|W O R L D||
Tuesday, December 8, 1998
Pak to give firm date for signing CTBT
exports smog to USA
retain control of gurdwara
witness denies charges in Anwar case
envoy in Iraq gets 6 months' extension
may hand over suspects
USA wants Pak to give firm date for signing CTBT
ISLAMABAD, Dec 7 (PTI) The United States of America has sought from Pakistan a "firm date" for signing the CTBT and an "unequivocal assurance" for halting production of fissile materials in return for an immediate bail-out package for its fragile economy, a leading Pakistani daily reported here today.
Washington clearly wants a quid pro quo from Islamabad on the crucial issue of non-proliferation and prevention of terrorism before lifting rest of the sanctions and approving any economic package, bilaterally or through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The Nation, giving an inside into what actually transpired during December 2 meeting between US President Bill Clinton and Premier Nawaz Sharif, said.
It said the Pakistani delegation was clearly told that unless the country makes, "dramatic progress" on key nuclear issues like giving a "firm date" for signing the CTBT and an "unequivocal assurance" of halting further production of fissile material, complete lifting of sanctions is "out of questions".
Without these moves by Pakistan it would not be possible for the Clinton Administration to offer any kind of meaningful bilateral economic assistance for Islamabad to ease its economic woes, the daily quoting US officials said.
Apart from taking a firm stand on the non-proliferation issue, Washington also asked Islamabad to assist its authorities in getting Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden, wanted by the USA for August US embassies bombings in east Africa.
The US officials also confirmed that it was only after Washington gave "go-ahead" that the IMF entered into a negotiation on a bail-out package with Pakistani officials recently and that the actual money under the $ 5.5 billion package could not be arranged without Washingtons nod.
This clearly indicates that the USA has put a brake on the flow of economic package to Pakistan as the earlier scheduled IMF board meeting this month, which was to clear bail-out package, has been postponed till sometime in January.
"Now it is Islamabads turn to deliver on key nuclear proliferation issues and prevention of terrorism," a US official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
US officials accompanying President Bill Clinton during meeting with Nawaz Sharif want firm dates from Pakistan for signing the CTBT, much before the cut-off date of October 1999.
Sharif had earlier declared during his address to the UN General Assembly that Pakistan would adhere to the treaty by September, 1999 and has also declared a moratorium on further tests.
LONDON, Dec 7 (ANI) The growing practice of British universities franchising their degree courses to educational universities in other countries, including India, is causing concern to educational authorities.
A report in the Sunday Times says the practice is leading to degree courses being sold for cash to students who do not have the proper qualifications, while British students struggle to gain entry to universities by gaining high grades in school-leaving examinations.
Reporters posing as students seeking university courses in 15 countries across five continents approached institutions franchised to British universities. They found that in many cases entrance procedures were far easier than the strict qualifications demanded in Britain.
One such case was in Delhi, where a reporter approached the Skyline Business School, which regularly advertises its association with the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside in England. He was told that to get a bachelors course in management at a cost of Rs 270,000 he needed to have gained 55 per cent in his high school examinations. When he said he had scored only 49 per cent, he was invited for an interview, and told that extra-curricular activities could be taken into account. When he said that he was in the school hockey team, he was told that would help, if he had an interview. He was also told that the school did not test applicants.
According to the Sunday Times report, the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside has more than 4,000 students studying in the course abroad, about a third of the number on its own campuses.
The Sheffield Hallam University has 300 students on courses run by franchised institutions, including one in Athens. There a reporter was told at an interview that she could start a course in psychology the same afternoon, provided she could pay the fee of 1.1 million drachma (about 2,300 pounds).
The official body charged
with monitoring standards in universities, the Quality
Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), has
expressed concern at the way franchising has become an
unregulated source of income for some universities. Mr
Peter Williams, who is director of institutional review
at the QAA, is quoted by the Sunday Times as saying:
We have encountered practices which we cannot
condone under any circumstances.
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 7 (Reuters) Plumes of Asian smog and dust from powerful desert storms are streaming eastward across the Pacific ocean, affecting air quality in the western USA, according to new studies.
This is the first time that anybody has ever documented that pollution from one continent can be transported all the way to a downstream continent, said Dan Jaffe of the University of Washington in Seattle.
Mr Jaffe and other environmental researchers told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco yesterday that on two separate occasions in 1997 and 1998, instruments in the USA picked up documented proof of Asian smog and dust cascading down through the atmosphere.
The 1998 event, sparked by a major dust storm in Chinas Gobi desert, was serious enough to boost air pollution measurements in certain areas of the USA to as much as two-thirds of the safety standard set by the environmental protection agency.
