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Prosecutors try to nail Saddam
Baghdad, April 19
Iraqi prosecutors pressed ahead today with efforts to prove that Saddam Hussein’s signature was found on documents directly implicating him in the killings of 148 Shi’ites in the 1980s.

Indian alleges threat by US agents
Toronto, April 19
Akhil Sachdeva, an accountant from India who emigrated to Canada, still wonders why he was seized at gunpoint by US agents and held for months with hundreds of foreigners in the months following the 9/11 terror attacks.

Musharraf had fired Dr Khan for 
keeping secrets

Islamabad, April 19
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has disclosed that he fired his country’s father of nuclear programme, Dr A.Q. Khan, in 2001 after the latter refused to divulge details of his scheduled secret visit to Iran. He took the decision after it was conclusively proved that Dr Khan was planning to arrange a secret flight to depart for Zahidan in Iran. Zahidan is known as a centre of smuggling.


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Teachers beheaded in front of students
Baghdad, April 19
Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad today and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.

30 beheaded skeletons found in China
Xi’an (China), April 19
Chinese archaeologists have unearthed some 30 beheaded skeletons, dating back to more than 2,000 years, from central China’s Henan Province, the cradle of Chinese civilisation.

A worker sifts through the rubble of classrooms at the Zhiguang Education Training School in Changping county, north of Beijing, on Wednesday A worker sifts through the rubble of classrooms at the Zhiguang Education Training School in Changping county, north of Beijing, on Wednesday. Men dressed in military fatigues stormed the boarding school and evicted disabled and orphaned children, destroying the rooms and throwing their belongings to make way for development projects. — AFP

Indian theatre group denied visas to Pak
Islamabad, April 19
A 16-member Indian theatre group that was set to perform in the Rafi Peer Theatre’s Ibsen drama festival in Lahore has been denied visas, it was reported here on Wednesday.

Genes behind binge drinking identified
New York, April 19
Genes could be the reason for some people to drink high amounts of alcohol, says a study which could lead to a better understanding of alcoholism.

5000 Chernobyl survivors have thyroid cancer: UN
New York, April 19
About 5000 new cases of thyroid cancer have been detected among the survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster and nearly 9000 persons have succumbed to it so far, a new United Nations report said.

Armstrong gets moon rock as award 
Cincinnati, April 19
Even among astronauts, Neil Armstrong gets special respect - he was, after all, the first man to walk on the moon. Yesterday, the Apollo 11 astronaut got a piece of the moon rock he brought back to Earth.

Liz plans to make India her home
Washington, April 19
British beauty Elizabeth Hurley has confirmed that she plans to marry beau Arun Nayar and make India her permanent home.
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Prosecutors try to nail Saddam

Baghdad, April 19
Iraqi prosecutors pressed ahead today with efforts to prove that Saddam Hussein’s signature was found on documents directly implicating him in the killings of 148 Shi’ites in the 1980s.

The Chief Judge read out a report by prosecution experts authenticating the ousted president’s signature on documents.

“The writing and signatures ... that are related to Saddam Hussein match his handwriting and signatures,” said Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman after the trial of the ousted leader and seven co-accused resumed.

He later adjourned the trial until Monday to give the experts more time.

Saddam and his co-defendants are charged with the killings of 148 Shi’ite men and teenagers after an attempt on his life in the town of Dujail in 1982, when he got out of his armoured car and personally interrogated people after he was shot at.

Saddam has argued he had a right to refer them to court because they tried to assassinate a head of state. But he has refused to give a sample of his handwriting to the court.

Saddam, unusually quiet in his metal pen dressed in his dark suit and white shirt, and his seven co-accused could face hanging if found guilty.

His half brother Barzan al-Tikriti questioned prosecution documents, saying members of the former leader’s Baath party never signed their names so the handwriting evidence should be thrown out.

He repeated his line that the 148 Shi’ites deserved to be prosecuted because they tried to kill the President and were linked to a country which was in a state of war with Iraq, as neighbouring Shi’ite Iran was at the time.

But the former intelligence chief and Iraqi envoy to Geneva denied any involvement in the killings.

“Why kill 148 people? Even if they were foreign but they are our people! Dujail’s people know who rounded them up and now you’re trying to put this on my head,” Barzan told the court.

