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 Portugal backs India's claim for U.N. seat
The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today wound off his two-nation, five- day foreign tour with an assurance from Portugal that it would support India's candidature for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.

Kudos for India in Human Development Report
The national launch of UNDP's ``Human Development Report (HDR) - 2000'' here today had many applauds for India. The country has been ranked 128th among 174 countries in the Human Development Index, which is based on a combined measure of longevity, educational attainment and ability to buy basic good and services.

Ties with others not at India's cost: Russia
Russia has pledged to take into account India's security concerns in its relations with third countries. The Russian Defence Minister, Marshal Igor Sergeyev, assured his Indian counterpart, Mr. George Fernandes, that Moscow would not take any steps in its defence dealings with other countries that could impair India's security.

A 'centre and regions' in Sri Lanka
The ruling People's Alliance (PA) and the Opposition United National Party (UNP), who will meet for a last round of negotiations tomorrow, have agreed on the crucial issue of the nature of the state.

 Let 1975 accord be the basis for solution: Gujral
Emphatically pleading that the current debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly's resolution on autonomy be treated as an internal affair of the country, the former Prime Minister, Mr. Inder Kumar Gujral, has suggested that the 1975 accord be made the basis of efforts for a solution.

 'Autonomy is not separation'
There are indications that the Central Government will soon begin a dialogue with the separatists in Kashmir, particularly the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, as the decks for the talks seem to have been cleared, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, said today.

 Elian back where he 'belongs'
Forty-one minutes after the injunction requiring his stay in the U.S. expired, the chartered jet carrying Elian Gonzalez, his father Mr. Juan Miguel Gonzalez and stepmother took off from the Dulles International Airport to Havana, Cuba.

EC to derecognise seven regional parties
The Election Commission has decided to derecognise seven regional parties in some States based on their poll performance.

Hundreds feared dead as refugee vessel sinks
Hundreds of people were feared dead today after an overloaded Indonesian passenger ship carrying refugees escaping religious violence in the eastern Moluccan islands sank in rough seas, officials said.

Ban lifted
The Government today lifted the ban on inter- State movement of petroleum products by road for industrial customers and extended the deadline for implementing the uniform licensing procedure till August 15.

PM criticised for promising consensus on CTBT
The Congress(I) today took the Prime Minister to task for promising consensus on the contentitious CTBT in Lisbon. ``Announcements of such significance should not have been made outside the country, he should have said it before Parliament or on national television'' said the CWC member and chairman of the AICC foreign affairs cell, Mr. Natwar Singh.

Liberia says 21 Indian hostages freed
Liberia said today that rebels in Sierra Leone had freed 21 Indian U.N. Peacekeepers and handed them over to the Liberian authorities. The Government statement did not make clear whether the 21 soldiers were a group seized in the town of Kuiva on June 5 or came from a separate contingent surrounded in nearby Kailahun since May.

Match-fixing report delayed
The deadline for an interim report into cricket match-fixing in South Africa has been extended to August 11, an official of the King's Commission of inquiry said today.


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