|W O R L D||
Tuesday, September 29, 1998
Pak hog space in
regrets US N-tests
unfit to be President: Perot
Arafat agree to summit
insects for spying
Comfortable win for SPD
BONN, Sept 28 (PTI) Opposition Social Democrats headed by Mr Gerhard Schroeder and its preferred coalition partner, the environmentalist Greens Party, scored a comfortable majority in the 14th German national elections inflicting a crushing defeat on Helmut Kohls ruling coalition, ending the 16-year rule of Europes longest serving leader.
The Social Democrats (SPD) won 298 seats getting an additional 46 seats while the Greens secured 47 seats to get a working majority of 345 in a House of 669 members, according to official results.
The SPD polled 4190 votes, up by five per cent.
Mr Kohls Christian Democrats (CDU) and its sister Bavarian Party (CSU) managed only 245 seats, down by 49 seats and the ruling coalitions junior coalition partner (Free Democrats) had to settle for 44 seats.
Fiftyfour-year-old Schroeder, who is set to become Germanys new Chancellor, helped his party to score the highest-ever seats in 14 elections even as a strategy is being worked out on the formation of a coalition government to rule Europes largest country.
Top officials of Social Democrats began informal discussions with leaders of the Greens soon after it became clear that a new coalition would govern Germany.
Mr Schroeder has already indicated he would be working to have a stable government with a clear majority while at the same time not totally ruling out the option of a grand coalition with the ousted Christian Democrats.
Negotiations between Social Democrats and Greens will continue for several days on forging common positions before getting together for a red-green coalition for the first time in Germanys history.
There is no immediate deadline on government formation under the German Constitution and it could be as long as one month before Mr Schroeder gets to move into the fortress-like Chancellor along the Rhine here.
Mr Schroeder, who is minister-president of lower Saxony, will officially take office when the countrys Head of State Roman Herzog hands him an official document marking his appointment.
Before that, the Lower House of Parliament (Bundestag) must vote Mr Schroeder into office with a simple majority. The new Parliament must meet before October 27 and until then 67-year-old Kohl, hailed as the unification Chancellor, will formally stay in office as the head of the government.
Leaders of the also LDU held a meeting to decide Mr Kohls successor after he resigned as partys chairman, owning moral responsibility for the defeat.
Mr Schroeders victory also meant that left of centre parties will govern Europes four largest countries Germany, UK, France and Italy.
Mr Schroeder, who won on the electoral plank of need for a change and the unemployment issue, was greeted by world leaders including US President Bill Clinton, British Premier Tony Blair and the French Prime Minister L. Jospin.
Spain remains the last conservative bastion, which has been steadily crumbling in the past few years, as Social Democratic leaders in Europe hoped that Mr Schroeder would help advance a common leftist agenda, especially on job creation.
For Europes ascendant left, these are heady days of seemingly unparalleled power, according to analysts.
The Left has an opportunity to influence the EU that it does not want to fritter away, an analyst said, adding that Socialists can no more blame others for problems facing their countries.
With Mr Schroeders
victory, social concerns are expected to be back at the
centre of the European agenda. Mr Schroeder said here
late last night that any new policy could be successful
only if it does not ignore the social aspects.
Germans ignored Schroeders affair
BONN, Sept 28 (Reuters) Gerhard Schroeder studied the campaign tactics of Bill Clinton, but the German could teach the American a thing or two when it comes to surviving sex scandals.
Schroeder abandoned his third wife just over a year ago in the midst of a steamy affair with a journalist about half his age. Astonishingly, the affair took flight in front of group of journalists on a Press junket.
But it barely made a ripple in the German media and certainly didnt hurt Schroeders political career, as proved by the Social Democrats overwhelming election victory yesterday over Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Schroeder, 54, married his 33-year-old mistress Doris Koep three weeks after divorcing his third wife Hiltrud, 48.
Politicians in Germany and throughout continental Europe can get caught with their pants down and will hardly ever suffer the kind of pillorying that Clinton has experienced.
In fact, many ordinary Germans view sexual infidelities from their ageing leaders as a sign of health and vigour. Will Brandt and Helmut Schmidt were certainly never hurt in politics by their well-known attraction to the opposite sex.
It shows that his spirit is still young, said Hans, a Berlin taxi driver, when asked if he was bothered that Schroeder had left his third wife for the blonde journalist. It shows that hes dynamic.
German newspaper editors and publishers refuse to print stories about politicians infidelities because they say they are private matters that have no effect on the public. They also admit that they and their journalists have affairs as well.
German scribes also fear being ostracised for breaking the unwritten rule against reporting on such indiscretions.
They ignored for years Finance Minister Theo Waigels affair with a former Ski champion. It was only when she became pregnant and he announced plans to divorce his wife and marry again that the media printed anything on the story.
