|W O R L D||
Sunday, November 1, 1998
|Crackdown on MQM leaders
ISLAMABAD, Oct 31 The Nawaz Sharif government in Pakistan has allegedly launched a massive clean-up operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement workers in Karachi after the imposition of Governors rule in the southern province of Sindh last night.
Palestinians vow to fight Hamas
RAMALLAH, Oct 31 The Palestinian Authority has approved the latest West Asia peace deal and vowed to confront any attempt by Islamic militants to sabotage the accord.
$ 1m for Paula Jones trust
Perth turns on lights for space
Crackdown on MQM leaders
ISLAMABAD, Oct 31 (PTI) The Nawaz Sharif government in Pakistan has allegedly launched a massive clean-up operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers in Karachi after the imposition of Governors rule in the southern province of Sindh last night.
Hundreds of people were rounded up by security agencies during night-long raids after Mr Sharif announced on Pakistan Television the dismissal of the provincial government and imposition of Governors rule, MQM leader and former provincial minister, Shaoib Bokhari, told PTI over the phone from Karachi.
It is almost the repeat of 1992 operation, Mr Bokhari said adding the raids were mainly directed against leaders and workers of the MQM.
The party has asked its office-bearers and workers to go underground to avoid getting arrested.
Media reports also confirmed that a massive hunt for MQM workers and leaders have been launched by the security agencies since last night to round up at least 10,000 people including nearly 2000 MQM activists who had been released on parole after the PML-MQM government took over in early 1997 which include parliamentarians and members of the provincial assembly.
The self-exiled chief of the MQM Altaf Hussain had warned party workers of a massive crackdown by the government during a telephonic address from London a day earlier.
Mr Bokhari also said that the MQM had decided to move court against the imposition of Governors rule in the province, an act which he termed as malafide intentions and against the democratic norms.
He felt that any other party should have been given the chance to form the government.
Almost the entire opposition condemned the imposition of Governors rule and described it as the beginning of the end of the 20-month-old Nawaz Sharif government.
Incidentally the MQM, which walked out of the Sindh coalition government led by Nawaz Sharifs Pakistan Muslim League, is the second largest party in the 109-member Sindh assembly with 28 seats. The PML has only 21 seats while Benazir Bhuttos Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is the single largest party with 38 seats.
The largest English daily, Dawn, quoting police sources in Karachi said that MQM leaders and workers would be arrested first and sent to jail to face cases pending against them and these people include Senators Aftab Sheikh and Nasreen Jalil, Members of the National Assembly, Kanwar Khalid Younus. Prof A.K. Shams and Hasan Mussanna Alvi and five members of the Sindh assembly.
Apart from them the number of MQM workers out on bail is around 1500. All of them are expected to be rounded up by the security agencies.
The federal government has also decided to strengthen the security agencies in Karachi and more contingents of a para-military force Pakistan Rangers, are being sent to the city, the report said.
A similar Army-backed operation had been launched in Karachi against the MQM during Nawaz Sharifs first tenure in 1992 which resulted in hundreds of deaths.
The MQM chief, Mr Altaf Hussain, in a message from his London residence has alleged that the move to impose Governors rule is an attempt to turn Sindh into a colony of the federal government.
He also said that
Governors rule was imposed against the constitution
as law and order is purely a provincial subject and
termed Governors rule as a tool of the
federal government to extend its authoritarian rule.
$ 1m for Paula Jones trust
WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (AP) A New York real estate investor plans to put $ 1 million in trust for the former Arkansas state employee who is suing US President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.
Mr Abe Hirschfeld planned to hand plaintiff Paula Jones a giant mock check at a news conference. The real money would be put in a trust fund in Dallas, where her lawyers are based.
The arrangement with Mr Hirschfeld is a precursor to negotiations with Mr Clintons lawyers, an attorney in the Jones camp, speaking on condition of anonymity, said yesterday.
And then negotiations will begin with (Clinton attorney Robert Bennett ) and I dont think it will take very long, said the lawyer, suggesting there might be some common meeting ground over money.
The lawyer said Ms Jones attorneys would make a new overture to Mr Clinton on Monday. So far there has been no comment from the Presidents lawyers.
A spokeswoman for Mr Hirschfeld said the news conference would announce an important new development and would include Ms Jones lawyers, but Mr Hirschfeld would not comment yesterday.
Previous attempts to reach a financial settlement stalled after Ms Jones rejected an offer of $ 700,000 from Mr Bennett, insisting she wanted $ 1 million.
Then Mr Hirschfeld stepped into the picture, offering $ 1 million as part of a settlement involving all parties.
Last week, however, Mr Bennett said he would only consider a settlement if it did not include strings attached, referring to Mr Hirschfelds offer. Mr Hirschfeld then said he was withdrawing his offer.
The White House has sought to dissociate itself from Mr Hirschfeld, who is facing tax evasion charges.
Mr Hirschfeld has said he injected himself into the case in hopes of ending it for the benefit of the country and the world.
Mr Clintons denials under oath in the Jones case of a sexual relationship with Ms Monica Lewinsky were the foundation for independent counsel Kenneth Starrs criminal investigation of the President.
Ms Jones team had been demanding a total of $ 2 million from Mr Hirschfeld and Mr Clinton to drop the lawsuit, which was dismissed by a judge but could be revived on appeal.
But as late as Thursday one lawyer in the Clinton camp said the Presidents attorneys were inclined to put settlement talks on hold until the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on whether to revive Ms Jones lawsuit.
In her lawsuit, Ms Jones claims Mr Clinton made a crude pass at her in a Little Rock hotel room in 1991, when he was Governor of Arkansas and she was a clerk for the state.
