The upheavals in Southeast Asia continued to hit the headlines. Communists took over Laos, after their success in Vietnam and Cambodia. The lead story of the day reported Laotian Prime Minister Prince Souvanna Phouma issuing an appeal to “look at the fact and arrive at an accord with history”. The facts were that the Pathet Lao, the political movement with communist affiliations, had won the war and the state’s army units were defecting.
Orissa, facing a massive rice shortage following a decline in production due to drought, appealed to the Centre for help. Over six million people in parts of Kalahandi, Dhenkanal, Bolangir and Sambalpur districts were affected. “Though no starvation deaths have been reported, a large number of people, particularly children, are in terribly emaciated conditions in the affected areas,” according to the report.
Bahuguna in Delhi
The political crisis in UP reached New Delhi with Chief Minister H.N. Bahuguna arriving in the capital to confer with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The report mentioned that he held talks with Congress president D.K. Barooah and senior leader Rajni Patel, who have advised Indira Gandhi against a change of guard in UP. An accompanying report discussed a meeting of dissidents in Lucknow.
Persian security pact
A report discussed a Persian Security Pact emerging in West Asia intended to prevent seizure of oil fields by the US. The pact has been suggested by Iraq President Saddam Hussein and endorsed by the shah of Iran. Both countries have consulted Saudi Arabia and Iraq on the matter. The US, according to the report, is positive about the pact since it could be used to keep Russia out of the region.