|W O R L D||
Sunday, February 7, 1999
|Hegde's warning on WTO agenda
Wants invisible barriers to go
MONTEGO BAY (Jamaica), Feb 6 India today rejected attempts to introduce "extraneous and non-trade" issues like labour standards on the World Trade Organisation agenda, warning such moves by developed countries carried the "danger of turning the WTO into a new leviathan."
Monica "almost protective"
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 Several Republicans and Democrats are considering different drafts of a censure motion that is likely to be passed after the impeachment resolutions seeking to remove US President Bill Clinton from office fail for want of a two-third majority, CBS-TV has reported.
CAPE TOWN : South African President Nelson Mandela and Deputy President Thabo Mbeki wave to the crowds from the steps of Tuynhuis after his final address to parliament in Cape Town on Friday. This will be the final opening of parliament by Mandela as his term of office comes to an end after the second all race elections to be held in May. AP/PTI
against delay in statehood
station boon for research
toys unsafe for children
dissident to form new party
Hegde's warning on WTO agenda
MONTEGO BAY (Jamaica), Feb 6 (PTI) India today rejected attempts to introduce "extraneous and non-trade" issues like labour standards on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agenda, warning such moves by developed countries carried the "danger of turning the WTO into a new leviathan."
"We fear the inclusion of non-trade issues on the WTO agenda carry the danger of turning the organisation into a new leviathan which can crush, under its intensive weight, the "developmental priorities of a large proportion of mankind," Commerce Minister Ramakrishna Hegde said.
"While we affirm our commitment to core labour standards, we reject any attempt to introduce such measures into trade with the covert objective of denying comparative cost advantages to developing countries," he said addressing the third Trade and Economic Ministers meeting of the Group of 15 here.
On the services negotiations at the WTO, Mr Hegde said India would seek substantial liberalisation in movement of personnel and removal of invisible barriers erected by the developed countries on services exports.
The Trade and Economic Ministers meeting precedes the G-15 summit in which India is expected to spearhead developing countries initiation to reform the global financial system and ward off East Asian-type crisis.
Mr Hegde felt that the talk of negotiations for a multilateral framework on investment appeared "premature", particularly when the developing countries were encouraging foreign direct investment autonomously acceding to their long-term developmental needs.
Underlining the need for better market access for agro-products of developing countries, Mr Hegde said fresh negotiations under the agreement on agriculture and general agreement on trade in services (GATS) should commence as mandated after January 1, 2000.
Such negotiations as also mandated reviews of other agreements should not be advanced or the issues involved therein be prejudged, he said, adding developing countries needed to be provided the requisite flexibility within the agreement so that food and employment security was given to the agrarian poor.
Mr Hegde wanted the generalised system of preferences (GSP) to be extended to new areas, including services, technology transfer, intellectual property rights (IPRs) and performance requirements under trade related investment measures (TRIMs).
An expert group amongst G-15 countries could be constituted to suggest ways and means of extending the GSP concept to the new areas, he said.
A recent study by the UNCTAD had estimated that a 30 per cent tariff concession across the board in the GSTP was likely to result in increased trade in the range of 7.4 to 8.5 billion dollars, representing an 8 to 9 per cent increase in the mutual trade of generalised system of trade preferences (GSTP) participants.
"We believe that G-15 members could catalyse the South-South trade and closer cooperation within the GSTP mechanism," he said, adding "we should expand the list of the GSTP participants by encouraging more developing countries to participate in this process."
The ministers of the second ministerial conference of WTO adopted a declaration in the General Council of the WTO to commence a work programme on the subject of global electronic commerce for making recommendations to the third ministerial conference.
"We are of the view that the programme must examine, inter-alia, how the growing importance of E-commerce in the conduct of international trade would impact upon the trade and development opportunities of developing countries," he said.
Mr Hegde was critical of the continuation of high domestic subsidies by many developed countries on agriculture and the use of anti-dumping measures increasingly as a weapon to protect industries in the industrialised world.
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (PTI, AP) Several Republicans and Democrats are considering different drafts of a censure motion that is likely to be passed after the impeachment resolutions seeking to remove US President Bill Clinton from office fail for want of a two-third majority, CBS-TV has reported.
There is strong sentiment among Senators even in the Democratic Party that while President Clinton's conduct with Ms Monica Lewinsky does not constitute enough offence to remove him from office for "high crimes and misdemeanours" envisaged in the Constitution, it will be bad for America's future if he is allowed to escape censure and able to proclaim victory.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, the President's friend and influential Senator, is among those who came on TV to say that he favours censure.
