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Friday, July 31, 1998
Suu Kyi to defy junta again
Obuchi voted Japanese PM
Suu Kyi to defy junta again
YANGON, July 30 (AFP, AP) Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi today pledged to defy the countrys junta and attempt to leave Yangon again for meetings with supporters, just hours after she was dragged back here after a six-day standoff with the authorities.
The Nobel Laureate, who, supporters said, was suffering from dehydration and fever, was quoted by a National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman as demanding the junta release all of her jailed supporters and set a date for direct talks with the Opposition.
I shall continue to go out of Yangon again and again as soon as I recover until these conditions are met, she said. Suu Kyi urged supporters to remain strong in their battle with the junta, the spokesman told a press conference, which was also packed with foreign Ambassadors and other diplomats. I am as strong as ever, she said.
NLD officials said Suu Kyi was furious that she was forcibly returned to Yangon and the party was considering legal action against the authorities.
She accused the military authorities of forcibly abducting her, hijacking her car and using physical force, NLD Chairman Aung Shwe said.
NLD Deputy Chairman Tin Oo added the juntas treatment of Suu Kyi, who holds the post of party secretary-general, was inhuman.
Described by colleagues as ill and running low on food, Aung San Suu Kyi returned home last night after being stopped at a military roadblock for six days, the government said.
A statement said top leaders of her political party went to the roadblock site west of Yangon, to persuade her to return home.
SYDNEY: US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Thursday accused the Myanmar junta of violating the rights of Aung San Suu Kyi by forcing her to end a six-day roadside protest.
Albright said the Nobel Laureate all of a sudden was taken in her car by a military driver back to Yangon.
Obuchi voted Japanese PM
TOKYO, July 30 (AP, PTI) Keizo Obuchi, who survived bitter party infighting, today became Japans 54th Prime Minister taking on the task of reviving the worlds second-largest economy.
Obuchi (61), replaces Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who led the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to an Upper House election defeat on July 12 that was seen as a no-confidence vote on LDP efforts to drag Japan out of a quagmire that includes record unemployment and bankruptcies.
In a decisive victory, Mr Obuchi snared 268 votes of the 497 ballots cast in the ruling party-controlled Lower House, a comfortable margin above the 249 vote majority. Opposition leader Naoto Kan was the runner-up with 164 votes.
In a sign of the political divisions in Japans Government, however, the Opposition-dominated Upper House endorsed Kan as Premier with 142 votes of the 245 votes counted. Mr Obuchi came in second place in that race with 103 votes in the second ballot.
Mr Obuchi became Prime Minister since the Lower House has the power to overrule any Upper House decision. The split vote the first time that has happened since 1989 requires a conference meeting between the two chambers. If no compromise is struck, the Lower House winner Mr Obuchi will be officially declared Prime Minister.
For the vote today at least, the ruling party showed unity in backing Mr Obuchi. Even former Health Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who challenged Mr Obuchi for the LDP presidency, called for support for the new government.
Its not a question of believing in the new administration or not, he said. We have to believe in it and we have to work toward the end of solving Japans financial crisis.
The Opposition, meanwhile, said the victory in the Upper House better represented the opinions of the voters. The new Prime Ministers first priority would be the economy, a priority illustrated by the rapt attention the country has paid to Mr Obuchis choice of former Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa to head the high-profile Finance Ministry.
While Mr Obuchi is widely considered a cautious leader with few innovative ideas to reactivate Japans troubled economy, Miyazawa (78), is respected by many an economics expert and is an architect of the governments plan to bail out its debt-laden banking system.
Longtime Liberal Democratic Party politician Hiromu Nonaka (72), has been tipped to become Chief Cabinet Secretary, newspapers said. Kaoru Yosano (59), a former Education Minister, is a strong candidate to become Minister of International Trade and Industry, the reports said.
State Foreign Secretary Masahiko Komura (56), is a contender to replace Mr Obuchi as Foreign Minister. One non-party veteran, Taichi Sakaiya, a writer and former bureaucrat, was expected to be named Director-General of the Economic Planning Agency.
