|Tuesday, April 4, 2000,
Mass S. Asian protest against US
Govt has no power to review
40 rebels, 4 soldiers killed in
ICJ begins hearing on Pak
Turkey attacks Kurd camps in Iraq
Bush ahead of Al Gore
Asian women work as sex
workers in USA
Anwar case: driver
UK may allow human cloning
Robinson denied visit to detention
India, Pak visit a success:
Arctic warming threat to bird
Brutality against immigrant
NEW YORK, April 3 With songs, dances and an hour-long protest march, South Asian Americans expressed their outrage at the growing police brutality against coloured people that has led to at least four deaths here since the beginning of this year.
In one of the first such rallies that condemned police and the city administration headed by Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, South Asians, many of them of Indian or Bangladeshi origin, gathered at Jackson Heights, known as little India, to raise their voices to demand justice for the murder of unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo last year.
No justice, no peace, the demonstrators shouted as they carried banners accusing the police and the administration of misuse of power. Representatives of more than two dozen organisations joined the rally and the protest march.
Diallo, a vendor, was shot at 41 times in the vestibule of his home by four white undercover officers in February 1999 who erroneously believed he was carrying arms. The officers, however, were acquitted on February 25, sparking angry protests from a cross-section of immigrant groups.
Although no South Asian immigrant is known to have been a victim of police brutality so far, members of the community took to the streets to express solidarity with other people of colour.
South Asians, as an immigrant community of colour, are joining the African-American, Latino and other Asian communities to demand an end to police murders and targeting people of colour, said a participant from Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), one of the co-organisers of the rally. The other organiser was the Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund.
We unite here today to express our collective outrage against unbridled level of police violence, said Steve Yip, an activist with the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality.
Meena Alexander, a distinguished professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Centre, City University of New York, recited a poem in memory of Diallo. We are citizens of a great democracy. We have the right to live in peace in our homes and on streets, Alexander, who was born in India and grew up in South Africa, told the gathering. People came from as far as Boston and Toronto to express support for the rally and its cause.
Rajiv Gowda, president of the Indian Civil Service Association of New York, said the rally was not directed against the police as such but against the brutality of the force. Let us send a message to the Mayor: It is our way or no way, he said.
Asked why South Asians came to express solidarity for the cause, he said it was a kind of fellow feeling. You cant remain silent when your neighbours homes are on fire, he told IANS.
Others like Sayu Bhojwani of the South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) said that one of the reasons why the South Asians came forward was that the second generation members of the community were more assertive and wanted to lend their support for causes that affect all.
Govt has no power to review statute: Ahmadi
TORONTO, April 3 (IANS) A former Indian Chief Justice, speaking at a conference here, has slammed the Indian Governments decision to review the Constitution, saying it had no mandate or detailed terms of reference for doing so.
Justice A.M. Ahmadi minced no words while questioning the decision of the BJP-led government to appoint a constitutional review commission. He was delivering the keynote address at a conference on 50 Years of the Indian Republic organised by the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto.
"Despite a strong demand from informed citizenry and the national media for several days, the government maintained a stoic silence as to the terms of reference" and "the confusion was worse when some members of the commission said they would push their own agenda for the review", Justice Ahmadi stated.
"Is it the governments intention to replace the parliamentary system with the presidential system? Does it want to do away with the Presidents power to dissolve the Lok Sabha, if need be? Will the basic features be diluted? will minority rights be trampled?" asked Ahmadi.
He suggested that the 11 members of the review commission advise the amendment of Article 356 of the Constitution, which allows Presidents rule to be imposed in a state. "They should look to the enforcement of human rights provisions, equality principles with special emphasis on reservation and gender justice and the effective implementation of certain rights in the Directive Principles", he added.
He supported President K.R. Narayanans contention that "it is not the Constitution that has failed us but it is we (politicians) who have failed the Constitution."
"We know that often a sound system in incompetent hands may not function and deliver the goods, Justice Ahmadi said.
Political leaders in India, he said, "generally feel secure in blaming the Constitution because they know that the Constitution being mute will not hit back.
"Place the Constitution in the right hands and it will start delivering the goods," he said. It was "ironic that the Directive Principles (ideals towards which states are expected to progress) had, at times, been conceived as being in conflict with the Fundamental Rights" when, in fact, the two "were intended to supplement each other and to work in concert towards achieving true liberty for all citizens," he added.
