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Friday, July 10, 1998
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US move to relax sanctions
WASHINGTON, July 9 — Leaders of a US Senate task force appointed to review sanctions policy in the wake of the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have agreed to compromise the legislation that would allow some of the penalties to be waived, Delaware Senator Joe Biden has said...
Lebed resists Yeltsin move on media
MOSCOW, July 9 —The newly-elected Governor of Russia’s mineral-rich Krasnoyarsk territory, Gen Alexander Lebed (retd), is resisting President Boris Yeltsin’s move to monopolise the about 100 state-run regional television companies in the run-up to the 1999-2000 Duma and presidential elections...

A crowd gathers around a burning barricade on a street in Lagos on Wednesday. Nigeria’s military ruler dissolved his Cabinet on Wednesday but left the junta intact, as riots rocked Nigerian cities a day after the death of Mashood Abiola, the country’s top political prisoner — AP
Tempers flare up in Lagos
PERCHED on the back seat of a crowded yellow minibus, Olaguju was handing out plasters to his friends.
“The cut on your nose is bleeding again,” he told one of them, Adaoye.
“Hausas,” came the seething reply, the word laden with racial hatred...
50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence
50 years on indian independence
Hemingway a desolate man?
MADRID, July 9 — He embodied the ideal of many men: a hunter, soldier and war correspondent who loved women and wine, an energetic, masculine man who drank life to the fullest...
UK to ‘sell off’ 20 pc N-stockpile
LONDON, July 9 — Britain plans to slash its nuclear deterrent in half and sell off 20 per cent of its stocks of missiles, ammunition, land and other defence assets over the next three years...
Another solar system ?
LOS ANGELES, July 9 — A ring of dust particles circling a nearby star looks remarkably like the belt of comets outside Pluto and Neptune, and researchers think it could mean there are other solar systems similar to ours...
Taliban ban on TV
KABUL, July 9 — The Taliban Islamic movement has given Afghans 15 days to get rid of their television sets...
Spice Girl cancels wedding
LONDON, July 9 — “Scary Spice Girl” Mel B has scrapped her plans to marry dancer Jimmy Gulzar, who has been performing with the band on a world tour...Top
  US move to relax sanctions
WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) — Leaders of a US Senate task force appointed to review sanctions policy in the wake of the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have agreed to compromise the legislation that would allow some of the penalties to be waived, Delaware Senator Joe Biden has said.
Mr Biden, senior Democrat on the bipartisan task force, said yesterday the legislation, which could be introduced in the senate as early as today, would exempt agricultural export credits from the sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan and give President Bill Clinton the power to waive other penalties.
Mr Biden said he reached the agreement on the legislation with Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the panel’s chairman.
As required by the US law, Washington slapped broad economic sanctions against India and Pakistan in May for their nuclear tests. The current law provides no method for lifting the sanctions.
Mr Biden said the compromise legislation would give the White House more discretion and make it easier for the USA to negotiate with New Delhi and Islamabad.
Top
LONDON (AFP): An international taskforce of senior officials and experts met for the first time here today to assess issues arising from India and Pakistan’s recent nuclear tests, a Foreign Office spokesman said.
Countries represented at the one-day meeting are Argentina, Austria (current European Union President), Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, the USA, Ukraine and the European Commission.
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook announced on June 12 that a taskforce would be set up from a wide range of countries, and London offered to host the inaugural one-day meeting.
The officials will consider how to react to the tests and how to broaden an international response, the spokesman said.
They would seek ways to coordinate efforts on non-proliferation, promote dialogue between the Asian neighbours and encourage confidence-building measures.
Top
  Lebed resists Yeltsin move on media
MOSCOW, July 9 (PTI) —The newly-elected Governor of Russia’s mineral-rich Krasnoyarsk territory, Gen Alexander Lebed (retd), is resisting President Boris Yeltsin’s move to monopolise the about 100 state-run regional television companies in the run-up to the 1999-2000 Duma and presidential elections.
The maverick General and former presidential aspirant has refused to transfer under the Kremlin’s control several local and regional TV channels which played a key role in catapulting him to phe gubernatorial post of the powerful region.
According to the influntial liberal daily “Sevodnya”, head of state radio and television company (VGTRK) Mikhaih Shvydkoi said if General Lebed did not sign an agreement with him, the federal authorities would divide the federal property in phe region and create a separate local state company.
A presidential decree of May 8 provided for the creation of a powerful state media holding and to secure this Mr Shvydkoi went to a number of Governors, including General Lebed, and tried to persuade them that VGTRK would just be the founder of a new media holding and regional TV companies would simply be its branches.