Were still talking about a relatively small part of the pollution, but with the rapid industrial growth taking place in Asia we expect that the impacts will increase, Mr Jaffe said.
Earlier studies of pollutants and weather patterns indicated that Asian smog was floating past Hawaii and could account for as much as 10 per cent of the ozone and other pollutants found in the air along the US West Coast.
At yesterdays meeting, researchers said these models had been borne out by two closely studied events in the past two years.
One, in March 1997, revealed that air blowing across Washington state from the Pacific contained carbon monoxide and particulate matter directly traceable to East Asia, sometimes making the journey in as little as four days.
The second, in April 1998, showed that a major dust storm in northwestern China sent enough material into the air that, for several days, the sky literally turned white over much of the western USA some 8,000 km away.
Other studies are
currently underway to measure the possible flows of
airborne pollution and dust from North America eastward
toward Europe, Mr Jaffe said, adding that the goal was to
develop a global understanding of atmospheric
VANCOUVER, Dec 7 (AP) Moderate Sikhs have retained the control of a Vancouver temple, taking all 15 seats in yesterdays election.
The turnout was lower than expected, with slightly more than 36,000 ballots cast out of a possible 56,000.
Temple members have been bitterly divided over an edict from Sikh leaders in India that bans tables and chairs from temples.
The executive board election was hotly contested because it would decide which faction had the control of the lucrative temple.
The issue has sparked violence in the past, but no trouble was reported during the voting.
Vancouvers Ross Street Temple, which opened in 1908, is the largest Sikh temple in North America, with more than 57,000 members.
The temple has been the site of violence between traditional and moderate Sikhs in the Vancouver area since an edict outlawing tables and chairs in temple dining halls was issued by the religions high priest in India earlier this year.
The family of slain Sikh publisher Tara Singh Hayer say his death is linked to the struggle for the control of the temple.
His children and friends have repeatedly said that Hayer, who was gunned down in the garage outside his home on November 18, was killed because of his support of moderate candidates.
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 (AP) In a startling turnaround, a key witness whose allegations from the bulk of sex charges against jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim, denied today that he was ever sodomised by the former Deputy Prime Minister.
Azizan Abu Bakar, the former driver of Mr Anwars wife, had last week testified that Mr Anwar repeatedly forced him into sodomy.
But when the trial resumed after the weekend recess, he told his cross-examiner that he had not been sodomised.
Mr Anwar is currently on trial on four counts of abuse of power. He will be tried later on another charge of corruption and five charges of committing illegal sex acts.
Mr Anwar has denied any wrongdoing and described the charges as part of a high-level conspiracy to ruin his political career.
If the defence punches out holes in Azizans testimony, it could be a crushing blow for prosecutors who have based the most serious charge of illegal sex acts mostly on Azizans accusations.
Taken aback at Azizans retraction, defence attorney Christopher Fernando repeated his question as a hushed silence fell on the courtroom and everyone strained to hear the answer.
I put it to you that Anwar Ibrahim did not sodomise you and that is why you visited him between 1992 and 1997.
Mr Fernando then asked the court interpreter to repeat the query in Malay so that there was no doubt that Azizan understood and that Judge Augustine Paul recorded the response.
The answer remained the same.
LUANDA, Dec 7 (AFP) The United Nations said that 14 UN soldiers, including 10 Indians, held for almost a month by Angolas former rebel movement had been released unharmed.
The UN peacekeepers 10 Indians, one Bulgarian, a Swede, a Senegalese and a Brazilian arrived yesterday at the headquarters of the UN forces in the capital, a UN spokesman here said.
He said the released peacekeepers were in good shape.
The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the former rebel movement of Jonas Savimbi, had refused to allow the UN troops to leave its stronghold of Bailundo and Andulo since October, after the UN ordered a withdrawal from an unstable area of the country.
The two towns were the main targets of a crackdown on armed UNITA combatants, who were due to have turned in their weapons and demobilised by March this year under peace accords signed in 1994.
However, the Luanda government has said that Savimbi still has some 30,000 men at arms, and has already recaptured dozens of towns and villages.
Annan's envoy in Iraq gets 6 months' extension
ABU DHABI, Dec 7 (UNI) United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked his special envoy in Iraq Prakash Shah to continue in office for another six months from January, UN sources said here today.
Mr Shah, who was named in March this year to act as the Secretary-Generals "eyes and ears" in Baghdad, was to have ended his assignment this month.
The extension comes at a time when the UN Security Council is preparing to carry out a comprehensive review of Iraqs compliance with the various UN resolutions after Baghdads August 1990, invasion and seven-month occupation of Kuwait.
