|Wednesday, February 2, 2000,
88 feared killed in plane crash
Chechens withdraw from Grozny
India spends less on defence: CIA
Wirantos lawyers to
Little progress on IRA disarming
Most bureaucrats in Pak
Witness found to Tamil
88 feared killed in plane crash
OXNARD, Feb 1 (AP, AFP) An Alaska Airlines jet carrying 88 persons plummeted into the Pacific Ocean after the pilot reported mechanical problems and it was diverted to Los Angeles for an emergency landing.
Several bodies were recovered from the chilly water, but there was no sign of survivors hours after the crash.
The flight 261, heading from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to San Francisco and later to Seattle, went down at 6.06 am IST today, 65 km northwest of the Los Angeles airport, the airline said.
A national park service ranger on Anacapa Island, near the crash site, saw the jet going down "nose first," spokeswoman Susan Smith said.
A large field of debris rolled in big swells about 16 km offshore as small boats converged on the site just before sunset. Hours later, the high-power lights of commercial squid boats illuminated the darkness as a cutter and small boats continued the search.
Deckhands on a fishing boat collected body parts, Mexican toys, a stuffed animal, a shoe, cushions and aircraft insulation. Several bodies were found, Coast Guard Chuck Diorio said, but he could not give a specific number.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-80, had 83 passengers and five crew members on board, airline spokesman Antonio Alvarado said in Puerto Vallarta.
"The pilot radioed a problem with the stabiliser trim and the plane was diverted to airport, said spokesman.
Mayor of Grozny killed
MOSCOW, Feb 1 (AFP) All Chechen fighters had left Grozny, top Chechen Minister Movladi Udugov told AFP early today.
"This was a planned retreat. Out of military strategy, we planned to evacuate Grozny on February 1," Udugov, who is a member of the Chechen Defence Council, said in a telephone interview.
"There is not a single fighter left in Grozny," he said, adding the city was evacuated by 0300 local time (5.30 am IST).
Meanwhile, top Kremlin spokesman on Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, said 140 Chechens had surrendered the besieged city to the much larger Russian force on Sunday.
A pro-Moscow Chechen commander in Grozny said another 34 fighters had laid down their arms yesterday while ORT television reported that federal forces were now in control of 40 per cent of the ruined city.
The Chechen presidency heightened the impression of a Russian victory when it announced the death of the Mayor of Gozny, Lechi Dudayev, killed in combat yesterday while defending the city.
Dudayev, the nephew of former rebel Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev, commanded a battalion of 100 fighters.
And the French regional daily Ouest-France reported on Tuesday that Shamil Basayev, the top warlord in Chechnya, was "very seriously wounded" and operated on Monday in a hospital at Alkhan-Kala near Grozny.
Chechen rebels said today three of their top commanders had been killed in fighting in the past two days.
The rebel web site Kavkaz, Org said Lechi Dudayev, who commanded one of the detachments resisting the Russian onslaught on the city, had been killed on Sunday. Rebel Generals Aslambek Ismailov and Khunkarpasha Israpilov died in fighting early today.
The latest Chechen estimates said that 1,500 rebels were still holed up inside the capital, with another 3,500 fighters facing the Russians in the republics southern mountains.
Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev described the Grozny surrenders as the "first sign" that Chechen resistance was waning. Unconfirmed news reports said he might travel to the region today.
Russians also reported finally taking control of the vital Minutka Square, which the overwhelmed Chechens reportedly surrendered without a fight.
The first television footage of Russian flags flying over the nearly levelled and deserted square flashed on Russian television yesterday amid echoes of fighting coming from other quarters of the ghostly city.
"There is a psychological breakthrough" in Grozny, Yastrzhembsky said. "The people who are giving up now were recruited by the Chechens just recently and have little motivation to fight."
Albright for her part underlined the Wests impatience with the growing humanitarian cost of the war and accused Russia of using "excessive force" in the conflict.
"Civilians have been indiscriminately targeted," Albright said.
Ouest-Frances special correspondent Anne Nivat said some 2,200 Chechen fighters had arrived yesterday-morning in Alkhan-Kala, 10 km from the suburbs of Grozny.
"Inside the hospital, everyone was bustling. In the corridor leading to the operating theatre, faces were grave as warlord Shamil Basayev, very seriously wounded, was among others being operated on," the correspondent wrote.
India spends less on defence: CIA
WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (PTI) India has a very low defence expenditure and a huge military manpower, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA has said.
The agency, in a report, has also noted that India is a "major transit country for illicit narcotics produced in neighbouring countries."
Pointing out that India has a huge manpower fit for military service (158.142 million in the age group of 15-19), the CIA says the defence expenditure of the country was "very low" at 2.7 per cent in the fiscal year 1998-99.
It adds that India has disputes with its neighbouring countries with China over boundary, with Pakistan over the status of Kashmir and water-sharing, with Bangladesh over a portion of the boundary and New Moore/South Talpatty island.
It says India is the
largest producer of opium for the pharmaceutical trade,
adding that, however, "an undetermined quantity of
opium is diverted to illicit international drug
markets." The country is also an "illicit
producer of hashish and methaqualone".
Wirantos lawyers to challenge probe
JAKARTA, Feb 1 (Reuters, AP) Lawyers for former military chief Gen Wiranto today said they would protest after an Indonesian inquiry implicated him and five other generals in the violence that left East Timor in ruins.
"With great regret, the legal team of TNI (the Indonesian military) has to reject and launch a harsh protest over the results of the inquiry, head lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution told a news conference.
