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 Our secular bond will not weaken: Vajpayee
Declaring that Islam had been an integral part of India's national life for nearly a thousand years, the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today assured Iranian parliamentarians that India would remain unwavering in its commitment to the principle of secularism.

 There may not be disqualification on Jayalalitha, says judge
Even while dismissing the petitions of the AIADMK general secretary, Ms. Jayalalitha, seeking suspension of her conviction in the TANSI land deal case, Mr. Justice Malai Subramanian in the Madras High Court today observed that, ``in my view there may not be any disqualification for the petitioner to contest in the election.''

Admiral Sushil Kumar to be first CDS
The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sushil Kumar, will become India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and will head the country' nuclear forces. Highly-placed defence sources said that the decision to name Adm. Sushil Kumar as the CDS was taken on Monday. As CDS, he will become a single-point military adviser to the Government and command the country's nuclear assets.

U.S. plane crew to be freed
After a 11-day standoff, the United States and China today reached a deal paving the way for the release of the 24 crew members of an EP-3E Aries II Navy surveillance plane. The crew, including three women, had been detained since their plane made an emergency landing on Hainan Island after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet on April 1.

Bomb found near North Block
A bomb kept inside a tiffin box was found on Tuesday night in the parking lot in front of Gate No. 2 - the entrance to the Union Ministry of Finance - at the North Block here.

Widening coalition against terrorism
India is not the only country that Iran plans to join in the war against international terrorism. At the end of this week, Iran and Saudi Arabia are expected to sign a treaty focussing on cooperation against crime, terrorism, narcotics- trafficking, and money laundering.

Sri Lanka offers limited ceasefire
The Sri Lankan Government has declared a five- day ceasefire to mark the Sinhala and Tamil New Year on April 14 and announced a surprise decision to release 10 prisoners that it said were Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres.

17 killed in Bihar violence
At least 17 persons, including three pilgrims, were killed and 40 others injured in the violence that marred the first phase of the panchayat elections in Bihar which witnessed over 60 per cent turnout.


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