|W O R L D||
Monday, November 29, 1999
|Sharif refused A class
ISLAMABAD, Nov 28 Authorities in Pakistan have dismissed allegations of deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif that he was being maltreated in jail and rejected his demand for A class facilities.
Russia offers escape route to civilians
MOSCOW, Nov 28 Russian troops besieging the capital of breakaway Chechnya to force the surrender of Islamic militants have offered civilians a corridor to escape the fighting, a senior Russian official said today.
LOPBURI: Monkeys enjoy various kinds of fruit during the 11th Monkey Feast festival in central Lopburi province, 115 km (71 miles) north of Bangkok Sunday, Nov. 28, 1999. The festival held annually to promote the country's tourism. About three tons of fruit and vegetable were today, fed to hundreds of the monkeys, which have been living at the old pagodas in the town's centre for years. AP/PTI
Unionists back peace deal
Asia gets $ 500 m Japanese aid
conditional talks, says Pak
NZs first elected woman PM
of a different kind
blamed for anti-Milosevic plot
says it fired on US planes
support vital for Tamil struggle: LTTE
Sharif refused A class
ISLAMABAD, Nov 28 (PTI) Authorities in Pakistan have dismissed allegations of deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif that he was being maltreated in jail and rejected his demand for A class facilities.
Sharifs allegations of unhealthy atmosphere in jail were "untrue," Sindh Governor Air Marshal (retd) Azim Daudpota said yesterday, accusing the ousted Prime Minister of speaking in "political language".
He told reporters in Hyderabad that Sharifs condition before his arrest was like a "pudding" but now "he should thank god on the reduction of his weight as otherwise he would have had a heart attack."
"He is now looking like a handsome Kashmiri youth," English daily The News quoted Daudpota as saying.
Rejecting Sharifs demand for A class facilities in jail, The Governor said he "was not an earning member of his family. He is not above the masses that he should be given A class facilities."
Daudpota said he (Sharif) was getting the same facilities as other detainees, besides which his family members were allowed to meet him.
Interior Secretary of Sindh Nisar Siddiqui, who accompanied Daudpota, said Sharif and others had been given B class facilities in jail according to the jail manual.
He said Sharifs relatives are allowed to bring food for him and that his female relatives and lawyers are allowed to meet him almost everyday.
Sharif had earlier alleged that he was being kept in a small and dirty cell full of mosquitoes and that he and his co-accused were being mentally tortured.
His family members and leaders of his Pakistan Muslim League (PML) party have alleged that Sharif and other co-accused in the plane hijacking case have been given raw treatment in prison and that Sharif had lost nearly 30 pounds during his one and a half months of detention.
Sharif, his brother and former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and five others are facing charges of treason, attempted murder and hijacking for their role in refusing permission to a PIA plane carrying army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf and 200 other passengers to land at Karachi airport on October 12 despite running short of fuel.
The deposed premier along with his entire family had been put under detention following a coup on the same day but was later handed over to the Karachi police in connection with the plane hijacking case initiated on the basis of an FIR filed by the army.
Reuters Pakistans Ex-ruling party has accused the new military regime of ill treating ousted Premier Nawaz Sharif, locking him up in a tiny cell as he awaits trial on allegations that could lead to the death sentence.
The Pakistan Muslim Leagues (PML) acting leader, Raja Zafarul Haq, told Reuters that Sharif had little hope of a fair hearing and that international legal and human rights groups should monitor the trial, which has yet to begin.
Authorities have treated Sharif in a suffocating manner during pre-trial proceedings in Karachis anti-terrorism court, Mr Haq said in an interview at the weekend.
Mr Haq said Sharif was being kept in a small jail cell with lights kept on day and night and where he had to fold his bed to make room to lay a Muslim prayer rug.
Sharif and other accused are denied newspapers, and some former Cabinet Ministers and provincial Governors have been barred entry to the courtroom despite permission from the judge, Mr Haq added.
"It is sheer inhuman. My own impression is that the treatment now being meted out is worse than the treatment being meted out to the captured soldiers of an enemy army, aliens. This is no trial".
Asked how Sharif felt, Mr Haq said: "His feelings were those of total helplessness. What could he do".
Mr Haq said one accused, former Civil Aviation Authority chief Aminullah Chaudhry, had agreed to testify against Sharif after he wrote to court that he was thinking of committing suicide because of pressure being put on him to turn states witness.
