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S Arabia for referendum on J&K
LAHORE, Oct 28 — Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have agreed that the Kashmir issue should be settled in accordance with UN resolutions that call for a referendum.

Chinese plane hijacked
to Taiwan

BEIJING, Oct 28 — China has urged arch-rival Taiwan to repatriate a pilot and a Chinese aircraft he hijacked to Taipei earlier today.
British author Ian McEwan, displays his book "Amsterdam" for which he won the prestigious 1998 Booker Prize
LONDON: British author Ian McEwan, displays his book "Amsterdam" for which he won the prestigious 1998 Booker Prize after the award was announced at The Guildhall in the City of London, on Tuesday. — AP/PTI
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Resolution against N-tests circulated
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 28 — Australia, Canada and New Zealand have circulated a resolution in the Disarmament and International Security Committee “strongly deploring” the recent nuclear tests in South Asia.

India, Bangladesh accord on border demarcation
DHAKA, Oct 28 — India and Bangladesh today agreed to demarcate a small portion of their boundary before the onset of the next monsoon.

USA tightens ban on dual-use exports
WASHINGTON, Oct 28 — The USA has further tightened the ban on dual use exports to India through an executive action, with no slackening expected even if representatives of the two countries reach an agreeement at their forthcoming meeting.

US space junk falls on Siberia
MOSCOW: When the Lykovy family moved to the rugged Siberian wilderness of Khakasia in the 1920s, they wanted to raise their children in isolation from civilisation. But 60 years later, civilisation — and the space age — arrived at the Lykovy’s doorstep in an unexpected form — falling rocket parts.

Israel delays vote Top

 






 

S Arabia for referendum on J&K

LAHORE, Oct 28 (ANI) — Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have agreed that the Kashmir issue should be settled in accordance with UN resolutions that call for a referendum.

This was stated in a joint communique issued after the departure of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz to Riyadh from Lahore on yesterday.

The two sides reiterated support to the “right of self-determination” of the Kashmiri people, agreeing that the establishment of peace and security in South Asia required “non-use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes.”

Both sides reaffirmed full support for the early restoration of peace in Afghanistan and reiterated their resolve to supplement all efforts, especially those of the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Conference on the Afghan issue.

They also reiterated the legitimate right of the Palestinians to establish an independent state, and called upon Israel to refrain from taking any unilateral measures aimed at prejudicing the outcome of the final status negotiations.

LONDON (PTI): The first-ever gathering of Kashmiris representing people from the valley and settled in the UK has vowed to work towards peace and reconciliation among all Kashmiri communities in Britain as well as in Jammu and Kashmir.

A social gathering organised on Sunday at Edgbaston near Birmingham by the Kashmiri Association of Great Britain drew an overwhelming response with over 200 Kashmiri Muslim families, constituting 99 per cent of people from the valley in the UK, attending.

This was for the first time that people from the Kashmir valley — Muslims, Pandits and Sikhs — got together in a show of solidarity which apparently was a big blow to extremist groups masquerading here in the name of representing people of Jammu and Kashmir, observers said.

The meeting held under the chairmanship of Barrister Kurshid Drabhu observed a two-minute silence in memory of thousands of Kashmiris who had died in the valley since militancy erupted.

The speakers at the meeting, including prominent Kashmiri Muslims in Britain, stressed the need to keep “Kashmiriyat” alive.

The occasion was marked by the serving of Kashmiri cuisine prepared by housewives who joined the community cooking, a major attraction of which was the world famous “goshtabaa”.

A cultural evening was also organised with children and women joining the musical performance and a quiz on Kashmir.

Barrister Kurshid Drabhu was elected the new chairman of the association, Mr Krishna Bhan vice-chairperson, Dr Nisar Bakshi secretary-general, and Khalid Sofi, assistant secretary-general.

This was the first time since 1989 when militancy took a serious turn in the valley that Kashmiri Muslims, Pandits and Sikhs came forward to organise a common gathering here.