USA wants detailed Indo-Pak talks
WASHINGTON, July 30 (UNI) The Clinton Administration has taken note of the Colombo meeting between Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, hoping that they would discuss measures to limit the tension in the region.
White House spokesman Mike McCurry, in reply to a question yesterday, said We are encouraged that the two Prime Ministers are meeting and we hope that they will directly address those things that can limit tensions on the subcontinent.
We imagine that they will review positions that they have taken in the past. Certainly, we expect that there will have to be much greater dialogue before they can resolve all issues and disputes between the two nations, he added.
He, however, said it is encouraging that they are going to meet directly and hope that they will seriously address the issues that both countries need to address and that we have raised directly with them in recent days in our high-level contacts with them.
This is also a step that has been urged by their friends in the world community, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth said at a meeting of the Indian American Friendship Council here on Tuesday.
He recalled what Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott had said on the subject: We think it is very good thing that the direct Pakistani-Indian dialogue is to resume and we will be watching and supporting every way we can.
He said It is clear to us that direct talks between India and Pakistan are essential in the end, no efforts to restore regional stability or resolve tensions, including the 50-year-old Kashmir dispute, can be effective unless the brunt of the responsibility and effort is borne by India and Pakistan themselves.
Clinton to testify on Aug 17
WASHINGTON, July 30 (AP) US President Bill Clinton will provide videotaped testimony in the Monica Lewinsky investigation on August 17, Mr Clintons personal attorney has said.
As part of the agreement, independent counsel Kenneth Starr withdrew a subpoena that had been issued to attorney David Kendall, according to a senior White House official.
Mr Clintons personal lawyers would be present for the testimony, which would be given at the White House, Mr Kendall said yesterday. Last week, Mr Kendall received the historic subpoena ordering Mr Clinton to testify before the grand jury, investigating allegations of a presidential affair and cover-up.
Mr Clintons lawyers have said they do not want him to be the first sitting President to testify in person before a grand jury under subpoena and had sought a forum for furnishing testimony outside a courthouse. In an effort to achieve a prompt resolution of this entire matter, the President would voluntarily provide his testimony on August 17, 1998, to the office of the independent counsel, as he had done on prior occasions, Mr Kendall, told reporters at the White House.
The arrangement was worked out in at least a week of tense negotiations. Mr Starr is investigating whether Mr Clinton and Ms Lewinsky lied when they denied under oath that they had a sexual relationship whether Mr Clinton asked her to testify falsely and whether the President and others tried to obstruct the investigation.
By testifying on August 17, Mr Clinton would be delaying by two days his summer vacation with his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, on Marthas Vineyard. Ms Lewinsky is prepared to testify that she and Mr Clinton discussed ways of concealing a sexual relationship in exchange for blanket immunity from prosecution, legal sources say.
Her account to prosecutors is that she and the President were talking about cover stories for their relationship, as two persons in such situations frequently do how to keep it secret, one source said on Tuesday night.
AFP adds: Ms Linda Tripp, whose taped conversations with Ms Lewinsky triggered the sex-and-lies probe dogging President Bill Clinton, testified for an eighth day before a federal grand jury here.
Ms Tripps spokesman, meanwhile, said Ms Tripp played no role in formulating talking points outlining her testimony in the civil sex harassment case that led to revelations of a possible affair between Mr Clinton and Ms Lewinsky.
Ms Tripp sparked the investigation of Mr Clinton in January by giving independent counsel Kenneth Starr secretly taped conversations with Ms Lewinsky in which the young woman detailed an alleged affair with Mr Clinton.
As Ms Tripp began what was likely her last day of testimony yesterday, her spokesman, Philip Coughter said that she had not been responsible for the talking points Ms Lewinsky had given her.
The document suggested that she adjust her testimony if she were questioned in connection with a civil lawsuit alleging that then Governor Clinton sexually harassed Arkansa state employee Paula Jones.
US media reported yesterday that Ms Lewinsky had admitted writing the talking points herself based on Ms Tripps suggestions which Mr Coughter denied. Linda has nothing to do with the talking points, he said.
