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Nation at a Glance

Second MiG crash in a week

Srinagar (PTI): In the second mishap in a week, a MiG-21 crashed here killing both the pilot and the co-pilot.

A defence spokesperson said the MiG-21 trainer aircraft was on a routine sortie when it crashed on Monday night while landing in the Indian Air Force technical airfield area, some 10 km from here, around 10.30 pm.

Wing Commander R. Rastogi and co-pilot Flt Lt. Ganesh were killed in the crash, Lt Col. Mukhtiar Singh said. There were no casualties on the ground.

An inquiry has been ordered into the crash, an air force spokesperson said.

On July 7, a MiG-23 crashed in paddy fields near Mahianwala Kalan village in Ferozepur district of Punjab, with the pilot ejecting out safely.

Dubbed as “flying coffins”, the fighter jets, the earliest to be inducted into the air force, have been involved in a spate of accidents.

In 2003, the air force had lost six fighters planes — three MiG-21s, two MiG-23s and a Jaguar.

According to data presented in Parliament, there were 67 plane crashes from 2000 till February 2003, which took a toll of 31 pilots and 27 civilians on ground.

An overwhelming 32 crashes occurred due to human error and 22 due to technical defects. According to the data presented, only one accident was caused by human error in servicing and three due to bird-hits. Nine of the crashes were either being investigated or were unresolved.

Patiala House courts may shift

New Delhi (PTI): The New Delhi district courts housed in the erstwhile palace of Maharaja of Patiala near India Gate may soon be moved to another area to accommodate more courts, lawyers’ chambers and litigants, the Supreme Court was informed.

A bench of Justices R.C. Lahoti, Y.K. Sabharwal and Ashok Bhan asked the Centre to finalise the choice between the two places — one at Netaji Nagar near Chanakyapuri and another at Rouse Avenue near ITO — within six weeks and report to the court.

Additional solicitor-general Raju Ramachandran informed the bench that during a recent meeting between the Union urban development minister and the Lt Governor of Delhi, the two sites were shortlisted. He said the site at Rouse Avenue, measuring four acres, seemed more suitable for shifting the courts from Patiala House.

Malik held for court absence

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yaseen Malik was arrested by the CBI, reports our correspondent.

Sources said Malik had been arrested to ensure he attends proceedings in a Delhi court where a case of funding terrorist activities through hawala money has been registered against him. A few days ago, special judge S.. Dhingra issued non-bailable warrants against Mailk, who has missed many hearings.

Malik came to Jammu last evening to present himself in a designated Prevention of Terrorism Act court where another case relating to money-laundering from the US has been registered.

Two JKLF workers were arrested last year on their way to Srinagar with a bag containing more than $100,000. On questioning, they said the money was meant for Malik.

Leela Chitnis dies

Danbury (Connecticut) (AP): Leela Chitnis, a pioneer of early Indian cinema who used her roles to challenge the caste system, is dead. She was 93. An early star in Bollywood, Chitnis moved to the US in the early 1980s. She had lived for years at a Danbury nursing home, where she died of complications from a fall, her son said.

Salem plea

New Delhi (PTI): Abu Salem, an accused in the 1992 Bombay blasts case, has alleged in a submission to a Portuguese court that he would be victimised if extradited to India as he belonged to a minority community. His submission has been forwarded to the CBI which is planning a counter-submission to the court, where his trial is on.

Court threatened

Anand (PTI): The civil court judge here has received a letter threatening that the court building will be blown up, police said. The letter received by judge K.. Patel on Monday said the building would be blown up in a day or two. Investigation is underway, the police said but no arrests have been made.

Girls rescued

Kathmandu (PTI): Two Nepalese girls have been rescued from being trafficked to brothels in India. Police rescued the two with the help of a social organisation, on the Indo-Nepal border.

Tick

The five-decade-old tribal museum at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh will be renovated to reflect the changes in tribal culture. Articles used by tribal communities today will be added to show how modernised urban life has influenced tribal people.

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