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 Conflicting claims on Chavakachcheri
Fierce battles continued in the Jaffna peninsula with the Sri Lankan Government today saying troops were engaging the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the ``outskirts'' of Chavakachcheri town over which the separatist group claimed control on Saturday.

Dalai Lama offers to mediate
The Dalai Lama is willing to broker peace in Sri Lanka, a newspaper said today. The Sunday Leader quoted the Tibetan spiritual leader as saying in Berlin that he was ready to lead negotiations to find a political solution to the Tamil homeland issue.

 Speight unrelenting, tussle on
Political tension mounted in the Fijian capital of Suva tonight as at least two shots were reported to have been heard inside the parliament complex, where Mr. Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Indian origin, and some of his Cabinet colleagues were being held captive for the third successive day by a group of armed men led by Mr. George Speight.

Refugee influx resumes
With the LTTE reportedly advancing towards Jaffna, Tamil refugees from various parts of Sri Lanka have started arriving here. A fresh batch of 24 families consisting of 72 Sri Lankan Tamils, including 32 women and 14 children, landed in Arichalmunai near Dhanuskodi from Pesalai on Sunday after a long gap of 12 days.

Annan backs India on U.N. seat
The United Nation Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, has favoured India's candidature for a permanent seat in the Security Council.

Tripura toll 45
The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) guerillas gunned down seven more persons today taking the death toll to 45 in the ethnic and militant violence in the west district during the past 24 hours.

Energy, key issue in Indo-Iranian ties
As India and Iran seek to build a new partnership, energy security and Afghanistan are emerging as important areas of focus in the high level consultations under way here.

Hurriyat for 'meaningful' talks with Centre
The All-party Hurriyat Conference has reiterated that it was not against any ``meaningful dialogue'' for a solution to the Kashmir issue, but rejected any offer for talks within the framework of the Constitution.

Pak. plea to Taliban
Pakistan has asked Afghanistan's ruling Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden to the U.S. after the Islamic militia agreed to extradite ``wanted criminals'' to Islamabad, assuring that no terrorist camps will be permitted to operate from the Afghan soil.

Inflation shoots up
The annual rate of inflation shot up to a 73- week high of 6.31 per cent for the week ended May 6, on sharp increase in the prices of some food articles and petroleum products.

Sherpa sets record
A Sherpa guide, Babu Chhiri, climbed Mount Everest in less than 16 hours, setting a new record for the fastest climb of the world's highest summit, the Nepalese Tourism Ministry said today.


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