Turning the net on oppressive
WHEN the man was arrested, he was in immediate danger of being tortured and killed. But, a few hours later, he was kicked out of the police station in Turkey after being told he was a favourite of Amnesty International. He had been saved by a surge of e-mails and faxes to government offices enough not only to embarrass the authorities but also to threaten to cause the IT and telecommunications networks to crash.
Mobilising campaigners to turn the electronic spotlight on oppressive regimes is one of the many gains expected by Amnesty International as it signs up its first clients this week as an Internet service provider.
Christian aid is leading the charity ISP field with 1,500 Inquiries already for its Surfaid service; and Crusaid, the HIV/AIDS group, is on the slipway. Moves to political and personal expression through the choice of ISP are becoming more common. Names that would once have been regarded as strange ISPs, such as major supermarket chains are joining the fray. For soccer fans who can never have enough of their favourite sport, football clubs are signing up as ISP or offering their names as part of e-mail addresses.
Organisations are expanding their affinity marketing, the term used for sales to members or supporters, by selling mainstream ISP links as their own brands, with software designed to default to their information pages on the Web. Christian Aid became the first well-known charity to become an ISP, six months ago. Surfaid, operated by Global Internet, an ISP based in London, earns the charity £12 a year per Net member, with £ 7,000 made so far. The sum represents 16.6 per cent of the amount spent by those who sign up with Surfaid, says John Ranford of Christian Aid. It is a very generous amount, which we have ring-fenced for Christian Aid. We also get help with promoting the service.
There are not enough people online in Britain yet to make fund-raising effective, he said. But the number of older and female users coming on line is growing very fast and that is making a big difference to us.
We have started to compile a list of warm contacts (supporters) who can be encouraged to campaign but we do not have enough yet. Amnesty and Crusaid have signed up with Affinity Access, an operation based in London and started by Miriam Hughesman, a former journalist on The Financial Times of London.
Amnesty sees the Net link as increasing the involvement of its supporters, providing a way for them to express their commitment, opening a cheap channel for information, increasing its funds and boosting its urgent e-mail campaigning.
The first few hours or days is the period when prisoners are most likely to be tortured or killed,said Ray Mitchell, an Amnesty urgent action coordinator. We can send out the information by e-mail to people who can then respond by e-mail. This speedy response saves lives, stops people being tortured and allows people to reappear when they have been disappeared.
Research into profiles of charity members and supporters showed a good fit with Internet interests, says Hughesman. Bringing them together is likely to be an accelerating process, she says: Affinity is looking to sign up 5,000 Net users by next July, through charities alone.
For Amnesty, its new service is being put to immediate use. This week, an electronic campaign is being waged to protect members of the Kinal Antzetik womens group in Chiapas, southern Mexico, who have received death threats from paramilitaries. The Guardian, London
USA scuttles Russian move
UNITED NATIONS, July 30 (PTI) The USA has scuttled Russias attempt to make the Security Council roll back nuclear inspections in Iraq.
At a closed-door meeting of the council last night, Washington raised strong objections on the matter following which the council adjourned the meeting without taking any action on report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
US concurrence was needed for Moscow to get through the proposal as Washington has veto power and can kill the Russian resolution.
Baluchistan CM resigns
ISLAMABAD, July 30 (UNI) Baluchistan Chief Minister Akhtar Mengal has resigned following the decision of the Pakistani Muslim League (PML) to withdraw support to the ruling alliance in the province.
Mr Mengal assumed office as Chief Minister of Baluchistan more than an year ago as head of the alliance of several small parties in the province which was actively supported by the PML.
The Chief Ministers decision to resign is the culmination of a two-week old crisis in the province.
Two weeks ago, the Muslim League MPs holding ministerial portfolios in the Mengal government resigned from the Cabinet. At that time it was claimed that PML chief and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif never subscribed to the action. Although show cause notices were issued to the PML MPs, the matter ended there.
The PMLs decision to withdraw support to the Mengal government, coming soon after the members of the Chief Ministers own party rebelled against him, left him with no choice but to resign. Mr Mengal however, gave an assurance that he had no intention of dissolving the assembly.
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