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Thursday, August 19, 1999
|Turkish quake toll nears 3,500
GOLCUK (Turkey), Aug 18 Rescuers tore at rubble with bare hands today hoping to find survivors but the toll from the earthquake that rocked Turkeys industrial heartland a day earlier soared to nearly 3,500.
Cops rewrote sodomy charge
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 The Malaysian Police said today that they rewrote a sodomy charge against former Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim after discovering the building where the crime allegedly took place was not up at the time.
MOSCOW:Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov (centre) Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov (right) and St.Petersburg Mayor Vladimir Yakovlev speak after a news conference in Moscow, Tuesday, August 17, 1999. AP/PTI
Curb Presidents powers: Primakov
MOSCOW, Aug 18 Russias former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has called for curbing presidential powers through constitutional amendments.
flays Taliban offensive
city quiet after ceasefire
Turkish quake toll nears 3,500
GOLCUK (Turkey), Aug 18 (Reuters) Rescuers tore at rubble with bare hands today hoping to find survivors but the toll from the earthquake that rocked Turkeys industrial heartland a day earlier soared to nearly 3,500.
As Turkish and international teams with sniffer dogs burrowed into flattened apartment buildings the scale of the tragedy that had struck north-western Turkey began to emerge.
Theres no chance for them now, said Osman, one of a group of men hacking at crumbling masonry with sledgehammers and axes in an attempt to rescue eight people buried in Golcuk.
Oges, a factory worker, whose wife, child and brother were buried inside, wailed uncontrollably. Allah where are they? where are they?
Men held their heads in their hands, crying at the sight of photographs and clothing poking through the rubble. Similar scenes were repeated across the region.
Foreign rescue teams poured in to help, and fire fighter aircraft were expected from France and Germany to tackle a blaze threatening to blow up the countrys main oil refinery.
The death toll hit 3,479 at 12 noon (GMT), the Anatolian news agency said, citing officials at the crisis centre set up to manage the disaster.
Tuesdays quake measured 7.4 on the Richter Scale and centred on the north-western industrial city of Izmit, some 90 km east of Turkeys biggest city, Istanbul. More than 16,000 people were injured.
A report from Ankara said that Turkey has declared its quake-devastated northwest a disaster area, enabling the government to commandeer private and public resources to provide help.
"With this declaration, our regional authorities will be able to facilitate all state and private sector opportunities in relief efforts," a government spokesman, Mr Sukru Sina Gurel, said yesterday after an emergency cabinet meeting in Ankara.
Meanwhile, rescuers tore at rubble with bare hands today in the hope of finding survivors, according to a report from Izmit.
Foreign rescue teams with sniffer dogs and lifting equipment poured in to help, and fire fighter aircraft were expected from France and Germany to tackle a blaze threatening to blow up the country's main oil refinery.
Hardest hit was the industrial town of Izmit, where an uncontrolled fire threatened to blow up the Tupras refinery, Turkey's largest, prompting an evacuation of the area while black smoke billowed from the plant.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan pledged all possible UN help
while many countries, even Turkey's traditional rival
Greece, dispatched or promised expert rescue teams,
medical aid and money.
Cops rewrote sodomy charge
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Reuters) The Malaysian Police said today that they rewrote a sodomy charge against former Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim after discovering the building where the crime allegedly took place was not up at the time.
Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Musa Hassan told the capitals high court that the year of the alleged sodomy was changed to 1993 from 1992 after the police learnt that the Tivoli Villa apartment complex had not been finished in 1992.
Mr Hassan testimony on the 46th day of the trial appeared to corroborate the defences contention that the sodomy charge against Mr Anwar was rewritten after his lawyers had pointed out the inconsistency.
Government prosecutors had twice changed the date of the alleged sodomy in the charge sheet since the indictment of Mr Anwar in September which sparked unprecedented anti-government protests.
The defence had argued that the changes supported their contention that the prosecution brought trumped-up charges against Mr Anwar and his adopted brother, jointly accused of having sodomised the Anwar familys former driver.
The sodomy charge against Mr Anwar carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and whipping. Sacked and arrested in September, Mr Anwar was sentenced in April to six years in jail on four corruption counts.
Mr Hassan, under defence cross-examination, said the police had determined that Tivoli Villa, a suburban apartment complex owned by a company whose executives were close to Mr Anwar and the alleged site of the sexual trysts, had not been built in 1992.
The 1992 date was given by the former driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, during a police investigation in 1997. The defence had accused Azizan of being part of a conspiracy against Mr Anwar.
Asked if the police had recommended that Azizan be charged for lying, Mr Hassan said no.
The charge against Mr Anwar, Mr Hassan said, was based on a police investigation undertaken last year after the publication of a book, Fifty Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister, and not on Azizans 1997 statement.