Saddam is expected to soon face another trial on charges of genocide against Iraq’s ethnic Kurds in the late 1980s in the Anfal campaign, in which he was accused of killing over 100,000 people.

Prosecutors chose the Dujail case first because they thought it was more clear cut than other charges such as genocide and would deliver a quick verdict.

But the trial has been tarnished by the killings of two defence lawyers, the resignation of the first Chief Judge due to what he said was government interference and tirades by Saddam and Barzan.

The possibility of parallel trials has raised concerns that Saddam could be in court for many years before justice is served.

Awad al-Bandar, the former chief of Saddam’s Revolutionary Court accused of handing down the death sentences, called on the court to protect defendants’ families from chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi, who he accused of stating publicly that the evidence was enough for convictions, a charge Moussawi denied. — Reuters

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Indian alleges threat by US agents

Toronto, April 19
Akhil Sachdeva, an accountant from India who emigrated to Canada, still wonders why he was seized at gunpoint by US agents and held for months with hundreds of foreigners in the months following the 9/11 terror attacks.

Chaining him to a bench at the FBI's Manhattan office on December 20, 2001, federal agents demanded to know his religious and political beliefs, asked whether he had taken flying lessons and sought his personal views about the suicide hijackers, he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The 33-year-old is among hundreds of other foreign detainees who have sued US officials contending they were mistreated and terrorised by snarling dogs during four months at the Passaic County Jail in New Jersey.

"May be because of my skin colour? I am an Indian and I look like any person from Pakistan or an Arab country," Sachdeva said in an interview after completing depositions in Toronto taken by lawyers representing the US government in the suit.

Sachdeva, now a Canadian citizen, is seeking undisclosed financial compensation for his ordeal by joining the federal class-action lawsuit filed in New York against senior US officials, including FBI Director Robert Mueller and former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

"First of all, I want an apology," Sachdeva said by telephone from his home in Brampton, Ontario. — AP

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Musharraf had fired Dr Khan for keeping secrets

Islamabad, April 19
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has disclosed that he fired his country’s father of nuclear programme, Dr A.Q. Khan, in 2001 after the latter refused to divulge details of his scheduled secret visit to Iran. He took the decision after it was conclusively proved that Dr Khan was planning to arrange a secret flight to depart for Zahidan in Iran. Zahidan is known as a centre of smuggling.

Dr Khan had refused to give out any information, claiming that it was an important secret matter about which he could not divulge anything, President Musharraf reportedly revealed in an interview with the New York Times.

The interview was conducted for a documentary for Discovery Times TV’s programme titled “Is nuclear jihad within possible reach of the terrorists?”, which was shown on Discovery Channel.

“What the hell do you mean? You want to keep a secret from me,” President Musharraf reportedly yelled at Dr Khan after he declined to disclose the purpose of his visit.

The Pakistani President is learnt to have further said in the interview: “So these are the things which led me to very concrete suspicions. And we removed him.” He, however, feigned ignorance whether Dr Khan had passed on nuclear information to Libya. “Frankly, I don’t know whether he has passed these bomb designs to others. Even under a loose form of house arrest for the past two years, he said, Dr Khan “sometimes has been hiding the facts,” he said. — ANI

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Teachers beheaded in front of students

Baghdad, April 19
Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad today and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.

“Two terrorist groups beheaded two teachers in front of their students in the Amna and Shaheed Hamdi primary schools in Shaab district in Baghdad,” a ministry statement said.

A ministry official said he believed the attacks were aimed at “intimidating pupils and disrupting learning.” — Reuters

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30 beheaded skeletons found in China

Xi’an (China), April 19
Chinese archaeologists have unearthed some 30 beheaded skeletons, dating back to more than 2,000 years, from central China’s Henan Province, the cradle of Chinese civilisation.

The skeletons were obviously those of warriors and one of them was at least 1.85 metres tall, head of Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology, Sun Xinmin, said.

The human remains were found scattered in a pit in the city of Xinzheng, adjacent to a battlefield where State Qin overthrew State Han towards the end of the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC), he said.

Sun and his peers are working hard to collect and preserve the findings before an expressway linking the area to provincial capital Zhengzhou is built.

