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Tuesday, November 3, 1998
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Israel delays accord application
JERUSALEM, Nov 2 — Israel said today that it was delaying the application of its latest peace agreement with the Palestinians by at least 10 days, until November 12, to give Parliament time to vote on the deal.

Observer status
denied to aliens

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Sacked Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today pleaded innocent as he stood trial in a criminal case that has sparked political unrest in the country and attracted worldwide media attention.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) greets German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
LONDON: Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) greets German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on the steps of 10 Downing Street, in London on Monday. Schroeder is on his first visit to Britain since becoming Chancellor. — AP/PTI
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Dalai Lama wants ‘real autonomy’
SCHNEVERDINGEN, Germany, Nov 2 — The Dalai Lama has said he wants a “real autonomy” for Tibet and not complete independence from China. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has also condemned China’s continuing refusal to recognise Tibet as a separate culture.

Iraqi ban: Clinton flays decision, keeps options open
WASHINGTON, Nov 2 — President Bill Clinton has condemned Iraq’s decision to suspend cooperation with UN arm inspectors as a “clear violation” of its commitments and said all options remained open for dealing with Baghdad.

Nicaraguan toll 1,300
MANAGUA, Nicaragua, Nov 2 — The grim death count following a week of devastating floods in Central America climbed above 1,300 after 610 bodies were pulled from the waterlogged slopes of a Nicaraguan volcano.

Lawsuits against Pinochet accepted
BRUSSELS, Nov 2 — A Belgian judge has declared admissible several lawsuits filed against former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet to have him tried for crimes during his rule, Belgian media said yesterday

He paid 1,08,000 for numberplate
LONDON, Nov 2 — An unidentified Sikh businessman has paid 1,08,000 to have a personalised numberplate on his car. The registration number spells out the name “SINGH”.

Discovery crew releases satellite
HOUSTON, Nov 2 — The crew of the space shuttle Discovery has released a sun-studying satellite on the third day of a mission that has seen Senator John Glenn’s return to space after 36 years.Top

 




 

Israel delays accord application

JERUSALEM, Nov 2 (AFP) — Israel said today that it was delaying the application of its latest peace agreement with the Palestinians by at least 10 days, until November 12, to give Parliament time to vote on the deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Aviv Bushinsky, said Attorney-General Eliyakim Rubinstein had ruled earlier today that the agreement could not take effect without the ratification of Parliament, which is scheduled to debate the matter on November 11 and 12.

The land-for-security agreement, signed on October 23 in Washington by Mr Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, had been due to take effect today.

Israel initially delayed its application by at least two days so that Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet could debate and vote on the agreement on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It also insisted that the cabinet could not debate the agreement until the Palestinians had submitted a detailed anti-terrorism plan required by the agreement. The plan is to be presented to the US Administration later today.

But Mr Bushinsky said Israeli law also required that the accord be ratified by Parliament before its implementation.

The decision appears to be a clear violation of the agreement, which makes no link between implementation and ratification by either side.

Earlier, with a green light from Mr Netanyahu, Jewish militants finally broke ground for a long-delayed Jewish housing project in an Arab quarter of annexed East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian authority immediately fired off protest letters to Israel, the USA and other governments saying the decision violated the terms of the latest peace agreement signed by Israel on October 23.

The project, led by members of the far-right religious group Ateret Cohanim and financed by Jewish American millionaire Irving Moskowitz, is ultimately to build 132 units for Jews in the heart of Ras al-Amud.

NICOSIA (ANI): The Israeli Government today lifted restrictions imposed in September on the number of Palestinians allowed to work in Israel, granting entry to some 13,000 more labourers.

Reports reaching here from Jerusalem, quoted an Israeli military spokesman as saying that any Palestinian aged 23 and above, who has a family and no security problems, could return to work.

The move is likely to raise the number of Palestinian labourers in Israel to around 60,000. Currently there are 47,000 workers who are allowed entry under a special security arrangement between the army and Israeli employers.

GAZA CITY: A senior Hamas official has denied that the movement had threatened to turn its guns on the Palestinian authority in the first open threat of violence against Yasser Arafat’s administration.

