India slams OIC

New Delhi: India on Saturday condemned as “regrettable” the decision by the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to name a special envoy for Kashmir. “It is regrettable that the OIC has commented on India’s internal affairs. We condemn and reject this,” the External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi. “Inherent in OIC’s statements and actions on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is a complete inability to understand India’s position,” it said in a statement. Asserting that “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India”, it said: “It is our firm position that the OIC has no locus standi in matters concerning India’s internal affairs.” — Agencies

Gandhi Jayanti debate

New Delhi: Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor’s tweet suggesting that Gandhi Jayanti be a working day has sparked off much discussion and debate on the Internet. “Why should Gandhi Jayanti, or for that matter the birth and death anniversary of any leader be a holiday? In all the fuss, the very reason for the holiday is lost. Most of my friends for instance saw Gandhi Jayanti as a good excuse to take short vacations to nearby hill stations,” said IT professional Shavir Malik on his blog. “Gandhi Jayanti made way to an extended weekend and most people took the opportunity to enjoy a short vacation. Except the politicians who made a beeline to Rajghat and gave speeches on TV, and a handful of people doing the same, the masses were honestly not bothered. This is definitely not a mark of respect for the father of the nation,” said another IT professional Radhika Sharma. — Agencies

Swine flu toll at 340

New Delhi: Five swine flu deaths, three of them in Maharashtra, were reported on Saturday, taking India’s toll to 340, health authorities said. Also, 197 new cases were reported in the country, taking the number of people affected with the flu to 10,730. Three deaths were reported from Maharashtra, which tops the chart of the number of deaths and cases in the country. With these deaths, the toll in the state has gone up to 135. One death was reported from Gujarat, taking the toll in the state to 35. — Agencies