|W O R L D||
Tuesday, July 28, 1998
|ASEAN forum stops short of
MANILA, July 27 An Asian Regional Security conference today stopped short of outright condemning India and Pakistan for their nuclear tests even as New Delhi ruled out any dilution of its opposition to test ban and non-proliferation treaties.
Enough proof to indict Benazir
GENEVA, July 27 The Swiss judge probing Benazir Bhutto in a Pakistani corruption investigation said today he expected to indict the former Premier in two to three weeks for alleged money laundering. Meanwhile, in Lahore, she was granted bail by a court she appeared before to answer charges of corruption.
Two motorbikes are seen attached to the landing skids of Kawasaki BK117 helicopter in this photo released by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Tokyo recently. Kawasaki has developed a pair of special motorbike carriers to be attached to a helicopter for rescue operations in disaster-hit areas. AP/PTI
Fiji abolishes inequality
SUVA (Fiji), July 27 Grievances that have split the Pacific island nation of Fiji for decades ended today when a new constitution abolishing discrimination against those who are not the natural inhabitants of the country came into force.
China not to curtail defence budget
BEIJING, July 27 China today said it would reduce its three-million-strong military to 2.5 million, but stoutly defended its huge military budget, saying its defence expenditure was just 3.67 per cent of what the USA spent.
Bangladesh wont sign accord with USA
DHAKA, July 27 Bangladesh has communicated to the USA that it does not want to sign the Status of Forces Agreement with the US Government, a US embassy source here said today.
10 killed in Kosovo clashes
BELGRADE, July 27 Serb security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels fought intense battles over key roads in the separatist Kosovo province which flared over into a border incident involving neighbouring Albania.
Paparazzi didnt spare even Bismarck
HAMBURG, July 27 Anyone who thinks that prying photographers are a modern phenomenon should spare a thought for the fate of 19th century German statesman Otto von Bismarck.
ASEAN forum stops short of censuring India
MANILA, July 27 (PTI) An Asian Regional Security conference today stopped short of outright condemning India and Pakistan for their nuclear tests even as New Delhi firmly ruled out any dilution of its opposition to test ban and non-proliferation treaties despite a demand for the "unconditional" acceptance by foreign ministers attending the meet.
The ministerial conference of 21-member ASEAN Regional Forum (ARE) without mentioning India or Pakistan by name in a statement expressed "grave concern and strongly deplored the recent nuclear tests in South Asia".
The statement was issued by Foreign Secretary of Philippines Domingo Siazon, who is also the Chairman of ARF comprising nine ASEAN countries and their dialogue partners including the USA, Russia, China and Japan. India is also a member of the ARF and was represented at the meeting by Prime Ministers special emissary Jaswant Singh.
The statement, which followed a strong demand mainly by the USA, China, Japan and Australia that the two countries should sign the CTBT "unconditionally" and scrap their nuclear weapons programme, however, said the explosions "exacerbated tension in the region and raised the spectre of a nuclear arms race".
It called for "total cessation" of such testing and urged the "countries concerned to sign the CTBT and NPT without delay, conditions or reservations".
Indias opposition to diluting its position on the CTBT, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation was made explicit by Mr Singh during his 25-minute meeting with us secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Mr Siazon said that Indian sensitivity had prevailed and prevented the ARF from making an outright condemnation.
The Philippines Foreign Secretary said a view was expressed at the conference that the group should not be converted into a forum "for denouncing ARF participants in no uncertain terms as this would affect the comfort level of the participants concerned."
The USA, china, Australia and Japan were in the forefront, demanding that both India and Pakistan should sign the CTBT unconditionally and halt their nuclear programmes.
"We asked India and Pakistan to adhere to the CTBT without conditions," Ms Albright told the day-long meeting while rejecting the two countries demand that the declared nuclear powers should scrap their arsenal first.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxung said the tests had plunged South Asia into a "sudden wave of tension".
"The act of creating imaginary enemies or fabricating sources of threat directed at a third country eventually can only harm others and more so oneself," he said, alluding to Indias assertion that it needed credible nuclear deterrent in view of threat from China.
|Enough proof to indict
GENEVA, July 27 (Reuters) The Swiss judge probing Benazir Bhutto in a Pakistani corruption investigation said today he expected to indict the former Premier in two to three weeks for alleged money laundering.
