Saudi king vows to
Craig is Bond, James Bond
Maoists abduct 3 securitymen
Urgent appeal for choppers in Pak
2 more from J&K located
Washington, October 14
Abdullah also told the US channel ABC in an interview due to be broadcast later today that Riyadh would work to bring down oil price whose rise he admitted had helped Saudi Arabia while damaging other countries.
The new king, who took over from late half-brother Fahd in April, insisted Saudi Arabia was doing all it could to halt terror following the September 11 attacks on the USA, in which most of the hijackers were Saudis.
He said Saudi Arabia would “fight the terrorists and those who support them or condone their actions for 10, 20 or 30 years if we have to, until we eliminate this scourge”.
Abdullah, seen by some observers as a relative moderate in the Saudi ruling family, unequivocally condemned Al-Qaeda, led by the Saudi-born Osama Bin Laden.
“Madness and evil, it is the work of the devil,” he said.
According to official Saudi figures, 90 civilians, 47 security personnel and 121 militants have died in unrest linked to Islamic militants in Saudi Arabia.
The monarch also defended Saudi Arabia’s oil policy. Abdullah said Saudi Arabia was now producing 10 mn barrels a day to meet demand on oil markets and bring down prices.
On the regional front, Abdullah said that Iran was a “friendly country” and at the same time expressed concern about the Shiite country’s role in Iraq. — AFP
London, October 14
In typically flamboyant 007 style, the 37-year-old swept up the Thames on a power launch to a news conference, escorted by Royal Marines boats.
The first blond Bond, wearing a blue suit and red tie, posed for photos in the shadow of Tower Bridge and told reporters: “I’m kind of speechless at the moment.”
The casting of one of cinema’s most iconic characters closes the successful four-film run of Irishman Brosnan, who was shaken and stirred not to be retained to make “Casino Royale”, the 21st Bond film, that starts shooting in January.
The 52-year-old described the decision by the Bond franchise makers to drop him as a “body blow”.
“I was looking forward to making it edgier and grittier, and for all of that to go down in one phone call was highly disappointing,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Craig was the hot favourite in the runup to today’s announcement, and his appointment was all but confirmed when his mother let the secret slip to a regional newspaper today.
While little known in the US, Craig will be more familiar to British audiences after appearing in the gangster caper “Layer Cake”.
He also played alongside Paul Newman in “Road to Perdition” and was poet Ted Hughes opposite Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sylvia Plath in “Sylvia”.
But it is the Bond role that could catapult him into superstardom.
Only five actors have played Bond since the first film, “Dr. No”, more than 40 years ago. Brosnan, Sean Connery and Roger Moore were well-loved mainstays as the secret agent, while George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton were less successful. — Reuters
Muzaffarabad, October 14
Clerics said more than 50 Muzaffarabad mosques were destroyed or damaged in the 7.6-magnitude quake, which killed at least 25,000 people and left more than 2.5 million homeless.
Only three mosques remained somewhat intact and had water supply to allow devotees to undertake ritual bathing before prayers.
At the Markazi Imambargah or central mosque, the city’s chief cleric Mufti Kifayat Hussain Navqi prayed for those who had died, leaving many in his audience in tears.
Officials say at least two or three people died in just about every household in Muzaffarabad, a city of some 1,25,000 people. Many are still buried under the rubble, their bodies unlikely ever to be recovered.
But the mufti also had some harsh words for the survivors, lashing out at them for giving up their observance of the Ramadan fasting month and for abandoning their quake-damaged homes, instead of rebuilding them.
Some aid workers had urged Muslims to suspend their dawn-to-dusk fast as they needed water and basic sustenance to stay alive.
“Many have left their fast. This is not good,” the chief cleric told AFP, summarising his message to about 70 tearful men who turned up for his weekly sermon at the mosque.
He also said the quake that reduced the city to little more than large mounds of jagged rubble, was a warning from God that people must learn to love their fellow humans, no matter what their religion.
Some survivors told that they were not fasting because food supplies were so sporadic and they were eating when they could. Very few said they had gone to the mosque since their lives were turned upside down by the catastrophe.
“We don’t have time. We are too busy trying just to survive,” said Noordin Riaz, who lost five members of his family. “We also have no water so we can’t cleanse ourselves properly. One can’t just pray — there are rituals involved.”
Pakistani soldiers who have been at the forefront of rescue and relief efforts are strictly observing the fast, however, and each evening are seen passing dates, biscuits and bottles of water among themselves, just after sunset to mark a simple Iftar meal. — AFP
Kathmandu, October 14
The rebels stopped a passenger bus heading towards Khimti from Kathmandu at Barakilo area in Sindhupalchowk district on Arniko Highway and abducted the soldier and policemen.
The security personnel, all travelling unarmed, were taken to undisclosed destination, the army said.
The guerillas have also abducted one person each from Mirchaia area of Siraha district and Thawang area of Rolpa district.
In a separate incident, the armed rebels attacked and injured a Royal Nepalese Army personnel in Tilahara area of Parvat district.
Meanwhile, two Maoist cadres from Taplejung and Panchthar districts of eastern Nepal have surrendered.
The army said the two have dissociated themselves from their past acts of terror and violence and expressed willingness to lead a peaceful life. — PTI
Islamabad, October 14
More aid for the quake-affected was on the way, he told the UN information service. “In the pipeline we have 10,000 tents and 100,000 blankets but it takes time to get them into these areas.”
Mr Egeland, who made a helicopter tour of Muzaffarabad, the devastated capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, to assess relief efforts, said more helicopters were needed urgently if thousands of lives are to be saved in the remote areas affected by the Saturday temblor.
The UN has made an appeal for approximately $ 272 million for Pakistan in the wake of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the region on Saturday. The appeal aims at saving lives and early recovery activities for a six-month emergency phase. — PTI
Islamabad, October 14
The 44-year-old, Nuzahat Basheer, and her eight-year-old daughter Tahannya, who survived the quake without injuries, contacted the Indian High Commission for help after reaching Rawalpindi near here.
She along with her daughter would be sent home through Wagah border in the next few days, Indian High Commission officials here said. — PTI
UK bans five Pak-based militant groups
London, October 14 The five Pakistan-based organisations are Harakat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami, Jundallah, Khuddam ul-Islam, Lashkar-e Jhangvi and Sipah-e Sahab Pakistan. The Bangladesh-based outfit is Harakat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami (Bangladesh).
London, October 14
The five Pakistan-based organisations are Harakat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami, Jundallah, Khuddam ul-Islam, Lashkar-e Jhangvi and Sipah-e Sahab Pakistan. The Bangladesh-based outfit is Harakat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami (Bangladesh). — PTI
Blast destroys convoy carrying fuel
Kandahar, Afghanistan 14 Two Pakistani truck drivers were wounded in last night’s explosion at a check point near Kandahar airport, where US-led troops are stationed, they said. Local officials said the bomb was fixed to one of the trucks in Pakistan, but offered no proof. No body claimed the responsibility for the attack but suspicion fell on Taliban rebels.
Kandahar, Afghanistan 14
Two Pakistani truck drivers were wounded in last night’s explosion at a check point near Kandahar airport, where US-led troops are stationed, they said.
Local officials said the bomb was fixed to one of the trucks in Pakistan, but offered no proof.
No body claimed the responsibility for the attack but suspicion fell on Taliban rebels. — Reuters