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Nation at a Glance

Tobacco health bill exceeds tax income

New Delhi (PTI): The government spends nearly Rs 13,500 crore to cure diseases caused by tobacco compared with Rs 5,000 crore it earns as excise duty from export of tobacco products, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

Although the government had no intention to ban the entire tobacco industry production, it intended to regulate the sale of tobacco products across the country and also keep in mind the interest of workers associated with tobacco production, minister of state for health A. Raja said during question hour.

He said a comprehensive legislation to ban the sale of tobacco products to minors, advertising these items and prohibiting smoking in public places, was awaiting Cabinet approval before being tabled in Parliament.

The Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) Bill, 2001, was introduced in the Upper House in 2001, which had referred it back to the Parliamentary standing committee.

With the committee now having cleared the Bill after making certain recommendations, it would be placed before the Union Cabinet for its approval, after which it would be re-introduced in the Rajya Sabha, Raja said.

Children flee juvenile home

Bahraich (PTI): Fifteen children fled from the state juvenile home but eight of them were caught later, officials said.

They escaped by breaking the wall of a toilet on Tuesday night, district magistrate Vinod Kumar Malik said.

However, eight of them were caught by police and the employees of the home later in the night, Malik said, adding that all those who fled were in the age group of 10 to 18.

A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident. Two security guards absent from their duty have also been suspended. Proceedings to suspend the superintendent of the home have been initiated, Malik added.

Meanwhile, the deputy chief probation officer, Sant Ram, who reached from Lucknow to look into the matter said the government has taken a serious view of the incident.

The government would be urged to release money for carrying out repair work for the dilapidated juvenile home building, he added.

Bihar paper leak probe

Patna (PTI): The Bihar government has ordered an inquiry into the alleged leak of question papers for mathematics and social science for the Class VIII board examination in the state.

Education minister Ramchandra Purve said the government would take stringent action against the officials found guilty. According to news reports, the question papers were sold at a rate ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 200.

Families reconvert

Rampur (PTI): Around 22 families belonging to Scheduled Castes, who had earlier converted to Christianity, embraced Hinduism at a ceremony in Drhyal town. The ceremony saw the families embracing the Balmiki faith.

Lawyers’ strike

Jammu (PTI): Work in Jammu and Kashmir High Court, district courts and subordinate courts was paralysed as lawyers here went on a three-day strike over the transfer of a “tainted” judge of Karnataka High Court to the court. “We have urged the state government and high court to revoke the transfer order (if any) of a tainted judge among three judges involved in a sex scandal in Karnataka to Jammu and Kashmir,” bar association member V.K. Manjoo said.

Anti-terror fight

New Delhi: Canada and India have decided to train each other’s personnel on immigration control, forensics, transport security and terrorist finance to broaden bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism, reports our special correspondent. This was agreed upon at the conclusion of a two-day meet of the Indo-Canadian Joint Working Group, set up in 1997.

Jobseekers clash

Sonipat (PTI): At least 24 people, including a deputy superintendent, were injured in a clash between youths and police. The youths ransacked a sugar mill on being denied employment, prompting security personnel to open fire.

Bangla crossover

Jammu (PTI): Sixty-seven Bangladeshis were arrested near the international border while exfiltrating to Pakistan clandestinely. The batch of 35 men, 12 women and 20 children were held at Nikki Tawi.

Parliament had an unusual visitor when a langur stalked its corridors on Wednesday. The langur chased away the rhesus monkeys, frightened the staff and overturned garbage cans. After creating terror for half-an-hour, the simian left the place.


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