“The statement published today did not come from Hamas and consequently was not issued by any military or political wing of the movement,” Ismail Abu Shanab told reporters yesterday.Top

 

Observer status denied to aliens

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 (PTI) — Sacked Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today pleaded innocent as he stood trial in a criminal case that has sparked political unrest in the country and attracted worldwide media attention.

As soon as the trial began in the high court, Justice Augustine Paul embroiled himself in a controversy when he denied observer status to foreigners, saying “the presence of these people would amount to interference in the powers and functioning conferred on me by the constitution” even as representatives of the Amnesty International and other rights groups watched the proceedings amid heavy security.

The order immediately triggered protests from lawyers defending Anwar with the Bar Council Secretary Mah Weng Kwai severely criticising it.

“I am in good health, expecting a good trial”, Anwar, who is facing a total of 10 charges of corruption and sodomy, told reporters after he was brought to the packed courtroom in a silver Mitsubishi Pajero with the police keeping a close vigil.

Malaysia’s Attorney-General said on Saturday that the high court trial was expected to last until next June and that Anwar would then be charged with more sexual offences.

Meanwhile, policemen armed with assault rifles patrolled outside the federal courthouse in Malaysia’s capital city to prevent possible protests by Anwar supporters. About 200 supporters of Anwar gathered nearby, but the police blocked them from approaching the courthouse, eyewitnesses said.

Demonstrations have been held regularly since the former Deputy Premier’s arrest on September 20.

Riot police carrying shields and batons stood by as guards in front of the courthouse entrance, allowing only those connected with the trial and a few reporters inside. A policeman searched all those entering with a hand-held metal detector.

Anwar’s family members were among those in attendance at the trial. More than 100 reporters and international observers hoping to watch the legal proceedings milled about outside the court building, which faces Independence Square — scene of many recent pro-Anwar protests.

London-based Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch and the Indonesian Bar Association were among the groups which sent representatives to observe the trial.

We will totally monitor Mr Anwar’s trial to examine the nature and basis of evidence brought against him and to assess the proceedings in the light of international standards on fair trial”, said Mark Daly of the Amnesty International.

Judge Augustine Paul was scheduled to hear arguments about four counts of corruption and one count of sodomy which have been lodged against Mr Anwar. A separate trial is expected for another charge of abuse of power and four more counts of illegal sex.Top

 

Dalai Lama wants ‘real autonomy’

SCHNEVERDINGEN, Germany, Nov 2 (AFP) — The Dalai Lama has said he wants a “real autonomy” for Tibet and not complete independence from China.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has also condemned China’s continuing refusal to recognise Tibet as a separate culture.

The 62-year-old Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his effort in representing six million Tibetans, was speaking here yesterday at the end of information week on Tibet which was attended by 11,000 persons from 55 countries, including the USA.

On the Dalai Lama’s arrival in Germany, his private secretary Kelsang Gyaltsen, said a “constructive” declaration about Tibet was being prepared for the attention of the Chinese authorities.

Kelsang Gyaltsen said the Dalai Lama’s declaration would answer Chinese President Jiang Zemin’s demand to Tibetans during US President Bill Clinton’s tour of China in July that Tibet and Taiwan be recognised as part of China.Top

 

Iraqi ban
Clinton flays decision, keeps options open

WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) — President Bill Clinton has condemned Iraq’s decision to suspend cooperation with UN arm inspectors as a “clear violation” of its commitments and said all options remained open for dealing with Baghdad.

US Defence Secretary William Cohen cut short a trip to Asia and joined Mr Clinton’s national security team at the White House to work out a response to Iraq’s latest defiance of the United Nations and UN Security Council resolutions.

While Mr Cohen said Iraq could face military attack if President Saddam Hussein “continued to flout” UN sanctions and warnings, the Clinton Administration appeared ready to let the Security Council take the lead for now.

“It’s a clear violation of the commitments that he made, a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions,” Mr Clinton said in an interview with the American Urban Radio Network yesterday.

MOSCOW (AP): Russia rebuked Iraq on Sunday for its decision to cut off all work with UN weapons inspectors, warning Baghdad to weigh carefully all “negative consequences” of the move.

