a number of casualties. — PTI

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India monitoring situation in neighbourhood: Antony
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
Defence minister A.K. Antony today said that India might be called upon to play a significant role in ensuring peace and stability in its extended neighbourhood, and for the purpose the country's security apparatus should be well-equipped to deal with any challenges.

Addressing country's top strategic experts and defence planners here at the foundation day celebrations of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), the defence minister said, “With our growing stature, the need of the hour is to develop stronger defence capabilities to safeguard our interests.”

He said India, as a prominent regional player, might be called upon to play an increasingly significant role in ensuring peace and stability in our immediate as well as extended neighbourhood and in the Asian region.

“We have to ensure that our security apparatus is well-equipped to deal with various challenges effectively.”

While sizing up the security threats and scenario facing India, the defence minister said the threat from terrorism continues to be the major security challenge, but felt that there were little chances of conventional war breaking out in the region. However, there may be scattered incidents of localised skirmishes, border incursions, civil strife, maritime and other potential threats, he added.

Without naming Pakistan, the defence minister said India was monitoring developments in the region. The changing dyanmics of the security situation call for eternal vigil and a continuous review and reform of the country’s security apparatus.

Terrorism, with its global network, financing and support from various quarters, continues to pose a grave threat, Antony said.

Insurgents, supported by external forces propagating extremist ideologies result in irregular, but long drawn-out warfare, the minister said. The access of terrorists to weapons of mass destruction, be they nuclear, radiological or biological, can make the situation worse, he said.

In the days and years to come, we need to be better prepared to deal with such challenges, the defence minister said.

Emphasising on transparency in the defence sector, he said there would be zero tolerance on corruption in meeting defence requirements.

There will be zero tolerance on corruption in meeting our defence requirements, he said, adding that increased transparency would lead to cost-effectiveness in the defence sector. 

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Checking Fires
Govt to involve forest management panels
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
The government is planning to involve joint forest management (JFM)committees on a large scale in its centrally sponsored plan for modern forest fire control methods to avoid collosal monetary losses and damage to environment and bio-diversity due to forest fires. In the coming week, experts, academicians and forest officials will gather in the Capital to discuss subjects ranging from fire prevention management, its ecological and chemical effects to design a system for better prevention and control strategy.

Forest fires are a major cause of degradation of Indian forests. Himalayan forests, particularly Garhwal Himalayas, have been burning regularly during the past few summers, say MoEF officials, adding that management of forest fires through the involvement of local communities will form an important aspect of the control strategy.

Indian forests are well endowed with rich fauna and flora. The country’s plant wealth is about 45,000 species.

As per the government data, there are about 1.7 million hectares of productive coniferous forests with such valuable timber and pulpwood species as fir , spruce , deodar, kail and chir pine. The estimated growing stock of these forests is over 200 million cubic metres, the monetary value of which could be anywhere between Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000 million.

Forest fires can be caused by natural as well as man-made causes. Officails say that statistical data on fire loss is weak, but it is estimated that the proportion of forest areas prone to fires annually ranges from 33 per cent in some states to over 90 per cent in others. And 90 per cent of the forest fires in India in India are started by human beings, resulting in wide-ranging adverse ecological, economic and social impacts.

“To safeguard precious forests and their value, it is necessary to have more rigorous protection from fire damage. Fires result in loss of valuable timber resources and depletion of carbon sinks, degradation of water catchment areas resulting in loss of water and loss of biodiversity and extinction of plants and animals,” experts say.

Country's forests are also suffering serious depletion due to unrelenting pressure from increased demand for fuelwood, fodder, timber, inadequacy of protection and diversion of forest lands to agriculture and pastoral uses.

As far as reach of forests in India is concerned, they cover a sizeable area.

At present there are more than 1 lakh JFM committees which are involved in forest protection and conservation covering more than 22 million hactares of land.

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More forces for poll-bound, violence-hit hills
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 10
Election to the tribal autonomous council in violence-ravaged north Cachar Hills in Assam will be held under heavy deployment of paramilitary forces and the police while the Army will continue to assist the administration in keeping the ultras under check.

14 additional companies of paramilitary force personnel are expected to arrive in the district where election to the tribal autonomous council is going to be held in two phases on November 26 and December 1 under the shadow of the Black Widow militant group that has been running riot in the area.

The Black Widow group, the anti-talk faction of Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), has so far killed three Congress candidates in the district. The latest victim was a Congress candidate, Derbeitham Hmar, on November 3. The ultras also killed seven CRPF men last week in the district making a mockery of the government’s claim to have augmented security cover in the violence-ravaged area.

The election was earlier postponed in the wake of spurt in killings by the ultras. The Congress has been in power in the hill council since 2001. The contest is basically confined between the Congress and the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC).

