|W O R L D||
Thursday, February 25, 1999
|Accord on Kosovo partial: Cook
LONDON Feb 24 Major powers have said that an agreement had been reached on substantial autonomy for Kosovo at marathon peace talks between Serbs and majority ethnic Albanians.
Canada to tighten immigration
MONTREAL, Feb 24 Canada is working on tightening its immigration procedures, but wants to keep the door open to wealthier and more qualified immigrants, officials say.
LONDON: Sarikonda Neelima Reddy, aged 14, from Hyderabad, is congratulated by Britain's Queen Elizabeth for winning the Indian section of the LEPRA (Leprosy charity) 75th Anniversary "Quest for Dignity" art competition, at a function held at the Royal Geographical Society HQ in London on Tuesday. Behind, applauding, is the Duke of Edinburgh and Terry Vasey, Director of LEPRA. AP/PTI
|US-China satellite deal off
WASHINGTON, Feb 24 The USA has called off a multi-million dollar satellite deal with a Chinese firm, citing a threat to national security interests, a high-ranking American official has said.
Chinese plane explodes
BEIJING, Feb 24 A Chinese airliner, today crashed and exploded in the southeastern part of the country, killing all 61 persons aboard, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Anwar denies seeking
rules out special terms for China
Sikh with murderous streak
kills 10, 31 remain buried
LONDON Feb 24 (ANI) Major powers have said that an agreement had been reached on substantial autonomy for Kosovo at marathon peace talks between Serbs and majority ethnic Albanians.
In a statement read out at a news conference by French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, ministers of the six-nation Contact Group called for an immediate ceasefire, saying those who provoked hostilities or prevented the completion of an interim peace accord would be held accountable.
We expect the parties to honour fully and immediately the ceasefire which should be in place throughout Kosovo, the statement said.
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, acknowledging that complete agreement had proved impossible in 17 days of negotiations at Rambouillet, (France) said impressive progress had been made towards a democratic, self-governing Kosovo with its own government, assembly and courts.
Today is not the end of that process but only the end of the first phase of that process, Mr Cook said. We have done a lot here, even if weve not yet done enough. Phase II would begin on March 15 at a conference, again in France, on implementing the accord, he added. He expected the autonomy deal to be signed on or before that date.
The Kosovo Albanian delegation conditionally accepted a draft agreement proposed by international mediators, subject to a two-week delay to consult the Kosovo people and fighters. The Serbs said they accepted broad autonomy for Kosovo but set a series of conditions and called for further negotiations.
The Albanians were the first to give their conditional acceptance of a deal.
Earlier, diplomats had said the ethnic Albanian delegation was divided 14-1, with guerrilla leader Hashim Thaqi holding out against signing the accord. Western officials had said the talks were in deep trouble and US President Bill Clinton spoke of major disagreements.
Despite the news from Rambouillet, a spokesman for an ethnic Albanian leader in Kosovo said the talks there could not bring peace and the guerrillas would pursue their liberation war till the end.
The comment came from a spokesman. He was speaking for Mr Adem Demaci, a political representative of the Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas who has boycotted the negotiations.
Fighting resumed in the troubled Serbian province on Tuesday without waiting for the outcome of the Rambouillet talks. Five Serb policemen and a press photographer were wounded. The UN refugee agency said 9,000 people had fled their homes in the past three days alone. In Belgrade, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic accused international mediators of playing games behind the scenes and altering the draft peace plan at the last minute to include a formula for an eventual referendum on independence.
WASHINGTON (Reuters): President Bill Clinton put the best face on the partial peace agreement reached on Kosovo on Tuesday, calling it a significant step forward in the search for peace and urging both sides to sign it next month.
The peace talks are a significant step forward in the search for a fair and lasting peace in Kosovo, Mr Clinton said in a statement issued by the White House.
Serbs said they accepted the idea of autonomy but ruled out the possibility of full independence for Kosovo. They gave no sign of dropping their refusal to permit NATO troops on their territory to oversee a peace agreement.
I believe that the Kosovar Albanian people will strongly support what their negotiators have done, because then the agreement represents the opportunity for a better life after years of repression and fear he said.