In the House of Representatives, the Democrats themselves moved and lost a tough resolution of censure as an alternative to impeachment.
Meanwhile, careful not to give away too much, Ms Lewinsky refused to elaborate on the mixed feelings she still holds for President Clinton a year after their last, curt phone call. Eighteen pages of her newest words about him suggest lingering fondness tinged with a hint of exasperation.
Even after all shes been through, Ms Lewinsky still spoke sentimentally of the Presidents first gift to her a hatpin valued at $ 3, according to an appraiser hired by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
"It was a thoughtful gift, it was beautiful," Ms Lewinsky told her House questioner, a Tennessee Republican, in the deposition published yesterday in the congressional record.
But in what reads like the chin-up bravado of an ex-girlfriend who has moved on she also took a swipe at Mr Clinton. When asked "you think hes a good President, and I assume you think hes a very intelligent man." Ms Lewinsky corrected him: "I think hes an intelligent President." The remark elicited laughter from the gathering of lawyers and Senators in the room. Ms Lewinsky had already made it clear to them she differentiated between Clinton the man and Clinton the President.
She also pointed out that she urged President Clinton to settle Ms Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit a move that could have saved her and the President from the whole mess that followed.
Ms Lewinsky said she was so angry at being dragged into the Jones case that she wanted to "sue Paula Jones" at the time. Her disdain survives. "I dont believe Paula Jones version of the story.
The five-hour interview carried echoes of the confessional style of Ms Lewinskys extensive earlier questioning before a Federal grand jury. But the new testimony, recorded in a ritzy Washington hotel last Monday, was much more guarded.
Ms Lewinskys words were "carefully chosen and relatively few and that she seemed almost "protective of the President.
The questioner compared her to the Marlene Dietrich character in the classic courtroom movie "Witness for the Prosecution a sultry, mysterious wife whose seemingly incriminating testimony actually helps her husband avoid conviction for murder.
That seems an overstatement, but Ms Lewinsky does seem to have matured in the year since her sometimes overwrought, sometimes giggly voice was secretly caught on tape by Linda Tripp.
The 25-year-old, who is awaiting a Barbara Walters interview and has teamed with a biographer, skilfully batted away some of the more prying questions and responded to the majority with a simple "yes or "correct.
Asked what she felt for Mr Clinton now, Ms Lewinsky, who has said she once loved and dreamed of marrying the President, said, I have mixed feelings.
When probed further, she quipped: "I think what you need to know is that my grand jury testimony is truthful irrespective of whatever those mixed feelings are in my testimony today.
She bristled when referred to her first sexual encounter with Mr Clinton as the first so-called salacious occasion.
"Can you call it something else?, she interrupted. I mean, this is my relationship. ... I dont really see it as my first salacious thats not what it was.
She held the questioner to his promise not to question her about details of the intimate encounters. When a question alluded to sexual telephone conversations with the President, she reminded him that was a topic "I thought we werent discussing here.
Ms Lewinsky recalled her fear, anger and tears in late December 1997 and early January 1998, when she worried that discovery of their relationship was imminent.
"I know I was beyond paranoid at this point, she said, explaining how she came up with a codename to use when contacting President Clintons secretary, Betty Currie.
Ms Lewinsky was called from her desk at the Pentagon Public Affairs Office on December 19, 1997, to receive a subpoena in the Jones case. She broke into tears. When the process server tried to explain that the envelope included money to cover her expenses at a witness, she recalled declaring, "I dont want their stinking money.
Ms Lewinsky had testified previously that she was angry with President Clinton during their last conversation, on January 5 because she had seen photos of him and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton being romantic on their holiday vacation.
Prevent N-tech theft
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (PTI) A special US House Committee has asked the Clinton Administration to prevent further thefts of nuclear technology by Chinese spies who, it claimed, have stolen secrets for making the neutron bomb.
In a secret report, the committee headed by Republican Congressman Chris Cox said the Chinese had successfully stolen from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Americas secrets for making the neutron bomb which kills people but does not destroy property.
The committee views Chinese intelligence efforts to steal Americas weapons secrets so aggressive that it wants a six-monthly report by the White House on the issue to Congress the Washington Times said yesterday.
