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India Police Guard Temple Treasure Haul Worth Billions

Armed commandos cordoned off a medieval Hindu temple in south India on Monday after gold coins and precious stones worth billions of dollars were found in its vaults.

The chief minister of southern Kerala state, Oommen Chandy, said local authorities needed to take precautions and had set up a three-tier security ring involving 100 armed police.

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India's Rural Poor Give Up on Power Grid, Go Solar

Boommi Gowda used to fear the night. Her vision fogged by glaucoma, she could not see by just the dim glow of a kerosene lamp, so she avoided going outside where king cobras slithered freely and tigers carried off neighborhood dogs.

But things have changed at Gowda's home in the remote southern village of Nada. A solar-powered lamp pours white light across the front of the mud-walled hut she shares with her three grown children, a puppy and a newborn calf. Now she can now cook, tend to her livestock and get water from a nearby well at night.

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Go Sterile! Win a Food Processor in India

A government in northern India is offering prizes including television sets, food processors and even a Tata Nano car for people who agree to undergo sterilisation, a doctor told Agence France Presse on Friday.

"We want to promote sterilisation," Pratap Singh Dutter, the deputy chief medical officer of Jhunjhunu district in the north Indian state of Rajasthan told AFP.

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Liberating Spirit: The Essence of Asian Cities

Rima Singh, an executive with an Indian outsourcing company, smokes, drinks and dates boyfriends in New Delhi --- but doesn't tell her parents back home in small-town India.

Three years ago, the 24-year-old left what she described as a mundane life full of strict social conventions in the town of Mathura in northern India and headed for the bright lights of New Delhi.

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India, Pakistan Hold Peace Talks

India and Pakistan held talks on peace and security issues in Islamabad on Thursday, part of efforts to stabilize South Asia as the United States prepares to draw down troops from Afghanistan.

Concerns over terrorism are likely to dominate India's agenda since U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and since a four-year peace process collapsed when Islamist gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in November 2008.

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Bollywood Star Aishwarya Rai Pregnant

Former Miss World turned actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is pregnant, her father-in-law and veteran Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has revealed.


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Bollywood Actor to Fight New Drinking Age Laws

Top Bollywood actor Imran Khan said Friday he would challenge in court a decision to raise the age for buying alcohol in India's entertainment capital, slamming the new law as double standards.

Khan, who is teetotal, said he planned to file a case in the Bombay High Court against the state government of Maharashtra, which earlier this month upped the minimum age for buying beer from 18 to 21 and spirits from 21 to 25.

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Indian State Plans World's Tallest Statue

The Indian state of Gujarat has invited global tenders to help build the world's tallest statue -- a 182-meter memorial to an independence hero that will cost $300 million.

The towering 597-feet figure, which would reach almost halfway up New York's Empire State Building, will bear the likeness of Vallabhbhai Patel, the freedom fighter who guided India's integration into a united, independent nation.

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From "Slut Walk" to "Shameless Front", Delhi Renames Protest

Organizers of India's first "Slut Walk" have changed the name of the event and toned down its dress code because of concern the protest is too provocative, reports said Friday.

"Slut Walks," which have become a global phenomenon to protest sexual violence, see women dress in skimpy clothing to challenge the mindset that victims of sexual assault should be blamed for the crime against them.

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Bomb Defused on Indian Train Carrying 1,000 People

Indian security forces defused a powerful bomb found on a train carrying about 1,000 passengers in the northeastern state of Assam on Friday, a police official told Agence France Presse.

"Security forces were conducting a routine search when they found an unattended small but heavy bag and on suspicion they checked and detected the bomb neatly concealed," Assam's inspector general Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta said.

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