UNITED NATIONS (AFP): The UN Security Council and UN Chief Kofi Annan welcomed yesterdays political agreement for substantial autonomy for the Serbian province of Kosovo.
In a press statement,
council members appealed to Belgrade and pro-independence
Albanians to work constructively ahead of a further round
of talks in France next month and to avoid any action
that could jeopardise the negotiations.
BEIJING, Feb 24 (AP) A Chinese airliner, today crashed and exploded in the southeastern part of the country, killing all 61 persons aboard, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Russian-made Tupolev 154, with 50 passengers and 11 crew members aboard blew up after plunging into a field at 4:20 p.m. (1350 IST) as it neared its destination of Wenzhou, a city about 400 km south of Shanghai, Xinhua said.
The police and firefighters treated those injured in the accident, Xinhua said, apparently referring to people on the ground who were wounded.
MONTREAL, Feb 24 (AFP) Canada is working on tightening its immigration procedures, but wants to keep the door open to wealthier and more qualified immigrants, officials say.
With five million immigrants out of a population of 30 million, Canada is studying sweeping immigration reforms aimed at tightening the selection process without harming its reputation as a land with open borders.
Canada has welcomed between 200,000 and 225,000 new immigrants annually over the past decade, except for last year, when the number of immigrants dropped due to the Asian economic crisis.
Since 1970, immigration to Canada has been marked by a steady increase of asylum seekers and Asian applicants who now make up the majority of its immigrant population.
Ottawa also wants to promote family reunification and has extended the definition of a family to unmarried and homosexual couples. This interesting innovation should clarify the criteria used to define a couple, Mr Langlais said.
Meanwhile, Canada has raised the bar of eligibility under its immigrant investors programme.
Starting in April, immigrants who seek entry through the programme will be required to invest $ 335,000 US instead of $ 234,500 and their net worth will need to equal the number of Asian immigrants, who are largely selected through this programme, is expected to decrease when these measures come into force, Mr Langlais said.
People coming from these countries, where there is no written banking tradition. Already have many difficulties in presenting proof of funds, he said.
An immigrants monetary assets will not be the only criteria used to grant permanent residency, however.
Applicants will be required to provide proof of their professional expertise and ability to communicate in one of Canadas official languages, English or French.
WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (PTI) The USA has called off a multi-million dollar satellite deal with a Chinese firm, citing a threat to national security interests, a high-ranking American official has said.
The Government has decided that the proposed exports are inconsistent with the foreign policy and national security interests of the USA, the State Department spokesman, Mr James Foley said yesterday.
Our policy, he said, is to support civilian launching of the US satellites on Chinese rockets but not for military purposes. The move brought forth a howl of protest from the domestic satellite industry lobby.
The USA, had earlier granted a licence to California-based Hughes Electronics, to sell a satellite to the Asia-Pacific Mobile Telecommunications, linked to the Chinese Army.
The decision to veto the deal came after defence experts pointed out that the technology involved in the satellite launch would help China perfect its ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets in the USA.
But the spokesman was quick to add that the decision would not in any way affect close ties with China in this field.
This decision does
not mean in any way that we have changed our policy
concerning launches of US satellites from China in the
future. We will continue to review such experiments on a
case-by-case basis, he added.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 (Reuters) Malaysias ousted Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim today said he never sought retractions from people who accused him of sex crimes, and denied four million ringgit $ 1 million dollar was stolen from his home.
Anwar completed testimony as a defence witness in his corruption trial which has revealed deep divisions within Malaysias dominant political party.
Anwars testimony at the capitals high court came a day after he told the Royal commission that police personnel had told him that it was the then police chief who assaulted Anwar while he was blindfolded after his arrest in September.
Corruption charges against Anwar allege that he directed police in 1997 to force a man and a woman to retract accusations that he had committed sodomy and adultery.
The sister of his former Private Secretary, Ummi Hafilda Ali, and his familys former driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, were arrested by police in August 1997 and later wrote letters retracting their allegations against Anwar.
Anwar said the idea of getting the retraction letters from Ummi and Azizan must have come either from the then chief and the Special Branch (Intelligence) or the police.
Rejecting testimony by
outgoing Special Branch Deputy Director Amir Junus in
November that he (Anwar) had reported the loss of four
million ringgit from his home, Anwar said, With
regard to the alleged loss of four million as stated by
Datuk Amir Junos, I would like to categorically state
that there was no such loss.
WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (AFP) The USA has ruled out special terms for Chinas admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
We have been very consistent, very steadfast that Chinas accession cannot be on special terms. It will not be a sweetheart deal, US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky told reporters at a foreign press club briefing here yesterday.
She said that while a transition period may be appropriate for China to come into line with WTO regulations, China needs to move along with the rest of the world.
The USA has so far blocked Chinas admission to the Geneva-based WTO, insisting that Beijing move more aggressively to tear down trade barriers and open its markets to foreign goods.
Chinese officials insist they have met the requirements for WTO membership.
NEW YORK, Feb 24 (AP) Shortly after Marvin Dodson pumped seven bullets into a New York motorist in 1997, the authorities say he was greeted by a shadowy millionaire with a murderous streak.
That was good, Dodson claims the man said before giving him $ 5,000.
A jury is now being asked to decide if the man, Gurmeet Singh Dhinsa, from Punjab in India, ordered that hit and one other as part of a mob-style enterprise, and if so, whether he deserves the death penalty.
Dhinsa is a man who uses murder as a way of doing business, prosecutor Benton Campbell charged yesterday in closing arguments in US District Court.
Defence Attorney Gerald Shargel responded by portraying his client as an enterprising immigrant who built a gas station empire. He said Dhinsa was a victim of rumours spread by fellow Sikhs competing for the American dream.
The community has condemned Dhinsa, Shargel said. Maybe it was because of his success, who knows. Jealousy plays so rough..
Dhinsa (36), who lives in the New York borough of Brooklyn; was indicted on federal racketeering charges in 1997. During the six-week trial, he was accused of rigging gas pumps to rip off motorists, evading taxes and using deadly force to protect his turf.
The defendant in the USA in 1982. Broke, he took a job pumping gas in the Bronx burough. He soon scraped up enough money to lease that gas station, then boldly began opening others in the citys toughest neighbourhood, Mr Shargel said.
At its peak, City Gas had 51 stations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, and Employed 300 persons. Annual revenues topped $ 60 million according to the authorities.
But prosecutors said the success was tainted with corruption and violence.
The citys Consumer Affairs Office repeatedly cited Dhinsa for overcharging customers. In 1990. He was arrested in the kidnap-torture of one of his attendants. He ended up serving 90 says in jail on lesser charges.
In 1995, another City Gas employee vanished. The authorities now believe that Dhinsa ordered him kidnapped for stealing.
The employee was never found. When the employees brother later confronted Dhinsa, the businessman allegedly paid Dodson, a career criminal he had hired for security, to execute him.
Prosecutors said Dhinsa struck again in 1997 after he learned another man. Livery cab driver Satinderjit Singh, was cooperating in an FBI investigation of City Gas.
During the trial, Dodson and another former employee Walter Samuels, testified that Dhinsa personally orchestrated the broad-daylight killing of Satinderjit Singh on a street in the borough of Queens.
At a meeting later that day. Dhinsa gave the killers $ 5,000 each and told all of us we needed a vacation, Dodson said.
INNSBRUCK (Austria) Feb 24 (AFP) At least 10 people were confirmed dead after a huge avalanche ploughed into a village in western Austria, while 31 remained buried under the snow, an official said today.
A total of 17 people have been pulled out alive, including eight critically injured, following the snowslide yesterday in the village of Galtuer, said provincial Governor Wendelin Weingartner cited by the APA news agency.
The avalanche crashed into
the centre of the village mid-afternoon yesterday,
destroying at least four houses. Snowstorms prevented
army helicopters from reaching the village overnight, but
began evacuating injured early today.
WARSAW: A girl named Patricia was born in a clinic in Grudziadz, northwestern Poland, after developing outside her mothers womb, doctors there said. The foetus, which normally grows in the uterus, was lodged in one of the womans fallopian tubes, forcing the doctors to place the girl, who weighed 2.2 kilograms at birth on Monday, in an incubator. Doctors generally terminate the pregnancy at the first sign of danger for the woman, but in this case it was discovered at a late stage of development. AFP
Meningitis kills 140
Fined for filthy
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