US strikes kill 44 in Fallujah
Kalam visits school near Durban
Chechen warlord threatens more attacks after Beslan
India, B’desh join hands against terror
Turkey backtracks on making adultery illegal
Baghdad, September 17
The clashes came a day after a team of kidnappers grabbed two Americans and a Briton in a dawn raid on their home in a Baghdad neighbourhood.
Early today, US warplanes unleashed strikes on a cluster of houses believed to be used by members of Zarqawi’s Tawhid and Jihad group inside Fallujah, the military said.
Blood covered the floors of the Fallujah General Hospital as doctors struggled to cope with casualties, many brought to the hospital in private cars with ambulances overwhelmed.
Health Ministry spokesman Saad al-Amili said at least 44 persons were killed and 27 injured in the Fallujah strikes.
He said 17 children and two women were among the wounded.
Hospital officials in Fallujah said women and children were also among the dead, but exact figures were not immediately available.
The military said intelligence reports estimated that up to 60 suspected insurgents might have been killed.
US forces, however, have not patrolled inside Fallujah since ending a three-week siege of the city that left hundreds dead.
Clashes also erupted today between US troops and insurgents in central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said.
He said American and Iraqi troops were raiding suspected militant hideouts on Haifa Street.
There was no word on casualties.
Meanwhile, at least five policemen were killed and another 20 wounded, many of them policemen, when a suicide bomber smashed a powerful car bomb into a police patrol in Baghdad today, the Health Ministry and police sources said.
The suicide bomber rammed his car into a police vehicle, one of eight in a patrol, causing a massive explosion, police witnesses said.
“The suicide bomber was driving a Chevrolet Malibu. He smashed his car against the police vehicle,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Adnan Abdul Rahman.
“Five people were killed and 20 others wounded in the attack, most of them policemen,” a Health Ministry official in charge of centralising casualty tolls said.
“Five of my police colleagues were killed and all eight of our patrol cars were damaged,” said First Lieutenant Jafaar Hussein. — AP, AFP
Kalam visits school near Durban
Durban, September 17 “How many planets are there in our solar system and which planets revolve around the sun?” he asked around 600 students of Menzi High School in Umlazi. He got mixed response from the students. “When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking germinates,” this was what he made the delighted children chant repeatedly. Kalam had himself asked to visit the school. He donated books on Indian culture and science to the school and announced that he was leaving the school with a gift from India’s youth — a fully-equipped science laboratory to be completed by the end of the year. Thereafter, he attended a function at the Phoenix Settlement, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904. — PTI
Durban, September 17
“How many planets are there in our solar system and which planets revolve around the sun?” he asked around 600 students of Menzi High School in Umlazi. He got mixed response from the students.
“When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking germinates,” this was what he made the delighted children chant repeatedly.
Kalam had himself asked to visit the school.
He donated books on Indian culture and science to the school and announced that he was leaving the school with a gift from India’s youth — a fully-equipped science laboratory to be completed by the end of the year.
Thereafter, he attended a function at the Phoenix Settlement, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904. — PTI
Moscow, September 17
Basayev, Russia’s most wanted man, expressed regret for the bloody outcome in Beslan, blaming it on the Kremlin.
He made clear there would be no let-up in rebel attacks in the future in the campaign for an independent Chechnya.
‘’We are not bound by any circumstances, or to anybody, and we will continue to fight as is convenient and advantageous to us, and by our rules,’’ he said in a statement.
The statement, that also gave a chilling account of his spending on attacks that have killed well over 400 persons in a period of less than two weeks, appeared on rebel website www.kavkazcenter.com.
Putin said the Beslan attackers were part of international terrorism.
Putin’s tough stance has disappointed many western leaders who had hoped for a rethink of Chechen policy after Beslan to end the 10-year conflict which has cost thousands of lives.
Basayev confirmed Russian suspicions his group had also masterminded suicide bomb blasts that brought down two passenger planes over Russia on August 24 killing 90 persons and two other bomb attacks in Moscow.
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage denounced Basayev.
