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171 killed in Russian plane crash 
Moscow, August 22
A Russian passenger jet with 171 persons aboard crashed in Ukraine today after sending an SOS message, emergency officials said. All on board were reported to be killed in the crash.

13 charged for plotting to buy missiles for LTTE
New York, August 22
At least 13 persons have been arrested in the US on charges of plotting to buy surface-to-air missiles and other weapons for Sri Lanka’s separatist LTTE, designated as a foreign terrorist group by Washington.

Blair’s foreign policy has made UK unsafe: survey
London, August 22
Tony Blair’s foreign policy has made Britain more of a target for terror attacks rather than making it safe, a survey said today.

N-standoff: Iran calls for talks
Tehran, August 22
Iran called for talks today as it delivered its response to a deal aimed at ending a long-running nuclear standoff but it did not say whether it had met the demands of the international community.







EARLIER STORIES


Pakistani school teachers raise slogans to protest against a government ban on their trade union activities in Karachi
Pakistani school teachers raise slogans to protest against a government ban on their trade union activities in Karachi on Tuesday. — Reuters


Kurd accuses Saddam of poison gas attacks

Baghdad, August 22
An Iraqi Kurd told Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial today how jets dropped poison gas smelling of rotten apples on his mountain village and aides to the ousted leader defended his campaign against Kurdish rebels.

UK’s main airport bans cosmetics
London, August 22
All cosmetics, other than those bought at shops in the departure lounge, will not be allowed inside flights originating in Britain following a ban imposed by BAA, which operates the country’s main airports.

AQ Khan diagnosed with prostate cancer
Islamabad, August 22
Disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has been suffering from prostate cancer, doctors have diagnosed.

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171 killed in Russian plane crash 

Moscow, August 22
A Russian passenger jet with 171 persons aboard crashed in Ukraine today after sending an SOS message, emergency officials said. All on board were reported to be killed in the crash.

The Tupolev Tu-154 plane, en route from the Russian Black Sea resort of Anapa to St. Petersburg, disappeared from radar screens while flying over Ukraine, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Stadnikova said. Minutes later, the ministry said wreckage from the plane was found on the ground.

The Interfax news agency, citing the ministry, said 30 bodies had been found.

RIA-Novosti news agency reported that the wreckage was found near the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. It said rescuers were working at the site.

The plane belongs to Pulkovo Airlines, which is based in St. Petersburg, Stadnikova said. She said there were 160 passengers and 11 crew members aboard. — AP

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13 charged for plotting to buy missiles for LTTE
Dharam Shourie

New York, August 22
At least 13 persons have been arrested in the US on charges of plotting to buy surface-to-air missiles and other weapons for Sri Lanka’s separatist LTTE, designated as a foreign terrorist group by Washington.

The men—arrested in a sting operation by undercover agents from across the USA, including Buffalo, Simsbury, California, San Jose and Seattle—conspired to buy surface-to-air missiles from a black market source in America and sought to have the LTTE removed from the US list of terrorist organisations and obtain classified intelligence by bribing the State Department officials, prosecutors claimed.

Most of the arrested were Canadian or Sri Lankan nationals. More arrests were expected, sources said.

They were allegedly trying to buy 10 Russian-made missiles and 500 AK-47 rifles for the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Among those arrested was 54-year-old India-born Nachimuthu Socrates, described in court papers as a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supporter based in North America.

Socrates, being held pending court appearance later this week, was alleged to have tried to bribe a State Department official who was actually an undercover agent to get the LTTE removed from the list of foreign terrorist organisations and obtain classified information.

Assistant US Attorney Mark Rubino said the government viewed Socrates as a flight risk and sought his detention.

Besides Socrates, some of those arrested were identified as Sathajhan Sarachandran, Sahilal Sabaratnam, Thiruthanikan Thanigasalm, Nadarasa Yagrarasa, Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy, Vijayshanthar Patpanathan and Thirukumaran Sivasubaramaniam.

Socrates was arrested yesterday after a wide-ranging investigation conducted by FBI’s Joint Terrorism Force in New York. — PTI 

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Blair’s foreign policy has made UK unsafe: survey

London, August 22
Tony Blair’s foreign policy has made Britain more of a target for terror attacks rather than making it safe, a survey said today.