Mr Daniel Devaud, who has already charged Bhuttos husband Asif Ali Zardari, with money laundering linked to contracts with Swiss companies, told Reuters that the only thing he had to decide now was whether to issue the indictment in Switzerland or Pakistan.
We have evidence that will allow us to indict Bhutto on charges similar to those issued against her husband, he said.
The Oxford-educated Bhutto, fired as Prime Minister in November, 1996, and now leading the Opposition, denies charges by Pakistani officials that she siphoned off millions of dollars.
She has said she would welcome a chance to clear her name and complained that neither she nor her husband have been allowed to see the evidence against them and been unable to rebut it.
Bhutto will be indicted once we solve the procedural issue of whether it should be done in Geneva or in Pakistan, Mr Devaud said. I expect the indictment in the next two to three weeks.
Pakistan is one of the worlds most corrupt countries according to western surveys and charges of corruption against political leaders are common.
But evidence uncovered by the Swiss, ranging from the glamour of an exorbitantly-priced diamond necklace to more prosaic dealings in tractor imports from Poland, has given added credence to the government allegations against Mrs Bhutto.
Pakistans ambassador to Switzerland, Syed Mohammed Inaamullah, said what had been uncovered here so far is just the tip of the iceberg. He told Reuters his government handed over evidence to the Swiss on another eight cases that had yet to be probed.
Were on the right track, he said. Were happy with the progress in Switzerland. This was not just shot in the dark.
Last week, Switzerland handed over to Pakistan 766 pages of evidence, including allegations that purported the Geneva account of an offshore firm was used for channeling kickbacks to Zardari from a $ 33-million Pakistani Government deal to import Polish tractors.
Mr Devaud has also charged that Mrs Bhutto used laundered money in a Geneva account to buy jewellery including a diamond necklace for nearly $ 193,000 in London last August.
He has alleged that the jewellery, including a bracelet and earrings, had been paid in part in cash in London and the balance by bank transfer from the Geneva account. He seized the jewellery at the Geneva home of the jeweller whom he said had sold it to the Bhuttos.
The judge has concluded that there was sufficient evidence to charge Zardari with using offshore companies in order to receive commissions from two Geneva-based companies.
|Benazir granted bail
ISLAMABAD, July 27 (PTI) Pakistans former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was today granted bail by a court in Lahore after she appeared before it amidst tight security to answer charges of corruption against her.
The two-member Ehtesab (accountability) Bench of the Lahore High Court asked Ms Bhutto to deposit Rs 5 million as surety bond for her bail and reappear before it on August 20.
The Opposition leader, who also faces indictment by Swiss authorities on money-laundering charges and has had Swiss bank accounts frozen, immediately challenged the jurisdiction of the special Bench of the Lahore High Court.
Her husband Asif Ali Zardari, already jailed on criminal charges, appeared along side her. He told the judges he feared the authorities may try to poison his toothpaste while he is in detention, court sources said.
A woman activist from Ms Bhuttos party, her face bleeding, barged into the courtroom, accusing the police of brutality. The court directed her to lodge a formal complaint after a proper medical examination, court sources said.
The court adjourned the case until August 20 after accepting Ms Bhuttos plea for bail. It excused her from appearing in person on Thursday when the court will hear her application challenging the submission of additional government evidence to supplement allegations of kickbacks.
The court is hearing a case filed by the governments accountability bureau alleging that Ms Bhutto plundered the national exchequer. She was dismissed by the President on misrule and corruption charges in November 1996.
SUVA (Fiji), July 27 (AP) Long-held grievances that have split the Pacific island nation of Fiji for decades ended today when a new constitution abolishing discrimination against who are not the natural inhabitants of the country, Fijians, came into force.
Symbolic of the reform, about 800,000 people of Fiji, after 28 years of infighting, have finally agreed on a name for themselves in their multiracial society.
From today, natural inhabitants of Fiji as well as the descendants of Indian, Chinese and European labourers and traders will all be officially known as Fiji islanders.
The new name is part of sweeping reforms to the rules of the government in Fiji, ushered in by the new constitution, which came into force from last midnight.
The new document ends an internationally condemned system of government which was installed after two military coups in 1987.
The official name for the 360 island archipelago will also change, to the Republic of the Fiji Islands from the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Fiji.
