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 Govt. is committed to federalism, says PM
The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today asserted that his Government truly believed in federalism and was totally committed to it.

SC go-ahead for trial of Jayalalitha in SPIC case
The Supreme Court today cleared the decks for commencement of the trial before a special court in Chennai against the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalitha, Mr. A.C. Muthiah, industrialist, and others in the `Rs. 28.29- crore loss SPIC disinvestment case'.

Pranab, Azad to meet Jayalalitha
The Congress president, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, today said she would send the CWC members, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee and Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad as her emissaries to confer with the AIADMK chief, Ms. Jayalalitha. Speaking to newspersons over dinner, Mrs. Gandhi said though the AIADMK continued to be an ally as of now ``the party had certain concerns'' which had to be taken care of.

RBI cuts bank rate by 0.5 per cent
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today cut the bank rate and the credit reserve ratio (CRR) by 0.5 per centage point.

Protests against Haigam killings
Tension mounted across Kashmir and people took to the streets in a number of areas today protesting the killing of five civilians including three women in Haigam near Sopore on Thursday. One person was killed and many were injured when police opened fire in Maisuma area in Srinagar to disperse demonstrators this morning. Curfew was clamped in many parts of Srinagar after the situation went out of control.

 We will help combat insurgency: Myanmar
The Myanmar Foreign Minister, U Wing Aung, has said that Yangon would like to see India and China as ``peaceful, big neighbouring countries'' and stressed that his country had developed good relations with both New Delhi and Beijing.

Budget session: Cong. to pursue aggressive line
The Congress intends to continue with its aggressive streak in Parliament during the Budget session which commences on Monday. Though the Budget and its fallout will dominate the session, the party has shortlisted a host of other issues on which it proposes to haul the Government over the coals. On top of the party's agenda is the human tragedy resulting from the quake in Gujarat.

'Hard' Budget will be a deception: CPI(M)
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said any decision to present a `hard' Union Budget, citing funds for relief and rehabilitation for the quake-hit Gujarat as the reason, would amount to `deception.'

Pak. releases fishermen
Pakistan today announced the release of 84 Indian fishermen as a `humanitarian gesture' following India's decision to free 160 Pakistani fishermen last week.

'U.S. planes target Baghdad'
Iraqi state television said Baghdad was the target of a United States air raid this evening.


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