February 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India
die in Gaza bomb attack
an atom of truth in ocean of lies: Milosevic
political trial: Duma
UK’s main detention centre
Chaudhry’s party in govt: court
will have to contest poll: USA
bomb land office
Indians face deportation
alternative to Kyoto accord
3 Israelis die in Gaza bomb attack
Jerusalem, February 15
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, following in the footsteps of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, stuck largely to Washington’s line during his visit despite European misgivings over the U.S. approach to ending the violence.
Just after dawn, Israeli forces swept into two Palestinian villages in the northern West Bank, killing one man and arresting several others in what the army said was a sweep for militants involved in attacks on Israelis.
The raids followed a closely coordinated attack in the Gaza Strip on Thursday night in which Palestinians ambushed a Jewish settler convoy, apparently to lure an Israeli tank into a trap.
A heavily armoured Merkava-3 tank sent to the scene ran over a bomb, setting off a blast that split it apart and knocked off its turret, Israeli military sources said. Three crew members were killed and one wounded. It was the first time Palestinians have destroyed an advanced Israeli tank.
Earlier, three Israelis were killed and two others injured in a blast near an Israeli tank in the Gaza Strip, military sources said.
The first blast occurred as an “Israeli civilian convoy” passed near a Jewish settlement yesterday, the sources said, adding that the second one took place, killing three Israelis and injuring two, when a tank sent as a back-up arrived near the scene.
The blast occurred on a road linking the Jewish settlement of Netzarim to the Karni crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
A Netzarim settler told television that heavy military reinforcements had been deployed in the area, and that roadblocks had been set up.
The Israeli radio said the attack was jointly claimed by the radical Islamist group Hamas and an armed movement linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction.
TULKARM (West Bank): A Palestinian was killed when about 10 Israeli tanks backed by helicopters entered Seida village, north east of Tulkarm, on Friday, according to Palestinian reports.
It said tanks entered Seida and the nearby Allar villages opening fire indiscriminately.
Several persons were injured and homes directly hit by gunfire. The army also rounded up several residents, sources said.
UNITED NATIONS: Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has commended the plan to end violence in the Middle East put forward by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres which calls for a ceasefire, immediate recognition of a Palestinian state and year-long negotiations to decide on the form that the new state will take.
Mr Annan said he would encourage Mr Peres’ effort despite widespread skepticism at this time because of the need to strive for durable peace, according to his spokesperson.
Not even an atom of truth in ocean of lies: Milosevic
The Hague, February 15
The former Yugoslav President, who accused the West of plotting the destruction of Yugoslavia in his first formal rebuttal to the charges at the UN tribunal yesterday took the stand for a second day of testimony.
The silver-haired fallen Serb strongman was prepared to call on prominent western leaders, from British Prime Minister Tony Blair to former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, to testify, his legal advisers said late yesterday.
Seven months after he was deported from Belgrade, Milosevic, who is conducting his own defence, went on the attack yesterday against prosecutors who accuse him of masterminding atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.
The ousted Serbian leader denounced his trial as political and lambasted NATO for what he said was a criminal bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999 in response to a Serb crackdown in Kosovo against its ethnic Albanian majority.
After addressing the international court for around four hours yesterday, the 60-year-old spoke by the telephone to his wife and loyal supporter Mira Markovic from the UN detention centre at The Hague, Ognjanovic said.
“This is just an atom, even smaller than an atom, of the truth in an ocean of lies,” the indignant former Communist leader told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia during his spirited opening defence.
Milosevic is charged with genocide in the 1992-95 Bosnian war and crimes against humanity in Croatia in 1991-92 and in Kosovo in 1999.
Belgrade reformers who ousted Milosevic blasted his defence strategy yesterday, accusing him of trying to hide behind the Serb people. Milosevic accused prosecutors yesterday of putting the entire Serb nation on trial.
But Goran Vesic, a senior official in the ruling democratic Party, said in comments carried by Beta news agency: “He was a coward throughout his time in power so I wouldn’t expect him to act any differently in court.”
“Milosevic is on trial for what he has done personally. Rather than defending himself, he is trying to hide behind Serbia’s citizens,” Vesic said.
In a free-flowing speech, Milosevic ridiculed the court as an instrument of the US policy designed to humiliate, isolate and silence him for defending Serbia against western aggression.
He accused the West, the court and NATO of a grand conspiracy to “crucify” him for defending Serbia.
“This is a crime against truth. This is a competition between justice and injustice,” he said in the firm voice of a man who addressed millions during his 13 years in power.
After prosecutors backed their case on the first two days of the trial with television footage of atrocities they blamed on his quest for Serb domination of a fragmented Yugoslavia.
Milosevic responded in kind. He used the high-tech courtroom’s video monitors to show a German documentary critical of NATO’s air strikes against him.
He also directed a court official to show photographs of severed heads, charred bodies and blasted buildings he said were the consequence of NATO bombing. His legal team said he would present more television footage to support his case today.
A political trial: Duma
Moscow, February 15
The state Duma, the Lower House, said the Hague tribunal was biased and urged President Vladimir Putin to ask the U.N. Security Council to place a time limit on its activities.
The statement, passed by 316 votes to six with two abstentions, came on the fourth day of Milosevic’s trial at The Hague, where he faces more than 50 counts including genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the bloody break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
The motion is non-binding and is unlikely to be acted upon by Putin, despite Moscow’s reservations about the court.
The Duma expressed “deep concern over the activities of the international tribunal”, saying it had “ignored serious breaches of international humanitarian law carried out by the member-states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, during the aggression against the Yugoslav federation.
Many Russians believe NATO leaders should be prosecuted for the civilian deaths caused during the 11-week bombing campaign. “We are deeply concerned that the prosecution of individuals by the tribunal is of a political character,” the Duma added.
