|W O R L D||
Tuesday, August 18, 1998
USA asks embassy staff to
President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton arrive at church on Sunday in Washington. AP/PTI
Bill Clinton testifies
WASHINGTON, Aug 17 Bill Clinton made history today by becoming the first US President to appear before a grand jury in a criminal proceeding, when he testified about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Embassy blasts: key
USA asks embassy staff to leave Pak
ISLAMABAD, Aug 17 (AFP) Most US embassy personnel were leaving Pakistan and other Americans were urged to join them today after a suspect in the East African embassy bombings was caught in Pakistan and turned over to the Kenyan authorities.
A US embassy spokesman, Mr Richard Hoagland, said all but about 50 of the usual contingent of about 120 in the embassy in Islamabad and consulates in Karachi, Lahore and Peshwar would leave under security orders from the State Department. The staff members and their families will begin leaving tomorrow, he said.
American citizens currently in Pakistan are urged....to consider seriously departing Pakistan, the embassy added in a statement. It noted airports were open and commercial flights available, but added the embassy was arranging additional flights.
Figures on the numbers of Americans other than embassy staff in Pakistan were not immediately available.
Mr Hoagland refused to say whether the precautions had been prompted by a specific threat. He said they were part of a security advisory that also covered Eritrea, Iran and Mongolia.
In Washington yesterday, the State Department updated its worldwide caution for Americans, warning specifically against all travel to Pakistan. The State Department issued a similar warning hours after the August 7 embassy explosions in Kenya and Tanzania and cited the potential for more threats.
The revised worldwide caution referred to subsequent threats without elaboration.
Pakistan confirmed yesterday the arrest in Karachi of a suspect in the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, which killed 257 persons, including 12 Americans.
The suspect, Sadiq Howaida, was arrested as he arrived from Kenya on August 7, the day the bombings were carried out, a Foreign Office spokesman said. He was subsequently handed over to the Kenyan authorities.
Pakistani national newspaper The News, quoting unnamed government sources, said Howaida also claimed the attack was sponsored by Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi-harboured in neighbouring Afghanistan, whom US officials have identified as a possible suspect in the bombings.
The sources quoted in The News today said they were surprised by Howaidas composure under interrogation. They quoted him as saying that with the bombings, he had shown his determination to meet a pledge to the Muslim world.
The News said the suspect was a 34-year-old Palestinian engineer, who confessed to helping plan the bombings. He reportedly told investigators six other conspirators slipped through the Karachi airport on August 7 and apparently made it to Afghanistan, where they had been told they would be congratulated by Bin Laden.
The News reported that one
of its sources said Howaida was handed over to US
officials, who took him to an undisclosed location, while
another source told The News that he was handed over to
Kenyan officials in Nairobi.
Rebels close in on Kinshasa
KINSHASA (Congo), Aug 17 (AP) Embattled President Laurent Kabila returned to Congos capital yesterday after meeting several Cabinet ministers in his former rebel stronghold and making a brief visit to neighbouring Angola to rally support for his government.
Mr Kabilas army, meanwhile, had reportedly lost ground to advancing rebels who aim to topple the government.
Upon returning to Kinshasa, Mr Kabila lashed out at the western media, accusing foreign journalists of conspiracy against his government.
Since when has the western press been in our favour? Mr Kabila told reporters at Kinshasas international airport. We must defy their plot against our country.
He did not elaborate, but his government and state-controlled radio and television have been stepping up attacks on western governments and accusing them of trying to destabilise his regime by reporting on rebel territorial gains.
Leaders of the rebel movement, a coalition of Tutsi fighters, Rwandan soldiers and disgruntled members of Mr Kabilas army said they had captured the western Congo river port town of Matadi and were fighting to take up positions closer to Kinshasa.
Many in the rebel movement helped Mr Kabila oust longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in May 1997, but now say they have been marginalised by the government.
A western diplomat and a former military commander both said fighting was reported near the town of Songololo, about 250 km southwest of the capital.
Bill Clinton testifies
WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (PTI) Mr Bill Clinton made history today by becoming the first US President to appear before a grand jury in a criminal proceeding, in which he is the prime target, when he testified about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky with the threat of a possible impeachment not fully ruled out.
Mr Clinton gave his unprecedented testimony from the map room of the White House over closed-circuit television before the 23-member grand jury of independent counsel Kenneth Starr seated at the federal court house, marking a dramatic culmination of six-and-a-half months of sensational and titillating scandal.
After long suspense, Mr Clinton agreed to testify against the backdrop of his previously sworn testimony, given during the dismissed Ms Paula Jones case, that he never had sexual relations with Ms Lewinsky, who was 21 when she joined the White House in 1995.