The lawyers accused the inquiry of putting political interests ahead of legal norms.
"In a sense the inquiry, in implementing its duty, was merely looking for mistakes rather than the truth, said Nasution.
President Abdurrahman Wahid said in Switzerland that he would ask General Wiranto to resign his Cabinet post after he was named by the inquiry.
Former Justice Minister Muladi, another member of Wirantos legal team, said his understanding was that the former military chief would only have to resign from the government if found guilty in court. General Wiranto headed Indonesias armed forces at the time of the violence last September.
Earlier, General Wiranto ignored calls for his resignation and criticised the government report blaming him and other top officers for last years campaign of violence in East Timor.
Speaking to reporters at military headquarters in Jakarta, General Wiranto refused to say if he would quit as requested by President Abdurrahman Wahid and other top political leaders.
"Like a good soldier, I am going to continue to fight for the truth," he declared.
Human rights activists
have long blamed the Indonesian military for the campaign
of murder and destruction in East Timor that killed at
least 250 persons. But separate reports yesterday by the
UN Commission and Indonesias state-appointed
commission gave official weight to the charges.
Rabbani meets Musharraf
ISLAMABAD, Feb 1 (AFP) The visiting head of Afghanistans Taliban council of ministers, Mullah Mohammad Rabbani, met Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf here today, officials said.
MOSCOW (UNI): Meanwhile, Pakistan Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharrafs, impending visit to Kandahar and Kabul in war-ravaged Afghanistan has touched a raw nerve in Russia.
Reacting to the Pakistan
visit of Taliban chief Mullah Omar, Russia has said the
organisation, which practices an "extreme" form
of Islam, is keen to secure active Pakistani support for
its fight against the northern Afghan forces of the
15 life terms for killer doctor
PRESTON (England), Feb 1 (AP) A doctor convicted of murdering 15 female patients ranks among Britains most prolific modern-day serial killers, investigators said.
Harold Shipman, who altered medical records at his one-man practice in northern England to cover up his crimes, was yesterday found guilty of injecting middle-aged and elderly women with lethal heroin doses between March 1995 and July 1998.
Shipman also was found guilty of forging the $ 620,000 will of his last victim, Kathleen Grundy, 81.
Judge Thayne Forbes sentenced Shipman to 15 life sentences the maximum punishment in Britain, which has no death penalty. He received four years for forging the will.
"You are a wicked, wicked man," the judge told the doctor, who remained impassive.
"I have little doubt that each of your victims smiled and thanked you as she submitted to your fearful administrations," the judge added.
Shipman, (54), enters the British crime history alongside other notorious killers, such as the Yorkshire Ripper, convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven others.
Jail terms for Falung Gong men
BEIJING, Feb 1 (DPA) Two women leaders and 30 adherents of the Falung Gong cult have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from four months to seven years by a court in Beijing, a Hong Kong-based human rights organisation said today.
The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said two sisters, Li Xiaomei and Li Xiaobing, were given the most severe jail terms as key figures in Falung Gong, a spiritual exercise cult with a wide following in China. Li Xiaomei was sentenced to seven years and Li Xiaobing to six years. They ran the cults largest bookstore in Beijing.
Fourteen other Falun
Gong members from Beijing and another 16 from Jinzhou, in
Liaoning province, were sentenced to jail terms ranging
from four months to two years. They had displayed a
banner near the gate of Heavenly Peace in Beijing in a
protest against the governments ban on the cult.
They were charged with using the cult to sabotage the
laws of the nation, the Hong Kong-based human rights
Little progress on IRA disarming
BELFAST, Feb 1 (AFP) The British and Irish governments were today studying a key report on paramilitary disarmament as the future of the Northern Ireland peace process hung in the balance.
Canadian General John de Chastelain, who chairs an international disarmament commission, delivered his report to London and Dublin shortly after yesterdays midnight deadline, officials said.
It was believed to show little or no progress by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on shedding its vast arsenal of weapons.
That could lead to the collapse of a fledgling power-sharing government in Belfast that included all shades of Protestant unionist and Roman Catholic republican opinion -and bring the province back under direct rule from London.
De Chastelain waited until the last possible moment to deliver his report, amid frantic 11th-hour efforts to secure some progress.
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the provinces biggest Protestant Party, has pledged to bring down the Belfast government unless the IRA has started handing in weapons by the time the partys policy making body meets on February 12.
Disarmament is the last
unfulfilled key element of the Good Friday Agreement
a peace accord brokered by former US Senator
George Mitchell and signed in April 1998. The accord
gives paramilitaries until May 2000 to disarm.
Most bureaucrats in Pak corrupt
ISLAMABAD, Feb 1 (UNI) The World Bank in a damning report, has said 70 per cent of bureaucrats in Pakistan accept bribes.
In a report, quoted by Urdu daily Jang, the World Bank has asked the government to make public these bureaucrats assets, which, it says, are far in excess of their known sources of income.
Witness found to Tamil leaders murder
COLOMBO, Feb 1 (AP) A witness to the January 5 assassination of pro-rebel Tamil politician Kumar Ponnambalam has come forward, providing a major breakthrough in the case, said a senior police official today.
Thirteen persons were killed in the blast, 5 km from the gate to Bandaranaikes compound.
executes 6 gang members
dying of AIDS
Bomb attack at
test-drives car to settle case
Spy trial of
Baby boom in
Lego is toy of
UN mission to
stay in Georgia
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