“He has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is inhuman. Anyone who would use (the killing of) innocents for political aims is not worthy of existence in the type of society that we endorse,’’ he told a news conference in Warsaw.
Basayev said units of his Riyadus-Salikhin group had carried out the September 1 attack on the school in southern Russia, seizing more than 1,000 hostages. — Reuters
Dhaka, September 17
Bangladesh also agreed to examine India’s proposal for an extradition treaty and an Agreement on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters.
The decisions were taken at the two-day talks between Indian Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Omar Faruque.
A joint press statement issued at the end of the talks said both sides approached all issues on the basis of mutual understanding and appreciation of each other’s position and sensitivities.
Mr Singh and Faruque told reporters that they had reached a consensus “on cross-border terrorism through a simultaneous operation along their respective borders, especially to stop drug smuggling, human trafficking and trespassing by criminals.”
“Taking advantage of our long porous border, criminals and insurgents do their unlawful business along the border. We have agreed to work together closely,” Mr Singh said.
On joint patrolling, the Indian official said the Bangladesh Rifles and Indian Border Security Force “will discuss the modalities, but we have agreed for a coordinated patrolling along the borders to stop cross-border crimes.”
Faruque said: “We know we have porous borders and border guards from both the countries will check the border from their territory.”
Both sides, which made substantial progress on security talks, “agreed that better and more effective border guarding is necessary to prevent trafficking and movements across the border without proper and legal documents,” he said.
The two countries also agreed to work closely on the issues of anti-Bangladeshis in India and Indian insurgent hideouts in Bangladesh with each side taking into account their respective “perception and views.”
Bangladesh also agreed as a “gesture of friendly response” to give double entry and exit visas to Indian nationals. — PTI
Turkey backtracks on making adultery illegal
Under pressure from no fewer than six EU governments, Turkey began to back down yesterday on its move to criminalise adultery, indicating strongly that the plan would be shelved.
The retreat followed a direct warning that a move to make adultery punishable by up to two years in jail would threaten Ankara’s attempt to open negotiations on EU membership.
Several weeks of private advice to the Turkish government culminated in public criticism from host of EU foreign ministers, including Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary.
Yesterday Deniz Baykal, the main opposition leader, said that his party and the government had agreed on additions to the country’s penal code that conspicuously exclude the moves to make extramarital affairs illegal.
Cemil Cicek, the Justice minister, said that only measures that both his ruling party and the opposition agreed on would be brought to the floor, suggesting that ministers will not push the adultery proposal.
And Koksal Toptan, the head of the parliamentary committee responsible for the judiciary, said that deputies in the ruling party were not “strongly inclined” to punish adultery with imprisonment, suggesting instead that they should suffer financial penalties.
EU officials said that they would wait for the final outcome from the Turkish parliament, but one added: “If confirmed, this is good news.”
Mr straw said on Monday: “If this proposal, which I gather is only a proposal in respect of adultery were to become firmly fixed into law, then that would create difficulties for Turkey.”
His words had special force because he is one of most ardent supporters of Turkey’s membership of the EU.
Other countries that have made plain their opposition are Denmark, Sweden, France, Belgium and Spain. A similar message was delivered behind closed doors by another supporter of Turkey’s membership bid, Gunter Verheugen, the European Commissioner for Enlargement.
The penal code package is regarded as mainly liberal legislation because while it includes more severe punishments for rapists, paedophiles, torturers, human traffickers and women who kill children born out of wedlock, it also recognises rape in marriage and sexual harassment as crimes.
The government had been hoping to tack the adultery ban on to the draft penal code, apparently to appease hardline supporters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative Islamic party.
On 6 October, Mr Verheugen is due to produce his assessment of whether Turkey has made enough progress on human right to open talks with the European Union.
The decision on whether to open membership negotiations with Turkey is crucial because no country has ever been denied a place in the EU once detailed talks have begun.
The adultery law posed a concrete problem because some legal experts argue that it could breach the European Convention on Human Rights. — By arrangement with The Independent, London
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