- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2005

INDIA

Heat wave leaves 146 dead

NEW DELHI — The death toll from a heat wave sweeping large swathes of India has hit 146, officials said yesterday, as the central bank insisted forecasts of a stalled monsoon would not upset its economic growth forecast of 7 percent.

The death toll jumped from 65 reported a week ago to 146 after 39 persons succumbed to the heat in the sizzling plains of northern Uttar Pradesh state, another 36 in West Bengal state and six more in Bihar, the officials said.

Most of the victims in Uttar Pradesh were children, officials said, adding that three arid districts ringing Agra, 155 miles north of the Indian capital, recorded 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

INDIA

Gandhi name used to sell curry

NEW DELHI — Mahatma Gandhi’s family is pleading with the Indian government to force an Australian take-away firm called Handi Ghandi … “Great Curries … No Worries” — to stop using the vegetarian pacifist to sell its food.

According to its Web site (www.handighandi.com), the company sells a range of meat and vegetarian curries — including beef. Cows are sacred to Hindus.

“It’s offensive,” Tushar Gandhi, the late activist’s Bombay-based great-grandson and head of the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, told Reuters. “It goes absolutely against all his beliefs. Using his image to sell beef curries and such doesn’t gel.”

NEPAL

China delivers combat vehicles to army

KATMANDU — China has given Nepal five combat vehicles to fight Maoist rebels, a local daily said yesterday, in what may be the first big arms shipment since the king seized power in February, prompting an international clampdown.

The five armored personnel carriers, which carry 10 soldiers each, arrived in the Nepalese capital on Thursday, the Himalayan Times said. But government officials were not immediately available for comment.

India, Britain and the United States suspended arms supplies after King Gyanendra fired the government, suspended civil liberties and took power, blaming politicians for failing to stop the nine-year Maoist rebellion in the impoverished nation.

At least 12,000 persons have died in the conflict in Nepal. The Maoists want to topple the monarchy and establish a communist republic.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International earlier this week criticized India, Britain and the United States for supplying arms to Nepal, saying this had led to grave human rights abuses in the kingdom.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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