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New population policy: freeze on LS seats
The Union Cabinet today decided to freeze for 25 more years - from 2001 to 2026 - the number of representatives in the Lok Sabha on the basis of the 1971 census. This would enable the State Governments to pursue the agenda of population stabilisation without any hesitation and protect the interests of the States that have done well in terms of population control, as against those that have lagged behind.

Incentives for small families
The Centre today gave the nod to a new national population policy that seeks to hasten the process of population stabilisation through a series of socio-economic measures. The approval came at a meeting of the Union Cabinet this morning.

Army, Air Force begin exercises in Thar desert
The Army and the Air Force have begun a major joint exercise in the Thar desert, about 100 km inside the international border, with the strike corps, elite paratroopers and frontline combat jets participating.

Indian military exercises routine, says Pakistan
Pakistan has described Indian military exercises as `apparently' routine at present and did not find anything `extraordinary' about them, the ISPR Director-General, Major-General Rashid Qureshi, has said.

''Water'': Basu warns against disruption
A showdown appears to be shaping up between West Bengal's ruling Communists and the Opposition BJP over the filmmaker, Ms. Deepa Mehta's move to shoot the controversial film, Water in Bengal after her original plans for shooting in Varanasi ran into a rough weather following opposition from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

VHP 'ultimatum' on Bhopal convention
The senior Vice-President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Mr. Giriraj Kishore, has issued an ultimatum that the Bajrang Dal would ignore the ban orders and hold its three- day national convention at its original venue in the old Bhopal area from February 18 if the State authorities fail to respond to their offer of shifting the venue to elsewhere in the State capital.

Campaigning for second phase ends, Bihar repoll peaceful
Campaigning for the second phase of Assembly elections to 108 constituencies in Bihar, marred by violence in the first round on Saturday, and 70 Assembly seats in Orissa to be held on February 17 ended today.

 National film awards presented
The President, Mr. K. R. Narayanan, and the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley, today called upon the filmmakers to be sensitive to the sensibilities of the viewing public.

U.S. for close relationship with India
The Clinton administration has said that there were a number of issues of specific concerns, sometimes profound, that the President, Mr. Bill Clinton, and the Secretary of State, Ms. Madeleine Albright, would be discussing with the Indian Government; and that the U.S. wanted to have a close working relationship with the world's largest democracy, said the State Department Spokesman, Mr. James Rubin.

'India may not sign CTBT during Clinton visit'
A senior American arms control official believes it is `unlikely' that India will sign the CTBT during the March 20-25 visit by the United States President, Mr. Bill Clinton, to South Asia. ``Certainly, the whole question of non- proliferation will be on the agenda when the President goes to South Asia.''


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