Meanwhile, British all-party parliamentary Kashmir group chairman Rogel Godsiff has said that neither Pakistan nor Britain have any locus standi to speak on behalf of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Flaying Pakistan for its recent claim to speak on behalf of Kashmiris at the resumed Indo-Pakistan dialogue, the Labour MP said: “The Pakistan Government cannot speak for the people of Kashmir any more than our own government”.

Describing the leadership as “one of profound weakness”, he pointed to the increasing fissures which have developed among pro-Pakistan and pro-independence groups here and accused that they “are spending too much time jockeying for position and indulging in mutual distrust.

“How can you justify Kashmiri presence on the Indo-Pak dialogue table, when your leadership cannot agree even on a common agenda?” he asked the gathering of people from the PoK.
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Chinese plane hijacked to Taiwan

BEIJING, Oct 28 (PTI) — China has urged arch-rival Taiwan to repatriate a pilot and a Chinese aircraft he hijacked to Taipei earlier today.

A three-point proposal has been made by the Beijing-based semi- official Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) to its counterpart in Taiwan, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Xinhua news agency reported.

ARATS demanded that Taiwan must guarantee the safety of passengers and the plane, provide the necessary assistance for the plane’s smooth return and repatriate the hijackers.

Earlier, Mr Yuan Bin, commander of a Boeing 737 Air China flight CA905 from Beijing to southwestern city of Kunming, hijacked his own plane and landed safely in Taipei airport under military jet escort.

Xinhua said pilot Yuan was accompanied by his wife on board the plane which was carrying 95 passengers, including 20 foreigners and a crew of nine.

The plane was en route to Yangon, capital of neighbouring Myanmar. No passengers were hurt during the hijack, media reports from Taipei said.

Television reports from Taipei said the disgruntled Chinese pilot brought his wife along as he tried to escape life in the Communist country.

A CNN report showed Yuan in his white Commander’s uniform with a suitcase being led out of the plane by Taiwanese policemen in helmets and bullet-proof vests. His wife was also seen while being escorted out of the plane.

Xinhua reported that Yuan and his unnamed wife were initially identified as hijackers.

Media reports from Taipei also said that the couple would be detained in Taiwan to face trial. The authorities were planning to let the other passengers leave Taipei with the Air-China aircraft.

There was a spate of hijackings from mainland China to Taiwan in 1993 and 1994 by Chinese who said they were seeking freedom and better prospects outside the Communist country.

Hijackings in the opposite direction — from Taiwan to the mainland, have been rare.

Taiwan and China have been arch-rivals since a civil war left the Communists led by Mao Zedong in power on the mainland in 1949 and forced the nationalists led by Chiang Kai-Shek into exile on Taiwan.Top

 

Resolution against N-tests circulated

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 28 (PTI) — Australia, Canada and New Zealand have circulated a resolution in the Disarmament and International Security Committee “strongly deploring” the recent nuclear tests in South Asia.

The resolution, which is likely to be debated in the next few weeks, also asks India and Pakistan, which conducted the tests in May, to sign the ctbt.

The committee discusses in depth any resolution within its competence and decides whether to recommend it to the General Assembly for adoption.

The 185-member General Assembly generally accepts the recommendations as all member states are also represented on the committee.

The draft resolution expresses “grave concern” over and “strongly deplores” the recent nuclear tests conducted in South Asia.

Without naming India or Pakistan, the resolution notes that the states concerned have declared moratoria on further testing and have said they are willing to enter into legal commitments not to conduct any further tests.

But the draft resolution stresses that such legal commitments need to be expressed in legal form by signing and ratifying ctbt.

Yesterday India had asked declared nuclearweapon states to take urgent steps towards global disarmament, warning that “accidental” or “unintentional” use of such weapons posed catastrophic dangers for all mankind.Top

 

India, Bangladesh accord on border demarcation

DHAKA, Oct 28 (PTI) — India and Bangladesh today agreed to demarcate a small portion of their boundary before the onset of the next monsoon.

The chiefs of border security forces of the two countries agreed to properly mark the 6.5 km long undemarcated common boundary lines by May 1999 at the conclusion of their three-day border coordination conference here.

