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Saturday, August 28, 1999
Annan asks Jakarta to
A woman stretches out her hand for her relative on Friday as his coffin is closed on Friday during his funeral. He was killed by police during clashes between East Timorese pro-independence and pro-autonomy factions the previous day. AFP
Pak to raise N-draft
issue with USA
Taliban offers to talk on Laden
Human rights activists flay Pak
Oppn gears up to oust Sharif
Guerrillas behind Uzbek
Chemical weapons used
Annan asks Jakarta to curb militias
UNITED NATIONS Aug 27 (Reuters, PTI) United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked Indonesia to assert control over the security situation in East Timor in the wake of violent clashes threatening to disrupt the August 30 referendum.
It is crucial that, even at this late stage, concrete and effective steps be taken by Indonesia to control the militias who, it is increasingly clear, are intent on disrupting the popular consultation, said deputy spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva in a statement on Thursday on behalf of the Secretary-General, reacting to the clashes between supporters and protesters of the autonomy proposal in Dili.
DILI (East Timor): East Timors main resistance body today accused Indonesian security forces of taking part in violence the previous day which killed at least five persons.
The National Council for Timorese Resistance in a statement signed by its leaders in Dili accused the Indonesian military and the police of involvement in the deaths, which occurred just days before a UN-run ballot on the territorys future.
Indonesian military was actively involved in the attacks and killings in Dili yesterday, showing that they are far from being neutral, said the statement. The Indonesian police stood by in some cases and as part of the killings in other cases.
The National Council for Timorese Resistance said four persons died in what it called a reign of terror, whereas UN officials earlier said at least five persons had died.
Jakartas special envoy for East Timor Lopes Da Cruz separately accused independence supporters of starting the trouble, an allegation the council denied firmly.
Groups of young independence supporters were seen today hanging around the Dili suburb where the incident occurred, armed with bows and arrows. The area is a pro-independence stronghold.
Dozens of persons have died in East Timor since January and tens of thousands displaced in violence mainly blamed on armed militias, who are thought to be supported by elements of the Indonesian military.
On Monday, more than 400,000 East Timorese around the world will choose between independence or rule from Jakarta, which invaded the territory in 1975 and annexed it a year later.
Indonesias often brutal 23-year old reign over the former Portuguese colony is not internationally recognised.
A top UN official in East Timor strongly criticised the Indonesian police today for failing to curb violence in the territory and rejected criticisms that the world body had not done enough to prevent the bloodshed.
Ever since our arrival our major concern has been the operation of armed pro-integration militia groups, Ian Martin, Head of the UN mission in East Timor, said.
Yeltsin took bribes, says trader
ROME, Aug 27 (AFP) A man named as a key figure in a probe into a Kremlin financial scandal has accused Russian President Boris Yeltsin of accepting bribes, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported today.
Russian-born businessman Felipe Turover told the newspaper he was a witness in four investigations in Russia and Switzerland because of his longstanding high-level contacts in Russia.
He said Mr Yeltsin was behind Pavel Borodin, the Kremlin property manager a powerful job that allows him to decide who wins contracts to service everything from Kremlin real estate to cars. Borodin is suspected of having taken bribes from Kosovar businessman, Bexhet Pacolli, in return for important construction contracts in Moscow.
Behind Pacolli, there is Borodin and behind Borodin there is only one person, the most important of persons, said Turover.
Asked by the newspaper who he meant, he added: President Yeltsin, who still backs him (Borodin) because Borodin knows too much.
The Kremlin yesterday denied that Yeltsin and his family had foreign bank accounts, as Corriere reported in an earlier article.
MOSCOW (Reuters): Russias acting Chief Prosecutor, Mr Vladimir Ustinov, said today the countrys security services had been ordered to look into Russian involvement in an alleged multi-billion dollar money laundering scheme at a US bank. Their findings would determine whether his office would launch a formal criminal investigation.
But for this both our and foreign security services must look thoroughly into the matter, a spokesman for the prosecutors office quoted Mr Ustinov as saying.
If any wrongdoing on the part of Russian citizens or organisations is established, then we will have to initiate criminal proceedings, he quoted Mr Ustinov as saying.
US and British authorities are investigating claims that Russian mobsters, businessmen and senior officials may have been funneling billions of dollars out of Russia through the Bank of New York, including aid from IMF.
The US probe into the bank of New York allegations, which U.S. newspapers say involve sums that may exceed 15 billion dollars, is the latest in a series of financial scandals to hit Russia.
