Rumsfeld makes surprise farewell trip to Iraq
Army fans out across B’desh ahead of elections
US defence stuff for Pakistan
Kulveer may be first turbaned MP in
Musharraf offers amnesty to Baluch fighters
Washington, December 10
“The secretary is in Iraq to express appreciation to the troops for what they’re doing as well as thanking the families for the sacrifices they make every day for all Americans,” spokesman Todd Vician said yesterday.
He said Mr Rumsfeld had departed on Friday for Iraq and offered no more details of the defence secretary’s schedule.
Mr Rumsfeld resigned in November, the day after President George W Bush’s Republicans lost control of the US Congress with voter frustration over the Iraq war dominating the election.
News of Mr Rumsfeld’s trip comes nine days before he is due to be replaced by Mr Robert Gates, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Mr Rumsfeld has come under sharp criticism at home and abroad over his handling of Iraq and the treatment of detained terror suspects. But he defended the US presence in Iraq on Friday in farewell remarks to Pentagon staff.
He said an early US withdrawal from Iraq would be a “terrible mistake,” which would threaten the stability not only of Iraq but the region.
Mr Rumsfeld urged Americans to show patience with the war in Iraq, saying that there would be “dire consequences were we to fail here.”
Iraq and Afghanistan have made considerable strides, he said, but “those countries are not there yet.”— AFP
Dhaka, December 10
In Dhaka, soldiers rolled into the Presidential compound, Bangabhaban, and other locations including the university campus.
Also guarding the presidential palace were hundreds of police and paramilitary troops.
President Iajuddin Ahmed ordered the deployment yesterday amid a deterioration of public order and threats by a multi-party alliance led by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, head of the Awami League, to besiege the President’s palace.
The campus is a hotbed of support for both Ms Hasina and her main rival former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia.
Officials said the troops would help civil authorities keep order until a new government takes office after the election.
But two of the 10 members of the interim administration’s advisory council said the deployment could complicate the political situation. — Reuters
Lage Raho…’ named best film
Kuala Lumpur, December 10
Over 4,000 esctatic fans thronged the Putra Stadium to witness the five-hour award function last night, attended by Malaysia’s Queen, Prime Minsiter Abdullah Badawi and Deputy Premier Najib Tun Razak and the cream of Indian cinema.
Chopra also won the award for the Best Story for his superhit movie that has grabbed the imagination of Indians with its theme of “Gandhigiri”- a coinage for Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings.
Hrithik Roshan walked off with the Best Actor award for his superhero role in ‘Krissh’ and dusky beauty Bipasha Basu won the Best Actress award for her role in ‘Corporate’, beating big names like Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee.
Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti’, India’s official entry for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film category, had in its kitty awards in the categories of Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Soha Ali Khan), Best Music (A R Rahman), Best Lyrics, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Back ground Score (A R Rahman) and Best Art Director.
The audience was handed out the usual Bollywood fare of songs and dance on elaborate sets and fireworks, but the Oscar-style event had its share of slip-ups, including flat jokes by hosts Arbaaz Khan and Arjun Rampal. A globe on the award trophy came off several times during the ceremony.— PTI
Kulveer may be first turbaned MP in Commons
London, December 10 The 31-year-old who grew up in Hounslow, works for the Nicholas Group, and is an adviser to shadow trade minister Alan Duncan and shadow attorney-general Dominic Grieve. He is being considered for the Labour-held seat of Brentford and Isleworth after losing out in the race to contest former Tory leader Michael Howard’s Folestone and Hythe seat. Ranger is not concerned about racism. “This country has become an amazingly accepting place. And the emergence of a star like cricketer Monty Panesar has done a lot to help young Sikhs feel as part of this country,” he said. —
London, December 10
The 31-year-old who grew up in Hounslow, works for the Nicholas Group, and is an adviser to shadow trade minister Alan Duncan and shadow attorney-general Dominic Grieve.
He is being considered for the Labour-held seat of Brentford and Isleworth after losing out in the race to contest former Tory leader Michael Howard’s Folestone and Hythe seat. Ranger is not concerned about racism.
“This country has become an amazingly accepting place. And the emergence of a star like cricketer Monty Panesar has done a lot to help young Sikhs feel as part of this country,” he said. — PTI
Musharraf offers amnesty to Baluch fighters
Ouetta, December 10
He was speaking to newsmen at the Governor’s House on the conclusion of a three-day visit to Quetta.
"Our doors are open to everybody willing to negotiate for peace and development in Baluchistan," he said, but added that as president, he would not beg anybody to come to the dialogue table.
"If somebody wants to meet me, he should come forward… I am ready to meet him," he said.
The president said he wanted to develop the province of Baluchistan, which had been neglected by all previous federal and provincial governments. “And for the purpose, I am ready to hold talks with anybody,” he said. To a question, President Musharraf said that Baluchistan’s problems could not be resolved through short-term measures.
"I don’t believe in finding temporary solutions. I want permanent solutions to all issues," he said, adding that resolving issues on a permanent basis would benefit the people of the province in the long run.
He said his government would not stop nationalist parties of Baluchistan from joining mainstream politics. However, he said the government would never hold talks or compromise with ‘insincere elements’.
He said the government was ready to extend amnesty to all those willing to surrender. It would not take action against anybody without any justification, he added.
To a question, the president said that the federal government was giving substantial funds to the province to overcome its financial problems. He said before the year 2000, Baluchistan was getting Rs 2 billion for the PSDP, but the amount had now gone up to Rs 30 billion.
He admitted that the province needed much more than that, adding that the financial position could be improved through better management of accounts. "The amount being spent on Baluchistan is more than what is being spent on Punjab."
To a question, he said the law and order situation in Quetta and other areas of the province had improved a lot. However, he admitted that there was need for further improvement ‘for which the government is making all-out efforts’.
"Incidents of rocket attacks and bomb blasts in the province have declined," he said.
These subversion activities were aimed at destabilising the government, he said, adding that the government knew how to deal with the elements involved in these activities.
“These elements are getting financial assistance from abroad, and included some locals as well,” he said.
He said he would inaugurate the night landing facility at the Quetta airport by March next.
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