Mr Haq said agencies
such as the UN Human Rights Commission, the International
Bar Association and Amnesty International should
"ensure that the trial is being held in an
atmosphere in which witnesses could tell the truth, (and)
they are not victimised."
Russia offers escape route to civilians
MOSCOW, Nov 28 (Reuters) Russian troops besieging the capital of breakaway Chechnya to force the surrender of Islamic militants have offered civilians a corridor to escape the fighting, a senior Russian official said today.
Heavy artillery and warplanes have been pounding Grozny for days, sending residents fleeing with white flags or forcing them to take shelter in cellars, but rebels appear determined to hold the city which is not yet completely surrounded.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Koshman, the governments special representative in Chechnya, told NTV commercial television that civilians had been offered a corridor to escape the intensified attacks.
I think there are still people there, but it is not a large number, and for these people a corridor has been left in agreement with federal forces, Mr Koshman said, adding leaflets had been scattered around the city informing people of this.
Interfax news agency quoted the Russian military press centre in the region as saying warplanes and helicopter gunships had carried out more than 100 sorties yesterday against Chechen targets, dealing a powerful blow to positions in Grozny.
Ground forces continued to expand the security zone on the territory of the Chechen republic and in certain areas blocked and destroyed scattered groups of rebels, the agency reported. Moscow blames the rebels for bomb attacks in Russian cities.
MADRID: The International Monetary Fund cannot continue to provide money to Russia if the rest of the world is against it because of the war on Chechnya, IMF chief Michel Camdessus has warned.
We cannot go on with our financing if the rest of the world doesnt want us to, Mr Camdessus said yesterday on the sidelines of a business leaders conference in Madrid.
He added that the Russian military campaign in Chechnya was violent, and the reaction of public opinion is very negative.
The IMF said earlier this month that outstanding issues were preventing it from approving a new 640-million-dollar (634-million-Euro) credit instalment for Russia which would mark the resumption of a broader 4.5-billion-dollar package suspended since September.
My wish, as a
human being, is that this important country Russia
adopts a solution to the problem in Chechnya that
is more closely related to human rights and that it looks
for another way to solve this problem, he said.
Dirtiest ever poll campaign ends
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 (AFP) Malaysias election campaign drew to a close today with claims and counter-claims still flying thick and fast and both sides in agreement on just one point this campaign was the dirtiest ever.
The economy is fast recovering from the Asian crisis and the coalition which has ruled since independence in 1957 can offer a record of stability, prosperity and relative racial harmony.
The National Front, which recorded a landslide in 1995, is again assured of victory tomorrow. The opposition aims only to deny it the two-thirds parliamentary majority which it has held since 1969.
Despite all this, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammads coalition has waged a campaign of unparalleled ferocity, with an advertising blitz forecasting riots and an end of thousands of years of Chinese culture if the Alternative Front comes to power.
The Premier has also fiercely attacked his jailed former heir apparent Anwar Ibrahim and Anwars wife Wan Azizah, saying that she goes around with her daughter crying to seek the sympathy vote for her National Justice Party (Keadilan).
Mr Mahathir, who says he himself has been slandered by PAS and other parties, depicts Anwars supporters as riot-prone. He has recalled the 1969 anti-Chinese race riots in a tacit appeal to ethnic Chinese to vote for the status quo.
This might all seem like overkill. But analysts say the Premier, facing probably his last election at age 73 and determined to safeguard his political legacy, faces a tough challenge.
The sacking and jailing of Anwar, a charismatic former Islamic youth leader, split the ethnic Malay vote and helped bring the Alternative Front into being.
It groups Keadilan, PAS, the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the small Left-leaning Malaysian Peoples Party.
With the Malay vote
split, the votes of ethnic Chinese and Indians are in
demand as never before. What no one can predict is which
way these votes will go and whether the Alternative Front
will pay a price for including PAS.
Ulster Unionists back peace deal
BELFAST, Nov 28 (Reuters) Pro-British unionists have backed a formula for reviving Northern Irelands ailing peace agreement, a party spokesman said.
But he said after a secret ballot among members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) that final approval would not be given until February once the Irish Republican Army had started to disarm. It was supported by 480 to 349 votes.
Delegates voted to back the deal after party leader David Trimble said he would resign as head of a new home rule government if the IRA guerrillas did not keep their promise under the accord to hand in their weapons.
Mr Trimbles offer was designed to win over sceptics who said the peace plan overturned the partys policy of no guns no government and demanded a leap of faith to trust Sinn Fein, the IRAs political ally.