The tribunal had failed to take a stand against the activities of “Albanian extremists and terrorists” in Kosovo, the Duma motion said. It also accused the court of depriving individuals brought to trial of the right to defend themselves.
Moscow, linked to Belgrade by a share Slav history and Orthodox Christianity, vehemently opposed the NATO air campaign against
Milosevic. It froze relations with NATO, which said its air campaign aimed to halt a crackdown by Yugoslav forces against the majority ethnic Albanian population.
Fire at UK’s main detention centre
London, February 15
About 400 people were staying at the centre, which was designed to accommodate up to 900, said Mr John Bates, a spokesman for Group 4, the private security company that runs the facility.
Other officials said at least three people were treated at a nearby hospital for cuts and bruises, and that several asylum seekers may have escaped during the blazes.
“We believe a number of people may have left the compound, but we are engaged in the fate of other people,” a spokesman for the Bedfordshire police said.
A source at the detention centre told the Press Association that it certainly appeared to be a breakout attempt, and we suspect some people have escaped, but we can’t say that for sure yet.
More than 80 firefighters and 15 fire engines were battling the blazes at the Yarl’s Wood Centre, which was unveiled by the government last month, said Jacqui Manners, a spokeswoman for the Bedfordshire Fire Service.
An ambulance service spokesman, who described the blaze as “spectacular’’, said four people had been taken to hospital. Their injuries were not described as life-threatening. Around 100 police officers were at the scene.
“A 15-pump fire is one of the most major incidents we have had to deal with in a number of years,’’ Jacqui Manners of Bedfordshire Fire Service told Sky News.
Immigration has become a hot political issue in Britain since it emerged last year that nearly every day dozens of asylum seekers, mainly from South Asia, were trying to smuggle themselves into the country as stowaways on Channel Tunnel trains.
Include Chaudhry’s party in govt: court
Suva, February 15
“The Fiji Labour Party has a legal entitlement under the constitution to be represented in cabinet in proportion to its numbers in the house of representatives,” said Fiji’s court of appeal in Suva.
Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has refused to include Mr Chaudhry and his ethnic Indian party in cabinet after last September’s post-coup election and threatened to resign before allowing ethnic Indians into office.
Under the Fiji’s constitution any party which wins 10 per cent or more of the seats must be invited to help form a cabinet.
Mr Qarase’s indigenous Fijian party won 31 of the 71 seats, with Mr Chaudhry’s Fiji Labour Party securing 27.
Many fear the order to invite Mr Chaudhry to join the government can spark off political instability and violence from nationalists who ousted him in 2000.
Meanwhile Mr Qarase said he was considering appealing against a court ruling giving ethnic Indians a stronger voice in his government. “I do not think that it is best for the country to have the Fiji Labour Party as part of the government,” Mr Qarase told Reuters. “They would be better served in opposition.”
Pervez will have to contest poll: USA
Washington, February 15
Secretary of State Colin Powell said this during a chat in an MTV channel programme in the backdrop of assertions by President Musharraf that his regime is bringing the “real essence of democracy” which never existed in Pakistan.
“Maybe he is taking the country in a new direction (but) we have spoken quite candidly to him in due course he will have to stand for elections while he is putting in place the road map to move forward. The USA will be watching closely”, Mr Powell said while interspersing his comments with tributes to President Musharraf for his “vision” of Pakistan for the 21st century.
President Musharraf said at the National Press Club here that it would be the functioning of the government which would be the most democratic.
“Let me also assure you that I may be a military man, a man in uniform — yes, I am — but I am more democratic than any government ever existed in Pakistan. You need to come to Pakistan to see and prove for yourself — see for yourself the truth of what I am saying,” he said.
At one stage, he took exception to the remarks of the Press Club president John Aubuchon introducing him as a military man who had taken power in a coup.
The Pakistani leader sought to correct this “perception” saying, “I did not take over. I was handed over the government. I was in the air when I was removed and certain actions took place. When I came down, I was told “you are in charge.”
Maoists bomb land office
Kathmandu, February 15
The explosion occurred four days after one person was wounded by a suspected rebel bomb that went off in a tax office in Kathmandu.
A Home Ministry spokesman told newsmen the crude bomb went off soon after the office opened to collect land revenue from villages.
A police official said the injured included three revenue department officials, a policeman and three visitors.
Witnesses said some unidentified people entered the building and tried to set it ablaze. “Soon after that there was an explosion,” an employee told newsmen. They said the blast damaged a door, some windows and land registration papers.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast but officials blamed the Maoist rebels for the explosion.
About 550 people, mostly rebels, have died since last November, when the guerrillas broke a truce with the government and walked out of peace talks to continue their fight to topple the constitutional monarchy in favour of a one-party communist republic.
King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency in the same month after a series of attacks on security forces, ordering the army to crush the rebels.
Earlier this month, Junior Home (Interior) Minister Devendra Raj Kandel promised to step up security following a pre-dawn attack on a security post in which 16 policemen died. The rebellion has claimed over 2,350 lives since it started six years ago.
87 Indians face
deportation Bangkok, February 15 The arrest took place at a guesthouse in the crowded pre-dominantly Indian area of Pahurat, often referred to as “little India”.
Bangkok, February 15
The arrest took place at a guesthouse in the crowded pre-dominantly Indian area of Pahurat, often referred to as “little India”.
US alternative to Kyoto accord
Washington, February 15
CLONE — A PET CAT BARVE PULLS OUT FROM CONGRESS RACE VALENTINE’S DAY WIN FOR BULL UNDERWATER
WEDDING LEADS TO 2 DEATHS
BARVE PULLS OUT FROM CONGRESS RACE
VALENTINE’S DAY WIN FOR BULL
WEDDING LEADS TO 2 DEATHS
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