|W O R L D||
Friday, June 11, 1999
|Aggression must stop first:
WASHINGTON, June 10 Congressional caucus on India and Indian Americans Co-Chairman Gary L.Ackerman today warned that unless Pakistan immediately ceases its assistance to Islamic terrorists in Kargil/Dras area of Jammu and Kashmir and withdraws its forces from the region, the State Department must add Pakistan to the annual list of state sponsors of terrorism.
UN faces uphill task of rebuilding Kosovo
NEW YORK, June 10 The UN has been given the most daunting task of rebuilding Kosovo and repatriating some 8,00,000 refugees under war conditions never experienced in its past operations, UN officials have said.
BELGRADE: Belgraders drive through downtown holding flares and the Serbian flag as they celebrate the Kosovo peace agreement, early Thursday. Britain's Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson announced Wednesday that NATO and Yugoslav generals had signed an agreement providing for the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo, suspension of the NATO air campaign and the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees. In Belgrade and the Kosovo capital Pristina, people welcomed the news by firing weapons in the air in celebration and honking horns. AP/PTI
Beyond burning joss sticks, prayer
SINGAPORE, June 10 Singapore, well-known for its consumerist lifestyle, is undergoing a Buddhist revival among many of the young and upwardly mobile of this city state.
Cong loses two seats
Aggression must stop first: Ackerman
WASHINGTON, June 10 (UNI) Congressional caucus on India and Indian Americans Co-Chairman Gary L.Ackerman today warned that unless Pakistan immediately ceases its assistance to Islamic terrorists in Kargil/Dras area of Jammu and Kashmir and withdraws its forces from the region, the State Department must add Pakistan to the annual list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In a statement, Mr Ackerman, who is ranking member of the House International Relations Committee, said. Its a matter of great disappointment to me that, contrary to the letter and spirit of the Lahore Declaration, a large number of well-trained and heavily-armed Afghan mercenaries and fundamentalist Mujahideen terrorists allegedly with spiritual and other links to the Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden and Haraket-ul-Mujahideen have entered the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistan.
Mr Ackerman said these terrorists had been aided and abetted by elements of the Pakistani security apparatus and were operating inside Jammu and Kashmir with Islamabads moral and material assistance.
Quite clearly, what we are witnessing in Kargil and some other areas of Jammu and Kashmir is nothing short of a well-planned armed aggression against India. This armed aggression of Indian territory must be undone immediately. The first thing Pakistan must do is to immediately put an end to this proxy war by pulling back its assistance, both covert and overt, to the Islamic terrorists now violating Indian territory, he added.
The New York lawmaker
added, Im very concerned about the
fighting and escalation of tension between the two
nuclear-armed neighbours of South Asia. I can fully
appreciate the firm steps taken by the Indian Government
to defend its territory against armed aggression.
UN faces uphill task of rebuilding Kosovo
NEW YORK, June 10 (DPA) The United Nations has been given the most daunting task of rebuilding Kosovo and repatriating some 8,00,000 refugees under war conditions never experienced in its past operations, UN officials have said.
Accepting the responsibility, the officials yesterday, complained that resources were lacking and funding for Kosovo was depriving other humanitarian emergencies in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, has wide-ranging authority in the civil aspects of the agreements ending the NATO aerial bombings simultaneously with the Serb troops withdrawal from Kosovo. He has to set up an interim administration to govern Kosovo until a political settlement would decide the future of the Serb province.
Mr Annans envoy to the Balkans, a former Swedish Prime Minister, Mr Carl Bildt, met the council yesterday and described the coming UN civil operations in Kosovo as the most challenging, the most complex...Operation ever undertaken by the international community in modern times.
The biggest task for the UN is to repatriate the refugees before winter to their homes and villages, most of them destroyed by either Serb Forces or NATO bombings. It means rebuilding homes, schools and a liveable society.
There are now about 8,00,000 Kosovar refugees in Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro and hundreds of thousands more displaced by the war but still living inside Kosovo. The UN High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) said the overall expenses would be $ 473 million in the next six months to care for these people. Expenses for the refugees, from April, when the refugees began fleeing to neighbouring countries, to December would amount to $ 1 billion.
The UNHCR said the first phase of repatriation would be dangerous and difficult under the current situation of no security, law and order in Kosovo.
Landmines, unexploded ordnance and booby-traps planted by Serb forces in parts of Kosovo pose a real danger. It would need a fleet of international trucking teams for immediate trans-border delivery of humanitarian supplies.
Veil off forced marriages
LONDON, June 10 (Reuters) The case of Anita, a 17-year-old Sikh forced by her parents to travel to a remote corner of India to marry a stranger, has slightly raised the veil on forced marriages in Britains closed Asian community.
But the plight of many young girls forced to marry against their will still remains mainly shrouded in mystery, and officials say it is impossible to quantify the extent of the problem.