As a matter of urgent priority, the Select Committee believes that the Department of Energy must implement as quickly as possible and then sustain an effective counter-intelligence programme, it said quoting a 38-page declassified White House summary of the still-secret 700-page report.
It was this committee which discovered that Hughes and Loral Inc had given technology to the Chinese to improve their communications rockets which the Chinese allegedly used to give improved guidance to their missiles.
The panel urged the White House to begin a comprehensive damage assessment of the strategic implications of the security breaches that have taken place.
It recommended US counterspies mount a comprehensive counter-intelligence threat assessment of (Chinese) espionage, and said Chinese efforts to obtain US weapons technology over 20 years had harmed Americas national security.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Chinas intelligence services are among the most aggressive at stealing US technology, a fact the White House has been reluctant to acknowledge as part of its conciliatory policies towards China, the newspaper quoted the report as saying.
The committee recommended that US national security agencies investigate within their own ranks the risks to US national security of international scientific exchanges with China at US weapons laboratories.
The administration should also draw up new laws imposing stiffer penalties for violations of export controls, it said.
The White House, in its response to the panels recommendations, said the State Department would take over licensing of commercial communications satellites on March 15 from the Commerce Department as required by the fiscal 1999 Defence Bill.
Arafat against delay in statehood
FRANKFURT, Feb 6 (DPA) The Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has declined to announce a delay to his planned May 4 declaration of Palestinian statehood at an International Aid Donor Conference.
Representatives at the talks here yesterday said Mr Arafat vowed to continue the peace process with Israel but refused to make any concrete pledge about postponing a declaration of Palestinian statehood.
Israel is firmly opposed to any statehood declaration. The USA has opposed unilateral declaration of statehood till negotiations with Israel are alive. The issue of statehood is supposed to be reserved for the final, permanent status phase of the talks.
The Israeli officials attending the two-day meeting organised by the World Bank left early in apparent anger over Mr Arafats stance. German Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said she regretted the Israeli departure but added it had only been due to what she termed internal reasons.
Mr Arafat is seeking some $ 4.5 billion in aid for the Palestinian authority region over the next five years. Attending the donor conference were some 50 states and international organisations and Palestinian representatives.
In a speech to delegates, Mr Arafat accused Israel of blocking economic development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
There is an economic blockade of the Palestinian territories, he said in Bonn after talks with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.
Saddam in touch with Bin Laden
LONDON, Feb 6 (AFP) Iraq is thought to have offered alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden Asylum in return for help in attacking United States of America and Saudi targets, a British newspaper reported today.
The Guardian said a meeting took place in late December in the Afghan mountains near Kandahar between the exiled Saudi fundamentalist and Baghdads Ambassador in Turkey, Farouk Hijazi, one of the top Iraqi intelligence men.
The newspaper, which cited US intelligence sources and Iraqi opposition figures, said Bin Ladens response was unknown.
It linked the meeting to a warning this week by US Attorney General Janet Reno before the Senate that a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction was a growing concern.
Bin Laden, accused by the USA of the bloody bombings of two American embassies in East Africa last year, is currently living in Afghanistan.
The Taliban militia, which controls most of the country, is facing increasing US and Saudi pressure to expel him.
Space station boon for research
ALBUQUERQUE, Feb 6 (AP) The international space station (ISS) being built to orbit earth can be a boon for commercial research, scientists have said.
Two of the stations 12 main modules are already in orbit. Although scientists say people around the world largely arent aware of it.
Even now, after we have begun to construct the ISS, few people know that the ISS exists and what its there for, Mr Andrew Eddy, manager of the Canadian space agencys space-station commercialisation programme, told the Space Technology and Applications International Forum here on Wednesday.
He urged space scientists to share your dreams with ordinary people.
Canada would make half its 2.3 per cent laboratory allocation on the station available for commercial research, jumping the gun on those who believe the station should be turned over to private enterprise next decade, he said.
Canada was supplying the $ 1 billion remote manipulator arm to assemble the station in space.
Ultimately, he said, private research interests could get long-term leases with the Canadian Government acting as an anchor tenant, he said.
The space scientists support the station as a unique low-gravity platform to develop new materials and drugs, investigate and demonstrate the ability to live and work in space for long periods and as a stepping stone to establish human colonies on the moon and Mars.
Other scientists expressed reservations about the station and even what science could be achieved aboard it. They worry about the huge commitment of government money and fear it ultimately might compromise the funding of basic research programmes on earth.
