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help needed urgently with hostlookup failure ..please

Hello people,
I am having problems with connecting my RedHat Linux box to the internet. I cannot seem to be able to even ping any other machine on the network. I do
> telnet localhost. I get
>localhost: Host name lookup failure.
I tried >telnet
It waits for some time and then says:
telnet: unable to connect to remote host: Connection timed out .
My /etc/hosts file reads like this :     localhost.localdomain
Also when i restarted my machine, it waits for 5-10 minutes after coming to the Sendmail process and then finally reboots. Could you please help me out as I am not able to do anything about this for 2 days now.
Help truly appreciated.

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