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Nation at a Glance

US watch on Indian ships

Mumbai (PTI): India continues to be on the United States Coast Guard's 'watch list' after 14 Indian flagships were detained abroad from January 2004 till date for failing to meet the guidelines set by the Port State Control inspection authorities.

The inspection body, an authority coordinated by the International Maritime Organisation, carries out inspection of foreign ships at various ports to verify if their equipment comply with international regulations and if the vessel is manned and operated in compliance with these norms.

The number of such ships has, however, decreased in the last six months as a result of strict remedial measures taken by the Indian shipowners in consultation with the director-general of shipping, officials of the Indian National Shipowners' Association said.

As many as 11 Indian ships were detained between January and April 2004. 'Gradually, the detention came down due to all-round efforts of the director-general of shipping in consultation with the industry and the classification societies,' an official said.

India remains on the 'black list' in the medium-risk category under the Paris memorandum of understanding and on the 'grey list' under the Tokyo MoU 2003.

Farmer curfew in Rajasthan

Jaipur (PTI): Four Rajasthan towns remained under curfew on Tuesday as the situation continued to be tense in the wake of the farmers' agitation for irrigation water supply from the Indira Gandhi canal for rabi crops.

The curfew was clamped on Ghadsana, Rawala and Anupgarh in Sriganganagar district last week and in Khajuwala in Bikaner district on Monday. No fresh incident of violence had, however, been reported since Monday night, police said.

Almost all towns in Sriganganagar district observed a bandh on Tuesday to protest police action against the agitating farmers.

The farmers were also demanding the release of their three leaders ' Hetram Beniwal, Sahib Singh Punia and Vallabh Kochar ' arrested under the National Security Act for inciting violence.

The agitation in the first-phase areas of the canal project spread to neighbouring Bikaner district on Monday and one person was killed in a stampede in Khajuwala during a clash between the agitators and the police.

Tourist troop to India swells

New Delhi (PTI): India has recorded a 24 per cent increase in arrival of foreign tourists till November 2004, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

According to provisional estimates, 2.98 million foreign tourists visited the country from January to November, minister of state for tourism Renuka Chowdhury said.

The minister said that out of the last five years, only 2001 and 2002 registered a decline in the number of foreign tourists because of several incidents, including the September 11 attacks in the US, the Afghanistan war and the terrorist attack on Parliament.

Seaman death

Vadodara (PTI): Diaz Alan, a Filipino seaman who was found unconscious on board a foreign cargo ship on Saturday, had died of cardiac arrest, police said on Tuesday. The ship arrived from Iran at the jetty of a Dahej-based company on Saturday.

Students held

Ghaziabad (PTI): Two students from Baraut town in Bagpat district have been arrested on charges of attempting to murder another student, police said. Arun and Anuj, students of Class X and XII of Saraswati Shiksha Sadan, tried to kill Rahul with a sharp-edged weapon after a scuffle.

Air force row

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has declined to stay a Delhi High Court order quashing an Indian Air Force board for promotion to the rank of air marshal. The high court order also asked the IAF to reconsider the candidature of two candidates who were denied promotions. The court posted the Centre's appeal challenging the high court order for hearing on December 13.

Temple axe

Sabarimala (PTI): Six Class-IV employees of the Travancore Devaswom Board were suspended for stealing cash offerings made in the Ayyappa temple here. The theft was brought to the notice of the temple's vigilance wing by a pilgrim on Saturday, who saw two of them pocketing an envelope containing Rs 1,192 from the hundi, board sources said.

Tick

The Kozhikode-based Sunni Cultural Centre of the Karanthur Markaz has decided to adopt 250 orphans from Jammu and Kashmir. The children, between 7 and 12 years, are from places like Anantnag, Kupwara and Baramulla.


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