Rachel's term extendedHYDERABAD: The term of Rachel Chatterjee as CMD of the Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh, which lapses on June 23, has been extended by a year (up to June 24, 2007).

The senior IAS officer has been in the position for the last four years and was preferring deputation to the Centre.

According to sources, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy wanted to continue her services in the same position keeping in view her commitment to the consumer interests. - Special Correspondent

New seed varietyVIZIANAGARAM: The Agriculture Research Station (ARS) at Gajularega here has developed a new `ragi' variety -- Bharati (V.R.762) -- and it is one among 26 varieties that Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy released at a function in Hyderabad on Wednesday, according to senior scientist of the station N.D.R.K. Sarma.

The crop yield per hectare is 30-35 quintals which is 20 per cent more than `ratnagiri' variety, according to a press release. -Correspondent

New I-T official assumes officeHYDERABAD: Muntasir Ahmed took over as Director-General, Income-Tax (investigation), Hyderabad, with jurisdiction over Andhra Pradesh and Yanam. Earlier, he served as Chief Commissioner, Hyderabad.

Mr. Ahmed of 1971 batch of Indian Revenue Service was the senior-most officer posted here and earlier worked in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Mr. Ahmed has to his credit several departmental awards for his outstanding performance. - Staff Reporter

150 taken illSRIKAKULAM: Over 150 persons, who consumed food at a marriage party, wee taken ill at Santhanarsipuram village near Veerabhattam, about 50 km from here on Thursday. The affected persons included bride and bridegroom. While some of them were admitted to hospital here, others referred to the area hospital in Palakonda.

- Special Correspondent

Two `pseudo naxals' heldSRIKAKULAM: Two pseudo naxalites -- Siddhantam Ramana of Paddapalem and Senapathi Venkataramana of Singupuram village in Srikakulam district, who allegedly tried to extort money from a doctor, were arrested on Friday.

According to S. Appala Raju, Sub-Inspector, a message in the name of CPI (ML Maoist) was sent to the doctor demanding Rs.50,000 for party fund. The doctor informed the same to the police who trapped the duo. - Special Correspondent

Two students run over by trainGUNTUR: Two students of Tadepalli village in Guntur district died on Friday when they were run over by Tirupati-Puri Express at the Tadepalli railway crossing.

Dasari Suresh, 10, and Donta Satish, 11, -- students of fifth standard at NTR Colony in Tadepalli -- were standing at the level crossing when the accident occurred, according to the railway police. - Staff Reporter

Isolated rain likelyVISAKHAPATNAM: Weak monsoon conditions with subdued rainfall activity are prevailing over the west coast and south peninsula, according to a bulletin issued by the CWC here.

This scenario is likely to continue for the next four days. However, the main rainfall activity is likely to remain confined to north-eastern states for the next three to four days. Mainly dry weather prevails over Rayalaseema and isolated rain is likely over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, says the bulletin.

Temple ritualTIRUMALA: The three-day annual `Abhideyaka abhishekam' began at the Hill temple of Lord Venkateswara on Friday.

As part of the festival, the usual `kavachams ' which are adorned to the sacred idols to protect them are removed once in a year during the festival and the celestial `abhishekam' is performed.

On the first day, the `utsava deities' were presented with `vajrakavacham' (diamond cover).

In view of the festival, the TTD management cancelled some of the `arjitha sevas' on Sunday (the concluding day). - Correspondent

Assumes officeCHITTOOR: Ravindranath Reddy assumed charge as Deputy Superintendent of Police in the vacant post of Chittoor sub-division on Friday. Speaking to newsmen later, Mr. Reddy listed his priorities. He said police patrol would be intensified to check crime. Steps would be initiated to regulate traffic, he added. - Correspondent

Woman hacked to deathKURNOOL: A woman identified as Yallamma, 30, was hacked to death at Chintakunta in Allagadda constituency of Kurnool district on Friday. Her husband Chittibabu allegedly attacked her with an axe and murdered her. The police are investigating. - Staff Reporter

Bid to loot bankKURNOOL: Miscreants made a bid to rob the branch of Syndicate Bank at Park Road in the city on Thursday night. According to reports, they entered the bank by breaking the lock of the main entrance. They ransacked the furniture and shelves and also tried to open the safe locker. - Staff Reporter

Hostel wardens warnedADDANKI: Commissioner of Social Welfare Department R. K. Gonala has said that severe action would be taken against hostel wardens who have not shown good results. He went on to add that their increments will be cut. He was speaking at hostel wardens meeting in Addanki on n Thursday.

He said that hostel wardens should take special care to improve the performance of the students and strive to get good pass percentage in S.S.C. exams. Correspondent

BSNL `Customer Grievances Week'Rajahmundry: BSNL East Godavari is going to conduct `Customer Grievances Week' from June 12 to 17.

In a statement on Friday, SDE (PR) K. Suryaprakasha Rao said that during the week customers could approach the General Manager's office in Rajahmundry and Divisional Engineers in other centres on their grievances and settle their issues. - Staff Reporter

Increase in school working hours opposedKakinada: The State Teachers Union (STU) expressed its opposition to the decision of the Government to increase the school working hours and termed it counter productive measure. P. Subba Raju, State secretary of the STU, said children were already overburdened with additional classes during holidays. - Correspondent