UK deports ultra for terrorist acts
LONDON, Aug 18 (IANS) Explosive evidence of terrorist plots against India in Jammu and Kashmir was uncovered in a court here on Monday as the government moved to deport the ringleader of an Islamic group back to Pakistan.
The ringleader, 28-year-old Shfir-ur-Rehman, has been charged with plotting actions against India in Kashmir. This is the first time that the UK has taken such an action against terrorists plotting against India.
The Pakistan Governments complicity in these activities was proved beyond doubt when a Pakistani minister was said to have addressed the Islamic group here, according to official information presented in the court.
Details of the ministers meeting were not immediately disclosed. But more information is set to surface over the course of the hearings.
British Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered the deportation of Rehman on grounds of national security. The matter has gone to court because Rehman has appealed against the deportation.
Rehman, who has been living in Oldham in Lancashire in North England as a Muslim cleric, has been accused by the British Government of leading an extremist Islamic group called Markaz Dawa Al Irshad, named MDI by intelligence officers.
The Home Office produced written submissions in court to claim that Rehman raised money and recruited Muslim youths to launch terrorism in the Indian subcontinent.
Two senior women members of M15, the British intelligence agency, gave evidence against him in court.
Curb Presidents powers: Primakov
MOSCOW, Aug 18 (PTI) Russias former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has called for curbing presidential powers through constitutional amendments and reintroducing the post of Vice-President abolished by President Boris Yeltsin in 1993.
Addressing his first press conference yesterday after taking over the reins of anti-Kremlin Fatherland-all Russia election bloc, Mr Primakov said the President could retain the powers of the supreme commander and control the foreign policy and security matters.
However, the Kremlin chief should shed most of his executive powers in favour of the government and Parliament, Mr Primakov, who recently was unceremoniously sacked by Mr Yelstin, said.
Mr Primakov, who vowed to steer the new bloc to the victory in the December 19 Duma poll, said the Cabinet should be formed by the parliamentary majority and some seats could be allotted to the House minority on a professional basis.
During his eight-month premiership, Mr Primakov had enjoyed support of the Communist-dominated Duma, irking Kremlin and Mr Yeltsin alike, which, analysts said, ultimately led to his dismissal.
In order to stabilise the situation, especially before the poll, the Presidents should be guaranteed either through constitutional amendments or by special law full security and dignified life after the end of their term in office, he said in an apparent bid to pacify Mr Yeltsin who retires in 2000.
UN flays Taliban offensive
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 18 (AFP) UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has condemned the Taliban for their offensive in northern Kabul which has forced tens of thousands of Afghan civilians to flee the area.
Mr Annan strongly condemned the ongoing forceful displacement of civilians, resulting from the most recent offensive by the Taliban, said United Nation spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva yesterday.
The Taliban, which control more than 80 per cent of Afghanistan, launched an offensive on July 27 against the opposition forces commanded by Ahmed Shah Massud on the Shomali plain north of Kabul.
The Talibans two-pronged attack in the provinces of Parwan and Kapisa is aimed at trying to wrest control of the Panjsher valley, Massuds bastion.
KABUL: Afghanistans Taliban movement, bracing itself for a possible US attack on terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden, accused the USA today of being scared of its Islamic policies.
Shariat weekly, a Taliban mouthpiece, said in a commentary that the rise of the Taliban movement and its self-styled Islamic emirate of Afghanistan were viewed by Washington as being anti-American developments.
Congo city quiet after ceasefire
KIGALI, Aug 18 (Reuters) Fighting eased in the rebel-held Congolese city of Kisangani today after Uganda and Rwanda agreed to a ceasefire deal in a bid to revive their troubled military alliance after three days of ferocious clashes.
Dozens of people are believed to have been killed in the artillery battles and street-to-street fighting between Ugandan and Rwandan army units, but the city was relatively peaceful this morning.
Things have calmed down and its quiet now. Not even the birds are singing, Lieut Col Patrick Nyavumba, the commander of Rwandan forces in Congo, said.
The two nations, firm allies over the past five years, are both supporting a year-old rebellion in the democratic republic of Congo but recently turned against each other in a dispute over which rebel faction should lead the war against President Laurent Kabila.
Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni and Rwandan Vice President Paul Kagame agreed on
a ceasefire deal yesterday afternoon, but not before
heavy damage was done to the northeastern city of
Kisangani and the rebellion discredited.
|USA bans blood donations
WASHINGTON: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it was banning blood donations from those who lived in Britain for over six months from 1980 to 1996. The FDA on Wednesday issued guidance to blood establishments to reduce the risk of transmission of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (nvCJD) to recipients of blood products, it said in a statement on Tuesday. NvCJD is a fatal degenerative disease found almost exclusively in Britain. AFP
bid by dolphin
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