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High-five for U2 at Grammys

Los Angeles, February 9
While Irish rock band U2 took time out from saving the world to bask in Grammy glory, pop star Mariah Carey suffered a disappointing coda to her big comeback year.



The members of the group U2 pose with their trophies during the 48th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday. U2 won the Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance by a Duo categories. — AFP photo

The members of the group U2 pose with their trophies during the 48th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday.

India, US reject Nepal poll
New Delhi/ Washington, February 9
India and the US today rejected yesterday’s municipal elections in Nepal and advised Kathmandu to initiate a genuine process of national reconciliation.

Egyptian diplomat kidnapped in Gaza
Gaza City, February 9
Two masked gunmen kidnapped an Egyptian diplomat today as he travelled in his car to the Egyptian representative office in Gaza City, another Egyptian diplomat said.


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Suicide attack kills 31 in Pak
Islamabad, February 9
At least 31 persons were killed in Pakistan today and 50 others injured in a suspected suicide attack on a Muharram procession of Shiite Muslims and ensuing riots in which shops and vehicles were torched, prompting authorities to impose curfew.

Guantanamo detainees being force-fed
Washington, February 9
The US military has taken “tougher” measures on terrorism suspects detained in Guantanamo Bay naval base, which include strapping them into ‘restraint chairs’ to feed them through tubes and to prevent them from intentionally vomiting for ending their ongoing fast, a report said today.

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Pakistan arrests 36 Indian fishermen.
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High-five for U2 at Grammys
Dean Goodman

Los Angeles, February 9
While Irish rock band U2 took time out from saving the world to bask in Grammy glory, pop star Mariah Carey suffered a disappointing coda to her big comeback year.

U2 won all five categories in which it was nominated yesterday, including the coveted awards for album and song of the year. With a career haul of 22, the band ranks No. 6 on the all-time list of Grammy winners.

U2’s triumph, coupled with Green Day’s upset win in the marquee race for record of the year, gave a decided rock ‘n’ roll cast to the recording industry’s biggest night, even as pop and R&B acts continue to dominate the charts.

It was first time since 2001 that rock acts clinched all three of the biggest Grammy prizes in a single year, including U2’s wins back then for song and record of the year.

Asked backstage if his band was now the greatest in the world, U2 guitarist the Edge replied: “We are tonight.”

Singer Bono, clutching a glass of white wine, added: “You can’t ask me to be humble at a moment like this.”

The song of the year award for “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own” also marked the band’s second win in this category, following its 2001 victory for “Beautiful Day”.

But it was a mixed evening for the three acts who led the nominations with eight each — Mariah Carey, rapper Kanye West and R&B singer John Legend.

Carey, whose comeback album, “The Emancipation of Mimi”, was the biggest release in the US last year, won three statuettes.

But she did not get a chance to thank anyone, as all her awards were announced during the non-televised portion of the show.

Punk rock trio Green Day was the surprise winner of the record of the year award with “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”.

Carey’s haul for the evening included female R&B vocal performance and R&B song, both for “We Belong Together” and contemporary R&B album.

Paul McCartney was among the multiple nominees who went home with nothing. Other losers included rapper 50 Cent, and five-time nominees Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani. — Reuters

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India, US reject Nepal poll
Tribune News Service and UNI

New Delhi/ Washington, February 9
India and the US today rejected yesterday’s municipal elections in Nepal and advised Kathmandu to initiate a genuine process of national reconciliation.

A hard-hitting statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said: “Any credible electoral exercise should have the active involvement and participation of all the mainstream parties. Only then would such elections be able to contribute to the restoration of democracy and political stability.”

It said the poll had been held against the backdrop of a boycott by major political parties, sharp curtailment of their legitimate activities, and continued arrest and detention in various forms of many leaders. It also noted that Maoists had engaged in several violent attacks in the run-up to the elections.

The US said the poll was a hollow attempt” by King Gyanendra to legitimise his power.

“The government detained a large number of political activists before the elections, restricted the media and refused to allow independent outside monitors,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement released yesterday.

Maoist intimidation and killing of candidates during the campaign also marred the elections and there was no political cause that justified the use of violence, Mr McCormack said.