Iraq’s move can result in the end of further efforts aimed at the settlement of the Iraq problem,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The agreements opened the way to lifting sanctions from Iraq,” the Foreign Ministry said, adding it hoped that in Baghdad they would weigh all negative consequences of this step carefully.

BAGHDAD (AFP): Iraq’s Parliament and official newspapers today backed a decision to halt all cooperation with UN weapons inspectors even as the USA warned that military action was still an option.

The 250-member National Assembly announced its approval at an emergency session in which it “forcefully backed the Iraqi leadership’s decision to end all cooperation with UNSCOM and its chief and halt its activities in Iraq”.

Meanwhile, Baghdad has allowed a United Nations team to visit Iraqi sites to maintain weapons’ monitoring equipment despite a statement that it was halting cooperation with UN inspectors, a UN official said on Monday.

Caroline Cross, Special Assistant to the Director of the Baghdad Monitoring and Verification Centre, also said teams from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) went out to site for the second running day.Top

 

He paid 1,08,000 for numberplate

LONDON, Nov 2 (ANI) — An unidentified Sikh businessman has paid 1,08,000 to have a personalised numberplate on his car. The registration number spells out the name “SINGH”.

The letter S denotes the year of manufacture (the current year). The figure 1 can look like the letter I. And the letters NGH represent the district of registration.

Buying and selling personalised numberplates is big business in Britain. Hundreds are listed in newspaper advertisements every day for sale by existing owners, who have usually acquired them by random allocation. For example, the number P 1 PER may have no significance for the owner of a newly registered car, but it could be worth a great deal to someone with the surname Piper and the funds to indulge his ego.

Other examples are SIDHU and SILVA. Once acquired, the owner may transfer the number to any new car he buys or sell it on.

Such has been the growth in the trade that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) now runs its own auctions at the start of each licensing year, which begins in August — offering unissued numbers that might match the initials or name of some motorist.

It was at such an auction that the Sikh businessman bought the numberplate SINGH. The DVLA would not reveal the surname or identity of the buyer, but a spokesman said: “He is believed to be a Sikh. He said he was prepared to spend more than he did, and all I can say is that he is obviously very wealthy”.Top

 

Nicaraguan toll 1,300

MANAGUA, Nicaragua, Nov 2 (Reuters) — The grim death count following a week of devastating floods in Central America climbed above 1,300 after 610 bodies were pulled from the waterlogged slopes of a Nicaraguan volcano.

Officials said the number could soar even higher because up to 1,500 persons were feared buried after a week of torrential rains sent tonnes of mud and rocks hurling down the Casita volcano on villages in north-western Nicaragua.

Mitch, since weakened to a tropical depression, was already one of the most deadly storms in the largely impoverished region since Hurricane Fifi killed 3,000 in Honduras in 1974.

The confirmed deaths from the mudslide has brought to 808 the national death count for Nicaragua so far.

Overwhelmed officials from Honduras to EL Salvador pleaded for disaster relief from rich countries, saying that they feared the pile of bodies could surge higher.

There were 1,302 known dead across Central America since Mitch hit land from the Caribbean last Monday when it was the fourth most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record, with “catastrophic” 295 kph winds.Top

 

Lawsuits against Pinochet accepted

BRUSSELS, Nov 2 (Reuters) — A Belgian judge has declared admissible several lawsuits filed against former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet to have him tried for crimes during his rule, Belgian media said yesterday.

The suits lodged by six Chilean-born Belgian residents seek to increase pressure on Britain, which arrested Pinochet at a London hospital on October 16 on a warrant from a Spanish judge.

Lawyers in Britain, Italy, France, Sweden and Luxembourg are also pursuing cases against him.Top

 

Discovery crew releases satellite

HOUSTON, Nov 2 (AFP) — The crew of the space shuttle Discovery has released a sun-studying satellite on the third day of a mission that has seen Senator John Glenn’s return to space after 36 years.

Dubbed Spartan, the satellite is to spend two days orbiting some 65 km from the shuttle before being retrieved and brought back to earth on November 7.

The satellite has instruments to measure the heat of the sun’s corona and the speed of solar winds, electrically charged particles. The corona and winds affect satellites, weather on earth and telecommunications.