Justice Ahmadi said politicians had given more attention "to the agricultural and industrial sectors, presumably because farmers and labour constitute a large vote bank, ignoring "areas which would have ushered in the desired social revolution." In this category he listed sectors like education, health, population control, equality, uplift of minorities and backward classes.
The conference saw the participation of people from Europe, the USA and Canada who shared their views and analysed the functioning of the Indian Constitution.
Indian High Commissioner
Rajnikant Verma, James Junke, Director of the Canadian
governments Department of Foreign Affairs, and
Derek Lee, a Liberal Party lawmaker in Canadas
Parliament were among those present in the audience apart
from a large number of academics and students.
40 rebels, 4 soldiers killed in Lanka
COLOMBO, April 3 (UNI) More than 40 Tamil rebels and four soldiers were killed during fierce fighting in Nuhamali near the Pallai army base in northern Jaffna yesterday while the army successfully repulsed a counter-attack by the Tigers who were trapped in a security cordon, defence spokesman Col R.P. Witana said.
A gang of approximately 75 rebels was trapped within the security cordon after an army operation in the area yesterday, he added. The militants engaged the troops with a heavy volume of artillery and launched a counter-attack in the evening to break the cordon.
The spokesman said a rebel transmission confirmed more than 25 Tigers were killed in the action.
ICJ begins hearing on Pak complaint
THE HAGUE, April 3 (PTI) The International Court of Justice (ICJ) today began hearing a dispute raised by Pakistan on the shooting down of its naval aircraft Atlantique last August in Gujarat saying it would first have to decide whether it had jurisdiction to go into it as contended by New Delhi.
President of the 15-Judge court Gilbert Guillaume of France said the court would first decide the question of its jurisdiction after the Indian delegation led by Attorney General Soli J. Sorabjee raised preliminary objections over the courts jurisdiction to go into the case.
Pakistan has sought $ 60 million as damages from India for the incident which claimed lives of all 16 naval personnel onboard the surveillance aircraft.
Guillaume briefly outlined Pakistan instituting proceedings against India titled "Aerial incident of August, 1999" (Pakistan vs India)" and New Delhis preliminary objections to the assumption of jurisdiction by the court on the basis of Pakistans application.
Submitting its case, Pakistans Attorney-General Aziz Munshi sought a speedy resolution of its complaint saying its application had to be concluded quickly if it did not have to remain an irritant in Indo-Pak relations.
Munshi and his team of lawyers took nearly three hours arguing their case. India will begin its arguments tomorrow. The court is expected to pronounce its judgement in about three to four months after the conclusion of arguments from both sides on Thursday.
Describing as "unwarranted and unjustified" Indias opposition to the ICJ trying the case, Munshi told the court that New Delhi should welcome such an opportunity to "estabilish its innocence" and to ascertain the truth.
"Pakistan is concerned that India is being resistant to the case being heard," Munshi said, adding "It is not an exercise in propoganda,".
Earlier, former Supreme Court Judge B.P. Jeevan Reddy and Pakistans former Attorney-General Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada were co-opted into the Bench as ad hoc Judges.
Turkey attacks Kurd camps in Iraq
ANKARA, April 3 (Reuters) Turkish troops backed by air force continued their push into northern Iraq to hunt Kurdish rebels in a spring offensive, newspapers said today.
Turkey, with limited numbers of troops routinely based inside Iraq, regularly mounts such operations to hit mountain hideouts of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has fought since 1984 for self-rule for Turkeys 12 million Kurds.
The radical newspaper said artillery and armoured units had crossed the border at three points and were pushing towards the towns of Haftanin and Khwakurk. It said Turkish fighter jets had bombed rebel camps in the area.
There were no reports of casualties from the remote region, which has been run by two Iraqi Kurd parties since they slipped from Baghdads rule at the end of the 1991 Gulf war.
A military source told Reuters at the weekend that up to 7,000 soldiers were involved in the offensive.
Bush ahead of Al Gore
WASHINGTON, April 3 (UNI) Texas Governor George W. Bush (Republican) leads Vice-President Al Gore (Democrat) in enough states to give him 250 electoral votes, just 20 votes short of the number needed to win the Presidency, according to a state-by-state survey by The Washington Times.
Seven months before voters go to the polls in November, nationwide surveys show the race has tightened significantly in the popular vote, says the daily in its lead story today. Many experts predict it could be one of the closest elections in US political history.
It, however, says a
dramatically different picture emerges when the
Presidential contest is examined on the basis of who is
ahead in the state-by-state races in the electoral race.