The only way to address the Maoist threat was to restore democracy, he noted.

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Egyptian diplomat kidnapped in Gaza

Gaza City, February 9
Two masked gunmen kidnapped an Egyptian diplomat today as he travelled in his car to the Egyptian representative office in Gaza City, another Egyptian diplomat said.

The gunmen shot out the tyres of consular official Hussam Almousaly’s car and seized him, the second diplomat said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The identity of the gunmen or their motive was not immediately known. Witnesses said Almousaly was abducted 200 yards from his office, which is under 24-hour guard.

He has been in Gaza for six months, the other Egyptian diplomat said.

Six Palestinian police cars were patrolling the area, and officers were questioning potential witnesses.

The representative office and Palestinian security forces had no immediate comment on the kidnapping.

Palestinian gunmen have kidnapped foreigners briefly in the past, often to press demands for jobs, but never have they abducted an Egyptian.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian militants today as they mounted the first attack on the main crossing point from Gaza since troops and Jewish settlers were pulled out of the territory last summer.

The militants were killed as they staged a pre-dawn attack on soldiers guarding the Erez crossing between northern Gaza and southern Israel.

The soldiers returned fire after a group of three gunmen hurled grenades at an observation point overlooking the Erez crossing, military and Palestinian security sources said.

Although two of the attackers were fatally wounded, a third militant is believed to have escaped uninjured. — AP, AFP 

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Suicide attack kills 31 in Pak

Islamabad, February 9
At least 31 persons were killed in Pakistan today and 50 others injured in a suspected suicide attack on a Muharram procession of Shiite Muslims and ensuing riots in which shops and vehicles were torched, prompting authorities to impose curfew.

The attack targeted a procession in the town of Hangu in North-West Frontier Province to mark “ashura”, the holiest day for Shi’ites. Officials reported several blasts.

A leader of the Shi’ite procession, Maulana Khurshid Anwar, said a bomb exploded near a stage where he was about to address Shi’ite mourners. Enraged Shi’ites set shops and a bank on fire and fired shots in the air in the town 200 km (125 miles) west of Islamabad.

Meanwhile, gunmen opened fire on a bus outside Hangu later in the day, killing four passengers, including a woman, and injuring two, Mr Aziz Rehman, said.

The NWFP police chief, Mr Riffat Pasha, said the bombing was a suicide attack and troops were sent to help restore order. Security forces put up barricades on roads leading to Hangu after announcing an around-the-clock curfew in the town.

Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said there had been three blasts and it could have been a suicide attack or caused by time-bombs.

Adbul Majeed Marwat, a senior police officer in Hangu, said hospital sources had put the toll from the bombing at 22. Another senior police officer, who did not want to be named, said 23 had died.

BEIRUT: Hundreds of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims on Thursday transformed a religious ceremony in Lebanon into an emotional but peaceful protest against cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

“Today, we are defending the dignity of our prophet with a word, a demonstration but let (U.S. President) George Bush and the arrogant world know that if we have to ... we will defend our Prophet with our blood, not our voices,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hizbollah, told the crowd.

KARBALA (Iraq): Tens of thousands of Iraqis marched and beat themselves on Thursday in blood-soaked processions through this holy city and other Shiite centres across the country to mourn the seventh century death of their revered martyr Imam Hussein.

Amid tight security and as a fierce sandstorm swept the country, hundreds of thousands of people descended on Karbala where Hussein is believed to be buried to take part in ceremonies marking “ashoura”, the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic lunar calendar. — AP

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Guantanamo detainees being force-fed

Washington, February 9
The US military has taken “tougher” measures on terrorism suspects detained in Guantanamo Bay naval base, which include strapping them into ‘restraint chairs’ to feed them through tubes and to prevent them from intentionally vomiting for ending their ongoing fast, a report said today.

Officials claim that these measures have had a dramatic impact with the number of force-feeds coming down to four detainees from a high of 84 last December. Guards in recent weeks are said to have strapped “recalcitrant” prisoners into “restraint chairs” for hours in a day to feed them through tubes. — PTI

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