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Polling underway for two Rajya Sabha seats in Jharkhand

News4u-News Desk- In Jharkhand, crucial Rajya Sabha elections for two seats from the state are underway on Thursday. 

The Congress has fielded Pradeep Kumar Balmachu and is wooing pre-poll ally Jharkhand Vikas Morha (Prajatantric) to reverse its decision to abstain from voting.

The congress has 13 MLAs while the JVM’s has eleven in the 82 member Jharkhand assembly.

The house has one nominated member and another seat is vacant.

The election was earlier countermanded following allegations of use of money power and horse trading.

Jharkhand Map

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Israeli envoy leaves Cairo after embassy attack

News4u-News Desk-Cairo, (AFP)Israel flew its ambassador home from Cairoon Saturday after protesters stormed its embassy building, plunging Egypt’s military rulers into their worst diplomatic crisis since they took over from Hosni Mubarak.

Three people were killed and 1,049 wounded in clashes between protesters and police, the Health Ministry said.

The United States, which has poured billions of dollars of military aid into Egypt since it made peace with Israel in 1979, urged Cairo to protect the embassy after protesters hurled embassy documents and the Israeli flag from windows.

“Our dignity has been restored,” said Mohi Alaa, 24, a protester who was speaking near the site of overnight clashes with police around the building that houses the Israeli embassy. Bits of concrete and bullet casings were strewn over the street.

“We don’t want the Americans’ money,” he said, reflecting a growing readiness among many Egyptians to express anger at Israel and the United States over Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, after decades of pragmatic official relations.

Police had fired shots in the air and teargas to disperse the crowd. Protesters had lit tires in the street and at least two vehicles were set alight near the embassy, located on the upper floors of a residential block overlooking the Nile.

One of the three who died was in the nearby Agouza hospital, where a Reuters reporter saw a corpse with a punctured chest.

Some 500 protesters stayed after dawn and a few threw stones at police, who gradually pushed them away and secured the area.

It was the second big eruption of violence at the embassy since five Egyptian border guards were killed last month when Israel repelled cross-border raiders it said were Palestinians. Egypt then briefly threatened to withdraw its envoy to Israel.

Israel has stopped short of apologizing, saying it is still investigating the Egyptian deaths, which occurred during an operation against gunmen who had killed eight Israelis.

AMBASSADOR EVACUATED

Israeli ambassador Yitzhak Levanon, staff and family members arrived home on Saturday, but one diplomat stayed in Egypt to maintain the embassy, an Israeli official said.

State television said Prime Minister Essam Sharaf headed an emergency ministerial crisis meeting and then went to see Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the military council that has ruled Egypt since Mubarak resigned on February 11.

Israel is finding itself increasingly at odds with formerly sympathetic states in the region. It is already embroiled in a feud with Turkey, once the closest of its few Muslim allies, over its treatment of the Palestinians.

Egypt’s generals, under pressure to hand power to civilians more swiftly, must balance public calls for a more assertive foreign policy toward Israel with maintaining ties that bring cash and top-notch U.S. military equipment.

Under Mubarak, Egyptians could never show such hostility to Israel without a crushing security response.

Egypt’s ties with Israel, though never warm, were a pillar of Mubarak’s foreign policy and buttressed his claim to be a regional mediator. Mubarak regularly met Israeli officials.

US President Barack Obama called on Egypt to “honor its international obligations” and protect the Israeli mission. He told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington was taking steps to resolve the situation.

An Israeli official said the ambassador, staff and family members had left in one plane and a second one had brought home six Israeli security personnel who had been left guarding the embassy, protected from the crowd only by a reinforced door until Egyptian troops extracted them.

“The fact that Egyptian authorities ultimately acted with determination is laudable. With that said, Egypt cannot let slide this harsh blow to the fabric of relations with Israel and the gross violation of international norms,” Netanyahu said in a statement. He also thanked Washington for its role.

“SERIOUS STANCE”

Before attacking the embassy, protesters had tried to storm a local police compound, hurled stones at the police and set at least four vehicles and a public building ablaze.

The April 6 movement, which helped to lead the anti-Mubarak uprising, said those behind the violence were trying to “distort the image of the revolution.” It blamed supporters of Mubarak.

Some politicians and activists criticized the violence, even if they backed the anti-Israel demonstration.

Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy called for the army to take a “serious stance matching the public anger” toward Israel, but said violence sullied the image of Egypt’s uprising.

