Militants blow up Pakistan
Cartoon row: Afghans attack NATO base
Nation page: Recall Denmark envoy: clerics
Four killed in two Baghdad blasts
Suicide bomber dress did him in
8 securitymen killed in Maoist attack
Three deals signed with South Korea
Seoul, February 7
The two countries inked an agreement on science and technology envisaging exchange of scientists and technologists and joint research and harmonisation of customs procedures to facilitate trade and crack down on economic crimes.
India and South Korea also decided to hold their second round of talks on security and foreign policy in the second quarter of this year.
The signing of the accords capped 15-minute of one-to-one talks between visiting President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and his South Korean counterpart Roh Moo-Hyun followed by half-an-hour delegation-level discussions.
The announcement of the launch of negotiations and constitution of a joint task force for framing CEPA, the first of its kind India is going to sign with a country belonging to a select group of 30 economically developed nations, was contained in a joint ministerial statement signed by Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Korean Trade Minister Hyun Chong Kim.
The task force, which has 66 members each from both sides, will submit its report by next year-end.
The recommendation for setting up the task force was made by the joint study group headed by the Indian and South Korean foreign secretaries who submitted their report today. Mr Kalam, responding to the demand from captains of Korean industry and business for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with India, said the proposed CEPA, which was first agreed to by the two countries during the visit to India by the South Korean President in October last year, was a step which not only included FTA but went well beyond.
In a speech at a banquet hosted by Roh, Mr Kalam said India attached the highest priority to the successful conclusion of the negotiations for CEPA which “we believe would add momentum and a robust foundation to our growing economic partnership”.
The agreement is estimated to more than double the existing two-way trade between India and South Korea to $15 to $20 billion by 2010, Indian officials said. — PTI
Quetta, Pakistan, February 7
One blast damaged a pipeline near the town of Dera Murad Jamali in Baluchistan province, shutting supply to the 586-MW Uch power plant.
“The power plant has been closed down,” said Abdul Samad Lasi, area’s senior administrator.
He could not say how long repairs would take.
In other incidents, militants blew up pipelines taking gas from three wells in the Loti gas field in another district of Baluchistan to a nearby purification plant, Mr Lasi said.
The militants are fighting for more autonomy and benefits from oil and gas exploration in Baluchistan. Attacks on pipelines are part of their campaign against central rule.
The main shareholders of the plant are Britain’s International Power Plc, and US firms Tenaska Inc. and GE Capital. The plant sells electricity to Pakistan’s state-run Water and Power Development Authority.
Baluchistan has seen a surge in violence since December and 21 persons died at the weekend alone, including 13 in a bus bombing.
The violence has posed another challenge to President Pervez Musharraf’s efforts to bringing stability to Pakistan.
Yesterday, the Governor of Baluchistan, Mr Ovais Ahmad Ghani, accused warlords in neighbouring Afghanistan and drug barons of arming tribal militants and rival India of financing them.
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Navid Moez called the statement irresponsible.
“The crisis in Baluchistan is an internal issue of Pakistan and by no logic should it be linked to Afghanistan,” he said.
Pakistan’s military launched a major crackdown on militants in Baluchistan after a
Baluch nationalists say hundreds of people have been killed. Analysts say this could be an exaggeration, but the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has accused the government of gross human rights violations in the province.
Kabul, February 7
One person was killed and several wounded in Maymana, Faryab province, when the police opened fire to break up a crowd of about 1,000 protesters, the police chief said.
A resident of Maymana said the crowd threw petrol bombs and stones at the camp manned by the Norwegian troops and a military vehicle was torched.
“The ISAF is operating under difficult circumstances and is exercising the fullest possible restraint. Reinforcements have been sent,” a NATO official in Europe said.
“The situation is still out of control, but we have established some kind of a show of force with F-16s” which overflew the city, Norway’s defence ministry said. There were also small, mostly peaceful protests in Kabul.
The attacks came after several days of protests in Afghanistan over the issue. At least three Afghans were killed in protests in different parts of the country yesterday.
In Pakistan, about 5,000 Islamists paraded through Peshawar, which is ruled by an Islamist coalition made up of several pro-Taliban groups.
Another 5,000 rallied in North Waziristan. “Islam is being defamed through such cartoons. It is a terrorist act,” said provincial Chief Minister Akram Durrani, who led the rally.
The controversy over the cartoons was re-ignited when several European newspapers reprinted the caricatures, including one showing the prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban, saying that press freedom was more important than religious taboos. — Reuters
Baghdad, February 7
The dead were civilians. Five policemen and 15 civilians were wounded.
A crowd had gathered near the shop after one bomb exploded when a second device went off.
The attack took place in the Bab al-Sharjee area, where suicide bombers have killed police, security forces and labourers in the past. Rebels have frequently lured police personnel and civilians to one bomb site and then attacked them with another bomb.
Sunni insurgents waging a bloody campaign to topple the Shi’ite-led government have killed many thousands of mostly Shi’ite security forces and civilians. — Reuters
Suicide bomber dress did him in
London, February 7 The Bedfordshire police said Omar Khayam, who was on parole at the time of the demonstration, was arrested for breaching the conditions of the parole licence. “He was arrested at the behest of the Home Office,” a police spokesman said. Media reports said Khayam was released from jail last year after serving part of a sentence for drug dealing.
London, February 7
The Bedfordshire police said Omar Khayam, who was on parole at the time of the demonstration, was arrested for breaching the conditions of the parole licence.
“He was arrested at the behest of the Home Office,” a police spokesman said.
Media reports said Khayam was released from jail last year after serving part of a sentence for drug dealing. — Reuters
8 securitymen killed in Maoist attack
Kathmandu, February 7
Two soldiers and one policeman were killed during a Maoist attack at Panauti in Kavrepalanchok district, 45 km east of here last night, said an Army official at the Royal Nepalese Army Headquarters.
The fighting continued till early today when the reinforcement of security personnel arrived along with a helicopter and chased the Maoists. Ten security men who sustained injuries in the incident have been brought to the capital for treatment, he said.
“The Maoists might also have suffered loss in the fighting but we are still conducting search to find it out,” the army said.
In another incident, armed rebels launched an attack on a security patrol killing three soldiers and two Armed Police Force personnel at the Gaighat area in Udaypur district, 350 km east of Kathmandu on the same night.
Five other security personnel were also wounded in the fighting. The body of a Maoist militant was also recovered from the clash site, the army claimed. — PTI