According to a survey published in today’s edition of The Guardian, 72 per cent of those polled believe the threat from terrorists has increased due to the foreign policy of the Labour government.

Only 1 per cent think the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq and the subsequent war on terror has made Britain a safer country, the survey says. It also indicates that a majority of the people are suspicious about what the ministers are saying on matters related to terrorist attacks. A whopping 72 per cent are sure that the ministers have exaggerated the threat while only 20 per cent believe the government has been telling the truth.

The poll also rates the support for the ruling Labour party at a 19-year low of 31 per cent while the main opposition Conservative party led by David Cameron rose to 40 per cent. — PTI

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N-standoff: Iran calls for talks

Tehran, August 22
Iran called for talks today as it delivered its response to a deal aimed at ending a long-running nuclear standoff but it did not say whether it had met the demands of the international community.

The USA said it would study Iran’s response carefully but added that it was ready to move ahead quickly in seeking UN enforcement action if Tehran did not suspend sensitive nuclear fuel cycle work as demanded by the Security Council.

Iran’s nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani delivered Tehran’s written response to representatives of the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany which drew up the package of incentives for Iran to renounce uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

“Iran is ready for serious talks with the 5+1 group from August 23 over the offered package,” the student ISNA news agency quoted Larijani as telling the envoys.

“We prepared the response to the package with a positive view and even tried to open a way for fair talks by interpreting the many cases of ambiguity logically and positively,” he said.

He called on the world powers that backed the offer to “return to negotiations”, adding Iran “is ready to play its role as a responsible country”.

But he did not elaborate on what was in the written response, and made no direct reference to an August 31 deadline for Iran to freeze enrichment or risk UN sanctions. — AFP

 

Kurd accuses Saddam of poison gas attacks

Baghdad, August 22
An Iraqi Kurd told Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial today how jets dropped poison gas smelling of rotten apples on his mountain village and aides to the ousted leader defended his campaign against Kurdish rebels.

Taking the stand in Baghdad on the second day of the trial the former President has faced, first witness Ali Mustafa Hama said: “Birds were returning to their nests. I saw eight to 12 jets patrolling the sky. There was greenish smoke from the bombs. There was a smell of rotten apple or garlic.

“People were vomiting ... We were blinded. We were screaming. There was no one to save us, only God.”

Two of Saddam’s former military commanders, among six fellow defendants charged with war crimes, had earlier been allowed to

make brief statements in their defence, in which they portrayed the 1988 Anfal —Spoils of War—campaign as a legitimate response to Iraqi Kurds fighting alongside Iran against Baghdad.

Saddam and his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, are charged with genocide over the seven-month campaign. Majid earned his nickname “Chemical Ali” after poison gas attacks in the north.

Hama, one of several witnesses to be presented by the prosecution to lodge a formal complaint against the defendants, spoke of events nearly a year before the formal launch of the Anfal campaign in the Balisan valley, north of Sulaimaniya. 
— Reuters 

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UK’s main airport bans cosmetics

London, August 22
All cosmetics, other than those bought at shops in the departure lounge, will not be allowed inside flights originating in Britain following a ban imposed by BAA, which operates the country’s main airports.

Travellers are now forbidden to take talcum powder, lipstick, eyeliner and mascara through security control under the new restrictions, which were designed to remove confusion resulting from a discrepancy in policies of different airports, according to a media report.

All items, except lipstick, were exempted from a wide-ranging ban imposed nearly two weeks ago in the wake of Britain’s announcement that it had foiled a terror plot involving blowing up US-bound passenger jets, the Daily Telegraph said. — PTI

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AQ Khan diagnosed with prostate cancer

Islamabad, August 22
Disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has been suffering from prostate cancer, doctors have diagnosed.

An official spokesperson said here today that the results of medical examination analysed by at least two histopathologists, had indicated Adino Carcinoma (Cancer) of prostate, adding that further investigations were being conducted by a board of doctors

He said in a routine medical examination of Dr Khan conducted in early August 2006, the tests revealed slightly raised level of serum Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA).

In order to ensure an accurate diagnosis, a detailed examination was immediately conducted, including Ultra Sound Guided biopsy, at KRL Hospital. — UNI 

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