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NATION BRIEFS

World war letter

London, Feb. 24 (PTI): A letter written by a wounded Indian soldier from a UK hospital will be the highlight of an exhibition opening in July organised to commemorate the centenary of the World War I.

“Do not worry about me, for I am in paradise. The King came down here last week and shook hands with all the Indians, and asked each one about his wounds and sufferings and gave consolation to each,” the soldier wrote. Over a million Indian soldiers took part in the war.

Shinde relief

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a PIL seeking a probe in the allegation by former home secretary R.K. Singh that home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had interfered with the probe into the IPL betting scam.

Fire at IIT

New Delhi (PTI): A fire broke out at the IIT Delhi campus on Monday, gutting property worth several lakhs of rupees, officials said. The blaze had started at a chemistry laboratory on the third floor of the high-rise building. A short circuit is believed to have caused the fire. No one was injured as the blaze was restricted to one block.

Permit row

Singapore (PTI): Two Indians and a Bangladeshi have been arrested for moonlighting as barbers while on permit to work in the construction sector, according to a media report. They face a fine of over Rs 9 lakh and two years in jail.

Green drive

Thiruvananthapuram (PTI): The Kerala government has decided to take over 150 acres of land near a state-run chemical factory in Kollam district in view of the pollution harming local environment. Chief minister Oommen Chandy said the landowners would be compensated and the area could be used for development activities.

Gold check

New Delhi (PTI): Employees engaged by Delhi airport operators may soon have to face tougher checking by customs officials to control smuggling of gold by them. The move comes after some ground staff were found to be involved in gold smuggling.

Spelling bee tie

Chicago, Feb. 24 (PTI): A spelling competition has been tied between a 13-year-old Indian-origin boy and a 11-year-old girl after they duelled for 66 rounds until finally the judges ran out of words.

Kush Sharma and Sophia Hoffman battled in Missouri county’s annual spelling bee competition. The contest will resume on March 8 for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington.

Kodnani blow

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has refused to extend the interim bail granted to former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani, jailed for 28 years in a 2002 riot case. Kodnani filed an appeal saying she was suffering from acute depression. She will have to surrender as her interim bail expires on Monday.

Goa cabbies

Panaji (PTI): Tourism in Goa was severely hit on Monday as cabbies went on a strike protesting the government’s decision to grant permission to a private operator to enter the trade. Around 7,000 taxis kept off the roads and the operators demonstrated at several places. The protesters have demanded the chief minister’s intervention.

Indian guilty

Dubai (PTI): An Indian in the UAE has pleaded guilty in court to a charge of molesting a five-year-old girl. The 23-year-old, who worked as a supermarket delivery boy, assaulted the girl in a building on January 20.

Heroin haul

Amritsar (PTI): The BSF recovered 10kg of heroin, worth Rs 50 crore, from alleged intruders at a village near the Pakistan border on Monday. The intruders fired on a patrol team on being asked to surrender. The jawans retaliated and the group fled. A search operation followed in which the contraband was found in 10 packets.

Blast cuffs

New Delhi: The NIA on Monday arrested a father-son duo from Mirzapur near Varanasi for alleged complicity in the blasts before Narendra Modi’s Patna rally last year. The two have been accused of providing shelter and explosives to the suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists.

Valley gunfight

Srinagar, Feb. 24: Seven militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Monday.

The forces launched an operation after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the district, defence spokesperson Lt Colonel N.N. Joshi said. The operation, conducted by troops of the 18 Rashtriya Rifles and police, was going on when the last reports came in.

Tejpal phone

Panaji (PTI): Goa jail authorities on Monday filed a police complaint against Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal and six others after several cellphones were found in their cells at Sada sub-jail near Vasco town.

Death relief

Ahmedabad (PTI): Gujarat High Court has commuted the death sentence of a murder convict to life term observing that he has already spent 22 years behind the bars. Raoiji Pawar killed five members of a family in Dubai in 1992 and fled to India. In 2011, a special CBI court awarded death penalty to Pawar and sent the case for confirmation to the high court.