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

Close shave as fire engulfs MLA hostel

Mumbai (PTI): Scores of people trapped inside the new MLA hostel had a narrow escape as they were evacuated safely following a huge fire in the building on Friday afternoon, fire brigade sources said.

The fire, which broke out at 12.22 pm on the mezzanine floor of the 14-storeyed Manohar Aamdar Nivas in south Mumbai, soon spread to the first floor, gutting the wooden furniture, electric wires and installations stored in the area, sources said.

However, no casualties were reported and all inmates were evacuated, they said. The hostel is frequented by MLAs from other constituencies as well as government officials.

Two persons, who suffered respiratory problems, owing to the thick smoke were rushed to GT Hospital. Panic spiralled when the lift in the building stopped working and the density of the smoke increased, leading to commotion.

Many women and elderly people were spotted getting down the snorkel or being lifted with the help of cranes. Several people were given breathing apparatus to prevent problems due to the heavy smoke.

Four fire engines, four water tankers and an ambulance were rushed to the spot to control the blaze, which was extinguished by 2 pm. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Sources said an investigation would be carried out on Saturday.

Indian cab driver shot in US

Washington (PTI): A part-time cab driver of Indian origin was among five persons gunned down in a random shooting spree in the Washington suburbs, police said.

The victims were killed in Maryland suburbs over a period of 18 hours between 6 pm on Wednesday and 10 am on Thursday.

Prem Kumar Walakar was shot at a mobil gas station on Aspen Hill Road in Connecticut Avenue on Thursday. The other shootings took place at two shopping centres, gas stations and on the lawn outside an auto dealership in the suburb, killing four persons, the police said.

While it is not clear how many persons were involved in the shooting, police suspect the hand of “a skilled shooter” in the incidents. “We do have someone who so far has been very accurate in what he was attempting to do and so we probably have a skilled shooter,” Montgomery county police chief Charles Moose said. The police said race did not appear to be a motive as the victims included two White men, a White woman, an Indian and a Hispanic woman.

Bomb scare in apex court

New Delhi (PTI): Panic gripped the Supreme Court complex on Friday after the police control room received a call in the morning, saying that a bomb had been planted on the premises.

After a search by the bomb disposal squad, the call was declared hoax. The call was traced back to a public call office on the premises of Patiala House courts. The police arrested one Virender Singh, who had made the call.

Leopard kills child

Dehra Dun (PTI): A child from Adilbadri died after being attacked by a leopard. Puja was playing outside her home when the animal sprung on her. Her mother could not save her despite her best efforts. Another girl was injured in a similar incident in Lansdowne tehsil.

Gulshan murder

Mumbai (PTI): Bombay High Court ordered authorities to renew the passport of Tips cassette owner Ramesh Taurani and deposit it with the court registrar in view of the government challenging his acquittal in the Gulshan Kumar murder. Taurani’s passport will be released when he has to go abroad.

Govt nod for port

New Delhi: The government on Friday gave its consent to steel manufacturer Rashtriya Ispat Nigam to enter a pact with Andhra Pradesh government to transfer 1,400 acres of land for development of a minor port at Gangavaram, reports our correspondent. The port will help divert cargo-traffic from the larger Vizag port and cater to the industries located between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada.

Antique stolen

JAIPUR (PTI): A 200-year-old dagger has been stolen from a transparent box of Albert Hall Museum. Police are conducting searches in antique showrooms to locate the 18-inch dagger.

Tehelka probe

New Delhi (PTI): The apex court has shifted a defamation case by Union minister and Samata party leader V. Sreenivasa Prasad against Tehelka and its CEO Tarun Tejpal to Delhi. A bench transfered the case from additional chief metropolitan magistrate, Bangalore, to chief metropolitan magistrate, Delhi.

Indian Oil’s Mathura refinery, once accused of causing discolouration to the marble of the Taj Mahal, has turned into a bird sanctuary, a report said. The refinery has set up an 18,000 sq metre park where 30 varieties of migratory birds have been sighted.

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