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NEWS|Current Affairs 
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Simferopol, Ukraine:Lawmakers in the embattled Crimean region of Ukraine decided on Thursday, to hold a referendum on 16 March to decide whether Crimea should become part of Russia, a move likely to further ratchet up tensions."This is our response to the disorder and lawlessness in Kiev," Sergei Shuvainikov, a member of the local Crimean legislature," said. "We will decide our future ourselves."The parliament in Crimea, which enjoys a degree of autonomy under current Ukrainian law, voted 78 with eight abstentions in favor of holding the referendum. Local voters will also be given the choice of deciding to remain part of Ukraine, but with enhanced local powers.There was no immediate response from the Ukrainian central government to the vote. On Wednesday, Ukraine's prime minister had told AP that Crimea would remain part of Ukraine.A referendum in Crimeahad been scheduled for 30 March, but the question which was to be put to voters was whether their region should enjoy "state autonomy" within Ukraine.Earlier, Crimea's new leader said pro-Russian forces numbering more than 11,000 now control all access to the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea, and that they had blockaded all military bases that yet to be surrendered.The West has joined the new Ukrainian leadership in Kiev in demanding that Russia pull its forces from Crimea, but little progress was reported after a flurry of diplomatic activity in Paris on Wednesday involving US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.The European Union leaders will meet for an emergency session in Brussels today, to decide what sorts of sanctions could be imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine. Moscow has threatened retaliation if any punitive measures are put in place.A UN special envoy sent to Crimea came under threat from armed men who forced him to leave the region.Concern that the turmoil could engulf eastern Ukraine grew after hundreds of demonstrators many chanting "Russia! Russia!" stormed a government building on Wednesday in Donetsk, a major industrial center near the Russian border.Clashes between protesters and police broke out early Thursday in Donetsk as police cleared demonstrators from the regional administration building. The Ukrainian flag was hoisted once againover the building, and about 100 Ukrainian Interior troops could be seen in and around it. Two large trucks were parked in front to block the approach.EU comes to aidThe European Union on Wednesday extended $15 billion in aid to help support the new Ukrainian government, which took over in late February after months of protests drove out the Moscow-supported president, Viktor Yanukovych.The EU also imposed asset freezes against 18 people held responsible for embezzling state funds in Ukraine, including Yanukovych, his son and some of his closest allies.Crimea's new leader, Sergei Aksyonov, said his government was in regular contact with the Russian officials, including those in a large Russian delegation now in Crimea.Speaking at Crimea's government meeting late Wednesday, Aksyonov said the strategic peninsula is fully under the control of riot police and security forces joined by about 11,000 "self-defense" troops. All or most of these troops are believed to be Russian, even though the Russian president and defense minister have denied sending in the military other than those stationed at the home port of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. AP

Saarc diplomacy: India's foreign secy calls on Bhutan King, PM

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Saarc diplomacy: India's foreign secy calls on Bhutan King, PM

Thimphu: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Sunday held talks with Bhutan's top leadership and called on King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck here as he began his 'SAARC Yatra' to firm up India's ties w...


Kerala 'fireball in the sky' was most probably a meteor, say authorities

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Kerala 'fireball in the sky' was most probably a meteor, say authorities

Thiruvananthapuram: A prelimnary examination by scientists has revealed that the 'fireball', which streaked across the Kerala sky triggering panic in several disitricts a day ago, could be a meteor.Of...

Swine flu death toll climbs to 1075, almost 20,000 cases nationwide

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Swine flu death toll climbs to 1075, almost 20,000 cases nationwide

New Delhi: Swine flu has claimed 34 more lives as the nationwide toll from the H1N1 virus touched 1,075 with the number of cases of the disease inching towards the 20,000 mark.Health Ministry figures ...

From gold bonds to cheap LCD, LED TVs: 10 takeaways from Budget 2015 for the aam aadmi

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From gold bonds to cheap LCD, LED TVs: 10 takeaways from Budget 2015 for the aam aadmi

Despite no obviousmention of income tax incentives for the common man, finance minister Arun Jaitley provided certain reliefs in this years budget that will allow the aam aadmi to save more.1. How tax...

Muslims in India are safer than anywhere else in the world: Yogi Adityanath

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Muslims in India are safer than anywhere else in the world: Yogi Adityanath

Hubballi: Firebrand BJP MP Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said Muslims are safer in India than anywhere else in the world and the majority community is liberal by nature."Hindus are liberal in nature ...

Netanyahu flies to U.S., ties fraying over his planned Iran speech

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Netanyahu flies to U.S., ties fraying over his planned Iran speech

WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Defying U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Washington on Sunday to warn Congress about the risks of a possible nuclear deal...

Kurdish rebels call disarmament move historic, want Turkey to step up reforms

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Kurdish rebels call disarmament move historic, want Turkey to step up reforms

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Kurdish militants on Sunday described as "historic" a call by their jailed leader to hold a disarmament congress and said Turkey must now take concrete steps to keep the...