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India decides to roll out
red carpet for Kofi Annan

What is India News Service,  Thursday, 21 April 2005, 1700 hrs IST

India, which in the past had rebuffed UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's attempts to visit the country, will welcome him finally when he arrives here on a two-day official visit April 26.

Annan had drawn New Delhi's displeasure due to his perceived interest in playing the mediator's role in the Kashmir dispute. Though Annan had said that the UN resolutions on Kashmir were no more relevant, India continued to be wary of his intentions.

In fact, it had even rejected a suggestion by the UN for him to visit the tsunami-hit areas of Tamil Nadu after the Feb 1 tragedy, though he was in the region visiting the areas devastated in neighbouring Sri Lanka.

This will be Annan's third visit to India. The earlier trips were in April 1997 and March 2001. His term ends in December 2006.

The UN Information Centre here said during the visit Annan would meet President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani.

Phukan report to be tabled in House: The government today assured Parliament that the Phukan Commission report on the Tehelka expose would be tabled in the current session of Parliament, even as the Lok Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes as the Opposition demanded the government to table the CVC report on Kargil arms purchases.

None will be spared: Pranab: `No clean chit was given to anyone in the first affidavit,'' the defence minister said.

Reopen some cases: Nanavati: Retired Supreme Court judge G.T. Nanavati, who probed the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, has asked the government to reopen cases against a \93few politicians\94 saying investigation against them was not \93properly carried out\94.

NDA govt was warned of SA gun firm: Even as Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee sought more details about charges that a South African firm, Denel, paid Rs 20 crore to a British company to obtain confidential documents about purchase of self-propelled guns by India, it has emerged that the BJP-led NDA Government was questioned two years ago about how rules were being circumvented to unduly favour this firm.

Hurriyat leaders to board third peace bus: Though Pakistan did not allow the elected representatives of Jammu & Kashmir to board the bus to Muzzafarabad on April 7, decks have been cleared for the Hurriyat leaders to come to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Well-placed sources said that a Hurriyat delegation led by Mirwaiz Omer Farooq would be on board the third bus to Muzzafarabad. The second bus will run tomorrow.

India committed to peace with Pak, says PM: Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has observed that India looks forward to Pakistan implementing its assurances in letter and spirit so that the peace process between the two neighbours is not hindered by violence and terror, the Sino-Indian strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity transcends bilateral issues.

Cabinet hikes paddy MSP: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today announced prices for kharif crops for 2005-06, which includes Rs 10 hike in minimum support price for paddy and no increase in the case of cotton.

Cabinet decides to abolish CAT: The government today decided to amend the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, to provide for abolition of the Central Administrative Tribunal and State Administrative Tribunals.


Schools turn into marriage palaces:
The fate of government schools falling in the periphery of the district is becoming imminent with each passing day as teachers deputed in such areas are getting themselves transferred in relatively easily accessible areas.

17 killed in train accident: At least seventeen people were killed and 80 injured when the Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Express collided with a stationary goods train near here about 30 kms from Vadodara district early on Thursday morning, railway superintendent of police Noel Parmar said.

New Pope's Kerala connection: While the world cheers Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected as the next Pope to lead 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, a priest in Kerala remembers the man as a friend who helped build a church in Alappuzha.

Avalanche expected in Himalayan region: Urging the Prime Minister to put the disaster management machinery on high alert in the Himalayan region to avoid damage, the Federation of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have expressed apprehensions of a disaster in the region owing to melting of snow.


Urdu Press continues to fixate on Kashmir: Reactions in the Urdu press in Pakistan on the joint statement issued during Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's visit are fairly along predictable lines and reflect the ideological positions of the newspapers and their editors/ owners. Jasarat, an organ of the Jamaat Islami, gives "credit" to "India's successful policy and defence of its stance so much so that without displaying the slightest flexibility India has managed to push Pakistan away from its principled stand on Kashmir

Musharraf rules out inspection by IAEA: President Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday that he would never allow foreign inspectors into the country to examine Pakistan's nuclear facilities.

View from abroad

EU objects to Sami's inclusion in team, calls off talks: The European Parliament on Wednesday cancelled talks with a delegation of the Pakistani senate's foreign affairs committee in protest at the inclusion of a member of a faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam.


India decided to welcome Annan:
 His offer to negotiate in the Kashmir dispute had provoked Delhi's displeasure.

Riot cases may be reopened: A Supreme Court judge has asked the government to reopen cases against some politicians who allegedly instigated the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Musharraf refused foreign inspectors: The Pakistan president said he would never allow foreign inspectors to examine his country's nuclear sites.