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Cabinet panel to study telecom corporate setup
The Union Cabinet today formally constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to facilitate corporatisation of the Department of Telecom Services by October 1. The GoM would be headed by the Communications Minister, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan. Announcing this, the Government spokesperson said the panel would study all issues, including employees' pensionary benefits and payscales and submit its report by August 15.

 PM to meet Pope, asks States to uphold law
With a meeting with Pope John Paul II now confirmed for Monday at the Vatican, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today expressed deep concern at the recurring incidents of violence against Christians and their institutions, terming these incidents an aberration and an exception to the general texture of peaceful and cordial relations between the various communities in India.

Talks if militants give up violence, says Advani
The Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani has said the Government was ready to hold talks with Kashmir militant groups provided they accept the Indian constitution and abjure the path of violence and terrorism.

 One killed in Delhi police firing
One person was killed and another injured when a group of policemen fired at a mob, which burnt a police post and three police vehicles, and was threatening to lynch the cops in the congested Yamuna Pushta area of North Delhi over the week-end. At least 14 policemen were injured.

 National Conference firm on autonomy
The ongoing debate on the report of the State Autonomy Committee (SAC) continued to be dominated by the ruling National Conference (NC) stand reiterating that it would not give up the demand for autonomy under any circumstances. Its leaders alleged that both India and Pakistan were working against the NC and that ``security forces were being used as a political tool in the State.''

MUL slashes prices
Maruti Udyog (MUL) today slashed prices of its popular entry level Maruti-800 car, Omni van and its latest offering Wagon-R, the cut ranging from Rs. 25,000 in the case of Wagon-R to Rs. 10,000 in Maruti-EX model. MUL said the new prices would remain in effect for a limited period of three months. The new prices are ex-showroom prices.

Peacekeepers shifted
Twenty Indians peacekeepers, detained by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Pendembu in Sierra Leone have been shifted to a Red Cross compound in the town, the United Nations has said.

Hasina re-elected party chief
The Bangladesh Prime Minister, Ms. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, has been re- elected for a further two-year term as the president of her ruling Awami League at its special council session, party officials said today.

BJP releases booklets on Emergency
Political anniversaries being notoriously partisan affairs the BJP is working overtime to squeeze as much mileage out of the 25th anniversary of the Emergency as it possibly can with its top guns ready to fire-starting tomorrow.

TULF asks LTTE to join political process
Breaking with the practice of placing the onus for the resolution of the ethnic conflict on the Sri Lankan Government, the moderate Tamil United Liberation Front today took the unusual step of reminding the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that it too had a responsibility towards the Tamil minority.

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