Last month, a man scaled the embassy building, took down Israel’s flag and replaced it with Egypt’s. Protests continued daily but did not turn violent until the latest flare-up.

In response to the protests, the authorities had erected a wall around the building, which was quickly defaced with anti-Israel slogans and then painted in Egypt’s national colors.

On Friday, the wall was torn down after a demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square calling for speedier reforms and a deeper purge of officials who worked for Mubarak, the former president on trial on charges including conspiring to kill protesters.

Egypt Map

Egypt Map

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Railways complete construction of crucial tunnel in Kashmir

News4u-News Desk-Railways have successfully completed construction of a crucial tunnel between the Katra-Qazigund section of the prestigious Kashmir rail link project.

“The major breakthrough came yesterday with the completion of the tunnel, the second in the section at Sangaldam in Ramban district of the valley,” said a Northern Railway spokesperson, adding that the work of the 1483-metre tunnel was completed in 28 months.

The Katra-Qazigund section involves 103 km of tunnels out of the total 129 km line.

Almost 65 to 70 major and minor tunnels will be constructed on this section.

Earlier breakthrough of the first tunnel of 1671-metre length at Sangaldhan, was achieved on 29th July 2010.

Railways are considering the completion of the tunnel as a major achievement because it posed several engineering challenges.

“The tunnel passes through strata of poor geology, consisting of Muree formation. The excavation was done using drill and blast method. The tunnel excavation was done from two ends,” the spokesperson said.

After the break through, the alignment of the tunnel has been found to be perfect - a big achievement in the tunneling work, he said.

The spokesperson said 103 km of tunneling is a big challenge in itself for railways as the stretch passes through complex and changing Himalayan geology and adverse natural conditions.

The Chenab and the Anji bridges also fall on this section.

The Kashmir rail link project is divided into three parts.

The 119-km-long Qazigund-Baramulla section was the first to be completed about two years back and train service have already been introduced.

The Udhampur-Katra section is under construction.

Jammu And Kashmir Map

Jammu And Kashmir Map

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10 trapped after collapse of railway tunnel in China

News4u-News Desk-Beijing, (PTI) At least 10 people were trapped after a section of a railway tunnel in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region collapsed, officials said.

The accident occurred yesterday when workers were digging the tunnel in Zhuozi county of Ulanqab City, about 150 kms from the regional capital Hohhot, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported quoting officials.

About 2,000 cubic metres of rock and mud caved in during the accident.

Experts said the trapped workers could be sheltered by supporting structures in the tunnel, increasing their chances of survival.

More than 300 rescuers and 60 machines were drilling through the rubble in a bid to improve ventilation and establish contact with the trapped workers and to send food and water to them.

The entrance of the tunnel, which is part of a railway line being built to link Ulanqab city’s Jining district and Baotou city in Inner Mongolia, has been cordoned off.

China railway tunnel collapse

China railway tunnel collapse

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2000 yr old tunnel found in China

News4u-news desk,Washington, Oct 27 - A tunnel, buried for nearly 2000 years, has been found in Changan City, Shaanxi Province, in China.

According to a report in The Epoch Times, the entrance to the 4-meter deep tunnel was found during reconstruction of the Han Dynasty’s Xian Gate.

The tunnel, which is intact and filled with mud, might have been built as an escape route for the emperors, according to an archaeologist.

Wang said that the Xian Gate, the gate closest to the Weiyang Palace (a palace complex, located near the city of Changan), was an entrance that was likely used by the royal families.

He said there were only two reasons for building such a tunnel under an entrance near the palace.

One would be to enable the royal families to flee the palace, and the other would be to provide an underground sewer.

The entire two-meter-high archway was built with blue bricks; and the gap between each blue brick is less than one mm.

The tunnel has not been excavated so its length is not yet known.

Wang said that the bricks might crumble if they were disturbed, and that the mud that fills the tunnel is supporting the tunnel walls.

Wang also indicated that Xian Gate is a city passage in the western side of the south city wall of the Han Dynasty’s Changan City. It is 1,830 meters from the eastern gate, and 1,500 meters from the western corner of the Changan city wall.

Xian Gate was found in 1957, and consists of three gates, each 14 meters apart.

Xian gate is only 50 meters from the palace, which means it would not be an entrance used by common people. It would most likely be used only by the emperors and their families. (ANI)

Tunnel

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