Shuttle commander Curtis Brown informed the Johnson Space Center in Houston yesterday that Spartan was on its way after astronaut Stephen Robinson released it with the help of Discovery’s Canadian-built robot arm.

The mission is the fifth for Spartan.

Spartan’s previous release last November turned into an embarrassment for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) when an error in releasing Spartan sent it tumbling into space. It had to be retrieved with a space walk.

This time, Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque will take a space walk if needed.

Glenn, (77), who first orbited earth in 1962, spent the night hooked up to sensors to measure his brain waves, eye movement and breathing in order to monitor his sleep pattern. The experiment is part of a series of experiments on sleep and ageing. Top

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Global Monitor
  10 US doctors die in air crash
GUATEMALA CITY: Ten US doctors and two other people died on Sunday when the aircraft in which they were flying crashed into a hillside in rural Guatemala, said Guatemalan President Alvaro Arzu. Six more suffered serious injuries when the aircraft hit a hill in rough terrain near Quezaltenango, some 206 km west of the capital, according to volunteer fire fighters’ spokesman William de Leon. Four of the six survivors were also US citizens, said Mr Abraham Lopez, a spokesman for the private Quezaltenango Hospital. — AFP

Vampire myths
LOS ANGELES: They drank the blood of animals to ease their pain and hid from daylight. People horrified by their ghastly appearance called them vampires or werewolves and slaughtered them. Nearly 400 years after such devilish myths surfaced, Wayne Tikkanen, a professor of chemistry at California State University, Los Angeles, speculates the myths were the result of a disfiguring blood disease known as porphyria. The disease weakens the flesh against ultraviolet rays. The skin begins to blacken and rupture in the sun. Abnormal amounts of hair grow in the scars. — AP

Toxic ship paint
LONDON: Sea otters are dying off the US coast and dolphins, whales, sea lions, sea birds and fish in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are being poisoned by a toxic chemical used in ship paint, the World Wildlife Fund has said. The WWF has urged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to ban the use of tributyltin, which is used in anti-fouling paints applied to ships’ hulls to stop marine creatures from sticking to them. — ANI

Brain repair cell
WASHINGTON: A team led by Harvard neuroscientist Even Y Snyder has isolated from a human foetus a unique brain cell that can multiply indefinitely in laboratory dishes and develop into major human cells. “It is an exciting time for the field of cell transplantation for brain repair. Cells are now finally coming on board for use in these diseases where there was no therapy”, Mr Paul R Sanberg, Chairman of Neuroscience at the University of Florida, who co-authored a commentary on the research in the November issue of “Nature Biotechnology” said. — PTI

President’s vow
JAKARTA: Indonesian President B J Habibie has vowed to end Ninja-style killings which have led to the loss of 140 lives in the island of Java over the past three months. “Mr Habibie will devote his best efforts to settle the matter”, Mr Quraish Shihab, Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, quoted the President as saying on Friday. The Ninja-style killings, most of which have occurred in East Java, have targeted Muslim clerics and black magic practitioners. — ANI

Test-tube thumb
WASHINGTON: Scientists have grown the world’s first thumb in a test-tube and transplanted it on to the hand of a man, maimed in an accident. US scientists, who worked on the thumb, used the patient’s own cells to grow a replacement bone which was encased in a framework of flesh that had been saved from the accident, Mr Raul Murcia, the patient, said his new thumb was now “only a little painful” and lacked nail, it was published on Sunday.

China-Tongo ties
BEIJING: China on Monday established formal diplomatic ties with the tiny South Pacific kingdom of Tongo after the latter renounced its ties with Taiwan. In a joint statement signed by Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Tongan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Prince Ulukalala-Lavaka-Ata here on October 26, the two countries decided to establish formal diplomatic relationship. The Prince of Tongo said Taiwan was an inalienable part of China, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

Pak denial on N-bomb
BEIJING: Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, chief architect of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, has denied allegations that Beijing helped Islamabad make its nuclear bombs but acknowledged that some bomb parts were imported from Europe. “I can tell you with full authority and honesty that we have had no access to any Chinese data”, he was quoted as saying by a leading defence magazine. “If we produce a hamburger, you in the West will say it has been copied from McDonald’s”, Dr Khan told Jane’s Defence Weekly in an interview. — PTITop

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