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Nation at a Glance

Court recalls three Tehelka witnesses

New Delhi (PTI): The Venkataswami Commission on Monday ordered the recall of three witnesses for an in-camera cross-examination, in the light of some “confidential documents” produced by Tehelka.com scribe Aniruddha Bahal, rejecting apprehensions by the counsel which said such a move would “open a Pandora's box.”

Acting on applications filed by the commission's counsel Dayan Krishnan, Justice K. Venkataswami allowed the recall of retired major general S.P. Murgai, colonel Anil Sahgal and defence official P. Sasi. “In the peculiar circumstances of the case and having regard for the privilege claimed by the Union of India, in respect of the documents in question, the proceedings will be held in-camera,” the commission noted.

The cross-examination of the three witnesses will be strictly confined to the respective documents and not beyond that, it added. It said apprehensions raised by the counsel were “without any basis and only imaginary”.

“If any fresh material, requiring further evidence comes to the notice of the commission requiring further evidence, it is open to the commission to call upon the concerned person to give evidence, as the commission is obliged to give a finding on the new material,” it added.

Mercury spill harmless

Port Blair (PTI): The mercury spill in the Andaman Islands caused by an earthquake on Saturday will not result in environmental damage as it occurred in the glass enclosed lantern room.

Director of lighthouses and lightships Harbans Kumar said around 25 kg of mercury, used as floater in the lighthouse, spilled out during Saturday’s earthquake. The spilled mercury damaged a lighthouse on East Island.

The liquid metal was later removed with the help of a mercury sucker, Kumar said. A lighthouse as high as the one on East Island, which is 1 km from the sea shore, uses approximately 190 kg of mercury for rotating a powerful beam out to sea. Cracks have also appeared on the wall of the lighthouse transmitter and generator rooms which would be inspected by Kumar.

Indian stabbed in Moscow

Moscow (PTI): A 24-year-old Indian was stabbed at Prospekt Mira Street on Sunday. The man is employed in a local fashion boutique. He was rushed to a hospital in a serious condition.

Police have filed a criminal case and do not rule out the possibility of a racial attack, but they declined to identify the victim. On Friday, a group of skinheads killed a melon vendor from Azerbaijan in St Petersburg.

Minister attacked

Nashik (PTI): One person was injured when irate Nationalist Congress Party activists stopped the car of state forests and environment minister Surupsingh Naik and pelted stones, smashing a window-pane of the vehicle at Alangun. They alleged insulting treatment towards an activist at Surgana, police said.

Simi activists held

Nashik (PTI): Three members of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India were arrested at Malegaon during a preventive action drive. Mohmed Jahid Abdul Majid, 21, Nurul Huda Samsudh Hoha, 19, and Mohmed Amin Mohmed Yunus, 25, were later remanded to judicial custody.

Tada challenged

Mumbai (PTI): A 1993 bomb blast accused, Shaikh Aziz, challenged the Constitutional validity of Tada (P) Act by filing a petition in a special court. His lawyer argued that the Act was ultra vires the Constitution and the special court should make a reference to the Supreme Court.

Dargah suicide

Ajmer (PTI): A 37-year-old man jumped into a cauldron of boiling rice at Khwaja Moinudin Chishti’s dargah to fulfil his father’s mannat. Zayreen Moinuddin later died in the J.L.N. hospital from burns. According to a statement given before his death, he sacrificed his life for his father, who wanted him to appease Khwaja sahib.

Raise for seamen

Mumbai (PTI): More than 35,000 men on Indian flag vessels will receive a 8.33 per cent raise in basic wages from April 2002. By the National Maritime Board agreement, wages were hiked by an average of Rs 275 a month.

The trial run of the renovated 75-tonne wooden chariot of Lord Venkateswara was carried out around the shrine complex on Monday in Tirupati. But to the dismay of devotees, the run took six hours as against the usual two hours.


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