The leaders of the two sides, who signed a joint record to this effect, also agreed to cooperate with each other in containing cross-border crimes.

BSF Director General, Mr C.M. Ram Mohan led the Indian side, while Major General Azizur Rahman, Director General Bangladesh Rifles headed the host side.Top

 

USA tightens ban on dual-use exports

WASHINGTON, Oct 28 (PTI) — The USA has further tightened the ban on dual use exports to India through an executive action, with no slackening expected even if representatives of the two countries reach an agreeement at their forthcoming meeting.

Even if USA Deputy secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Prime Minister Vajpayee’s special envoy Jaswant Singh reach an agreement, which the USA says is needed before President Clinton decides to relax some more of sanctions imposed after nuclear tests conducted by India in May this year, the ban on dual use exports is unlikely to be reviewed.

According to the USA Bureau of Export Administration, the Commerce Department, in its advice to exporters by Internet, will deny “all export and re-export applications for dual use items controlled for nuclear and missile non-proliferation items under export administration regulations to all end users in India and Pakistan”.

Under the current state of the art, computers with a speed of 2,000 MTOPs (million theoretical operations per second), which hardly qualify as supercomputers, need a licence “for national security reasons” for export and re-export to India or Pakistan from the USA.
Top

 

US space junk falls on Siberia
from Lisa Tracy

MOSCOW: When the Lykovy family moved to the rugged Siberian wilderness of Khakasia in the 1920s, they wanted to raise their children in isolation from civilisation. But 60 years later, civilisation — and the space age — arrived at the Lykovy’s doorstep in an unexpected form — falling rocket parts.

When Russia’s space agency launches its rockets from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome, they fly east directly over the Lykovy cabin. As the rockets pass over the Khakasia, Altai and Tuva Republics, they jettison their booster stages, which plummet back to earth like blazing meteors.

US booster rockets launched from bases in Florida and California plunge into the ocean but Russia’s cosmodromes are located deep inland. Rocket stages from more than 600 launches now litter the wilderness regions of Khakasia, Altai and Tuva with more than 1,400 tonnes of ‘space junk’.

On July 5, 1997, a flaming rocket stage from a supply mission to the Mir space station slammed to the earth, demolishing several barns and some powerlines in Altai’s Tretyakovskii district.

About half of the rocket stages have plunged into the 2.5-million-acre Altai nature reserve, a pristine mountainous area boasting some of Russia’s greatest biodiversity, including the endangered snow leopard. This is a violation of Russia’s Law on Specially Protected Territories, which forbids any human activity in protected nature reserves.

It’s raining rocket fuel!

Many Russian rockets — including — the Proton, Russia’s most powerful commercial satellite-launcher — burn liquid dimethyl hydrazine (heptyl), one of the most toxic chemicals made. It is several times deadlier than phosgene gas (a banned chemical weapon).

Falling rocket parts often cause forest fires in Siberia. When falling boosters burst into flame on impact, the remaining heptyl is converted into new chemical compounds that may be up to 10 times as toxic as heptyl itself. More than 50 million acres in Russia, and 200 million acres in Kazakhstan, are thought to be polluted by chemical fallout from rockets launched from Baikonur and other Russian cosmodromes.

Dr Vladimir Lupandin, a medical specialist who has studied the impacts of rocket fuel on human health, is concerned by evidence that heptyl exposure can cause chronic hepatitis, immune system problems, cancer, blood disease, mental disorders and even death. Many Altai villagers can name local people who have died or become severely ill after contact with rocket debris.

‘This is an insult to the Siberian wilderness and people,’ asserts Mr Mikhail Shishin, president of the Fund for 21st Century Altai. ‘The Russian government is treating the Altai peoples like experimental rabbits.’

Globalisation of space

In the past, launches from Baikonur were reserved for the Russian military. Today the rockets filling the sky with noise and the land with fallout carry communications satellites owned by US-based multinationals.