The skeletons must have belonged to soldiers of State Han and their heads were most likely taken away by Qin warriors. — PTI

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Indian theatre group denied visas to Pak

Islamabad, April 19
A 16-member Indian theatre group that was set to perform in the Rafi Peer Theatre’s Ibsen drama festival in Lahore has been denied visas, it was reported here on Wednesday.

Theatre personality Faizan Peerzada said the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) wrote three letters to the Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi to allow visas to Indian group Anya Chetana, attached with a letter by RPT taking responsibility for the group’s stay in Pakistan.

“We request you to give your best consideration,” the letter said, to which the embassy replied with an objection on the word ‘consideration’ and demanded the word ‘grant’ be used in the letter. — IANS

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Genes behind binge drinking identified

New York, April 19
Genes could be the reason for some people to drink high amounts of alcohol, says a study which could lead to a better understanding of alcoholism.

University of Texas researcher Susan E. Bergeson and others conducted the study with some animals that have either a high or low innate preference for alcohol.

The study provides clues about the molecular mechanisms that underlie the tendency to drink heavily, reported science portal EurekAlert.

Researchers used microarray techniques to study gene expression in the brains of these animals. Microarrays are powerful tools that investigators use for comprehensive analysis of gene activity.

The researchers employed novel statistical techniques to identify nearly 4,000 differentially expressed genes between the high and low alcohol drinking mouse strains.

In addition, a comparison of the mouse data with human genetic studies revealed that genes with significant expression differences reside in chromosomal regions that previously were shown to be associated with human alcoholism.

Pathways, as well as genes whose functions are currently unknown, may contribute to the genetic predisposition to drink high amounts of alcohol, notes Bergeson. 
— IANS

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5000 Chernobyl survivors have thyroid cancer: UN
Dharam Shourie

New York, April 19
About 5000 new cases of thyroid cancer have been detected among the survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster and nearly 9000 persons have succumbed to it so far, a new United Nations report said.

About 5000 persons, who were children and teenagers at the time of the disaster, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 9,350 persons have died due to cancer till now, the report prepared by the World Health Organisation said.

But NGOs have refuted the findings of the report and accused the UN of covering up the extent of the tragedy. A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, now in Ukraine, exploded on April 26, 1986, spewing radioactive clouds over much of Europe.

After the accident 1,16,000 people were evacuated from the area. An additional 2,30,000 people were relocated from the contaminated areas in subsequent years.

The WHO called for renewed efforts to provide public and key professionals with accurate information about the health impact as part of the efforts to revitalise the people and areas affected.

"As we work to rebuild futures, we must not forget the families of those who died as a result of the accident, and those who continue to suffer the consequences of radiation exposure and the severe disruption of their lives," WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook said about the report, which covers contaminated regions in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

The agency is continuing its efforts to improve health care for affected populations through the establishment of telemedicine and educational programmes and supporting research, he said.

Relocation proved a deeply traumatic experience because of disruption to social networks and the impossibility of returning home. For many people, there has been a social stigma associated with being an "exposed person," the report said.

Despite government compensation and benefits for evacuees and residents, some people perceive themselves as victims rather than survivors, with limited control over their own futures, it said.

Many of these persons have demonstrated higher anxiety levels, multiple unexplained physical symptoms and subjective poor health compared to non-exposed populations, it added. — PTI 

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Armstrong gets moon rock as award 

Cincinnati, April 19
Even among astronauts, Neil Armstrong gets special respect - he was, after all, the first man to walk on the moon. Yesterday, the Apollo 11 astronaut got a piece of the moon rock he brought back to Earth.

"I get to keep it myself only so long as I speak today. So I'm going to be talking longer than usual," Armstrong joked at a ceremony in which NASA presented him with the rock.

The rock — about 2 grams of medium light gray, fine-grained basalt encased in clear plastic — was part of NASA's Ambassadors of Exploration award. — AP

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Liz plans to make India her home

Washington, April 19
British beauty Elizabeth Hurley has confirmed that she plans to marry beau Arun Nayar and make India her permanent home.

The ‘Bedazzled’ star said that she got along so well with the Nayar family that she was planning to make India her ‘second home’, when the two tie the knot.

“When we do get married, I am sure India would become my second home. We get on brilliantly and spend a great deal of time with each other’s families. I feel very lucky that I met him,” Contactmusic quoted her, as saying. — ANI

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