|W O R L D||
Friday, November 13, 1998
|Tension mounts in Gulf; Iraq defiant
DUBAI, Nov 12 The USA and the UK today edged closer towards unleashing a military strike against Iraq by ordering a major build-up of troops and weapons in the Gulf even as defiant Baghdad urged the United Nations to prevent American aggression for its break with UN arms inspectors.
Israels terms rejected
KARACHI: A view of 151 Indian fishermen who were released on Wednesday, in Karachi, by Pakistani authorities. Pakistan released detained Indian fishermen, charged with fishing illegally in Pakistani water, in a gesture of goodwill. AP/PTI
|Dalai Lama-Clinton meeting: China
summons US envoy
BEIJING, Nov 12 China today slammed the Dalai Lama for internationalising the Tibetan issue and described him as a seasoned newsmaker adept at manipulating public opinion against the Chinese Government.
observer chief quits
to impeach Clinton doomed
youth hold massive rally
crawls to school
Tension mounts in Gulf; Iraq defiant
DUBAI, Nov 12 (PTI) The USA and the UK today edged closer towards unleashing a military strike against Iraq by ordering a major build-up of troops and weapons in the Gulf even as defiant Baghdad urged the United Nations to prevent American aggression for its break with UN arms inspectors.
More than 3,000 American troops converged on the Gulf as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein showed no sign of ending his defiance of the UN arms inspections despite a Security Council appeal.
US President Bill Clinton warned that Washington was ready to act if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did not back down on his October 31 decision to halt cooperation with UNSCOM in charge of dismantling Iraqs weapons of mass destruction.
"We continue to hope, indeed pray, that Saddam will comply, but we must be prepared to act if he does not," Mr Clinton said last night after issuing a warning that it could launch air strikes at any time.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned through BBC radio, "the next step is action, fabricating evidence, telling lies about his programme, attempting to prevent the inspectors doing their work... We cannot allow such a situation to happen."
Iraq retorted saying the country was ready to defend itself "The USA wants to maintain an element of surprise.... but there will be none as Iraq is prepared to face up to any eventuality," the country's official daily Al- Qadissiya declared.
The Iraqi Cabinet also denounced the US threats saying the possibility of an "American-Zionist strike that the USA has threatened against our people and our homeland was without any mandate or Security Council resolution."
Meanwhile, Iraqs ruling Baath Party today called on Arabs to wage a jehad against the USA.
mouthpiece Ath-Thawra warned that UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan and the Security Council would be held
responsible "for whatever happens to Iraq" if
it failed to prevent an attack in the latest stand-off.
Israels terms rejected
JERUSALEM, Nov 12 (AP) After several postponements, the Israeli Government has narrowly approved the latest West Asia peace accord calling for withdrawal from parts of the West Bank, but the ministers attached several conditions that were immediately rejected by Palestinian officials.
The stipulations, and a threat to annex West Bank land if the Palestinians do not comply, did not ease the concerns of one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus key constituencies Right-wing Jews who live in settlements in the West Bank.
The settlers rejected the cabinets decision yesterday and said they would take as much West Bank land as they could before Israel began its promised troop withdrawal.
Yesterdays vote had been delayed several times, in part due to a suicide bombing in Jerusalem by an Islamic militant last week.
Mr Netanyahus adviser David Bar-Illan said the pullback would likely not begin for at least another week, following a parliamentary vote scheduled on Tuesday.
Mr Netanyahu said the agreement would stop altogether if the Palestine National Council, the Palestinian Parliament-in-exile, does not hold a formal vote by mid-December to revoke clauses in the PLO founding charter that call for Israels destruction.
Under the agreement, the PNC is to convene to reaffirm changes it voted on in April, 1996, and does not mention a vote.
Any additional pullback would turn over no more than 1 per cent of the West Bank to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafats control.
And at a news conference following the vote, Mr Netanyahu said Israel reserved the right to annex large chunks of the West Bank if Mr Arafat made good on a threat to declare independence next May.
