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Govt. discounts report on Niaz Naik 'mission'
The Government is dismissing speculation in the Pakistani media that Mr. Niaz Naik, former Pakistan Foreign Secretary, may be in the capital for back-channel diplomacy between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Hurriyat leaders may be freed soon
Several important leaders of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, now in Jodhpur jail, are likely to be released shortly as part of the Centre's efforts to create favourable conditions for restoring normality in Kashmir.

Guru Granth Sahib, a juristic person: SC
The Supreme Court in a judgment of ``far- reaching consequences and great significance'' has ruled that ``Guru Granth Sahib is a juristic person'' Therefore ``it can hold and use the gifted properties given to it by its followers out of love, in charity'' and ``this is by creation of an endowment like others for the public good, for enhancing the religious fervour including feeding the poor,'' a Bench said.

Sonia bid to contain Bengal crisis
Amid reports of new political alignments likely in West Bengal, two senior State Congress(I) leaders, Mr. A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury and Mr. Somen Mitra, arrived here tonight from Calcutta on a summons from the party chief, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, in what is seen as a last-ditch effort by her to prevent a split in the State unit.

 Haldia Petrochem project commissioned
The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mr. Jyoti Basu, today commissioned the mother unit of the Rs. 5170-crore Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. (HPL) project and dedicated the 420- KPTA naptha cracker plant to the nation.

Yemeni held in Pak.
A man from Yemen, with suspected links to the Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden, was arrested today trying to cross into Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said.

 Mount Usu erupts again
Japan's trembling Mount Usu erupted for the fifth time, spewing clouds of black ash and steam far into the air yesterday.

Inflation rate up
Sharp rise in prices of naphtha, bitumen and furnace oil pushed up the inflation rate to a 43-week high of 3.74 per cent for the week ended March 18.

Security strengthened around Pak. court
The Pakistan authorities have stepped up security for the judge of an anti-terrorism court who will announce his verdict in a case against the ousted Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif on Thursday, police and Intelligence officials said today.

 Major role for India, Turkey in 'Eurasia' formation: Ecevit
The Turkish Prime Minister, Mr. Bulent Ecevit, today said India and Turkey should play a major role for the formation of ``Eurasia'' following the dismantling of ideological blocs that once divided the world.

Pak. threat to stop rail service
Pakistan has told India that it would have to stop the passenger train service between the two countries unless India fulfilled its obligations under the agreement governing the service, the official news agency APP reported today.


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