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 'Offer addressed to Pak. too'
The Government's ceasefire initiative in Kashmir is addressed not only to Kashmiri militants but ``also to Pakistan,'' the Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K.Advani, said today, even as in the Valley militants blasted an Army vehicle killing three soldiers and wounding 12. (In all, 11 persons, including five militants, were killed, and 22 injured in various incidents on the first day of the unilateral ceasefire.)

Bush ready to take over, Gore goes to the people
Even as the Texas Governor, Mr. George W. Bush, is going ahead with the transition process, the Vice- President, Mr. Al Gore, has asked the American people to stay behind him. The Constitution mattered more than convenience, he said and appealed for patience.

Respond to LTTE offer, say peace activists
Less than a day after the LTTE leader, Mr V. Prabhakaran, offered unconditional peace talks provided the Government created a `cordial' atmosphere, a blast in northern Sri Lanka, suspected to be the handiwork of the separatist rebels, killed seven civilians and wounded at least 28. The incident took place early this morning when a private bus exploded as it ran over a landmine planted on the highway at Kabitigollewa in Anuradhapura district.

BCCI verdict on tainted players today
The five tainted players and a physiotherapist presented themselves in front of the Disciplinary Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and promptly denied any involvement in betting and match-fixing.

Cong grills Govt. on QRs
The plight of farmers figured in both Houses of Parliament for the second consecutive day with the Congress being forced to walk out in Rajya Sabha after the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, marshalled arguments to best Congress leaders, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.

Laloo in judicial custody as bail lapses
The former Chief Minister and RJD president, Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, was remanded to judicial custody on the technical ground that his provisional bail in connection with the disproportionate assets case was not renewed even as it lapsed today.

Paswan launches party
The much-touted political outfit of the Communications Minister, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, finally came into being amid fanfare at a public rally here today.

Hizb owns up blast, threatens more
The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen stuck the first blow to the Indian ceasefire initiative in Jammu and Kashmir by claiming responsibility for a landmine attack near Anantnag that killed three soldiers.

 Inderfurth asks LTTE to abandon terrorism
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Mr. Karl Inderfurth, today appealed to the LTTE to ``abandon terrorism'' and pursue its political aims through peaceful methods.


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