The 538 electoral votes are apportioned among the states
based on the size of their congressional delegations. It
takes a minimum of 270 electoral votes to reach the white
Asian women work as sex workers in USA
NEW YORK, April 3 (PTI) As many as 50,000 women and children from Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe are brought to the USA under false pretences each year and forced to work as sex workers, abused labourers or servants, The New York Times newspaper has reported.
The daily, quoting a CIA report, identified Thailand, Vietnam, China, Russia, Czech Republic, the Philippines, Malaysia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Brazil and Honduras as primary sources for trafficking.
The CIA report, providing first comprehensive assessment of the problem, said the legal provisions were so weak and time consuming that law enforcement agencies gave it a low priority.
"Besides, the punishments that are met out to perpetrators are comparatively light and victims are reluctant to speak because of fear of being deported".
At a conference in Manila last week, delegates of 23 Asian countries asked governments to seize the profits of the crime syndicates involved and a Filipino group estimated those profits at up to $ 17 billion a year.
Law enforcement officials in the USA have seen evidence of trafficking in immigrant women and children, some as young as nine years. But they generally do not like to take on these cases because they are difficult to prosecute.
Anwar case: driver offered bribe
KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (AP) A limousine driver based in Washington D.C. today testified that he was offered a hefty bribe to say that former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim made sexual advances toward him.
Jamal Amrorrahman said a Malaysian diplomat had offered him about $ 200,000 to tell the lie in September 1998, soon after Anwar was sacked and arrested.
Jamal, who travelled to Kuala Lumpur to testify in Anwars sodomy trial, said the diplomat made the offer while he was being driven from Washington to New York.
"I told him `you must be joking," Jamal said in court.
The diplomat allegedly told Jamal that the money could be collected from Malaysian officials in New York.
Jamal, who says his limousine has been hired regularly by visiting Malaysian officials since 1981, made similar statements at a previous court appearance for Anwars corruption trial last year, but the judge refused to accept the testimony.
Today, prosecutors again objected to Jamals presence, but Judge Ariffin Jaka rejected their plea. "You can cross-examine and demolish him later," Ariffin told the prosecutors.
UK may allow human cloning
LONDON, April 3 (AFP) The British Government is expected to give the go-ahead for human embryos to be cloned for medical research after a panel of experts concluded it would be beneficial, The Daily Telegraph said today.
The newspaper quoted one unnamed member of the panel as saying: "The potential is enormous. This could allow us to regrow a heart muscle or bone marrow and that is not a threat to humanity."
"Ministers are almost certain to end the ban on the therapeutic cloning of embryos for research that could eventually cure kidney, liver or heart disease," The Daily said, quoting unnamed government sources.
But the newspaper said the government would first try to convince the public that "using embryos for tissue engineering" was different from "creating a carbon copy of a human being".
A panel of scientific advisers urged the government in December 1998 to allow the cloning of human embryos under 14 days old for research purposes only, but in June last year the government decided to maintain its ban.
A British company that contributed to the creation of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, announced in mid-March the first cloning of pigs.
Robinson denied visit to detention camps
GROZNY, RUSSIA, April 3 (AFP) Russian officials refused to take UN human rights chief Mary Robinson to any of the five detention centres which she had asked to see during her brief visit to the war-torn Chechnya.
Instead, the commissioner was taken to a military headquarters which had only two small cells, in one of which had two women being held on suspicion of theft.
"We had requested to see detention centres. We wanted to see where people were held, Ms Robinson told journalists in neighbouring Dagestan.
India, Pak visit a success: Clinton
WASHINGTON, April 3 (PTI) The US President, Mr Bill Clinton has said he views his visit to India and Pakistan a success and that it is part of his worldwide campaign against war, discrimination and hatred.
Speaking at a
fund-raiser for the Nevada State Democratic Party and the
democratic national committee in Las Vegas yesterday, Mr
Clinton said "One of the members of the other party
criticised me for going to India and Pakistan because we
did not get anything. I think we got a lot out of my
going to India and Pakistan. I dont want them to
have a war and I think we should make clear our
opposition to war", he said.
Arctic warming threat to bird life: WWF
LONDON, April 3 (AFP) The gradual warming of the Arctic due to the global climate change is seriously endangering the lives of birds in the polar area, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a statement released today.
According to a
scientific study funded by the WWF, rising temperatures
would cause wooded areas to advance steadily northwards,
replacing the current Tundra that hosts millions of birds
and many unique species.
Serb Krajisnik held
threatens to scrap UD deal
to carry handcuffs
site of contaminants
German firm wins
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