But editors contend the German public really doesnt seem to care. And a random sampling of opinion seems to confirm that.
Germans have been appalled by the threat to Clintons presidency because of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. A Hamburg newspaper announced it would stop publishing articles on the subject after readers complained they were tired of it.
Its sick, what they are doing to Clinton in America, said Anna, an 18-year-old student. Politicians are normal people too. Why cant they have their own private lives?
Her friend Lena said there was nothing wrong with having three former wives. Its not like he was married to four women at the same time or anything.
India, Pak hog space in The New York Times
NEW YORK, Sept 28 Its been a long time since The New York Times has reported extensively on any South Asian leaders speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
Its unprecedented in the annals of The Times that the paper has reported back to back the speeches of the Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers at the UN General Assembly and followed it up with a favourable editorial lauding their forward thinking on the nuclear test ban issue.
On September 24, the day after Sharifs speech, The Times headlined its front page story to state, Pakistan pledges A-bomb test ban if sanctions end. It subheaded the story with India response awaited and US welcomes move but wants action before easing curbs Kashmir talks set.
The next day, reporting on Vajpayees speech, The Times headlined its story, New Delhi pledges to sign world ban on nuclear tests. Once again there were subheads talking of Vajpayees speech signifying a case of India Matches Pakistani offer and India, like Pakistan, says its promise is linked to talks on lifting sanctions.
Both stories were written by the newspapers senior United Nations correspondent Barbara Crossette, who was the New Delhi bureau chief for The Times during the tenure of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
On September 27, in an editorial titled, Nuclear gain in South Asia, The Times lauded India and Pakistan for declaring their intention to sign the CTBT. The announcement could reduce tensions in one of the most volatile parts of the world, it said.
However, the newspaper, which often reflects the US foreign policy thinking, advised that before lifting sanctions imposed in response to the nuclear blasts last May, Washington should press India and Pakistan to reach additional curbs on the production of weapons-grade nuclear material and the development and deployment of missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
The Times noted Vajpayees announcement that India was willing to sign the CTBT was indeed a major turnabout. Pakistan, it noted, had long said it would sign the treaty if India would. India had denounced the treaty as unacceptable as long as the USA and other nuclear powers refused to eliminate their own weapons.
Continuing to shower kudos on Vajpayee and Sharif, The Times said since they both sit atop shaky governing coalitions, it took political courage for them to make their pledges.
Mr Vajpayee, it noted, is under pressure from his own camp to press Indias claim to be seen as equal with China and other nuclear powers.
It also praised the Clinton Administration for getting two countries that have fought three wars in the past 50 years to achieve a measure of progress.
One key to the agreement was that India is not being challenged by the USA in its demand that the problem of Kashmir, Indias only Muslim-dominated state, be settled in negotiations with Pakistan without intervention from the United Nations or other outside influences, the paper said.
The editorial acknowledged that tremendous obstacles remain in the way of a true rapprochement on the Asian subcontinent. Both Mr Vajpayee and Mr Sharif will no doubt try to link their signatures to promises of American sanctions being eased and other steps.
The paper admitted that it had urged President Bill Clinton, who was supposed to visit India and Pakistan this fall, to reconsider such a trip after the nuclear blasts in May. Such a trip may still be premature, but the President should keep up the progress and schedule a trip, perhaps next year, as a spur to Indian and Pakistani agreements.
The editorial predicted
that with rising tensions in South Asia, including
threats of a war between Afghanistan and Iran, the region
looms as a more important security concern than
ever, a reason perhaps for The Times to deign to
take notice of one of the least noticed regions of the
Sharifs assets: Pak
ISLAMABAD, Sept 28 (AP) Pakistani Opposition parties today demanded that corruption charges against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif be investigated following a report in a British newspaper accusing him of tax evasion and siphoning millions of dollars from his countrys coffers into personal bank accounts.
"Mr Sharif is corrupt and should be thrown out of power," Mr Munawar Hasan, general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami, told the Associated Press.
"After this report, the Prime Minister should resign, otherwise the people will throw him out and take back every penny he plundered from the national wealth," he said.
The Observer, a British Sunday newspaper, quoted a report prepared by the Pakistani federal investigation agency which said the Sharif family was involved in tax evasion, loan defaults and had "phantom" bank accounts.
The 200-paged report was given to the newspaper by FIAs former second-in-command Rehman Malik.
Mr Malik was arrested soon after Mr Sharif returned to power, a move that came as apparent reprisal for his investigations of graft charges against Mr Sharif during his first term. Mr Malik was later released and he fled to London in June after an assassination attempt.