Journalists’ Union General Director Igor Yak Ovenko said with this decree, Mr Yeltsin intended to create a “collective television” to influence the outcome of the parliamentary elections of 1999 and the presidential poll in 2000.
He challenged the forcible organisation of such a “television Kolkhoz” — equating them with the collective farms set up by Stalin — as unconstitutional and violation of international laws.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin press office denied rumours originating in Hong Kong today that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had died.
“The President is fine and will go about his business as usual today,” a spokesman said.
The rumours spread following a television report aired in Hong Kong.
Top
  Tempers flare up in Lagos
from Alex Duval Smith in Lagos
PERCHED on the back seat of a crowded yellow minibus, Olaguju was handing out plasters to his friends.
“The cut on your nose is bleeding again,” he told one of them, Adaoye.
“Hausas,” came the seething reply, the word laden with racial hatred. In the riot chaos of Agege Motor Road in the Lagos suburb of Idiora, Olaguju Gbemiga’s communal taxi had become a first-aid retreat for Yorubas, the main ethnic group in this sprawling city of nine million people.
“We have to get the Hausas. They were made powerful by the white man, they run the military, they keep us from getting jobs, they killed Abiola, they have destroyed our country,” said Adaoye Phillips as a dozen more youths came running towards the beat-up minibus. Behind them, the lights of a military personnel carrier pierced the dust they threw up with their feet.
On the day that saw the end of a month of junta-imposed mourning for Nigeria’s late dictator, General Sani Abacha, Lagos spontaneously
Topinvented its own grieving porcess for the opposition figure he jailed, Chief Moshood Abiola, who died on Tuesday.
For Adaoye, Olaguju and hundreds of other young men caught up in the rioting and looting yesterday and Tuesday night, Nigeria’s future was now firmly an ethnic and religious issue. In less populous districts of the country’s main city, an eerie sense of inertia had crept in. Beneath drizzle and flags at half mast, schools closed and the normally bustling streets were deserted.
Military roadblocks kept cars out of the centre and minibus drivers, fearing trouble, took the day off, lining up their vehicles in the usual petrol queues.
But the few cars on the road placed fresh branches of green leaves on their dashboards. Leaves have come to be a symbool of the democracy nipped in the bud when the results of elections on June 12, 1993, apparently won by Abiola, were nullified.
The three private television stations and the independent Ray Power FM ran repeated tributes to Abiola, phone-ins and lively discussion programmes with opposition figures.
To hear them, you would have thought you were in a democracy. To see the deserted highways of Lagos you would have thought yourself in a mourning cold-war autocracy. To meet Adaoye, Olaguju and their mates in American ‘hood wear, you felt at the centre of a gangland feud — but one with undertones of civil war.
“Only war can happen now,” said 27-year-old Adwale Ayo, a car mechanic buying a cigarette on a stand by Olaguju’s minibus. “We have nothing else. People die in wars but then people are already dying of hunger in Nigeria. In the rural areas, people go for six months without electricity or water. Even in Lagos, where we are Yorubas, the Hausas get the jobs first in parastatals and federal offices.
“But we, the Yorubas, are the educated ones, they are just playing on privilege. It will not be any different with the new man,” said Mr Ayo, using the common Lagosian expression for Gen Abacha’s successor, Abdusalam Abubakar, whose name they disdainfully affect to forget. As a crowd gathered around the minibus, Yomi Segun, aged 36, a typewriter salesman, met with a roar of approval at the suggestion that Nigeria should be run by three governments — one for the lbo tribe, in the east, another for the Hausa, in the north, and a thrid for the economically powerful Yoruba, in the south and west.
The crowd would not countenance the suggestion that in the world’s most linguistically complicated country — 250 tribes in 30 states and some 400 languages — what they were advocating was ethnic warfare.
“There is no opposition left, nobody trusts politicians, nobody goes to vote. Even Abiola had dined with the military in his time. So all this talk of transition to democracy is a joke to us. — The Guardian, London
Top
  Hemingway a desolate man?
MADRID, July 9 (DPA) — He embodied the ideal of many men: a hunter, soldier and war correspondent who loved women and wine, an energetic, masculine man who drank life to the fullest.
But who was the real Ernest Hemingway? In articles and interviews on the occasion of an exhibition on Hemingway, his close Friend Jose Luis Castillo-Puche depicts the winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature as a lonely and insecure man who sought dangerous adventures in a desperate bid to conquer his terror of death.
