National Nuggets

Three militants, girl killed in Kupwara encounter
Srinagar: Three militants and a minor girl were on Wednesday killed in an encounter between the ultras and security forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, police said. The girl’s brother and a policeman were also injured in the encounter which started this morning. Security forces this morning launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) in Kalaroos village of the district following specific intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said. He said as the forces were conducting the operation, the hiding militants fired upon them, triggering an encounter. “Three militants have been killed in the encounter,” the official said, adding the three bodies and three weapons have also been recovered from the encounter site. He said the identity of the slain militants is yet to be ascertained. During the gunfight, the official said, a minor girl Kaniza (12) was hit by a “stray bullet” and died on the spot, while her brother Faisal was injured and has been rushed to a hospital for treatment. (PTI)

Kanpur building collapses, two dozen trapped
Kanpur: At least two dozen people are feared trapped after a cold storage building collapsed in Kanpur district on Wednesday, police said. The building at Shivrajpur was crowded when the tragedy occurred as many farmers were there to stock the potato harvest. Officials said the building apparently came down after a gas leak in the chiller plant led to an explosion.  Twelve persons, including five farmers and seven cold storage staff, have been rescued from the rubble. The cold storage owner, his son and many labourers and farmers are still trapped in the rubble.  After the building came crashing down, officials said there had been leakage of ammonia gas and masks have been requisitioned from Kanpur city so that rescue operations can be taken up at the earliest. (IANS)

Police seize 60 kg Ganja meant for smuggling to Sri Lanka
Rameswaram: Police have seized around 60 kg ganja meant for smuggling to Sri Lanka via sea route and detained one person in this connection near Akkalmadam hamlet, here on Wednesday. On specific input, a police team led by Q Branch Inspector R Kennedy seized an abandoned parcel from a secluded place on Akkalmadam to Kundukkal coast road. The narcotic substance was found stuffed in the parcel. After detailed investigation, the cops arrested one Gurunathan (38) hailing from Thangatchimadam coastal hamlet. He confessed that ganja was meant for smuggling to Sri Lanka, clandestinely in a fishing boat. The seized contraband was valued at Rs 60 lakh in the International market. This is for the second time that the law enforcing authorities have foiled bid to smuggle ganja to Sri Lanka this month. Earlier, the Narcotic Intelligence Bureau seized 140 kg ganja at Devipattinam meant for smuggling to Sri Lanka on March 6 and arrested three narcotic peddlers. (UNI)

Week-long festival to celebrate French culture
New Delhi: An upcoming festival celebrating the diversity of Francophone communities across the world, will seek to promote French culture through discussions, music, theatre and art shows. The week-long Francophonie Festival, set to begin from March 16 at Alliance Francaise here, is aimed at marking the coming together of around 63 governments of countries where the French language is spoken. “The term Francophonie was first coined in 1880 by the French geographer Onesime Reclus. It encompassed all efforts to promote the language and the values it conveyed, and till date is used to link the Francophonie Community from all across the world. “The event aims at bringing together different and diverse cultures from all over the world by the use of a single language – French – thus creating a bond between people from different countries,” organisers said. Embassies of six countries will come together at the festival to present their respective cultures and shed light on their rich traditions and culinary specialities. Participating countries will include Switzerland, Canada, Madagascar, Belgium, and Luxembourg, apart from France. (PTI)