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 Clerics put off meet on Osama
Islamabad, Sept. 18. As the world watched with bated breath for the decision of the Taliban militia on handing over Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in last week's terrorist attacks in the U.S., the much-publicised meeting of the grand council of clerics, scheduled to take place at Kabul today, was postponed by a day. Meanwhile, the Pakistani delegation returned here tonight apparently without much success in its mission.

 Bush to consult world leaders
Washington, Sept. 18 In his effort to structure a global coalition to support America's fight against terrorism, the U.S. President, Mr. George W. Bush, will be meeting leaders of various countries this week. He will hold talks with his French counterpart, Mr. Jacques Chirac, later in the day and meet the British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, on Thursday.

Fears over U.S.-Pak. 'deal' allayed
New Delhi, Sept. 18. The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today secured the Union Cabinet's endorsement of the Government stand so far on the changed situation after last week's terrorist attacks in the United States, but not before the Cabinet sought and got some explanations.

India, Russia worried
Moscow, Sept. 18. India and Russia share concerns that any impending U.S. strike against terrorist bases in Afghanistan may have negative regional consequences.

Israel halts operations
Jerusalem, Sept. 18. The Israeli army today suspended all ``offensive operations'' against the Palestinians upon orders from the Defence Minister, Mr. Binyamin ben Eliezer, a Defence Ministry spokesman said. The announcement came just hours after the Palestinian leader, Mr. Yasser Arafat, declared that he had ordered his forces to observe a ceasefire and exercise ``maximum restraint.''

Blackwill meets Navy chief
New Delhi, Sept. 18. As the U.S. considers military action in Afghanistan, the U.S. ambassador to India, Mr. Robert Blackwill met the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sushil Kumar.

DA hike for Central staff
New Delhi, Sept. 18. The Government today announced a two per cent increase in the dearness allowance for serving Central Government employees and a similar hike in the dearness relief for pensioners. The hikes are with retrospective effect from July 1.

TN to move SC on Cauvery
Chennai, Sept. 18. Despite the Centre convening a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) on September 22, the Tamil Nadu Government today decided to go ahead with the move to approach the Supreme Court impleading both the Karnataka Government and the Central Government as respondents.


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