Ms Lewinsky also denied the affair under oath in January, but changed her story in testimony to the grand jury on August 6 and admitted a sexual relationship with Mr Clinton, sources familiar with the case said.
testimony, which began at 4.59 p.m. GMT (10.29 p.m. IST),
will form the basis of what Mr Starr says in his report
to the Congress and what Congress decides to do, possibly
including impeachment and ultimately what the public
thinks of the President.
Embassy blasts: key evidence found
NEW YORK, Aug 17 (PTI) American investigators in Nairobi have found a key piece of clue a steel drive shaft a full kilometre away from the US Embassy that may track down the car bombers. The Newsweek reported today.
The clue is a 100-pound steel drive shaft believed to have come from the pickup truck, possibly a Mitsubishi, that carried the explosives. It also carried another piece of clue part of vehicle identification number (VIN), the weekly said.
American press reports link the August 7 bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam to Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden who is supposedly banking-rolling terrorist strikes against American targets.
The Newsweek said Mohammed Sadiq, detained by the Pakistani authorities at Karachi airport when he tried to enter the country on the day of bombing, has been linked not only to the bombing but also to Bin Laden.
In February, the magazine says, Bin Laden helped form a new coalition of extremist groups and signed latest of several fatwas exhorting Muslims to kill Americans.
A few days before the bombing, suspected cohorts of Bin Laden in Africa communicated among themselves that something is bad is going to happen and were getting out of the country.
The magazine reports that US officials say that the CIA had discovered a plan by a West Asia terrorist groups to hit the Nairobi embassy as far back as late last year well before Bin Ladens February convocation of terrorists.
While the State Department gets some 30,000 threats every year, that threat was sufficiently alarming that CIA conveyed it throughout the government at an appropriate high level, an unidentified official was quoted as saying.
Some officials, the
Newsweek said, privately believe that Ambassador Prudence
Bushnells recent unheeded pleas for more security,
including a personal letter to Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, were motivated in part by such a
5 held for Omagh carnage
BELFAST, Aug 17 (Reuters) The police searching for the bombers behind the murder of 28 people in the Northern Ireland town of Omagh arrested five people today and British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged to tighten the noose around dissident Republican guerrillas.
As police chiefs met to pool their resources in the hunt for the small but ruthless band suspected of being behind the worst atrocity in 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland, Mr Blair urged people not to give into hopelessness and despair in the search for a lasting peace.
Tension ran high across Northern Ireland. About 200 people were evacuated from government buildings in Stormont on the outskirts of Belfast after a security alert. The police were carrying out a search of the building.
The police arrested five people in morning swoops around Omagh market town about 80 km west of Belfast with a mixed Catholic and Protestant community.
No one has admitted planting Saturdays car bomb attack in a busy Omagh shopping street. But police and politicians have pointed the finger at the Real IRA a splinter group which broke away from the Irish Republican Army.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Premier Bertie Ahern yesterday promised a combined offensive against the bombers, widely believed to be a small group of renegade Republicans who oppose the Northern Irish peace process.
We have agreed the two governments will work together and will do everything possible in their power to hunt down those responsible for this outrage, Mr Blair told reporters in Belfast as he stood next to Ahern.
One family lost three generations in the bombing a 65-year-old grandmother, her 30-year-old daughter heavily pregnant with twins and the womans 18-month-old baby.
Grief-stricken relatives of the dead were still mired deep in shock yesterday, many seemingly unable to come to terms with the worst guerrilla attack in Northern Ireland.
Ive been here all night and was told this morning that my beautiful daughter is dead, sobbed Tommy Logue upon learning his 17-year-old daughter Brenda had died in the blast.
Royal Ulster constabulary chief Ronnie Flanagan, the top policeman in the British-ruled province, said the car was believed to have been stolen last Thursday at Charrickmacross in Ireland and was then given Northern Irish number plates.
Islamic terror groups want to own N-arms
LONDON Aug 17 (PTI) International Islamic terror groups based in Afghanistan and Pakistan including one led by Saudi billionaire Osama Bin Laden, are suspected to be offering up to 2 million pound sterling for acquisition of tactical nuclear weapons, The Sunday Times reported yesterday.
Leaders of Egyptian Islamic Jehad who had claimed responsibility for bomb blasts in Nairobi and Dar-Es-Salaam and their close ally Bin Laden were suspected to have paid 2 million pound sterling to an intermediate in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan as part of two year quest to own tactical nuclear weapons, The Times said.
Quoting Israeli intelligence sources, The Times said international Islamic groups based in Afghanistan and Pakistan were looking for tactical nuclear weapons like suitcase bombs. It said so worried were the Israeli over these developments that they had sent a senior minister to Kazakhistan to ward off Bin Ladens efforts.