With militants on the prowl, poll candidates have preferred to stay indoors while leaving their posters and festoon to do the talking for them during the run up to the election. Sources in north Cachar Hills informed that there is hardly any electioneering by candidates in the hills.

A Congress spokesman informed that the party had requested the state government to provide additional personal security officers, armed with AK series assault rifles, to the party candidates in the area as the militants were targeting Congress candidates.

The Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, however, assured that election would be held smoothly and under tight security despite repeated attempts by militants to thwart the same. 

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Lakshmi brings cheers to parents
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 10
For the Tatmas from Bihar it was a Diwali with a difference. They lost the girl touted to be the goddess Lakshmi and named as such because she was born on Diwali day two years back with four pairs of limbs and got back a normal baby who is responding well after surgical intervention to remove her conjoined parasitic twin.

Late Friday before the sounds of crackers faded Lakshmi cried when her mother Poonam was leaving the ICU resulting in joy among doctors attending on her as it indicated the baby was in control of her sensory organs. Poonam reacted to the development by distributing sweets among the doctors and her family including her husband Shambhu who is a daily wager and her son Mithilesh.

Lakshmi’s recovery is proceeding steadily since she was removed from the ventilator yesterday and there was more good news today when she partook a whole glass of milk. She is also able to sip water orally although she is being fed intravenously. In a gradual relaxation of visiting timings, doctors allowed Poonam to be with her daughter for two hours. During this period they also lifted Lakshmi’s hands to see her reflexes, which they said were normal.

“Our baby has been given a new lease of life thanks to the doctors”, said Poonam who said her next goal in life was to see her daughter walk. The family will remain in the city for another two to three months during the course of which Lakshmi will undergo physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions. There is likely to be another addition to the Tatma family during this period with Poonam being six months pregnant.

Doctors, including Dr Sharan Patil, the man behind Sparsh hospital and who is responsible for bringing Lakshmi and her family from Bihar and giving them free medication heaved a sigh of relief today as Lakshmi crossed the crucial 72 hour post surgery barrier. Lakshmi will however remain in ICU for two to three days to give more time to her wounds to heal.

The girl is trying to stretch her legs gently besides moving her arms. She is also able to remain awake for longer periods and is conscious of the things happening around her. “She gives impish smiles to the nursing staff”, said Dr Patel adding Lakshmi was also able to identify people easily. The doctor said all bio-chemical and blood tests conducted on the patient were satisfactory and that Lakshmi had also passed normal motion through her repositioned excretory opening.

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29 tourists booked off Rameswaram coast
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, November 10
A group of tourists, mainly from north India and two foreigners, were nabbed by the Tamil Nadu police while enjoying a boat ride off the Rameswaram coast as all activities in the sea have been banned following escalation of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka.

A Coast Guard helicopter patrolling over the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay spotted a boat carrying a large group, which included women and children. It immediately alerted the local police.

The police immediately swung into action and intercepted the boat carrying 29 tourists at Pamban Bridge, which connects the mainland with the island town of Rameswaram, 650 km from here.

The tourists, mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra and two foreigners, were booked for violating the ban and were let off after paying a fine as they were innocent and had been lured by the boat owner who promised to take them on a joy ride in the sea by charging Rs 50 each.

Boat owners have been told not to take tourists in the high sea as Sri Lankan Navy was attacking LTTE ships and heavy gunfire was being exchanged in the area.

The police said Sri Lankan refugees from the Mandapam camp, near the Pamban Bridge, indulged in smuggling activities and LTTE boat had earlier been spotted in the area. As such, vigil along the coast line has been strengthened.

A case has been registered against the boat owner and others hve been warned not to venture out in the sea for the time being.

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Maoists kill 3 youths

Daltonganj, November 10
Proscribed CPI(Maoist) ultras killed three youths, suspecting them to be from two rival groups in this district of Jharkhand last night, the police said today.

The Maoists slit their throats and shot them dead, thinking they belonged to rival Tritiya Prastuti Committee(TPC) and Jharkhand Liberation Tigers’ Association(JLTA), police said today.

The CPI(Maoist) carried out the operation in two separate incidents under Paki police station, police today said.

The deceased were identified as Devant Yadav, alias Ratnesh, Rikesh Paswan and Manoj Bhuiyan.

The police said Manoj was a self-styled area commander of the TPC. Bodies of Devant and Rikesh were recovered this morning from Karimari jungle near Balumath-Paki main road, while Manoj’s body was found near Nurumadhya school.

The police said the CPI(Maoist) dragged out Devant and Rikesh from their homes and killed them.

On November 6, the CPI(Maoist) blew up the residence of its rival group TPC’s self-styled zonal commander Anurag Paswan’s brother, creating more panic in the ongoing tussle between two warring factions continued unabated in the district. —UNI

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Top ULFA leader held with explosives

Shillong, November 10
A hardcore ULFA militant was arrested in a joint operation by Army and police in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district along with RDX.