Since gaining independence from Britain in 1970, natural inhabitants of Fiji, a Melanesian people strongly influenced by Polynesian culture, who form just over half the total population have opposed the use of the word Fijian to describe the nationality of descendents of sugar plantation workers and traders from India, China, Europe and other countries.
They claimed applying the description to other citizens, particularly Indians, undermined their historic primacy. They said this even though Fijian is not a Fijian word, being derived from a description of the countrys people by the British navigator James Cook 200 years ago.
|China not to curtail defence
BEIJING, July 27 (PTI) China today said it would reduce its three million-strong military to 2.5 million but stoutly defended its huge military budget, saying its defence expenditure was just 3.67 per cent of what the USA spent.
Within the coming three years, China would reduce the number of its military personnel by 500,000 with the total size of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) approaching 2.5 million men, says a White Paper on Chinas national defence issued here by the government.
This important strategic decision of unilateral disarmament once again fully expresses Chinas genuine wish for peace, it said, adding that this also represents a new effort by China to further promote the lowering of the worlds armament level, increasing mutual trust and advancing the cause of peace for humanity.
The paper says that Chinas latest disarmament move will be carried out actively and steadily, and completed within the planned three years. Reductions in the land, naval and air forces will be 19 per cent, 11.6 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively.
The paper highlights President Jiang Zemins announcement in September last to this effect based on Chinas disarmament move in the 1980s, which had cut the number by one million.
The paper notes that Chinas defence expenditure in 1997 was 3.67 per cent of the USA, 22.79 per cent of Japan and much lower than many other nations.
China said the five nuclear powers should sign a treaty not to use their nuclear weapons against each other.
The White Paper said the international situation is tending to relax and relations between the major powers continue to improve.
Under these circumstances China believes that conditions are now ripe for nuclear weapon states to undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other, the document says.
|Bangladesh wont sign accord
DHAKA, July 27 (PTI) Bangladesh has communicated to the USA that it does not want to sign the Status of Forces Agreement (sofa) with the us Government, a us embassy source here said today.
Sofa, if signed, would allow us military personnel to enter Bangladesh without travel documents and operate in the country during emergencies.
When contacted, the source told PTI that the us embassy here had received a diplomatic note from Bangladesh Foreign Ministry which said that government of Bangladesh has decided that it does not want to sign sofa.
We will now send the letter to Washington, the us embassy source said. The official BSS news agency earlier quoting a Foreign Ministry source reported that Bangladesh was unlikely to sign the sofa that would allow movement of American military personnel in emergencies on the Bangladeshi soil without travel documents.
Asked about the points of disagreement, the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry source was quoted by BSS as saying that besides visa-free entry of us troops, other clauses like unrestricted movement of American forces in the country is not desirable.
in Kosovo clashes
BELGRADE, July 27 (AFP) Serb security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels fought intense battles over key roads in the separatist Kosovo province which flared over into a border incident involving neighbouring Albania.
At least two Serb policemen and eight Ethnic Albanians were killed in the clashes across the province, which centred on roads linking Kosovos main city, Pristina, to the towns of Pec in the west and Prizren in the south.
However, the Albanian Interior Ministry said yesterday that a border post manned by its soldiers in the Kukes region the only one giving access to Yugoslavia had come under fire when Serb troops entered Albanian territory while firing from automatic weapons.
It said the border guards and local inhabitants returned fire. It gave no indication of any casualties.
Yugoslav officials assured their Albanian counterparts that the incident, which occurred yesterday was not deliberate, the ministry said.
|Paparazzi didnt spare even
HAMBURG, July 27 (DPA) Anyone who thinks that prying photographers are a modern phenomenon should spare a thought for the fate of 19th century German statesman Otto von Bismarck, one of the worlds first victims of ruthless paparazzi.
Resourceful snappers were the bane of his later lifea fate he shared in modern times with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Caroline of Monaco and a host of other celebrities.
In Bismarcks case a photographer and his assistant broke in and took pictures of the iron chancellor as he lay dead in his bed at a country estate near the northern port of Hamburg 100 years ago this month.
After entering the ground-floor bedroom in the early hours Wilhelm Wilcke and Max Christian Priester patted down the pillows and shifted Bismarcs corpse, moving his bandaged head so his face would be more visible.