In a separate case, Swiss prosecutors are probing possible corruption in the awarding of contracts to construction firm, Mabetex, to renovate Kremlin buildings.
WASHINGTON (DPA): The Clinton Administration has expressed concern over reports that several Russian officials, including President Boris yeltsin and his daughter, may have been involved in laundering as much as $ 15 billion through two US banks.
The report yesterday in the newspaper USA today quoted US, British and Russian investigators as saying at least five current or former members of Mr Yeltsins government were under investigation. One Russian prosecutor told the paper it was hard to believe Mr yeltsin himself was unaware of the operation.
The five under
investigation were Mr Yeltsins daughter and
adviser, Mr Tatyana Dyachenko, his former Chief of Staff
and Finance Minister, Mr Anatoly Chubais, a former Deputy
Prime Minister, Mr Oleg Soskovets, a former Finance
Minister, Mr Alexander Livshits, and the former Deputy
Chairman of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Potanin.
Putins surprise visit to Dagestan
MAKHACHKALA, Aug 27 (AP) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in the southern Russian region of Dagestan today for talks on improving security in the wake of a two-week rebel incursion.
At least six settlements in western Dagestan were occupied on August 7 by Islamic rebels who crossed from nearby Chechnya. After a series of air raids and artillery shelling by Russian forces and several ground clashes, the militants withdrew earlier this week.
Mr Putin was to discuss how the impoverished region would restore villages that were almost completely destroyed during the conflict. Dagestan is also dealing with an estimated 10,000 refugees who fled the fighting.
So far, many refugees have not been allowed to return home because Russian security forces were clearing mines that the militants laid before they left.
Officials have said that 70 Russian army and Interior Ministry troops were killed in the conflict. Casualty estimates for the rebels varied widely, with the rebels claiming they lost 37 men, while the Russians claiming as many as 2,000 rebels were killed or injured.
A spokeswoman for Dagestans ruling State Council said by telephone Mr Putin arrived in the regional capital, Makhachkala and then immediately left for Botlikh district, where most of the fighting took place. His visit came a day after Russian planes bombed the camps of Islamic guerrillas in the breakaway region of Chechnya, neighbouring Dagestan.
The military press centre in Dagestan, contradicting earlier denials by the Russian Defence Minister and Chief of General Staff, finally confirmed that warplanes hit Chechnya. It said they bombed guerrilla bases and had not attacked villages.
Chechen officials said today the attacks had caused casualties, but a Reuters reporter on the scene was told by witnesses they knew of no injuries or deaths.
The Russian defence ministry said in a separate statement that 22 rebels had been seized and hundreds of landmines defused.
In a sign of growing tensions, gunmen attacked a television centre under construction in the province of Ingushetia, neighbouring Chechnya to the west, this morning.
Interfax news agency
quoted Ingushetias acting chief prosecutor as
saying the attackers apparently planned to kidnap Turkish
construction workers employed at the site. One attacker
had been killed and later identified as an Islamic
guerrilla belonging to Chechnyas Urus-Martan
Pak to raise N-draft issue with USA
ISLAMABAD, Aug 27 (PTI) Pakistan today said it would take up Indias recently announced draft nuclear doctrine with the USA during next months UN General Assembly session, and alleged Delhi was planning to start an arms race in the region posing a danger to Islamabads security.
Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said he would raise the issue at his meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and foreign ministers of several other countries on the sidelines of the session, the official APP news agency reported.
"We will raise this issue with the USA and other countries because India plans to start an arms race which poses danger to our security," APP quoted Mr Aziz as saying informally during an overseas Pakistanis convention here.
Pakistans Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to lead a large Pakistani delegation to the UN General Assembly session which he is slated to address on September 22.
Asked about any possibility of a direct Indo-Pak contact during the UN meeting, Mr Aziz said his meeting with his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh had not yet been scheduled.
Taliban offers to talk on Laden
ISLAMABAD, Aug 27 (AFP) The Taliban renewed its offer of readiness for talks with the USA on Washingtons concerns over the presence of alleged international terrorist Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.
We are ready to enter into negotiations any time, anywhere, Taliban Information Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi told a press conference in Islamabad yesterday.
He said it was neither in the interest of Afghanistan nor the USA to put so much emphasis on Osama.
He said the Taliban had never allowed Bin Laden nor anyone else to engage in any terrorist activity from the Afghan soil.
The minister reiterated that Bin Landen, accused by the USA of masterminding last years twin East Africa Embassy bombings that killed more than 200 persons, was living in Afghanistan as guest of its people.