West Garo Hills SP J.F.K. Marak told PTI that ‘sergeant major’ of ULFA’s ‘109 battalion’ Ratul Rabha with 3 kg of RDX was arrested from Oidoba village near the Meghalaya-Assam border last night.

The police believes the explosives were shipped from Bangladesh and meant to be used for sabotage in Assam.

Marak said a group of ULFA militants, led by senior ULFA cadre Mada Koch, were holed up somewhere on the border of West Garo Hills district with Goalpara district in Assam and were believed to be operating from there.

Koch, intelligence sources said, joined the ULFA in 1998 and was leading attacks in Lower Assam. A massive manhunt has been launched in the area to nab other militants. — PTI

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Rajasthan withdraws cases against Gujjars

Jaipur, November 10
The Rajasthan government has decided to withdraw cases pending in various courts against the Gujjars in connection with their agitation for ST status in May-June earlier this year.

The decision will pave way for withdrawal of 42 cases against 263 people in connection with the incidents of violence during the agitation which head left 25 people dead.

The decision was taken after the meeting of the Gujjar leaders including the Gujjar Reservation Action Committee convener Col. Kirodi Singh Bainsla with the government representatives here today.

Besides, four old cases lodged at Hindon last year against 33 people have also been withdrawn. — UNI

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SP MP’s property attached
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 10
The Allahabad district administration has seized immovable assets worth approximately Rs 3.5 crore of Samajwadi Party MP Atiq Ahmad, who reportedly threatened the main witness in the BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case.

The action comes in the wake of the UP Gangster Act being slapped against the SP MP and his associates.

On the orders of the DM Ashish Goel, four multi-storeyed buildings were seized. Two of the buildings are in the Civil Lines area near the high court, another near Palace cinema and the fourth at Lyall Road, which has around 26 shops. The shopkeepers have also been served with a notice to vacate.

An empty plot has also been seized in Kasari Masari, where the don-turned MP reportedly encroached on some land owned by one Pushpa Singh.

Four bank accounts — three in Allahabad Bank at Lukerganj branch and one in Bank of Baroda at Khuldabad Branch — have also been seized.

Member of Parliament from Phulpur, Atiq’s property has been attached on three earlier occasions.

His brother Ashraf is the main accused in the BSP MLA Raju Pal’s murder. Pal was shot under the Dhumanganj police station area of Allahabad on January 25, 2005.

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Haj flight to Jeddah today

Patna, November 10
The first special flight carrying 105 Haj pilgrims from Bihar to Jeddah via Mumbai will be operated from Patna Airport tomorrow, opening a new opportunity for the Haj pilgrims from the state.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar will see the first group of Haj pilgrims off at the newly constructed Haj House here after a religious congregation prior to the departure of the flight.

Official sources here today said during the next fortnight two Jeddah-bound flights would be operated from here everyday to carry about 100 odd Haj pilgrims in each of them.

A total number of 3345 Haj pilgrims from Bihar had so far registered their names for the annual pilgrimage from the state this year. — UNI

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Foreign policy is not conducted in a vacuum: Ansari

New Delhi, November 10
Asserting that foreign policy is not conducted in a vacuum on the basis of a wishlist, Vice-President Hamid Ansari today expressed concern that non-state actors have become technologically empowered to unleash enormous destruction among states and societies since the concept of power and influence has undergone tremendous changes.

Delivering the keynote address on ‘Emerging Foreign Policy and Security Challenges For India’ on the 42nd Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses Foundation Day here, Mr Ansari said,’’ The concept of power and influence has undergone tremendous changes. Today, strong nation-states are much less feared than weaker ones. No-state actors have been technologically empowered to unleash enormous destruction among states and societies. Soft power projections are as important as hard power instrumentalities.

The Vice-President said, “the concept of ‘power’ and ‘influence’ has undergone tremendous changes. Today, strong nation-states are much less feared than weaker ones. Non-state actors have been technologically empowered to unleash enormous destruction among states and societies. Soft power projections are as important as hard power instrumentalities.”

On foreign policy, he said it must perforce result from the manner in which a country persuades the external world to respond to its national vision, including its security requirements, and the supportive structure it brings to bear in terms of national capabilities.

He said: “There is one set of factor that impact the security and foreign policies of countries, including our own. Needless to say, the traditional imperatives also remain in place. How then do we harmonise the two, respond to security imperatives and energise the policy impulse? This, to my mind, is the challenge of the day that requires to be addressed by the strategic community.”