Some forum participants urged a public relations campaign to tell the world about the $ 49 billion station. They said such an international effort might solidify shaky government commitments to the project, notably in Europe, Russia and Japan.
Japanese space station programme manager Hideo Takamatsu said using space was more than building a space station. It involves the expansion of the human race beyond planet Earth, he said.
The Japanese space agency would test the interest in April for commercialisation projects, he said. However, the agency found that the industry was not familiar with research opportunities either on the space shuttle or the space station.
Mr Eddy said five workshops held last month across Canada to encourage private use of the stations laboratories were evidence of popular support. Hundreds of companies sent representatives, most of them not from the traditional space-faring communities, he said. Strong interest came from television and movie producers and the entertainment industry.
The 460-tonne station had a complex partnership. Developed by NASA, that allocates laboratory and structure resources based on a nations contributions to the construction. The station was supported by 16 nations, six of which were actually building laboratories for it.
Major participants were the USA, Russia, Japan, Europe, Canada and Brazil, with the USA contributing and claiming about 50 per cent of its resources.
Currently, the station was two linked modules, one from the USA and the other from Russia.
Abdullah sworn in as Jordans regent
DUBAI, Feb 6 (PTI) Jordans Crown Prince Abdullah was today sworn in as the countrys regent after the government declared that his "clinically dead" father King Hussein was unable to rule effectively.
The 37-year-old Major-General in the army, who was installed as Crown Prince last week, was given the reins of power by the Jordanian Cabinet at a meeting held as per the countrys constitution.
The Cabinet meeting came following the decision by King Husseins relatives not to turn off the life-support system of the 63-year-old monarch who was pronounced clinically dead yesterday, hours after his return from the USA where he was undergoing treatment for cancer.
"The constitution stipulates that when the king is in the country and unable to carry out his constitutional duties and responsibilities then there are constitutional requirements and stipulations that empower the Cabinet to appoint a regent," Information Minister Nasser Joudeh told reporters in Amman.
Abdullah, King Husseins eldest son who till recently was rarely considered a leading contender for the throne, pledged to continue Jordans "traditional policy" on the Middle East peace process and Iraq and to push ahead democratic reform.
He told Al-Hayat newspaper that he would provide "more support to the process of democratic transformation, political pluralism and freedom of expression, and more support for the institutions of civilian life."
He also pledged "to support peace and stability in the region by backing efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority."
Abdullah, a qualified pilot and keen race car driver, is the eldest son of King Hussein from his second marriage to Toni Gardiner, a Briton who converted to Islam and adopted the name Mona Al-Hussein.
A king who brought peace
DUBAI, Feb 6 (PTI) Israel and Palestine, who are going through the painful process of buying peace, will have concerns about the future of West Asia peace in a world without King Hussein of Jordan, who is on life support, but clinically dead.
The king has been a votary of peace and Jordan in his time was a buffer between warring Israel and the Arab states. His voice of moderation had helped resolve differences and rifts in this highly-volatile part of the world.
Regional politics will not be the same without King Hussein, partly because his 37-year-old successor and son Prince Abdullah is an unknown entity picked up from the military.
There is a large number of Palestinians in Jordan. King Hussein, who was once married to a Palestinian woman, was at daggers drawn with Palestinians who used the Jordanian territory for mounting attacks on Israel.
Tel Aviv was also angry with Jordan for not taking effective measures to prevent such attacks.
I really hope the transition in Jordan will be smooth and peaceful, because instability in Jordan will mean instability in many other places, said Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator.
Yasser Arafat visited Amman soon after Prince Abdullah was named successor to congratulate him.
Israeli Prime Ministers spokesman David Bar Illan said, the nation of Israel is very sad about King Husseins imminent death, and added the king was a popular regional leader among the Israelis.
Without him there could not have been a Hebron agreement between the USA and the Palestinians .. we are hoping that his son will be able to continue in his footsteps..
The king will also be remembered in Israel for having attended, along with Arafat, the funeral of peace architect and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
After the Arab-Israeli war, the king was instrumental in drafting the UN resolution 242 which calls on Israel to withdraw from all Arab lands it occupied in the 1967 war in exchange for peace.
This resolution has served as the benchmark for all subsequent peace negotiations. In 1991, King Hussein played a pivotal role in convening the Madrid peace conference and providing an umbrella for Palestinians to negotiate their future as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.
