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Nation at a Glance

Floods wash away 41 labourers

Shimla (PTI): At least 41 people, mostly labourers, were feared killed and 15 injured in flash floods caused by a cloudburst near Solang in Kullu district late on Thursday night, official sources said.

Twenty-six bodies have so far been recovered while 15 are missing, Kullu deputy commissioner R.D. Nazeen said.

Seventeen bodies were recovered from Kangri Nallah, one from Nehru Khud, three from Bhang, two from Manali and three from Solang Nallah, Nazeen said.

The injured have been admitted to a hospital in Manali.

The incident occurred around 11.40 pm, when the labourers from Jharkhand and Nepal were engaged in the construction of the Rohtang tunnel project.

The labourers, including a woman and three children, were either washed away or buried under the debris being carried by the swollen Kangri Nallah, 22 km from Manali.

Rescue operations are in progress and over 150 security personnel are combing the area for the remaining bodies.

The district administration has provided ration, clothing, utensils, blankets and other commodities to the affected labourers and a temporary rehabilitation centre has been set up in a local senior secondary school.

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh has flown to Manali to take stock of the situation.

SC clears Laloo trip to Pakistan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the CBI’s Patna unit to release Laloo Prasad Yadav’s passport and allowed him to go to Pakistan, reports our legal correspondent.

A bench of Justices S.. Variava, P. Venkatarama Reddi and Ashok Bhan took on record Laloo Prasad’s written undertaking that he would not question the evidence of witnesses in the fodder scam cases recorded in his absence.

The apex court bench said with Laloo Prasad fulfilling this requirement under criminal law, there was no hurdle in his going to Islamabad to attend a “confidence building” media conference.

The court also directed the former Bihar chief minister to return the passport to the CBI by August 18.

The bench had on Thursday directed the CBI to release the passport for renewal and on Friday, once the undertaking was given by Laloo Prasad, formally allowed him to travel abroad.

Laloo Prasad will leave for Islamabad on Saturday as part of a delegation of Indian parliamentarians and media persons to attend the meet organised by the South Asia Free Media Association.

Tit-for-tat fast threat

Mumbai: The minister against whom social activist Anna Hazare will undertake a fast unto death from August 9 has decided to pay back in the same coin.

Civil supplies minister Suresh Jain, who has been charged by Hazare with corruption, said on Friday that he would go on an indefinite fast if the state government did not take any action against the anti-corruption crusader. “Hazare has been running a blackmailing unit in the name of a crusade and a social service organisation,’’ Jain said.

Attack on MP

New Delhi (PTI): An Independent member from Bihar, Rajesh Ranjan, alleged in the Lok Sabha on Friday that he was attacked by some people near Kanpur while travelling in a train to Delhi. Ranjan added that the mob threw acid bombs at him.

Kalam to visit UP

Lucknow (PTI): President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will visit Lucknow on August 11, official sources said. Kalam will take part in the silver jubilee celebrations of the Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. This will be the President’s first visit to Lucknow.

Mumbai explosives

Salman trip

Jodhpur (PTI): Two courts on Friday allowed actor Salman Khan, facing trial in poaching cases, to go abroad for shooting and a stage show.

Hrithik case

Mumbai (PTI): Bombay High Court has restrained police from arresting filmmaker Rakesh Roshan, his actor-son Hrithik and father-in-law J. Omprakash in cases of alleged cheating till August 20 and deferred their petitions seeking to quash a lower court order to probe these cases.


India is developing a re-usable spacecraft that can be put into orbit for a month and brought back to earth for future use. The recoverable spacecraft will be ready for launch by 2005, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director G. Madhavan Nair said.

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