Palestinians vow to fight Hamas
RAMALLAH, Oct 31(Reuters) The Palestinian Authority has approved the latest West Asia peace deal and vowed to confront any attempt by Islamic militants to sabotage the accord.
The decision last night came after Israel demanded that Palestinian security forces apprehend a top Hamas militant implicated in a suicide bombing in the Gaza strip, saying that such attacks threatened the Wye river memorandum signed in Washington last week.
The Cabinet approved the memorandum with a vast majority, Mr Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, general secretary of the Palestinian Presidency, told reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting in self-ruled Ramallah.
Mr Abdel-Rahim said Hamas would be held responsible for the consequences of the bid by a suicide bomber to blow up a busload of Israeli schoolchildren near a Jewish settlement in Gaza on Thursday. The children escaped but an escorting Israeli soldier was killed.
Perth turns on lights for space pioneer
HOUSTON, Oct 31 (AP) John Glenn admired the heartwarming glow of Perth, Australia, bigger and even more beautiful from orbit than he remembered as the city repeated a 36-year-old tradition and turned on all of its lights for the space pioneer.
Its been a long time ago I looked at the same thing from a little lower altitude, the 77-year-old astronaut said yesterday as space shuttle Discovery soared 560 km above the continent. But it looks beautiful up here and you can pass that along to the people of Perth. he added.
The worlds oldest space traveller slipped back into the past as he savoured the view.
Later in the day, Glenn radioed down he and everyone else on board felt fine and were doing real well despite puffy faces.
Back at mission control, meanwhile, shuttle managers launched a pair of investigations to determine why a door for Discoverys parachute-like landing gear ripped off just before lift-off on Thursday and whether there are any safety impacts to next weekends landing.
The 5-kg aluminium door struck the bottom of an engine nozzle. If it had hit the engine a foot or so higher and pierced a hydrogen-cooling line, it could have been disastrous, said mission operations director Jeff Bantle.
Glenn and his six crewmates managed to keep Perth in view for about five minutes even though Discovery passed well north of the western coastal city because of the shuttles unusually high altitude more than twice the height experienced by Glenn when he became the first American to orbit the earth in 1962.
We got a good view of Perth, a nice glow and spread out, the retiring Ohio Senator reported. He said the city looks even better now than it did back then. Theyve really got them lit up tonight here.
Mission control replied: Glad youre having a chance to take advantage of that sight again after all these years.
Glenn promised to send Perth pictures taken by the shuttle crew.
Australian officials knew Discoverys orbital course might not allow the astronauts to see Perth, but asked residents to turn on their lights anyway, just in case. Townspeople gathered in the streets for a glimpse of the shuttle. They didnt see it, but that didnt dampen the jubilant mood.
Its been incredible, said Perth Mayor Peter Natrass, adding, Its captured the imagination of everyone in Perth.
An astronomer at the Perth observatory, Peter Birch, said its not only nostalgia, its the romance of having a senior citizen up there mixing it with the young fellers.
Going back 36 years when it was all done then, it put us on the map, Birch added.
UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has congratulated US astronaut John Glenn on yet another triumph in a long and heroic career.
Noting that Glenn is known as a pioneer of space age, Mr Annan said, you have now become a pioneer for longevity.
Glenn, who is also a senator from Ohio, became the oldest astronaut to orbit the earth when he returned to space aboard shuttle Discovery on Friday after a gap of 36 years.
UN to review Iraq sanctions
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 31 (Reuters) The U N Security Council has completed work on a plan to review Iraqs bid to get the 8-year-old sanctions against it lifted, provided Baghdad resumes cooperation with arms inspectors.
At the same time, the USA yesterday blocked council consideration of a possible piecemeal lifting of sanctions, such as the oil embargo, if Baghdad only fulfilled demands on dismantling its weapons of mass destruction.
The USA insisted that other demands also be satisfied before there is a rollback of sanctions, imposed after Iraqs invasion of Kuwait in August 1991.
Still, the plan to review lifting of sanctions is seen as an inducement to Iraq to rescind its August five decision to ban most weapons inspections.
The councils decision was spelled out in a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who had sought a comprehensive review of Iraqs relations with the UN.
The Chinese envoy, who had held up final approval of the letter, agreed to its contents last night, the UN announced.
The letter said the review could begin as soon as the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency, in charge of Iraqi disarmament, determined inspections have resumed.
Press leaks by Starrs office being probed
WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) A Federal judge has named a special investigator with broad powers to determine whether independent counsel Kenneth Starrs office illegally leaked secret Grand Jury information to the news media about its investigation of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Chief U.S District Judge
Norma Holloway Johnson Cited 24 news reports as evidence
of possibly illegal leaks and ordered the investigator to
determine also whether Mr Starrs office should be
held in contempt.
WBs corruption hotline
WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (PTI) The World Bank (WB) has announced the setting up of a telephone hotline to receive information on fraudulent or corrupt practices within the bank group or in WB-financed contracts anywhere in the world.
The hotline, said a bank press note would be available to both bank group staff and the public.
The telephone number in the USA and Canada is 1-800-831-0463. In other countries, this toll-free number will be accessible through an AT and T operator.
The decision is part of the steps being taken by the bank to ensure greater transparency and accountability of its operations.
The setting up of
the hotline is part of our continuing effort to maintain
high operational and financial standards, both internally
and externally. It will provide a central focal point
within the institution for reporting allegations of fraud
and corruption, the press note said.
Arafat ill, likely to quit
Taiwan severs ties
Pinochet gets bail
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