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Nation at a Glance

George sends fax for peace in party

New Delhi: Samata Party president George Fernandes, who is in China on a seven-day tour, has urged party MPs not to wash dirty linen in public while he is away.

In a fax message, the defence minister has asked the MPs — some of who are on the verge of a revolt against him — to hold fire till he returns on April 28 and not embarrass him further, reports our special correspondent.

On April 20, the day Fernandes left for China, two Lok Sabha MPs from his party held a press conference and demanded that he step down as defence minister because he could defend neither the party constitution nor his supporters.

Sources said Fernandes is worried that while he is talking to his counterpart and other dignitaries in Beijing, the Samata Party rebels might go public against him again.

Lok Sabha MP Raghunath Jha, who was forced to resign as the party’s Bihar unit chief to placate Fernandes’ rival and railway minister Nitish Kumar, confirmed receiving the fax. He added that, in deference to Fernandes’ wishes, he would be silent till April 28.

Survey on TN home truths

Chennai (PTI): Only 49.31 per cent of the total 1,18,57,071 married couples have independent bedrooms in Tamil Nadu while only 39.89 per cent of the total 1,41,73,626 households have bathrooms within the house, according to the 2001 census.

Availability of independent bedrooms for married couples (privacy index) was only 42.58 per cent in rural areas while it was 58.17 per cent in urban centres, said the summary of Census of India 2001 — houselisting operations, released here on Tuesday.

The average number of married couples per household in the state works out to 0.84 and this ratio is slightly higher (0.87) in urban than in rural areas (0.81). The percentage of households having no married couple is 24.24 per cent in the state. The census also said 79.03 per cent of the state’s rural and 33.58 per cent of the urban households do not have bathroom facility inside the house.

According to the 2001 census, about 58.52 per cent of the households in the state live in permanent houses, 18.15 per cent in semi-permanent houses and 23.31 per cent in temporary houses.

Court summons for Salman

Mumbai (PTI): A sessions court has directed the prosecution to file on April 28 draft charges against Salman Khan in a hit-and-run case and also asked the actor to be present on that day without fail.

Principal judge A.J. Dholakia did not give his ruling on Salman’s plea to drop the charge of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” as prosecutor R.V. Kini said he would file the draft charges and justify why this charge was made against him.

Salman allegedly drove his vehicle into a bakery in Bandra on September 28, killing one and injuring four.

Forced marriage

Moga (PTI): Poverty has many a victim and 13-year-old Amarjeet Kaur was an unwilling one, having been forced to marry a man double her age at her father’s insistence. Police, however, came to her rescue, ordering the girl’s parents not to send their daughter to her husband till she was 18.

Chiranjeevi kin

Hyderabad (PTI): Telugu actor Pavan Kalyan was arrested on Tuesday after he staged a dharna in front of the office of the English daily, Deccan Chronicle. The younger brother of film star Chiranjeevi accused the daily of resorting to “character assassination” by publishing stories maligning his family’s image.

Sheila Kaul

New Delhi: The CBI has chargesheeted former Union urban development minister Sheila Kaul and her two personal staff seven years after booking them on charges of obtaining “undue favours” to allot out-of-turn government houses. The chargesheet filed before special judge Prem Kumar said as minister, Kaul entered into a conspiracy with her then additional private secretary, Rajan P. Lal, and personal assistant R.K. Sharma and made the allotments, “thereby earning huge pecuniary advantages”.

Colleague held

Jalgaon (PTI): A junior operator of the Maharashatra State Electricity Board in Sangavi was arrested for allegedly trying to set on fire a junior engineer by pouring kerosene on him. Harishankar Lidoria has been admitted to hospital with 65 per cent burns. Sharad Wani has been sent to police custody.

Manglasutras, weighing four grams, would be given to each poor couple who participated in the free marriages conducted by temples in Tamil Nadu. The affluent temples in the state will conduct free marriages for 1008 poor couples in 2003.

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