Mr Annan, who arrived here yesterday to attend the 19th summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) beginning today, had two rounds of discussions with Mr Shah, who flew in from Baghdad to brief him on the latest events in Iraq.
The meetings were held against the background of the ongoing dispute between Iraq and UN weapons inspectors over a document concerning chemical weapons.
The sources said Mr Annan and Mr Shah discussed ways of persuading Iraq to fully comply with the UN resolutions and extend full cooperation to the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspectors as well as officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Mr Shah told UNI that Unscom chief Richard Butler was due to submit a report to Mr Annan by mid-December, on the basis of which the Secretary-General would brief the Security Council about Iraqs extent of cooperation with the UN inspectors.
The Security Council will then take a view and decide whether to go ahead with the comprehensive review proposed by Mr Annan. The review is likely to begin sometime next month.
According to the sources, the review will determine whether Iraq had destroyed all its weapons of mass destruction, as required by the UN resolutions. If not, Iraq will be told the steps it has to take before the council can think in terms of lifting the crippling economic sanctions which have taken a heavy toll of the Iraq economy over the past eight years.
Iraq has been trying hard for the past few years to get the sanctions lifted and has been accusing American and British members of Unscom of deliberately delaying the inspection procedures so that the embargo could be continued indefinitely. It has also been saying that some of the Unscom inspectors are serving the interests of American and Israeli intelligence agencies.
Mr Annan appointed Mr Shah as his envoy after he visited Baghdad in February this year to resolve a major crisis that had developed between Iraq and Unscom on these issues.
There is a general feeling, especially among Security Council members, that Mr Shahs presence in Baghdad has helped sort out some of these problems and addressed some of the issues raised by Iraq. The extension of his assignment is seen as testimony to the useful role played by him, the sources said.
Mr Shah has been regularly interacting with senior Iraqi leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, and reporting back to Mr Annan about the issues raised by them. The Secretary-General, in turn, has been impressing upon Unscom that, under the memorandum of understanding signed by him with Mr Aziz in February, the inspectors were bound to respect Iraqs dignity, sovereignty and security concerns while going about their duties.
The sources said informal discussions were being held at various levels to resolve the latest dispute between Iraq and Unscom over the document on chemical weapons. The document reportedly lists the amount of ordnance capable of being filled with chemical or biological weapons that Iraq expanded in its 1980-88 war with Iran.
Iraq has said that Unscom inspectors could see 'relevant portions of the paper' only in Mr Shahs presence. The document was found by Unscom during an inspection of the Iraqi air force headquarters in July.
Unscom is charged with the
task of dismantling Iraqs weapons of mass
destruction after the 1991 Gulf war that freed Kuwait
from seven months of Iraqi occupation. The UN will not
lift the sanctions on Iraq unless Unscom certifies that
its task has been accomplished.
DUBAI, Dec 7 (PTI) Libya and the UN are drawing closer to a deal over handing over two Libyans, accused of blowing up a Pan Am jet over the Scottish village of Lockerbie in 1988 killing over 270 people, for trial in the Netherlands, reports here indicated today.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who arrived in Abu Dhabi to attend the 19th GCC summit beginning today, told US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that his talks with Libyan leaders in Tripoli on the issue were "positive".
Annans spokesman was quoted by the official UAE news agency as saying that though Annan had left without a deal, his talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had narrowed down differences and both sides are now nearing a solution.
In Tripoli, Libyan news agency Jana said a deal, that could well pave way for easing of UN sanctions on the country, was close at hand following Annans talks with Gaddafi.
Earlier statements from Tripoli had said even Gaddafi did not have the authority to hand over the suspects and that any decision would have to be taken by the General Peoples Congress, the countrys top decision-making body.
Libya has been under UN sanctions since 1992 for refusing to hand over the two Libyan secret agents that the USA and Britain say are responsible for the Lockerbie bombing for trial in a neutral country.
Britain and the USA agreed in August to allow trial for the two in a neutral country, but said the accused if convicted would have to serve their jail terms in Scotland.
Although Libya has been objecting to this saying the two should be imprisoned in Libya or the Netherlands, the USA and Britain have said that the issue is non-negotiable.
London and Washington, however, say that Tripoli could station diplomats in Scotland with unrestricted access to the prisoners.
President Nelson Mandela of South Africa in a surprise move called up Gaddafi to express his solidarity and support with Libyas fair stand on the issue.
Mandela, who arrived in
Abu Dhabi yesterday to attend the GCC Summit was honoured
with the countrys highest award the Zayed
First Order by UAE President Sheikh
Zay-ed-Bin-Sultan-al-Nahyan for his services to unite his
Cheetah kills boy
Water on Mars
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