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 Cong. formalises pact with AIADMK front
After weeks of procrastination, the Congress today formally announced its tie-up with the TMC and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. In Pondicherry, however, the Congress and the TMC will fight the AIADMK and PMK.

 Jayalalitha will give a good govt.: Moopanar
The Tamil Maanila Congress president, Mr. G. K. Moopanar, today announced that the ``Congress-TMC alliance with the AIADMK is on'' in Tamil Nadu and virtually stood guarantor for the AIADMK general secretary, Ms. Jayalalitha, providing a ``good government'', if voted back to power.

Destruction of Buddha statues: Pak. mission fails
The Taliban has rejected the appeal made by Pakistan and the international community for reconsideration of its decision for destruction of the pre-Islamic statues including the two giant Buddhas in Afghanistan.

Sri Lankan PM for Pak.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, will leave for Islamabad on Sunday to confer with the Pakistani Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in yet another effort to rescue the Bamiyan Buddhas from destruction by the Taliban.

Bush urged to secure release of political prisoners in India
A bipartisan group of 19 members of the House of Representatives, including some prominent India bashers, have written to the U.S. President, Mr. George Bush, urging him to take up the issue of political prisoners with the Indian Government.

 A rather different Holi
In a bid to ``break the ice'' with one of the organisations speaking out frequently against Christianity, the Bishop of the Church of North India visited the headquarters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad here today to greet its senior vice- president, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, on the occasion of Holi.

Hurriyat team's Pak. visit in doubt
Mr. Yaseen Malik, JKLF leader and senior member of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, is scheduled to leave for the United States later tonight. Mr. Malik is among the five members named by the APHC as members of its ``delegation'' to visit Pakistan to further the peace process.

Soldiers for peace want early talks
The India-Pakistan Soldiers' Initiative for Peace (IPSI) has urged the Governments of India and Pakistan to carry forward the peace process towards an early dialogue.

 India will back Mauritius on Diego Garcia: Narayanan
The President, Mr. K. R. Narayanan, today affirmed that the security and sovereignty of Mauritius was of ``paramount importance'' and India was firmly with the Government of Mauritius on the issue of restoration of its sovereign right over ``its own soil'' in the Chagos Archipelago.


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