“Any exercise in structured thinking is premised on conceptual clarity. Our terms of reference today pertain both to security policy and to foreign policy. In the first place, the two are not synonymous since national security has domestic dimensions as relevant as external ones. The concept of security itself has acquired depth and a new meaning; it now encapsulates non-traditional security and is focused on comprehensive human security,” he added.

Globalisation, with its market integration and instantaneous media of communication, had created extensive interdependencies down to the village level, he noted.

He said, “If there is one challenge that I wish to highlight today as being of critical importance and yet under-appreciated for its likely impact, it is the predominantly state-centric discourse of our national security policies.”

“The protection of a state from external aggression and internal threats is increasingly seen as one component of a more comprehensive approach to security - that of human security. There is a need to look at security of individuals and peoples in this more holistic sense - where protection of individuals from all forms of violence, from hunger and disease, from natural and man-made disasters, from socio-economic and political inequity is the goal,” Mr Ansari added. — UNI

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From cards to fruits, the postman is still busy

Shillong, November 10
Next time the postman rings at your door, you may be in for a pleasant surprise!

Besides delivering greeting cards or letters, he may bring a packet of fruits along with wishes from a distant friend.

The regional postal department has undertaken the initiative to deliver fruit packs which will provide market to the farmers of the region.

“This is the new age postal department, diversifying into marketing organic agro-based products here and encouraging friends and family with such produces. The initiative, ‘Retail-pose’, also aims to encourage people to wish their family and friends with organic agro-based products instead of cards and letters,” chief post master general of north-east M. Iawphniaw said.

She said the initiative would provide market access to the farmers producing organic agro-based produces and an opportunity to wish family and friends in a unique way.

As of now, the post office here is selling and delivering kiwi fruit, an indigenous produce of New Zealand, cultivated in Arunachal Pradesh.

The fruit is being delivered in Meghalaya and other parts of the country by the postal department.

“We have orders from 22 post offices throughout the country for the agro-based produces. Special orders have been placed for the famed organically produced ‘Lakadong’ turmeric from Jaintia hills in Meghalaya,” she said.

“The agro-based produces also carry information about the manufacturing state. This also promotes tourism,” Iawphinaw said.

“After a packet with indigenous produce reaches other parts of the nation and information is provided in the packet about the manufacturing state, curiosity builds up and it encourages tourism for the manufacturing state,” she said.

The postal department here claims the initiative is the first of its kind in the country and would pick up in the rest of India in due course. The department here is also selling and delivering pictures and other household paraphernalia and knick-knacks produced by local NGOs here.

“Anyone who wants to send such products to their friends and relatives or buy them can contact the postal department,’ she said, adding the department is also thinking in terms of having a cold storage to store perishable items.

“As of now all the produces we sell and deliver are of non-perishable nature, but going by interest we may soon have a cold storage," she added. — PTI

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Justice Subba sworn in as Sikkim HC judge

Gangtok, November 10
Justice A P Subba today took oath as the judge of the Sikkim High Court here.

Governor Sudarshan Agrawal administered the oath of office to Justice Subba at a simple ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan this afternoon.

Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, his ministerial colleagues, the Sikkim High Court Chief Justice A N Ray and other senior civil and police officials were present at the swearing-in ceremony. — PTI

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Tea production line to be showcased at IITC
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 10
The three-day India International Tea Convention (IITC) will be held here from November 22. It will facilitate the buyers from India and abroad to visit tea plantations and tea factories in Assam besides interacting with the representatives of all Indian tea companies at a single venue.

More than 400 delegates from different parts of India and abroad would take part in the convention. Delegates including prospective buyers and tea board officials from Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Pakistan, Egypt, Kenya and Sri Lanka have already confirmed their participation. Organisers are also expecting delegates from China and Indonesia.

The tea industry expects the chances of Indian tea getting better prices in the domestic and the foreign markets once the buyers coming to the IITC, are exposed to well-equipped and state-of-the-art tea factories in some of the Assam’s tea estates located in pollution free environment.

“The IITC which is being organised by the Tea Board of India and the Union Commerce Ministry would facilitate direct and intensive interactions between the tea growers and prospective buyers from India and abroad and would be a big boost to the Indian tea industry that is fighting a prolonged slump since 1999,” the tea industry official said.

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Trader’s son freed after 10 days

Silchar, November 10
The son of a businessman in Cachar district of Assam who was kidnapped by suspected rebels on November 1 from Bidyaratanpur village near Mizoram border, returned home early today.

The police said the suspected kidnappers left Mrinmoy Dev, alias Titu (19), in Jamalpur village near Bhaga at about 3 am today, from where he had reached home on foot.

Soon after his arrival the guardians took Mrinmoy to a hospital for treatment. A group of suspected militants armed with automatic weapons raided a Kali temple in Bidyaratanpur, about 65 km from here at 10.30 am on November 1 and kidnapped Mrinmoy, son of Dipankar Dev. — UNI

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