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Hampi Express rams into goods train in Andhra, 24 killed

PENUKONDA: 24 people were killed, at least 16 of them charred to death, and more than 40 others injured when the driver of the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express apparently jumped the signal and rammed into the rear of a stationary goods train in Anantapur district in the wee hours on Tuesday.

The impact of the collision that took place at 3:15 am at Penukonda railway station in Andhra Pradesh was such that four bogies of the express train derailed and one of them caught fire.

"At least 16 persons were charred to death, mostly women passengers, when one of the bogies caught fire after the express train collided with the stationary goods trains" Charu Sinha, Deputy Inspector General of police (Anantapur range), said. Twenty-four passengers have died and the injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals at Penukonda, Hindupur and Anantapur, she said. The DIG said the rescue and relief operations are in full swing and most of the fire services of the district have been deployed at the accident site.

Most of the victims were labourers coming from Hubli and Hospet in Karnataka and were on their way to Bangalore.

"Prima facie it seems that the driver of Hampi Express overshot the signal," railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said in Delhi.

Police have registered a case and both the driver and his assistant of the express train were injured and in hospital and not in a position to speak right now. Railway and local police along with fire fighting men soon brought the flames under control. Rescue as well as relief operations are on, officials said. The injured have been shifted to Penukonda, Hindupur and Anantapur hospitals.

Railway minister Mukul Roy, who was in Kolkata, has rushed to the site of the accident and ordered an inquiry into it. — PTI




Mamata, Karuna to skip PM's dinner

New Delhi: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and DMK supremo K. Karunanidhi will not attend the dinner that is being hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to mark the third anniversary of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance UPA-II at the centre.

As per reports, DMK patriarch Karunanidhi has cited poor health as the main reason for not being able to attend the dinner hosted by the Prime Minister. However, he will be sending senior party leader T.R. Balu to attend the celebrations.

Meanwhile, the firebrand Trinamool Congress leader has not given any specific reason for not attending the event as she is too occupied with her state. The move is also being related to the widening rift between her party and the Congress government over its dilly-dallying to grant a special financial package for West Bengal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will today release a report card on the UPA-II government’s performance in all these years to mark the occasion.Back



Rupee's free fall: Pranab blames eurozone crisis

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday said the global slow down due to the eurozone crisis has impacted the Indian economy and steps are being taken to tackle the situation.

"Global slowdown due to unfolding of eurozone sovereign debt crisis has, inter-alia, impacted the Indian economy through deceleration in exports, widening of trade and current account deficit, decline in capital flows, fall in the value of Indian Rupee, stock market decline and lower economic growth," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Export oriented industries and the capital investment are the most affected sectors, he said. —PTIBack



Rajat Gupta trial begins in US

New York: Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta "threw away his duties" by divulging bank secrets to hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, a US prosecutor said at the start of Gupta's insider trading trial on Monday. The defence punched back that the government had no direct evidence.

Gupta, 63, once a boldface name in business and charity circles, is the most prominent corporate executive charged in a US government crackdown on insider trading in recent years. Galleon Group founder Rajaratnam, an erstwhile friend and business associate of Gupta, was convicted of insider trading a year ago and is serving an 11-year prison term.

Gesturing with his left arm toward Gupta in a Manhattan federal courtroom, prosecutor Reed Brodsky said the case "is about this man" and "how he violated his duties and abused his position as a corporate insider."

As Brodksy delivered his opening argument to the jury, Gupta stared at him, barely moving in his seat at the defence table. His wife, Anita, and their four adult daughters sat in the front row, also absorbed by the proceedings.

During his turn at the podium, Gupta's lawyer Gary Naftalis painted a very different picture of Gupta, who was born in India and attended Harvard Business School before heading to McKinsey & Co management consultancy.Back




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