The Observer said a group of radical Islamic leaders from around the world gathered in February in high mountains in eastern Afghanistan, the stronghold of the Saudi billionaire, to endorse a fatwa against the USA, Israel and other countries occupying Muslim land, or subjugating Islam.
Presiding over the meeting was Osama Bin Laden and he received leaders from Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh including Shaykh Mir Hamzah, secretary of Jamaat-i-Ulema Pakistan, a grouping of radicals Pakistani clerics who have four seats in Parliament, Observer said.
Suu Kyis movement curbed again
BANGKOK, Aug 17 (ANI) Burmas military leaders and Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi are once again testing their nerves as the authorities prevented her from travelling to visit her party National League for Democracy supporters. The mini van carrying her was stopped at a distance of 32 km from Rangoon, and it has not been allowed to move for six days.
Photographs showed the mini van stopped at the entrance to a small wooden bridge on a country road.
Floods threaten Chinas oil hub
BEIJING, Aug 17 (AFP) China was today fighting a life and death battle against rising flood waters with the oil hub of Daqing under threat in the north and fears that a key dyke could be blasted in the south, local media reported.
Tension was building up at the crucial dyke on the Yangtze river as waters surged past the level at which officials said they would blast the dyke to save cities downstream.
More than 3,00,000 persons had been evacuated from Gongan country inside the Kingpin Jingjiang dyke in Hubei province in preparation for the flood diversion, officials said.
In the North-East, flood waters had already inundated 1,217 oil wells in marshland outside Daqing, forcing the closure of 527 wells in a city which accounts for half of the countrys oil production.
The third dyke is a life and death defence, a Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) captain told Chinese television as soldiers and civilian volunteers raced to build up a third dyke, 15 km from an abandoned second dyke.
Massacre rate of species on rise
A BIG fish is about to swim away, forever. The barndoor skate Raja Levis seems close to extinction. In 1951 research ships found it in 10 per cent of all trawls of St Pierre Bank in the Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland. Over the last 20 years, none at all have been caught there. The barndoor skate grows to a metre across, not something you would miss if you were looking out for it. But nobody was. Failure to examine historical data has resulted in the largest skate in the North Atlantic being driven to near extinction without anyone noticing, say researchers. If something the size of a barndoor could slip away without being missed the fate of little known species is likely to be worse.
The things that make life possible are barely visible. Laboratory experiments based on small, artificial worlds keep demonstrating that diversity is lifes strongest card. The recycling of air and water and plant nutrients is the business of little creatures most of us never notice. The food we eat, the medicines we take and the tools we use have been fashioned for us by 500 million years of evolution. Yet we know practically nothing about most of them. We even lack a starting point. Who knows how many small fry are being dished? Creatures are being erased from lifes register faster than anyone can record them. The evidence is that humans are extinguishing other life forms on an epic scale. But there are no tallymen to count the dead or take the measure of the living: there are probably only about 7,000 experts they are called taxonomists, or sometimes systematists on the whole planet with the authority to distinguish species one from another. Most are in the wrong places. And few have been getting much encouragement. Without them we cannot even begin arguing.
Then researchers began to look a little harder. They spread nets under trees, dusted them with insecticide and counted just the arthropods (including insects) that fell out. The numbers astonished them. When they got to 50,000, they started to get alarmed: by that reckoning there might be 20 million species to be described, rather than two million. What was true for the Amazon rainforest turned out to be equally true for coral reefs and mangrove swamps. The great plains of Africa turned out to be bewilderingly rich in life.
The change now is less dramatic but not less significant. According to some theorists, half of all creatures with which humans share the planet could be about to steal away into the eternal night, simply because their homes are being destroyed. By man. The worlds dwindling tropical forests could be losing creatures at the rate of 27,000 a year three creatures an hour at the most conservative estimate. The precision of these figures is disputed, the truth behind them is not. In the last century, birds and mammals have been disappearing at an average rate of one a year.
Taxonomys high command people at the Smithsonian and the Missouri Botanic Gardens in the USA and the Natural History Museum in London and at Kew decided to stake out small areas of forest or savannah and simply sample the local life, quick headcounts of this and that species. Such a British project in the Cameroon came to an abrupt end only last year. Scientists had marked out a few hectares of already well-studied forest and begun to catalogue the creatures in just a limited selection of groups. They gave up. Even within the limits the scientists set, there were simply too many species to count.
There is a case for
biodiversity: everybody recognises it. A landscape
without skylarks or corn cockles is poorer. But creatures
disappear because their surroundings change, and those
surroundings were maintained for them by other sets of
creatures. So biodiversity cannot be managed unless it
can be understood, and it cannot be understood unless its
components are identified.
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