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Grim battle on, Colombo denies reports of exodus
Barring attempts by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to breach Sri Lankan defence lines near Jaffna town, it was a day of relative low-intensity warfare in the island's northern peninsula, as the latest rebel offensive to retake Jaffna entered the fourth day.

U.S. monitoring situation
In the face of escalating fighting in Jaffna, the Clinton administration has said it was watching the situation carefully while saying there were conflicting reports on what is happening in the peninsula. Washington, at the same time, in taking note of the ongoing peace efforts has said it was willing to facilitate a process, if asked to.

Air Chief briefs Cabinet panel
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A. Y. Tipnis, today briefed the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on his assessment of the military situation in northern Sri Lanka.

 Lara Dutta is Miss Universe
The 21-year-old Indian model, Ms. Lara Dutta, who said beauty pageants give women a platform to ``voice our choices and opinions'', was named Miss Universe 2000 today.

Cabinet okays creation of three new States
The decks have been cleared by the Government for the formation of three new states - Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Chattisgarh - with the Union Cabinet giving its approval today to three separate Bills which will carve these States out of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Uttaranchal to include Haridwar
The new state of Uttaranchal, to be carved out of the hill regions of Uttar Pradesh, is to include the disputed areas of Udhamsingh Nagar and Haridwar district.

CBI seeks information on match-fixing
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today requested the public, the media, sports bodies and sportspersons to part with any information they might have in connection with cases of match-fixing and betting in cricket.

Three held for Bihar killings
Three of the 15 accused for killing 11 persons in Bihar's Lakhisarai district last Thursday were arrested while the Bihar Law Minister, Mr. Shakeel Ahmed Khan, pressed for a special investigation team to probe the incident and a special court for speedy trial.

China, Taiwan plea to U.S.
In a significant development, China and Taiwan have sought the U.S. intervention in ``diplomatic attempts'' to settle their long- standing dispute over the island's status, the Washington Post reported today.

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear export
Russia has eased restrictions on export of nuclear materials and technologies that kept it from building more nuclear reactors in India, Iran and Cuba.


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