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India News

India denies its peacekeepers smuggled arms in Congo

By IANS,

New Delhi/London : Indian officials Monday denied charges levelled in a BBC programme that its UN peacekeepers in the Congo had smuggled arms to militias in the strife-torn country.

"The (arms smuggling) charge is frivolous," an official in New Delhi said.

"There was a minor instance of gold smuggling. This is being investigated," the official told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity.

BBC reported Monday that Indian and Pakistani peacekeepers looted gold and gave arms to militias in the Congo but the United Nations covered up the scandal.

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'Continue ban on export of monkeys'

By IANS,

Shimla : People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an organisation fighting cruelty to animals, Monday urged the Indian government to continue the ban on export of monkeys.

"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to the Ministry of Environment & Forests urging it not to lift the ban, after the Himachal Pradesh government's recent request to lift the ban on the export of monkeys," Dharmesh Solanki, PETA campaign coordinator, said here.

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PM asks elected representatives to fight female foeticide

By IANS,

New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday appealed to all elected representatives to fight female foeticide and asked the health ministry to train a million plus representatives of village panchayats to carry the fight to the grassroots level.

"Action to protect the girl child has to be on the agenda of every elected leader in our country. This is not to say that only women should be part of this campaign," Manmohan Singh said

Ahmadinejad visits Pak

By IANS,

Islamabad : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who visited Islamabad Monday on a four-hour "official stopover" on way to Sri Lanka held meetings with the top Pakistani leadership with a focus on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.

"The President discussed the issue with President Pervez Musharraf where they agreed to sign the agreement soon on the pipeline," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters after the one-hour meeting at the presidency.

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Citizen scientists can contribute greatly to research in India

By IANS,

London : Time and again, 'citizen scientists' - members of the public who voluntarily help scientific studies - have made a real difference to research, for example by meticulously collecting data.

In biodiversity-rich countries such as India - custodian of some of the world's key ecosystems, habitats and species - citizen science promises to bring new hope in the struggle to protect biodiversity.

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Kolkata zoo gets rare attractions

By IANS,

Kolkata : Zoo visitors in Kolkata will now get to see white peafowls, open-billed storks and hamadryas baboons at Alipore Zoological Gardens.

"We brought 11 pairs of various birds and animals from Orissa's Nandankanan Zoological Park Sunday evening. These include three rare species - a pair of white peafowl, two pairs of open-billed storks, a pair of hamadryas baboons," Alipore zoo director Subir Chowdhury told IANS Monday.

"Besides, in exchange of a male giraffe from our zoo, we have also got langurs, black ducks, gharials, pythons and white ibis birds," Chowdhury said.

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ISRO to send man into space in seven years

By IANS,

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh) : India will be in a position to carry out a manned space mission within seven years from now, said a top official of the Indian space agency here Monday.

Addressing the media after the successful launch of 10 satellites in one go, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair said: "The government has given us pre-project funding of Rs.950 million (for the manned mission) and we have initiated necessary activities."

Poppy being illegally cultivated in Himachal

By IANS,

Shimla : Poppy, the source of opium, is being cultivated illegally in Himachal Pradesh's remote Kullu valley, police said Monday.

Poppy cultivation is banned in the hill state but some farmers in the valley's Ani region, about 200 km from here, are defying the law.

Deputy Superintendent of Police B.S. Negi said Monday that a team of policemen has been sent to the region to take action.

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Pipeline to dominate India-Iran talks Tuesday

By IANS,

New Delhi : India and Iran will hold talks Tuesday to push an ambitious $7.5-billion tri-nation pipeline that also goes through Pakistan when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes here on his first visit seeking to re-energize drifting ties between the two countries.

Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Islamabad Monday on the first leg of his three-nation whirlwind tour, will come here on a working visit lasting six hours Tuesday after a state visit to Sri Lanka.

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Orissa alerts fishermen of cyclonic storm

By IANS,

Bhubaneswar : Orissa Monday alerted its fishermen and advised them not to venture into the sea as a deep depression formed over the Bay of Bengal had intensified into a cyclonic storm, officials said.

Latest satellite imageries indicate that the deep depression over the southeast and southwest Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards and intensified into cyclonic storm Nargis, A. Das of the Bhubaneswar meteorological office told IANS.

It lay centred at 5.30 a.m. over the southwest, southeast and west-central Bay of Bengal at about 700 km south of Gopalpur in Ganjam district.

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