Palestinian officials said the conditions were violations of the accord signed in the presence of US President Bill Clinton in Washington on October 23.
We spoke to the American administration and filed an official complaint regarding the conditions. We asked Mr Netanyahu before to stop the threats and conditions, but he chose threats, which means he does not want there to be trust between us, said an angry Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official who helped negotiate the accord.
After seven hours of debate yesterday, eight of 17 ministers voted in favour of the condition-riddled deal, but five ministers abstained and four voted against it, a move that showed their allegiances are with the settlers and not the Prime Minister.
But in a boost for Mr Netanyahu, hawkish Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon voted for the deal. Mr Sharons refusal to reveal where he stood on the accord before the vote led to speculation that he would abstain.
Calling himself the father of settlements, Mr Sharon appealed to the Right wing to trust the accord and said the government would continue to expand Jewish settlements. As housing minister in the early 1990s, Mr Sharon oversaw a dramatic expansion of settlements.
But leaders of the powerful Jewish settler lobby said it wasnt enough. Flexing their numbers, thousands of supporters staged a protest rally in Tel Aviv yesterday against the accord.
Meanwhile, Israel published a tender today for the construction of 1,025 homes at a disputed Jewish settlement site in Arab East Jerusalem, a day after approving a new interim peace deal with the Palestinians.
A government advertisement in Haaretz newspaper called for offers from contractors to build houses at Har Homa, known in Arabic as Jabal Abu Ghneim. The groundbreaking at the hilltop site in March 1997 caused a near-collapse of peace efforts.
Dalai Lamas meeting with Clinton
BEIJING, Nov 12 (PTI) China today slammed the Dalai Lama for internationalising the Tibetan issue and described him as a seasoned newsmaker adept at manipulating public opinion against the Chinese Government.
If the Dalai Lama does have the sincerity to talk. He does not need to internationalise the (Tibet) issue, the official China Daily said, accusing the exiled Tibetan religious leader for undertaking an American tour.
With religious grab as his best political asset, the Dalai Lama acts like a seasoned newsmaker who knows too well how to manipulate public opinion, the commentary in Chinas only English-language newspaper said.
Criticising the Dalai Lamas current US visit, it said the Tibetan leader had staged The Dalai Lama Show in Washington with the usual ploy of President Bill Clintons drop by to meet the Dalai Lama at the White House.
This is nothing but a public relations farce, it said, while noting that it amounted to nothing. He has so far presented nothing fresh, it added.
China softens stand on Taiwan
BEIJING, Nov 12 (PTI) China today made a conciliatory move towards Taiwan saying it would adopt a flexible policy of one-China-three systems if Taipei returned to the mainland, even as it slammed the USA for allowing its Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to visit Taiwan terming it as an interference in its internal affairs.
China would be flexible enough to allow a policy of one-China-three-systems after Taiwan returned to the Chinese fold, Chinese President Jiang Zemin told Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun while rejecting the democratisation of his country as a condition for the unification.
However, Jiang did not rule out the possibility of China changing its name, anthem and flag in future negotiations with Taiwan for unification.
Arsenic poisoning killing thousands
NEW YORK, Nov 12 (PTI) Tens of thousands of people in India and Bangladesh may be slowly dying from arsenic contents present in the water they consume from tubewells, The New York Times reported yesterday.
In West Bengal alone six million people are drinking contaminated water and three lakhs already show signs of the poisoning, the paper quoted Mr Dipankar Chakraborti, an analytical chemist who has done work with arsenic in the USA, as saying.
Indian officials have already begun sealing contaminated wells and replacing them with longer pipes into deeper aquifer, it said, however noting that it was in Bangladesh where the problem was more complex and widespread.
Maybe it was a lack of administrative support, maybe a lack of political will which is responsible for the slow response in finding a solution to this problem, Mr K.J. Nath, who has dealt with the issue for the All-India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, said.