The photographs showed the sunken features of the great statesman frozen in a death, mask, an 83-year-old ravaged by age and illness with only a chamberpot at his side. It was a far cry from the carefully nurtured image of Bismarck as a dignified elder statesman of Prussian heritage.
The perpetrators advertised their scoop in Berlin newspapers and reporters quickly beat a path to the door. The pictures were sold for 30,000 marks to the highest bidder a small fortune equivalent to more than $ 220,000 today. Not that the enterprising photographers were able to profit from their coup.
A court ordered the immediate confiscation of the negative plates and banned the men from using their work under threat of a huge fine. Wilcke and Priester later spend time in prison after being convicted of illegal entry.
The offending images upset the influential Bismarck family but not just because they were a blatant violation of the politicians right to privacy in his final hours.
Wilcke and Priester were paparazzi obsessed with getting the ultimate scoop that would make them rich and famous in one fell swoop, according to Bismarck era historian Lothar Machtan who teaches at Bremen University.
They completely lacked respect and were unscrupulous. They went about what they did with extraordinary callousness, writes Machtan in a new book due to appear in Germany at the end of this month.
The Hamburg-based duo of Wilcke and Priester had photographed Bismarck on a number of occasions before and they knew there was a lot of money to be made with snapshots of the ailing former chancellor.
The pair were called to Friedrichsruh, the Bismarck family mansion east of Hamburg on the afternoon of July 30,1898 after a tip-off from a servant who was paid generously for his services. But by the time the two men stood at their victims deathbed it was 4 a.m. and the statesman had already breathed his last.
In 1898 the Bismarck family was able to confiscate the offending images and consign them to a secure vault for decades.
Chemotherapy on King Hussein
AMMAN: Jordans King Hussein has undergone chemotherapy to treat a cancerous lymphoma and has reacted positively to the first stage of treatment in the USA, a top Jordanian official said. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where the king checked in on July 14 have diagnosed cancer of the lymph glands in its initial stages which is 100 per cent curable. The Jordanian sovereign finishes the first phase of the chemotherapy treatment today and will rest for a few days before undergoing the second phase, the official said. AFP
Miyazawa as FM?
TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister-designate Keizo Obuchi is considering asking former Premier Kitchi Miyazawa to take the finance portfolio in his new Cabinet, Japanese media reported on Monday. Mr Obuchi was to ask Mr Miyazawa to take on the finance post and also be Deputy Prime Minister in Cabinet. He is expected to form on Thursday, major daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported, quoting senior officials of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Mr Obuchi yesterday ruled out anyone except a politician for the post of Finance Minister. Reuters
CAIRO: Tests conducted by archaeologists on the skeletons of builders of the world-famous Pyramids of Giza suggest 4,500 years ago many of them had syphilis, an Egyptian official said. The novelty this time is that testing of the skeletons showed that many of the workers were stricken with syphilis, Pyramids director Zahi Hawas said on Sunday. AFP
Clintons Asia visit
WASHINGTON: US President Bill Clintons proposed visit to India and Pakistan is under review and no final decision has been made, the White House said on Monday reacting to the Presidents comment which the media interpreted as cancellation of the trip. Responding to Mr Clintons remark that he had planned to go there (India and Pakistan) in a bid to resolve conflicts between the two countries, White House spokesman Barry Toiv said it was meant just to express chagrin that the nuclear tests had complicated plans for the visit. He, however, stressed that no decision had been made. PTI
Suu Kyis protest
YANGON: Myanmar Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi began a third day in her car at a southwestern village on Monday to protest against moves to stop her from meeting party members, a source close to her party said. The National Leader for Democracy (NLD) party leader has refused to budge from the spot where she was stopped on Friday in Anyarsu, about 64 km from Yangon, and rejected a request by the ruling military junta that she go back to her home in Yangon. She is still there, a source close to the NLD said. A military source said he believed the leader was still in her car on Sunday night. Reuters
Rape as war crime
SINGAPORE: The systematic rape of Chinese women and children during recent unrest in Indonesia should be deemed war crimes, women leaders in neighbouring Singapore were quoted as saying on Monday. Human rights and womens groups in Indonesia say organised gangs committed at least 168 rapes during the unrest in May, attacking mostly Chinese women and girls as young as nine years old, of which at least 20 died. AP
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