Anitas case highlights the difficulty for Britains Labour government which must walk a tightrope between safeguarding the human rights of minors and respecting minority cultures.
Her story hit the front pages just days after a Muslim mother and her son were jailed for life for murdering her married daughter whom they believed had disgraced the family by becoming pregnant during an adulterous affair.
The stories cast a rare spotlight on a closed culture that seems immune from criticism in politically correct Britain.
Community activists say the kid gloves must come off.
Asian women are especially vulnerable to being exploited as authorities are reluctant to criticise their male-dominated culture for fear of deemed racist, they say.
A British judge broke some barriers last month when he ruled that parents who took their daughters abroad in order to marry them against their will were guilty of child abduction.
Child abduction is still child abduction when both parent are the abductors and the child is very nearly an adult, Mr Justice Peter Singer said.
He was ruling in a case brought by Anitas sister to make her a ward of court and save her from the forced marriage.
The voice of the young person will be heard. The courts will not permit what is at best the exploitation of an individual and may in the worst case amount to outright trafficking for financial consideration, Mr Singer said.
I think its
the first time a High Court judge has said look, social
services have to be aware of this problem and not put off
by fact that it is socially sensitive, said
Solicitor Anne-Marie Hutchinson, who represented
Beyond burning joss sticks, prayer
SINGAPORE, June 10 (IPS) Singapore, well-known for its consumerist lifestyle, is undergoing a Buddhist revival among many of the young and upwardly mobile of this city state.
This belies the concern aired in the early 1990s that modernisation might spell the irrevocable decline of traditional Asian religions here.
In the last decade the number of Buddhists in Singapore has increased by more than 50 per cent. There are more than a million Buddhists in this country of 3.5 million persons, making it the biggest religion in the country.
On Vesak Day (Buddhas birth anniversary) on May 29, a public holiday here, thousands of persons thronged Buddhist temples around the country.
Also, more than 15,000 persons, including the acting Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, attended a special musical drama at the Singapore indoor sports stadium that depicted the life of the Indian Emperor Ashoka, who was instrumental in spreading Buddhism outside India.
You always saw people going to the temple, says Mr Ven Shi Ming Yi, Secretary of the Singapore Buddhist Federation. But the difference today is that they no longer come merely to burn joss sticks and pray.
Thats not the case now. Most of them want to go deeper into the teachings, participate in whatever activities the temple has, depending on the individuals interest, he said in an interview.
Mr Ven Ming Yi says that 10 to 15 years ago Buddhist temples just used to keep its doors open for people to come and pray, but today most of them conduct Dhamma (Buddhist teaching) classes, organise social and community service activities.
These educational and social activities make Buddhism an active and relevant religion to modern Singaporeans, Buddhist leaders say.
Mr Ven Dhammaratana, the founder of the Buddhist library, says that in a society which worships consumerism Buddhism can do a great service.
In this fast moving society people are looking for something to balance their way of life, especially, something to keep them calm and serene, Mr Ven Ming Yi explains. In Buddhism, we encourage people to stop and know more about oneself.
In a consumer society people dont care how they earn, notes Mr Ven Dhammaratana. Buddhism is never against earning and spending, but, guide you to be honest and hardworking and spending in the correct way by keeping away from vice.
Buddhism is a traditional Chinese religion in Singapore, whose population is 75 per cent ethnic Chinese. Buddhism is thus still almost exclusively followed by the Chinese community, which has blended is traditional Taoist beliefs with Buddhism.
But monks from Sri Lanka like Mr Ven Dhammaratana, who has been here for 28 years, have played a key role in the revival of Buddhism and instrumental in introducing educational activities to local temples.
Mr Ven Dharamaratana and Mr Ven Ming Yi agree that while Buddhism was a religion of the elderly at the beginning of the 1980s, it is today one of the young and educated people here.
Buddhism is about daily life and awareness about ourselves, rather than promising us some promised land which we cant see or feel. With Buddhism, we can find this-so called paradise in ourselves, 21-year-old marketing graduate Colin Kwek says.
Nepal Cong loses two seats
KATHMANDU, June 10 (Reuters) Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarias centrist Nepali Congress Party has lost two key Parliamentary seats to the Communists in the elections held on Tuesday, officials said today.
The Opposition Communist Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) Party has won two prestigious seats here. Voting for these seats could not he held along with the national polls owning to the death of former Premier and UML Chairman Man Mohan Adhikari who was a candidate for both these seats.
|Phones in cars
VIENNA: Talking on the telephone while driving a car distracts drivers even if they are using hand-free phones, according to a study by Austrian Motoring Organisation OAMTC. Researchers observed motorists on 155 simulated test drives. Some were asked to telephone with a mobile or a hand-free telephone during the test. They found that those using cellular phones made 40 per cent more driving errors than those not telephoning. Drivers using headsets for hand-free phoning were 28 per cent more likely to commit driving errors. DPA
7 die in copter
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