One year ahead of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), the Madrid exhibition of photos, letters and other mementoes explores Hemingway’s relationship with Spain, a country the US author called his second homeland.
Since his first visit to Spain in the early 1920s, Hemingway developed a passion for bullfighting. He adored events such as the traditional bull runs in the northern city of Pamplona in July, celebrated in the novel “The Sun Also Rises”, and made friends with several bullfighters.
To Hemingway, the bullfighter made himself momentarily immortal by defying death, elegantly teasing it and by finally killing the enemy, says Castillo-Puche who has written several books on the author of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea”.
Top
But Hemingway’s attraction to danger and death was only a mask to hide his weakness , the desolate and pathetic insecurity of a man who did not even dare sleep without the lights on, according to Castillo-Puche.
The seeds of what has been termed Hemingway’s machoism were planted in him as a child. His mother humiliated his masculinity by dressing him in his sisters’ clothes, and at age nine, he was terrified to witness the bloody suicide of an Indian man who could not stand seeing his wife suffer while Hemingway’s father, a gynaecologist, was performing an emergency caesarean without anaesthesia, according to Castillo-Puche.
When Hemingway’s father later killed himself, Ernest considered him a coward and sought to identify with his grandfather who had been a soldier.
Hemingway’s bearded and corpulent masculinity hid a deep fear of weakness. He tried to conquer his terror of death by constantly seeking it out, volunteering to work as an ambulance driver on the Italian front in 1918, becoming a correspondent in the Greco-Turkish war, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, hunting lions and elephants in Africa, and engaging in masculine sports such as boxing and deep-sea fishing.
Hemingway lived the kinds of adventures he wrote of, converting himself into a living myth, according to critics.
But Hemingway’s impressive life was only a flight forward , Castillo-Puche says. He believes that by seeking danger, Hemingway may have been hoping for a fatal accident, a premature death which would have saved him from suicide.
Shortly before his death, the mythical writer was a white-haired alcoholic, often more drunk from loneliness than from alcohol , according to Castillo-Puche.
Hemingway’s writings had exalted heroes who could bear suffering with elegance. But he could not measure up to the ideal he had created, and at age 62, he shot himself with a hunting rifle on his farm in Idaho.
Top
  UK to ‘sell off’ 20 pc N-stockpile
LONDON, July 9 (AP) — Britain plans to slash its nuclear deterrent in half and sell off 20 per cent of its stocks of missiles, ammunition, land and other defence assets over the next three years, according to news reports.
The Times and The Daily Telegraph yesterday said the plans for the 2.2 billion ($3.6 billion) sell-off were part of a package of proposals to reorganise Britain’s armed forces that were leaked to them on the eve of the government’s announcement to Parliament yesterday.
Leaders of the Opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties condemned the leaks and demanded an investigation. Defence Secretary George Robertson, who called the leak “grossly improper,’’ said yesterday morning that the “severest action’’ would be taken against the person responsible.
Under plans designed to make the military more flexible and more mobile, the army, the navy and the air force would be more closely integrated and there would be cuts in the number of warships, combat aircraft and the territorial army, which supplemented the army in wartime.
Britain would retain its nuclear deterrent, but there would be fewer than 200 operationally available nuclear warheads — a cut of a third from the maximum of 300 announced by the previous government and a cut of more than 70 per cent in the potential explosive power of the nuclear deterrent since the end of the cold war, The Times quoted the proposal as saying.
Under the plan, Britain’s defence budget cuts would total 685 million a year by 2002, The Daily Telegraph said. Defence spending currently accounted for 2.7 per cent of Britain’s gross domestic product, but the changes would trim that proportion to 2.4 per cent.
Top
  Another solar system ?
LOS ANGELES, July 9 (AP) — A ring of dust particles circling a nearby star looks remarkably like the belt of comets outside Pluto and Neptune, and researchers think it could mean there are other solar systems similar to ours.
Although there’s no direct evidence yet of any planets in the system, astronomers using a telescope in Hawaii found a bright spot in the dusty ring around Epsilon Eridani, among the 10 closest stars to earth.
The spot could be dust sucked into the gravitational field of a young planet, said lead researcher Jane Greaves, project scientist for the James Clerk Maxwell telescope operated by Great Britain’s joint astronomy centre in Hilo, Hawaii.
Mr Benjamin Zuckerman, a professor of physics and astronomy, at University of California, here described the image as a snapshot of what our solar system might have looked like four billion years ago.
Top

  Taliban ban on TV
KABUL, July 9 (Reuter) — The Taliban Islamic movement has given Afghans 15 days to get rid of their television sets, video players and satellite receivers “as these are inadmissible to Islamic morals.” They have already put a stop to television broadcasts in the two-thirds of the country they control.