In Islamabad, a government spokesman dismissed the allegations as "wild, incorrect and malicious," while Mr Sharifs son, Mr Hasan Nawaz, said the report was baseless. There was no immediate comment from Mr Sharif.
Japan regrets US N-tests
TOKYO, Sept 28 (PTI) Japan today regretted the US fourth subcritical nuclear test carried out at a time when India and Pakistan were preparing to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
In my view, it is extremely regrettable that this happened at an important time when India and Pakistan are about to sign the CTBT, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said.
Japans position advocates a world without nuclear arms and the issue (of subcritical nuclear tests) should be discussed in the context of nuclear arms reduction, he said.
The USA conducted the tests in the desert of Nevada on last Saturday.
The Japanese Government said the subcritical test issue should be discussed at international fora.
Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka yesterday said the American subcritical tests made it perfectly clear that the USA had no intention to give up its nuclear weapons and, therefore, there was no prospect of nuclear disarmament.
It was this hopeless situation that had led India to conduct its tests in may that were followed by Pakistani tests, he said.
A Tokyo-based group of Japanese scientists in a letter to President Bill Clinton, which was sent to the US Embassy here, criticised the test as running counter to international voices urging elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Jones-Clinton accord soon
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Sept 28 (AFP) An agreement may be reached soon between former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones and US President Bill Clinton, spokesman for the White House and Jones have said.
Discussions are on, said White House Deputy Counsel Bruce Lindsey yesterday. The fact that here are conversations suggests some willingness to discuss the possibility of a settlement.
Lawyers for Jones who charges that Clinton sexually harassed her in 1991 when he was Arkansas Governor also confirmed the talks.
I am confident that negotiations will continue throughout next week and maybe a deal will be struck soon, Jones attorney David Pyke told NBC Television yesterday.
Pyke added that the talks are not so close to settlement that I can say it is imminent. We have put an offer on the table that should be accepted, he said without offering further details.
Talks concerned a possible agreement in which Jones would withdraw charges filed immediately after her initial case was dismissed in April, a source close to the talks said.
In exchange, Jones would demand financial compensation of $ 700,000 to 900,000 the source told AFP.
Clinton unfit to be President: Perot
WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (PTI) Former US presidential candidate and Reform Party leader Ross Perot has joined in the call for Bill Clintons resignation, charging the beleaguered President as "an embarrassment to America and unfit for Presidency".
"Clinton has become an embarrassment to this great country and unfit to be President," Mr Perot said, addressing a Reform Party convention in Atlanta, Goergia, yesterday.
"If he (Clinton) loves his country, he will (have to) go," Mr Perot said in an apparent reference to Mr Clintons sex-and-perjury scandal, which has beseiged the US Presidency.
Charging Mr Clinton with lack of "moral and ethical standards", he said, Americas first President George Washington could not tell a lie when asked if he cut down his fathers favourite cherry tree, "but we have a President who cannot tell the truth."
Netanyahu, Arafat agree to summit
WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) The leaders of Israel and Palestinians met President Bill Clinton today and agreed to return next month for a summit aimed at resolving the final details of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
"I believe that we all agreed that we have made progress on the path of peace," Mr Clinton said in the Oval Office as Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood beside him.
"There has been a significant narrowing of the gaps between the two parties across a wide range of issues that were in the American initiative we have been working on for months," Mr Clinton said in announcing the October summit.
"To be candid, there is still a substantial amount of work to be done until a comprehensive agreement can be reached," Mr Clinton acknowledged following a session with both the leaders that lasted for more than one hour.
US officials said the
summit, which Mr Clinton first unsuccessfully tried to
set up back in May, would be held "in the greater
Washington area" in the middle of the month but that
an exact date and location had not been determined.
Robot insects for spying
LONDON, Sept 28 (Pool-GNA) Robot insects capable of flying military spy missions inside buildings are being developed by a Cambridge University scientist.
The craft, called an entomopter, will use a chemical engine to flap wings like a moth, crawl about and flit from in-trays to out-trays taking photographs and recording conversations for transmission to satellites.
The British news, The Daily Telegraph, said that since batteries were too heavy and combustion engines too big the entomopter was to be powered with reciprocating chemical muscle.
The entomopter would fly
through an open door, window or ventilation shaft of a
building. It would use ultrasonic detectors to avoid
obstacles and chemical detectors to locate humans at
which to direct sound recorders.
|Setback for Blair
BLACKPOOL (England): Britains governing Labour Party opened its annual conference on Sunday with left-wing victories in the party elections marking the first setback for Prime Minister Tony Blair and his centrist policies. Outside the Winter Gardens Conference Centre have, several thousand left-wing demonstrators chanted democracy and diversity in the Labour Party. AP
A name that annoys
Thief loses hand
TB endangers lions
Afghans held in
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