|W O R L D||
Wednesday, January 13, 1999
UN Council puts off talks
SC restores Speakers powers
India, France agree on defence deal
UN Council puts off talks on Iraq
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 12 (AFP) The UN Security Council has decided to seek an update on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, following US and British air strikes, but postponed discussion of Iraqi disarmament, the council President said.
Council President Celso Amorim informed reporters after closed-door consultations that there is still work to do to see if we find a common position on the next steps to be taken on the disarmament file.
He also acknowledged other broad difficulties in relation to the political situation between Iraq and the 15-member Security Council.
Amorim, Brazilian Ambassador, said the council would receive an update from UN officials on the humanitarian situation in sanctions-hit Iraq, where the UN administers an oil-for-food scheme.
Western diplomats said Russia was pressing to keep the issue on the council agenda. The deal enables Iraq to export limited quantities of oil in return for badly-needed food and medicine.
Amorim on Friday spoke to the other 14 council members to see how the council could resume discussions on the Iraq strategy after the US and British air strikes, which were condemned by permanent members Russia and China. France sat on the fence.
MISAWA AIR BASE (Japan) (Reuters): Iraqs air defences will continue to pay a penalty for challenging US and British warplanes over no-fly zones there, US Defence Secretary William Cohen said on Monday.
We intend to protect our forces, Mr Cohen told reporters travelling with him a day after US jets again rocketed and bombed Iraqi anti-aircraft sites in a no-fly zone over northern Iraq.
It was the fifth such confrontation over northern and southern Iraq in the two weeks following last months intense US and British military raids on Iraq.
It does not come as a surprise (about the confrontation), Mr Cohen told reporters aboard his aircraft as it flew between US military bases in Japan.
He (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein) has indicated that he intends to disregard any recognition of the no-fly zones. To the extent that he does, then his forces will pay a penalty for it. If Saddam continues to either illuminate them or attack them, then he is going to be attacked in return.
Mr Cohen declined to say whether repeated Iraqi missile threats against US and British jets, or violations of no-fly zones, might prompt wider attacks against the Iraqi military by US forces.
Pak SC restores Speakers powers
ISLAMABAD, Jan 12 (PTI) The Nawaz Sharif regime suffered a major setback today when the Supreme Court restored powers of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Sindh Provincial Assembly declaring the government order to suspend their powers as "unlawful".
A seven-member Bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Ajmal Mian passed a brief order today after hearing a petition filed by the Deputy Speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Jalal Mahmood Shah, challenging the government order of November 10 last year.
The Supreme Court declared that the government order was, "without lawful authority and of no legal effect.
The government had issued the order after the Deputy Speaker, who belongs to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), convened the session of the Sind Assembly which had neither been dissolved nor suspended after the imposition of Governors rule in the province.
The government, fearing
that the MQM may join hands with Benazir Bhuttos
Pakistan Peoples Party, inside the Assembly
suspended the powers of both the Speaker and Deputy
Speaker through an administrative order.
Paris to enter 2000 in style
PARIS, Jan 12 (AP) Paris will strut into the millennium in high style with new footbridges across the Seine, renovated monuments and museums, high-speed transport and a bigger international airport.
With less than 12 months to go, workers all over the city are racing against the symbolic, year 2000 deadline to complete dozens of urban renewal projects undertaken over the past decade.
Some are ambitious, others modest, and all will beautify and modernise a city expecting millions of visitors for millennium celebrations.
Paris Mayor Jean Tiberi said this week his role was to guarantee Paris role as international capital, and described ongoing urban renewal programmes as having a human face.
At the Notre Dame Cathedral, tarpaulins visible since 1993 will be lifted, revealing a state-of-the-art restoration of the snarling gargoyles blackened by decades of acid rain, pollution and pigeon droppings. The restoration of The Last Judgement, Notre Dames elaborate front gates, also will be ready for Christmas 1999.
The George Pompidou Centre, closed for the past year, is expected to reopen on December 31, 1999, with revamped exhibition spaces, enlarged library and video facilities and its bright-coloured exterior buffed to its original gleam.
Starting in March, the Opera House designed by Charles Garnier in 1867 will get its first major facelift in some 30 years by top French artisans who will restore colour and contrast to the buildings ornate facade, as well as repair cracked stone statues.
The 25-million-franc ($ 4.4 million) overhaul financed by the government is just the beginning: the grand foyer will be outfitted with its original furnishings, and bronze candelabras and caryatids will be repaired.
This year the tuileries gardens gets a user-friendly, permanent display of contemporary sculpture visitors are cordially invited to touch.
Footbridges connecting the Orsay Museum and the Tuileries across the Seine in central Paris and one stretching between the Bercy Gardens and the new, four-tower National Library will provide Parisians with two convenient spots to cross the river.
At the Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris, a third landing zone is scheduled to open in March, to handle a 10 per cent increase in travellers, from 35 to 38 million.
Parisians will also benefit from the last-minute sprint to complete Eole, a high-speed, east-west suburban line running under the capital with stops near two major railway stations. It is scheduled to begin operating in June.
Water fountains dating from 1840 will once again spring from the Place De la Concorde; giant pools, basins and marine sculpture flanking the Obelisk will be cleaned up and set into motion at a cost of 15.5 million francs ($ 2.8 million).
The Palais Des Congress
Convention Centre near the Bois de Boulogne, has been
revamped by prize-winning French architect Christian
Portzamparc. It will be unveiled in September with a new
amphitheatre and an upscale Mall with 30 new boutiques.
India, France agree on defence deal
BONN, Jan 12 (PTI) India and France have agreed to intensify defence cooperation even as New Delhi expressed a desire to build up the very close relationship that developed between the two countries following last years nuclear tests.
The two countries discussed broad contours of future cooperation in the defence sector during two-hour delegation-level talks between visiting Defence Minister George Fernandes and his French counterpart Alain Richard in Paris yesterday.
Shortly afterwards, Fernandes said India was interested in strengthening bilateral ties in the light of the very close relationship that had developed between the two nations after the May nuclear tests.
Fernandes, who is leading a five- member delegation, said India had already welcomed Frances attitude of understanding after it conducted the tests.
There has been a very close relationship that has developed with France, Fernandes said. We want to build on that relationship. The vice-chiefs of the three services are also part of the team that is on a four-day visit to France.
Richard said various strategic issues and expanded defence cooperation came up at the meeting being held as part of continuing high-level dialogue between the two countries.
Both leaders declined to specify whether the issue of any possible French arms sales to India came up at their meeting.
France is among Indias major interlocutors on security and disarmament issues.
France is also seeking Indias nod to sell more Mirage 2000 fighters, helicopter engines and jet trainer aircraft. Britains Hawk and Russias MiG-AT are also in the race for the contract.
New planet discovered
WELLINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) An international team of scientists has discovered an earth-size planet in the middle of the Milky Way believed to have the potential to support life, a New Zealand member of the group said today.
It has a probable mass range between that of Earth and that of planet Neptune. Probably it would be a little bit heavier than Earth, researcher Ian Bond said.
Auckland university fellow bond said on the phone from mount John Observatory in New Zealands south island that the planet was the right distance from the nearest star to sustain life.
It will be something like between one to four astronomical units, which places it in a promising region.
A team of New Zealand and Japanese astronomers, working with Australian and US partners observing from Australias Mount Stromlo, discovered the planet in July last.
They presented their findings at an American Astronomical society meeting in the USA over the weekend.
The two teams used a relatively new technique called gravitational microlensing to detect potential planets.
Birth pill: no long-term effects
LONDON, Jan 12 (AP) Women suffer no lasting ill-effects from taking birth control pills, according to results of the biggest study ever on the subject and one that some experts say finally settles a question that has worried women since the pill was introduced in 1961.
Ten years after they stopped using the pill, womens chances of dying from cancer, stroke an other side effects were the same as that of women who had never taken it, according to the study published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal.
Scientists have known for a long time that women are at a slightly increased risk of cervical cancer, breast cancer, stroke and other diseases of the circulatory system while taking the pill. But since it was introduced in 1961, a question mark has loomed over the long-term effects.
It must be reassuring, said Dr Clifford Kay, Founding Director of the Royal College of General Practitioners Manchester Research Unit, who started the study in 1968. There probably has always been a lurking fear that something dreadful might pop up after 15, 20 or even 25 years, and this study shows clearly that it doesnt.
More than 300 million women worldwide have used the pill, and an estimated 100 million currently are taking it.
The study involved 46,000 British women tracked for 25 years, the longest follow-up of any similar study.
Clinton did not father black boy
WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (PTI) DNA tests have shown that the allegation that President Bill Clinton fathered a 13-year-old boy by a black prostitute in Arkansas was untrue, Phil Bunton, Editor of Star, a widely circulated tabloid has said.
Stating that the black love child story had proved false following the DNA tests, Bunton said on Sunday; We went into it thinking it was more likely to be untrue than true. We might run a couple of paragraphs saying we investigated it and it proved to be untrue.
The paper had obtained
blood samples from the boy and matched it against details
of Clintons blood sample as given in the report of
Kenneth Starr, independent counsel whose report has led
to the current impeachment trial of President Clinton on
the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.
DNA evidence not clinching
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 (AFP) The final prosecution witness in the corruption trial of ousted Malaysian Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim today told the court that it should not rely solely on DNA evidence.
Chemist Lim Kong Boon, who earlier testified that he found semen stains of Anwar on a mattress used as evidence of sexual misconduct, said caution should be exercised in the interpretation of DNA findings.
Sharif to set up military courts
ISLAMABAD, Jan 12, (PTI) A defiant Nawaz Sharif government will go ahead with its plan to set up more military courts across Pakistan despite a Supreme Court stay on execution of death sentences awarded by the controversial courts in Sindh and opposition criticism of their functioning.
Interior Minister Choudhury Shujaat Hussain has confirmed that the government is working on an ordinance for setting up more military courts in line with those established in Sindh in terrorism-prone areas, media reports said here today.
He said his ministry has already sent the draft of the proposed ordinance to the Law Ministry and the ordinance is likely to be promulgated after the current session of the national assembly (lower house) was prorogued, a report in the English daily, The Nation, claimed.
For the moment, we want to have the law in hand, but we would establish military courts when necessary in areas where incidents of terrorism are more, Hussain was quoted by the paper as saying, thus hinting that the government wanted to be complete with the spadework for setting up more such courts.
Punjab, where terrorism
has been on the rise and an attempt was made on Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharifs life last week near his
house on the outskirts of Lahore and 17 Shias were gunned
down at a place of worship by an unidentified terrorist
the very next day, could be the next province where the
courts are set up, analysts said.
UN body warns of starvation deaths
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 12 (PTI) Thousands of people in Sierra Leones war-ravaged capital Freetown will starve to death if fighting between the government and rebels continues, a United Nations agency has warned.
|Talking computer for cars
TOKYO: A Japanese company is to put on sale in the USA what it claims is the first personal computer for cars which can communicate with the driver, a report has said. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper said on Monday that the computer, made by Clarion, can be told to carry out actions such as switching on the radio or looking out a route on the in-car navigation system. Occupants can also ask the computer to dial a number on a mobile phone. DPA
Squirrel runs amok
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