One has to be rational. India has 17 million people affected by tuberculosis, seven million by diarrhoea, two million by malaria. In that context, arsenic in West Bengal is not so serious, he said.
With no permanent treatment for the poisoning, physical decay could, however, be arrested if a person stopped drinking the arsenic-contaminated water, the paper said.
Arsenic also poses the highest cancer risk ever found, says Dr Allan Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of California who has made three trips to Bangladesh this year, adding but we still dont know how many millions have been exposed and at what level. We could be talking about hundreds of thousands of deaths,
We just dont know. The cumulative dose is what kills. Every day that people continue to drink the contaminated water could result in more arsenic-related deaths down the road in five, 10 or 25 years. This is a major emergency, he said.
UN observer chief quits
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 12 (PTI) Brig-Gen Sergio Espinoza Davies, chief of the UN Military Observer Mission in India and Pakistan, is leaving the post following allegations of human rights violations against him in Chile during Gen Augusto Pinochets regime.
Human rights organisations, which had levelled the allegations and demanded his removal from the UN post, welcomed the development but criticised the move of the Chilean Government to bring him back with promotion to the rank of Major General.
Chile informed the UN that Espinoza was being appointed Inspector General of the Chilean Army by December 15 and would leave his post as head of the observer mission.
The allegations against
Espinoza had surfaced after Spain sought Pinochets
extradition from Britain. Pinochet, who came to power in
a coup in 1973, ruled the country till 1990. He was
accused of murders, kidnappings and illegal executions.
Bid to impeach Clinton doomed
WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (Reuters) Several congressional Republicans have said attempts to impeach President Bill Clinton were doomed to failure, with a key Senator suggesting dropping the effort in favour of criminal prosecution after he leaves office.
Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennysylvania yesterday said that the impeachment inquiry should be abandoned in favour of criminal prosecution of Mr Clinton after he left office in 2001, saying members of the Congress were searching for a way out of an impeachment process that was going nowhere.
Representative Mark Souder of Indiana, a Conservative Republican who signed a petition pushing Mr Clintons impeachment long before the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, said there were not enough votes in the House for impeachment.
I dont believe at this time, with the information that I have, that I would vote for impeachment, Mr Souder said, adding that the inquiry should be halted until there was a case against Mr Clinton that involved more than perjury-and-sex allegations.
Some Republican lawmakers acknowledged the impeachment push lost steam after the partys election losses last week. But Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee said they would push ahead with hearings planned for next week.
White House Spokesman Jim
Kennedy declined to comment directly on the suggestions
of Mr Specter, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee
and a former District Attorney, but cited what he called
a broad and bipartisan consensus ... that this
matter should be brought to a close.
Indonesian youth hold massive rally
JAKARTA, Nov 12 (AFP) More than 6,000 Indonesian students and civilians, waving flags and banners, marched towards Parliament today to protest against a special session of the main legislative body.
The crowd, watched by hundreds of troops and police, swelled by the minute, an AFP reporter said.
Separate groups of protesters were reported from different parts of the city. One group, aboard 40 buses, reached a heavily-guarded intersection some 100 metres north of the Parliament complex, where the special session of the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) was meeting.
A third group of hundreds of students, with flags and drums was marching in the Cikini area, 5 km from the complex.
Principal crawls to school
WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (ANI) A Principal in Utah crawled to school for three hours on his hands and knees through deep snow, making good promise to take the unusual trek if his students read more books.
I started from my home at 7 a.m. and reached the school around 9.45 a.m., with the entire school there to cheer me on, Mr Ken Luke, Principal of East Elementary School in Tooele, said.
|Russias plan to destroy
MOSCOW: President Boris Yeltsin has ordered his Prime Minister to step up efforts to attract private funding to help Russia destroy its massive stockpile of chemical weapons. Mr Yeltsins decree came amid mounting concerns about the costs of destroying Russias 44,000 tons of deteriorating chemical weapons, the largest stockpile in the world which it promised to get rid of when it ratified the international chemical weapons convention last year. AP
34 rebels killed
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