The Usha surprise
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Former Indian athlete PT Usha created a buzz at Congress headquarters on Monday evening as she made a quiet appearance, shortly after Rahul Gandhi had left the premises after holding a meeting with office-bearers. As some people rushed to her asking whether she was going to join the Congress, she looked amused. She clarified that she was there to meet Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Jitendra Singh.
WEST Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra arrived in Delhi on Monday night to hold a one-on-one meeting with Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday to seek assistance for Bengal in the coming Budget. Supposed lack of financial assistance by the Centre was cited as one of the reasons why the relation between Mamata Banerjee and the UPA worsened over time, leading to her party's departure from the ruling coalition. It is learnt that Mitra is arriving in Delhi with the express intent of reiterating Mamata's old demand of a three-year moratorium on her state's interest payments on past loans. Also on the cards is apparently a renewed loan from the Asian Development Bank for which the Centre's approval is needed. While there is little chance that a moratorium would be granted, to bolster his state's case, Mitra is coming equipped with figures showing that in the past one year, tax mop-up in Bengal has increased by about 30 per cent.
France honours india
IF Cannes 2012 saw four Indian films being screened for the first time, Cannes 2013 promises much more with India announced as the 'Country of Honour', in celebration of 100 years of the Indian film industry. The French, in fact, appear to have quite a soft corner for Indian cinema. Cannes apart, the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema (Festival international des cinémas d'Asie) in February 2013 and the 35th International Short Film Festival of Clermont-Ferrand also in February 2013 have also confirmed India as the 'Country of Honour'. India is also reciprocating. France is the Country of Honour at India's ongoing World Book Fair.
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