But Maulvi Qalamuddin, Taliban’s Deputy Minister for prevention of vice and promotion of virtue, said Afghans continued to watch video tapes and foreign television channels received via satellite dishes.
“We warn television, video and dish owners to sell their instruments or get rid of them within 15 days,” the Maulvi, whose ministry acts under direct orders from supreme Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, said. He did not specify how violators would be punished.
Top
  Spice Girl cancels wedding
LONDON, July 9 (ANI) — “Scary Spice Girl” Mel B has scrapped her plans to marry dancer Jimmy Gulzar, who has been performing with the band on a world tour.
Tabloid “Sun” reported today the cancellation of the six-week old engagement, recalling the relationship which came to an ebb when the would-be couple rowed during the band’s US tour.
Another girl of the band “Posh Spice” Victoria Adams, who wished to marry English soccer heart throb David Beckham, has now blamed the English team, playing against Argentina in the World Cup, for his sudden ousting.
The “Girl Power” group, which multiplied its merchandise operations in disk cutting and marketing for the century, next to the Beatles of the 1970s is still recovering from the sudden exit of their companion “Ginger Spice” Ger Halliwell over certain differences.
The band topped the hit parades in the international channels in 40 countries with sales of its first ablum, reaching nearly 20 million copies.Top
  Global monitor

Unpaid bill delays blast-off
MOSCOW: An unpaid electricity bill has delayed the planned blast-off of the next crew for the ailing Russian space station Mir, mission control has said. Mission chief Viktor Blagov, cited by the Itar-Tass news agency, said on Wednesday the launch was scheduled for August 3 but was now being put back by 10 days. Commander Gennady Padalka and engineer Sergei Avdeyev are to blast off on August 13 to rendezvous with Mir, where they will stay until the beginning of 1999. The operation had been delayed because of financial problems and unpaid bills meant mission control was without electricity for two weeks. — AFP
Women soldiers
ROME: About 100 women in camouflage outfits protested in front of the Chamber of Deputies to spur Parliament to approve a law allowing women to join the military. We are fed up with false promises, Ms Debora Corbi, president of the association of aspiring women soldiers, told the Italian news agency Ansa. The time has come for Italy to have women in its military too. The group says the government reneged on a promise to pass a law opening the military up to women by the summer. Debate has not started. — AP
Mosque restoration
DUBAI: Egypt has completed a $ 13 million project to restore the glory of the centuries-old Al Azhar mosque in the heart of Cairo. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other top officials attended a ceremony in Cairo on Wednesday to mark the end of the 22-month-long restoration of what is one of the world’s oldest mosques. The monument had suffered serious damages during a major earthquake that struck Egypt in 1992. — UNI
Costliest book
LONDON: A first edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” printed by England’s earliest typographer was sold at auction for $ 7.53 million, a price which auctioneers Christie’s said was a world record. “This has become the most expensive book ever sold,” said Ms Victoria Coode, spokeswoman for Christie’s. Ms Coode said on Wednesday that the previous record sale price for a book was $ 5.3 million paid at auction in New York in October, 1987, for a Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455. — AP
Islamic law violated
KUALA LUMPUR: A court has ordered the arrest of an actress charged with violating an Islamic law that prohibits an unmarried man and woman from being alone together in a room. The warrant against actress-producer Julie Dahlan was issued by the Shariah court on Wednesday in the northern state of Penang after she failed to appear for a hearing on the charge of Khalwat, or “close proximity,” the national news agency Bernama reported. Dahlan, 44, is alleged to have been in a hotel room with a non-Muslim male member of her movie crew during a shoot in 1996. She was then producing a Malay movie titled “Cinta Metropolitan”, or metropolitan love. —AP
Ancient footprints
LONDON: South African scientists, who unearthed three footprints thought to be the oldest ever discovered, have found some that may be even older, a science magazine has said. The three 117,000-year-old footprints, dubbed eve’s prints, were found by geologists David Roberts and Lee Berger in South Africa in 1995 but were not unveiled until earlier this year. The pair have now uncovered more prints that geological dating methods suggest may be twice as old. — Reuters
170 die in floods
BEIJING: Heavy rain since the start of June have left 170 persons dead and 12 missing in the southwest province of Sichuan, officials said on Thursday. “From the start of June until July 7, we recorded 170 persons dead, 12 missing and 1,750 seriously injured because of the flooding,” an official with the Sichuan disaster relief office said. — AFPTop
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