In order to supply $3-per-minute satellite phone service from any point on the earth, US-based Irridium (a consortium of Motorola, Lockheed-Martin and others) is racing to launch 67 satellites by the end of 1998 — 27 of them from Baikonur. In 1996, only about 50 working satellites circled the earth. But recently, Microsoft’s Bill Gates announced plans to launch at least 200 new teledesic satellites to create an ‘Internet in the sky’.

Rockets can be sent from Baikonur for about half the cost of launches elsewhere. International Launch Services (ILS), a Russian-American joint venture comprising Lockheed-Martin and two Russian companies, markets Baikonur launches to foreign satellite companies.
Top

 

Israel delays vote

JERUSALEM, Oct 28 (AFP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will delay submitting the Wye river peace accord to his Cabinet until the Palestinians present the USA with a plan to fight anti-Israeli violence, his spokesman has said. Netanyahu, who was to present the agreement to his Cabinet tomorrow “decided to wait for the Palestinians to give the Americans their plan for fighting terrorism,” the spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Palestinians have said they would present their plan within a week of the accord.
Top

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Global Monitor
  Anwar’s petition rejected
KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian High Court judge on Wednesday rejected former Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim’s application for freeing him ahead of trial. Anwar’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus was dismissed five days before he was to stand trial on corruption charges on Monday. The writ petition had been filed while Anwar was being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which was lifted on October 14 — AFP

UK minister quits
LONDON: Britain’s Welsh Secretary resigned on Wednesday in the first ministerial scandal to tarnish the Labour government, after admitting a night-time incident in which he had an encounter with a man in a London park. Ron Davies told Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office that he had begun talking with a man late on Monday on London’s Clapham Common and agreed to drive him to meet two friends and go for a meal at his flat. He denied that the incident was linked to any kind of sexual encounter. — AFP

Booker Prize
LONDON: Ian McEwan, one of Britain’s most popular authors, has won the Booker Prize, the country’s top literary award, for his novel “Amsterdam”. He landed the 20,000 prize with a concisely-written tale of two friends who meet at the funeral of the lover they shared and then make a euthanasia pact that overturns their lives. “I feel as if I am in a dream, as I am sure all winners before me have felt too,” he said in his acceptance speech after the prize was announced on Thuesday. — Reuters

Viagra and pilots
WASHINGTON: Add another line to a pilot’s preflight checklist: no viagra. The Federal Aviation Administration is recommending pilots not to take the impotence drug within six hours of flying because it could make it tough to distinguish between the blues and greens found in cockpit instrument and runway lights. So far the drug doesn’t seem to be a problem for other transportation workers. “Six hours from Viagra to throttle is recommended,” wrote a flight surgeon who issued the warning in the recent issue of the air surgeon’s medical bulletin studies show it takes that long for Viagra to leave the bloodstream. — AP

Islamic find
JERUSALEM: An Israeli archaeologist announced that he had discovered the largest collection of objects ever found in Israel from the Islamic period in jars stashed away by a merchant 1,000 years ago. Between 500 and 600 metallic objects, including decorative jugs, pots, bowls and bells, were discovered in three large clay jars, two of which were hidden beneath the shop near the sea of Galilee. “It’s incredible treasure from around 1,000 AD a period from which we don’t have many pieces, especially metal, so it’s unique in every sense,” said a Hebrew University professor south of Tiberias on Tuesday. — AP

24-hr UN radio
NEW YORK: The United Nations considered setting up a round-the-clock radio broadcasting service to inform listeners around the world of its programmes and reaction to events without the interference of private or state-run radio stations. A committee on information of the UN General Assembly said on Tuesday that the world body’s international responsibility was growing, requiring a direct radio-broadcasting capacity to propagate “constant, consistent, timely and professional delivery of information to various target groups to promote its core agenda.” — DPA

Archimedes’ work
NEW YORK: A 1,000-year-old parchment volume that is the oldest known copy of Archimedes’ work will go on the auction block this week despite claims from Greek officials that it was stolen. The 174-Page work, known as the Archimedes Palimpsest, contains notes and calculations for two of the mathematician’s most famous theories - “on floating bodies” and “method of mechanical theorems.” — APTop

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