The 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel was a historic step toward achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in West Asia.
Vinyl toys unsafe for children
NEW YORK, Feb 6 (AP) The sweet, smiling faces of some popular toys could contain a hidden chemical hazard, the environmental activist group Greenpeace has warned.
Many manufacturers continue to use a common vinyl additive despite fears that it could seep into childrens mouths when they chew or suck on toys, according to Greenpeace yesterday.
To think that the things that our children are playing with, embracing, sleeping with ... And chewing on, gnawing on, could be toxic is frightening, said Tracy Shelton, a lawyer at the New York public interest research group, which joined Greenpeace at a news conference.
The additive, from a class of chemicals called phthalates, is put into vinyl to make the otherwise brittle plastic soft and flexible. When children put some toys into their mouth, phthalates will come out of the plastic similar to the way water comes out of a damp sponge, asserted Rick Hind of Greenpeace.
The head of an industry group criticised the report. This is just more of the usual Greenpeace scare tactics, said David Miller, president of the toy manufacturers of America. Vinyl toys are absolutely safe, he added.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, high doses of phthalates have been linked in laboratory studies to cancer in rats. They also are a suspected source of liver and kidney damage in laboratory animals. But the commission also said that scientists disagree about whether the chemical poses a risk to people.
Living together falling apart
NEW YORK, Feb 6 (AP) A growing body of research has found that people who live together before marriage are more likely, than other couples, to divorce.
According to a report released from the US National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, studies done over the past decade found the same connection between living together before marriage and splitting up after.
The hot question for marriage and family sociologists these days is why. Many researchers believe the reason is partly that people who live together are more unconventional to begin with and are less committed to the institution of marriage and more open to the possibility of divorce.
The authors of the latest report suspect something more insidious that living together slowly erodes peoples ability to commit and their faith in the institution of marriage.
You get into a pattern that works against having a long-term, committed relationship, said Barbara Whitehead, Co-Director of The National Marriage Project.
The project is non-partisan but is funded by mainly conservative, traditional family foundations.
Among the recent studies on cohabitation and marriage, was the one released in 1997 by the US National Centre for Health Statistics. It showed that 27 per cent of women who lived with someone before getting married ended up divorced within five years. Ten per cent of women who never lived with a boyfriend saw their marriages dissolve in the same period.
Another US study, which was done in 1992 and based on figures from the National Survey of Families and Households, found that couples who lived together before marriage were 46 per cent more likely to see their marriages dissolve.
Other sociologists say living together may, in fact, help root out poor relationships that would otherwise have become unhappy marriages.
Larry Bumpass, Director of the national survey, which is based at the University of Wisconsin, noted that the US divorce rate had stabilised since 1980, while the rate of cohabitation has shot up.
If cohabitation was
causing an increase in divorce, you would have expected
the divorce rate to accelerate, but its
not, he said. To lay everything on the
doorstep of cohabitation is to fail to recognise the
dramatic change that is occurring in the way marriage is
UNP dissident to form new party
COLOMBO, Feb 6 (PTI) Sri Lankas main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), appears heading for a split with the announcement of the formation of a new political outfit by a prominent dissident leader.
Srisena Cooray, a minister in the previous Premadasa Cabinet, announced his intention to break away from the UNP and form a new party after the supreme court yesterday absolved him of charges of plotting the murder of party colleague Lalith Authulathamudali. Authulathamudali was assassinated in 1993 allegedly by a Tamil youth.
Mr Cooray was later indicted by a special presidential commission appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1994 to inquire into the murder of the former Internal Security Minister, who had revolted against Premadasa. The dissident leader later fled from the country.
|Agreement on East Timor reached
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations has announced that Portuguese and Indonesian negotiators had reached agreement on technical arrangements for east Timor autonomy. But UN Special Representative Jamsheed Marker said on Friday that the major political issues on the territorys future must be settled by the foreign ministers, due to meet in New York at the week end. East Timorese resistance activists told reporters here that in the light of a new Indonesian initiative, the UN autonomy plan should be abandoned so that negotiations could focus on full independence after a transitional period. Indonesia says that the UN autonomy arrangements should be final, while Portugal maintains that autonomy is a transitional stage that the East Timorese vote on self-determination. AFP
4 Indians die in fire
China kills 2
Woman stoned to
| Punjab | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir |
| Chandigarh | Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |