|W O R L D||
Tuesday, February 9, 1999
|Jordan bids tearful adieu to King
CAIRO, Feb 8 Grief-stricken Jordan today bid a tearful farewell to King Hussein, who was laid to rest at the royal cemetery in Amman, in the presence of a galaxy of world leaders, including the regions friends and foes.
Yeltsin holds talks with Clinton
US President Bill Clinton (L) and three of his predecessors, Gerald Ford (2nd L), Jimmy Carter (2nd R) and George Bush (R) arrive in Amman on Monday to attend the state funeral of King Hussein.
|Kosovars dilute freedom demand
RAMBOUILLET, Feb 8 Getting Kosovo negotiations off to a positive start, rival Serbs and ethnic Albanians have agreed on basic principles that would keep Yugoslavias borders intact but give the secessionist Serbian province wide autonomy.
charge may fail
remnants join army
Jordan bids tearful adieu to King
CAIRO, Feb 8 (PTI) Grief-stricken Jordan today bid a tearful farewell to King Hussein, who was laid to rest at the royal cemetery in Amman, in the presence of a galaxy of world leaders, including the regions friends and foes.
In a rare gesture, the Syrian President, Mr Hafez al-Assad, whose country has strained ties with Jordan, joined the mourners, who included Presidents of the USA, Russia, Israel, and France and the Indian Vice-President, Mr Krishan Kant.
The body of King Hussein, a votary of Arab reconciliation and peace with Israel, who died of cancer yesterday, was taken in a coffin wrapped with the Jordanian flag from the Raghadan Palace on a gun carriage through several other palaces in the royal compound to the royal mosque, where a special prayer was held before the last rites were performed.
Thousands of Jordanians, many with tears in their eyes, lined up the 20-km route to catch a glimpse of the late king, who guided the destiny of their country for 47 years. His bereaved sons led by his successor, King Abdallah, 37, and Crown Prince Hamza, 18, carried the coffin out of his private palace. The body was later placed atop an open armoured car covered with white flowers.
King Husseins US-born wife, Queen Noor, his six daughters from four marriages and other women of the Hashemite family, wearing black dresses and white scarves, stayed behind in the palace in keeping with Islamic tradition.
"God is great", "God is good", the mourners, some of them weeping and wailing, chanted and showered flowers on the casket as it passed by.
Among those who attended the funeral were President Bill Clinton, his wife Hillary, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, still recuperating from a bleeding cancer who defied doctors advice not to travel, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The Israeli delegation, led by President Ezer Weizman, included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The sombre occasion also saw leaders of Iraq and the USA together.
Soldiers and the police were deployed in full strength to guard the congregation of presidents, prime ministers and rulers of Arab countries.
Eight soldiers carried the coffin to the cemetery, where the late monarchs mother, father and grand father are also buried, after King Abdallah and princes prayed for the deceased king just before the burial. He was lowered in the grave covered in a white shroud, in accordance with the Islamic rituals.
NEW DELHI: India on Monday observed national mourning in memory of King Hussein of Jordan.
Ailing Yeltsin holds talks with Clinton
MOSCOW, Feb 8 (AFP, AP) The Russian President, Mr Boris Yeltsin, held brief talks today with his US counterpart, Mr Bill Clinton, in Amman, where the two leaders were attending the funeral of King Hussein, Itar-Tass reported.
The two leaders, who met ahead of the funeral ceremony, discussed bilateral and international issues during the encounter, which the news agency said only lasted a few minutes.
Mr Yeltsin and Mr Clinton last met at the beginning of September at a summit in Russian capital Moscow.
Mr Yeltsin also held short consultations with leaders from Greece, Italy, Japan, Spain and Turkey, as well as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Itar-Tass cited Mr Clinton as saying that the Russian leader, who is recovering from a stomach ulcer, looked well. However, other reports from Amman said Mr Yeltsin had to be helped by two aides as he walked slowly up the steps of the Raghadan Palace for the funeral.
Mr Yeltsin defied a flight ban imposed by his doctors after he was rushed to hospital on January 17 with a large haemorrhaging stomach ulcer.
The Amman voyage is Mr Yeltsins first trip outside Russia for more than four months.
AMMAN (Jordan): The ailing Mr Yeltsin cut short a visit to Jordan and received unspecified medical aid before flying back to Russia, Jordanian officials said.
Mr Yeltsin spent only about two-and-a-half hours on the ground before leaving while a preliminary respects-paying session was still in progress. As other leaders were filing past King Husseins coffin, Mr Yeltsin emerged, walking stiffly, got into his car and was driven away.
Kosovars dilute freedom demand
RAMBOUILLET, Feb 8 (AP) Getting Kosovo negotiations off to a positive start, rival Serbs and ethnic Albanians have agreed on basic principles that would keep Yugoslavias borders intact but give the secessionist Serbian province wide autonomy.
A western mediator, however, warned that when the talks resume this morning with details of the proposed interim Kosovo agreement, wide rifts between the two sides are certain to emerge.
The devil is in the details, said the mediator.
Getting down to work after Saturdays ceremonial opening of the peace talks, the mediators presented Kosovos warring factions with a plan worked out by the contact group the six outside countries that are trying to broker a peace agreement in Kosovo along with a set of non-negotiable principles, including keeping what remains of Yugoslavia intact.
That means Kosovos ethnic Albanians had to give up their demand for independence for their province at least during a three-year interim period envisaged by the USA and five of its European allies.
The peace negotiations are being held in seclusion at the 14th-century Chateau de Rambouillet, official summer home of French presidents.
Liberation Army guerrillas, who are represented by five
officials in the 16-member ethnic Albanian delegation,
have said they would never accept anything short of
independence for Kosovo. Kosovo is a province in Serbia,
the main republic of Yugoslavia. The province is 90
percent ethnic Albanian, and a majority of that group
wants to secede from Yugoslavia.
Perjury charge may fail
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (AP) With a perjury charge in deep trouble and acquittal virtually assured, senators have looked beyond US President Bill Clintons impeachment trial to a censure resolution that could unify Republicans and Democrats in a strong condemnation of his conduct. However, even censure had opposition.
The entire impeachment drama appears certain to be over by the end of the week.
Several senators yesterday said the article alleging perjury during proceedings in an investigative court panel known as a grand jury, one of two impeachment articles approved by the House of Representatives on December 19, could fail to muster even a majority, despite the Republicans 55-45 edge in the Senate.
And almost everyone involved agreed that the remaining article charging Mr Clinton with obstructing justice will fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Mr Clinton and eject him from the presidency.
Working with Democrats on the post-trial alternative of censure, Senator Robert Bennett, a Republican, said it was still very much up in the air whether language will be found to gain the 60 votes that are needed to overcome an expected filibuster, a delaying tactic used in the Senate.
With videotaped images of Ms Monica Lewinsky fresh in the senators minds, House prosecutors and the Clinton defence team spent the day packaging familiar evidence into closing statements to be delivered today.
Meanwhile, Senate majority leader Trent Lott faces his biggest challenge in the finale of the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
The Senates top Republican must keep peace among the factions in his own party as senators finally pass judgement on the President and also consider how they will be judged by voters.
Mr Lotts stewardship of the trial is viewed as a make-or-break opportunity for him to emerge from the long shadows of the now-departed Newt Gingrich, who had been a far more conspicuous figure, and to assert himself as a national leader of the Republican Party.
So far he gets high marks from senators or both parties for striving to keep open communications between Democrats and Republicans and to keep the trial from dissolving into a partisan free-for-all. He has also kept to his original schedule to end the unpopular trial by the middle of this month.
We are really still trying to be fair to all sides, and thats a real challenge, Mr Lott said two weeks ago.
But Mr Lotts stature, in the end, will be influenced by how the trial ends, and how the public sees its conclusion. With 19 Republican senators facing re-election in 2000, 13 from states carried by Mr Clinton in the 1996 presidential vote, his resolution of the proceedings may also prove crucial to his partys future.
In another development, a senior Democratic Senator, often described as the conscience of the present Senate, has said US President Bill Clintons actions over the Monica Lewinsky affair rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanours, which require his removal from office.
Senator Robert Byrd said if the President was convicted, he had to be removed immediately. There is no second chance. So it comes down to the vote to remove or not to remove.
The Senator opposes the democratic proposal of first adjourning the trial to censure Mr Clinton and then resuming to vote on the final articles of impeachment.
The move to censure Mr Clinton will die, said fellow Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, adding, it is a bird without wings right now. In fact, it is a serpent.
But for censure to
be meaningful, it would have to be passed by both Houses
of Congress and signed by the President and there should
be consultation with the White House over this
development, he said.
USA claims right to bomb Kabul
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (AP) The U.S. Administration now asserts the right to bomb government facilities in nations that provide sanctuary to international terrorists, a significant escalation of U.S. attempts to thwart terrorism.
We may not just go in a strike against a terrorist facility. We may choose to retaliate against the facilities of the host country, if that host country is a knowing, cooperative sanctuary, Mr Richard Clarke, President Bill Clintons coordinator for counter-terrorism, told the Associated Press.
In an interview last week, Mr Clarke described the policy that marks a departure from the tactics employed last August when U.S. Cruise missiles struck at alleged terrorist strongholds in Afghanistan and Sudan.
Now the administration contends it could broaden such an attack to include government buildings and assets in nations that knowingly harbour terrorists.
But prior to Mr Clarkes comments, no one in the administration had made the leap from a general denunciation of harbouring terrorists to an explicit threat that governments may find their own facilities attacked if they do so.
Had this tactic been employed in the August 20 strikes, the USA might have, for example, targeted Sudans government buildings or the Afghan Taliban headquarters.
In fact, the scores of Cruise missiles used in that strike were targeted carefully to avoid government facilities and were aimed at the alleged terrorist assets of Osama Bin Laden. The administration alleges that the exiled Saudi millionaire was behind the bombings last summer of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
In Afghanistan, U.S. officials said their missiles struck a remote terrorist university. In Khartoum, Sudan, Cruise missiles struck a privately owned pharmaceutical plant suspected of producing a precursor to the deadly nerve gas VX.
Administration officials emphasised at the time that the missile strikes were not aimed at the governments of Sudan and Afghanistan.
We did not go after those governments facilities. But those governments need to know that if they continue to be a sanctuary, that they are now at risk, not just the terrorist facilities in those countries, Mr Clarke said in the interview.
White House officials say they dont consider it a change in U.S. policy.
In any case, Mr Clarkes comments appear to remove the distinction between cases where a nation actively involved in terrorism is struck, such as Iraq or Libya, and nations that merely allow terrorists to operate within their borders.
A senior defence official, said the administration distinguishes between nations that willingly abetted sanctuary as opposed to those that provided sanctuary because they didnt control that piece of their backyard.
Bin Laden is known to have
Muslim extremist bases in the Philippines, for example.
The difference, according to State Department Spokesman
James Foley, is that the Philippines and other friendly
governments cooperate with the USA in fighting terrorism.
Sudan and Afghanistan have refused to cooperate.
Schroeders party loses
BONN, Feb 8 (PTI) German chancellor Gerhard Schroeders plans to reform the countrys dual citizenship laws to make it easier for foreigners to integrate into German society received a major setback today when his ruling coalition was ousted from power by conservatives in a key state election in Hesse.
The setback for Mr Schroeder in the first electoral test since he swept to power last September also meant that the Social Democrats and Greens appeared set to lose their majority in the Upper House of Parliament (Bundesrat).
The Schroeder government will face serious difficulties in pushing through key legislation, which must be approved by both Houses of Parliament.
While the ruling coalition holds a comfortable majority in the Lower House (Bundestag), the government will no longer be able to count on the support of the Upper House, which reflects who controls the 16 states of Germany.
The ruling Social Democrats got two more seats (46) but their coalition partner the environmentalist Greens lost badly surrendering five seats (eight) which proved a crucial factor in the Opposition win, according to official results.
In a House of 110,
Christian Democrats (50) and its ally Free Democrats
(six) got a simple majority after gaining five seats and
losing two seats respectively. The Free Democrats barely
managed to cross the five per cent threshold limit by
getting 5.1 per cent votes to enter the state
Anwar alleges witch-hunt
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 (Reuters) Malaysias sacked Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim told his criminal trial today that Cabinet colleagues resented his efforts to pursue corruption cases against government officials before he was ousted.
Anwar, looking relaxed and confident, took the stand as the first defence witness in his three-month-old trial over four corruption charges. He also faces a further count of corruption and five counts of sodomy.
Answering questions by the lead defence counsel Raja Aziz Addruse Anwar said that while Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Management and Good Governance, he was privy to many complaints about mismanagement and bribery.
As Chairman of the Committee on Management and Good Governance, my responsibility is heavy and difficult, and not liked by many people, and this is known by the anti-corruption agency and the Attorney-General, he said.
This is because the committee has accepted so many complaints on government mismanagement, bribery including accusations involving ministers, senior officers and even the Prime Minister himself.
UFO hunter kidnapped?
LONDON, Feb 8 (DPA) A British Defence Ministry official who once headed investigations into unidentified flying objects believes he was kidnapped by aliens, according to a published report.
Mr Nick Pope, who ran the ministrys top secret Airstaff Secretariat office during the early 1990s, believes that he, his girlfriend and their car were kidnapped from a deserted toll road in Florida, said the report in The Sunday Times yesterday.
He reportedly described how he was lifted aboard an alien spacecraft and then wandered around its corridors without, however, meeting any aliens.
He did not, however, enter details of his experience on the files since he was uncertain exactly what had happened to him and because he was worried he would be labelled a crank.
Mr Pope is still employed by the ministry, but a routine transfer in 1994 means he now work for the Finance Policy Department as a higher executive officer.
The Times said his revelation will come as a further surprise for the ministry, where officials were amazed when he announced that his time collating their X files had convinced him that earth was being visited by aliens.
Mr Jenny Randles, a former head of investigations at the British UFO Research Association, who remains one of Britains leading Ufologists, was quoted by The Times as saying: When I discovered that Nick had an experience I was mildly surprised given his position as the government expert on UFOs.
What surprised me more, though, is why he has never admitted to it before and why he chose to describe the incident as happening to somebody else.
Khmer remnants join army
SAMLAUT (Cambodia), Feb 8 (Reuters) Ceremonies to induct the last Khmer Rouge fighters into the Cambodian Army began today but surrendering officers warned against trying their former leaders for war crimes.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng welcomed the fighters back to society, saying their return signalled the complete end of war, after three decades. This is very good for our brothers and sisters coming back to live in society, Mr Sar Kheng told the men, lined up in crisp, new government uniforms.
|Mass marriage by satellite
SEOUL: A total of 12,000 couples have tied the knot as part of a global mass wedding ceremony blessed via satellite by Mr Moon Sun Myung, controversial leader of South Koreas Unification Church. A further 28,000 couples reaffirmed their marriage vows at the Chamsil Olympic Stadium in front of an audience of 30,000 people, according to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. DPA
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