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Parties should fix quota for women: E.C.
The Election Commission has suggested that it should be made mandatory for political parties to give a fixed percentage of seats to woman candidates rather than reserve constituencies exclusively earmarked for women. This is one of the series of suggestions made by the Commission in its agenda for electoral reforms commended for political parties.

India disappointed as Japan strikes a different note
India is deeply disappointed at Japan's continuing inability to adjust its policies to the new strategic realities in the subcontinent. The latest offer from the Japanese Government to host talks between India and Pakistan is being seen here as not only gratuitous but also as reflective of a deeper problem with Tokyo's approach to the region since Pokharan-II.

 Pak. move to check abuse of blasphemy laws
In the first-ever bid to check the abuse of blasphemy laws against minorities, the Pakistani Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, said today that an FIR in a blasphemy offence would be registered only after ``preliminary investigation'' and scrutiny by a Deputy Commissioner.

Hurriyat not reciprocal, says Fernandes
The Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes, today said the Hurriyat leaders' response to the Government's offer of talks had not been ``encouraging''.

Industry awaits a rollback
Having almost given up hopes of any relief from the Finance Minister, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, on his budget proposals, the industry is now keenly watching the ongoing tussle at the political level on a rollback of food and fertilizer subsidy cuts.

Bodo council dissolved
The Assam Government has dissolved the interim Bodo Autonomous Council and constituted a monitoring committee comprising legislators of the area in its place, official sources said here today.

Indian dies in Pakistan
An Indian reportedly working for military intelligence died in custody in Pakistan on April 17 and his body has been lying in a Lahore hospital since then, according to official sources. The sources said that the Pakistan authorities have agreed to return the body.

Supreme Court sets aside HC verdict in widow case
The Supreme Court, in ruling that a destitute widow can claim maintenance from her father or mother, was adjudicating a case relating to one Sham Singh who had willed one-third of his property each to his widowed daughter, who was dependent on him, and two brothers.

CTBT another victory for Putin
The Russian Parliament has overwhelmingly ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), handing yet another victory to the President-elect, Mr. Vladimir Putin.

Narayanan returns
The President, Mr. K.R. Narayanan, returned here tonight after a five-day State visit to France, the first ever by an Indian head of State to that country.

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