The minister said neither the USA nor anyone else had provided any evidence of Bin Ladens alleged involvement in terrorist activities to the Taliban Supreme Court despite repeated calls by the militia.
AP adds: A truck bomb outside the home of Afghanistans Taliban leader was an assassination attempt by someone with access to very sophisticated material, said Taliban officials.
Talibans Information Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi told newspersons in Pakistan yesterday that an investigation into Tuesdays powerful truck bomb was being conducted.
No arrests have been made, he said but we cant rule out a foreign hand. . . The material used was very sophisticated.
Abdul Hai Muttmain, a spokesman at the Talibans headquarters in Kandahar, said the truck bomb was an attempt to kill the Talibans reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar.
ISLAMABAD, Aug 27 (DPA) Whether the Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif likes it or not, the clamour by Pakistani and foreign human rights groups for an end to discrimination against women continues to become shriller.
Demands for stricter legislation to stem the killing of women in the name of family honour honour killings have also been gaining strength since a young womans desire for separation from her husband was responded to with fatal bullets.
Samia Imran from Peshawar had fled her home to seek divorce through a legal aid centre run by Pakistans most vocal human rights activists, Ms Asma Jehangir and her sister Ms Hina Jeelani, in Lahore, 278 km east of Islamabad.
Samia Imrans parents her mother, a medical doctor, and her father, a prominent businessman reacted by hiring an assassin who gunned down Samia in the legal aid centre in the presence of Samias mother and her counsel, Ms Hina Jeelani.
Though a case has been registered, the killers are still at large and the governments promise to capture the murderers still remains unfulfilled.
The governments claim in condemning honour killings is a total farce as no action has been taken in seven such cases, Ms Jehangir said in Lahore on Thursday. Her criticism followed the announcement of a new draft law that she thinks will legitimise honour killings.
The fierce debate that Samia Imrans cold-blooded murder sparked also led to the introduction, in early August of a draft resolution in the Upper House of Parliament, the Senate.
Led by Opposition Senator Iqbal Haider, the resolution condemned the honour killings and demanded strict legislation to eliminate what has been termed a medieval social practice.
But soon after Mr Haider tabled the draft, most senators including those from the ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League, withdrew their support. Some even defended the practice of killing women in the name of family honour, saying this saves the family from further indignation and contempt.
Oppn gears up to oust Sharif
ISLAMABAD, Aug 27 (PTI) In a concerted effort Pakistans opposition parties have decided to turn the heat on the Nawaz Sharif government with a series of public rallies and strikes in different parts of the country in the first week of September to kick off a mass movement for the ouster of the government.
The combined opposition attack would be launched on September 1 in Lahore when the 15-party alliance Pakistan Awami Ittehad (PAI) with the backing of some other leading parties would hold a public rally against the Sharif government.
The rally would be the
first show of strength by the opposition since the
massive Jamaat-e-Islami rally on July 25 in the wake of
the Kargil crisis which had sent shivers down the
corridors of power in Islamabad.
Guerrillas behind Uzbek kidnappings
BISHKEK, Aug 27 (Reuters) Kyrgyzstan said today some 1,000 guerrillas holed up in its southern mountains with hostages were Uzbek Islamic guerrillas planning to launch an uprising in neighbouring Uzbekistan.
Acting Kyrgyz Defence
Minister Nuridin Chomoyev said the fate of captives
seized by the fighters last weekend, including four
Japanese geologists and a senior Kyrgyz military
official, was unknown but their rough location had been
Chemical weapons used on Albanians
NEW YORK, Aug 27 (PTI) A Belgian scientist has claimed to have found evidence that Yugoslavia used chemical weapons on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo during NATO assault and before the peace-keeping forces arrived, a newspaper report said.
The findings of Aubin Heyndrickx, Director International Reference University Laboratories Ghent, showed that the Kosovar Albanians were attacked with BZ gas or a similar compound, which does not kill but causes disorientation and confusion, and is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention, the New York Times said quoting Janes Defence Weekly.
The findings were immediately challenged by expert from the USA and the UN, the paper reported.
chairs made in 90
LONDON: Four antique Georgian chairs sold by the respected Sothebys auction house for £ 1.3 million have turned out to be 1990 reproductions, Sothebys said. The mahogany armchairs were believed to have been made in 1759 and to have come from an English stately home. But Canadian scrap-metal millionaire Herbert Black, who bought a pair for £ 463,500 discovered they were reproductions. Reuters
2 die in plane crash
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