The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Heritage house collapse kills 2

mumbai (PTI): Two women, including a teenager, were killed and over 22 persons injured when the rear portion of a heritage building in the congested Fort area of south Mumbai collapsed on Friday morning, police said.

The stairway of the rear portion of the over 80-year-old Palkhiwala building suddenly gave way at around 9.45 am, trapping several under its debris, fire brigade sources said.

Over 22 persons have been rescued so far by fire brigade officials, who had to fight their way through the debris and dust to reach the trapped residents. More people are feared trapped under the debris, the sources added.

The building, which houses over 30 tenants and several small offices, was undergoing repairs.

“We heard a rumbling at around 9.30 am and some people came out screaming that they could see cracks in the wall. We immediately asked some residents to rush out of the building. However, some like myself were trapped when we reached the second floor and the building fell like a pack of cards,” a resident, who fractured his leg, said.

Over 10 fire engines and more than six ambulances have been rushed to the spot to rescue people from the five-storey building. The rescue operations were, however, hampered due to the narrow passage and the fallen debris.

UK to open new visa centres

new delhi (PTI): Visa-seekers for Britain will no longer need to stand in long queues outside the high commission here as new and improved visa services are being introduced from February 3.

The high commission on Friday announced the opening of new application centres in New Delhi, Jalandhar and Chandigarh from that date. More such centres would be opened across the country over the next month, it said.

“The new services will make applying for a UK visa much easier. From February 3, applicants from northern India, for all categories of UK visas, should lodge their applications at one of the visa application centres, rather than at the British Mission,” the commission added.

Those desiring to visit Britain could also submit their applications at any one of the centres instead of travelling all the way to the capital.

In most cases, applications will be approved and the visitor’s passport endorsed with the appropriate UK visa and returned to the application centre by courier, or sent to his home or office address directly. Those who still require an interview will be called for one at a time which suits them, a commission statement said. “Queuing for a visa outside the high commission will now become a thing of the past,” the statement added.

Al-Umma in blast net

Chennai: A special court trying bomb blast cases has convicted 23 activists of the banned Islamic extremist outfit Al-Umma, including its president S.A. Basha and two women sympathisers, on various counts of terrorism following the February 1998 serial blasts in Coimbatore.

The Coimbatore blasts, triggered off minutes before the then Union home minister L.K. Advani was to address a rally for the Lok Sabha elections, had claimed over 50 lives and left more than 250 people injured.

Waste report

new delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to file a status report within two weeks on action taken on the hazardous imported waste in various ports of the country, reports our legal correspondent.

Widow killed

Sonepat (PTI): A widow was beaten to death by a mob, including women, at Rubhra village, about 45 km from here, police said. The villagers alleged that she was seen with two youths under suspicious circumstances and this might be the reason behind the murder.

Rajouri curfew

jammu (PTI): Night curfew has been imposed in Rajouri town and its surrounding areas for three days from Friday as a “precautionary measure” to prevent any untoward incident during Republic Day celebrations. The curfew will remain in force from 8 pm to 6 am till January 27.

Accident averted

allahabad (PTI): Timely detection of a major fault in a coach of the New Delhi-bound Prayagraj Express, carrying Union minister Murli Manohar Joshi, averted a tragedy on Friday, a northern railway spokesman said.

Indian immigrants

nador (MAP): Seven Indians were among a group of illegal immigrants arrested in this northern Morocco city recently. The immigrants, comprising seven Indians and four Bangladeshis, were arrested while trying to sneak into Melilia.

Archaeologists have excavated a Buddhist site, which could date back to the period of Ashoka, in Udhamsingh Nagar in Uttaranchal. The site, approximately 4,000 to 5,000 years old, finds mention by Chinese traveller Huen Tsang in his writings on India.

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