The historic vote paves the way for the formation of a cabinet involving the UUP, Sinn Fein and other parties next week.
As part of the new formula, the IRA, which waged a war against rule from London, has said it would delegate a representative to liaise with the provinces disarmament authorities.
Earlier, Mr Trimble promised a crucial meeting of his Ulster Unionist Party that he would resign as head of a new Northern Ireland Government if the IRA did not begin disarming by the end of February, officials said.
Officials said Mr Trimble, speaking on one of the most crucial days in Northern Irelands divided history, had asked the bitterly split delegates to back the plan hammered out after weeks of mediation talks chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell.
But the party would not be asked to face a straight yes or no vote, officials said. Instead, delegates would reconvene at the end of February to see if IRA guerrillas had kept their promises. A final decision would be made then.
A letter of resignation has been written and dated and is with the party president, one UUP delegate told Reuters outside the closed-door meeting.
The source said the resignation of Mr Trimble and three UUP members of a government that could be formed as early as next week would come into play if the Provos (IRA) dont play ball.
Mr Trimbles resignation pledge was made to try and win over sceptics who feared that Sinn Fein, the IRAs political allies, would have a permanent place in government even if the guerrillas held onto their weapons.
Hopes of success for a new formula to rescue the faltering Good Friday agreement got a boost when John Taylor, the UUPs deputy head, said earlier he was prepared to back the deal negotiated by Mr Trimble.
Asked if he would be voting yes, Mr Taylor told Reuters: I hope to be, it depends on everything being revealed.
I have had two private and confidential letters from the Secretary of State (British Minister Peter Mandelson) and I have been in daily contact with David Trimble.
Mr Taylors support had been in the balance since the deal was negotiated with Sinn Fein.
The deal offers a chance for local politicians to govern for the first time since 1972, when London took over at the height of the civil unrest.
Britain would recall the
Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast to nominate
ministers to the new government. Then legislation would
be put to Parliament in London to surrender power to the
new Belfast Government on Tuesday with direct control
being handed over by Thursday.
South-East Asia gets $ 500 m Japanese aid
MANILA, Nov 28 (AFP) Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi today unveiled an additional $ 500 million aid package to help South-East Asia improve its workforce as it recovers from economic crisis, officials said.
"I announce a comprehensive plan for enhancing human resources development and human resources exchanges in East Asia," he said following a meeting with the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
"The package for the development of human resources will total $ 500 million," the Japanese premier said. Tokyo has so far vowed to provide $ 80 billion for countries affected by the Asian crisis.
Mr Obuchi promised his South Asian counterparts that Tokyo will enhance "the development of highly specialised human resources in the areas of finance and higher education".
The pledge, named "Obuchi plan", was based on a key report issued in mid-November after a 12-day tour of Asia by a government-ordered mission, led by Toyota Motor Corp Chairman Hiroshi Okuda.
On top of the $ 500 million aid, Mr Obuchi offered "continued assistance for building social safety nets so that people can lead a humane life" in the region, where unemployment insurance is almost unheard of, Japanese officials said.
DPA: Leaders of the ASEAN admitted on Sunday the need to revise "long-held principles and approaches" to confront security challenges that affect the region's peace and stability.
The 10-member regional
grouping, often criticised for its policy of
non-interference in each others' domestic affairs, also
noted the need to "adapt to the challenges posed by
its expansion, human rights, governance and the
No conditional talks, says Pak
ISLAMABAD, Nov 28 (UNI) Pakistan has rejected conditions for dialogue with India based on arbitrarily selected provisions of some agreements.
Responding to a question by a foreign journalist on the reported statement of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee making dialogue with Pakistan conditional on compliance with the Simla Agreement and the Lahore declaration. Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar yesterday said his country would honour and implement its obligation under international agreement, treaties and resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Pakistan, he said, however, could not agree to conditions for dialogue based on arbitrarily selected provisions of some agreements of India's unilateral interpretations, while others were sought to be relegated or forgotten.
If India did not want to maintain normal relations, it was her choice, he said adding that Lahore declaration called for a series of dialogues on bilateral issues, including Kashmir and on nuclear risk reduction measures envisaged in the memorandum of understanding.
Pakistan was willing to carry out its commitments but in contrast India had sought to impose preconditions on the commencement of dialogue, Mr Sattar said.
Clark NZs first elected woman PM
AUCKLAND, Nov 28 (AFP, DPA) As jubilant Labour Party supporters cheered, chanted, clapped and flung red rose petals at New Zealands first elected woman Prime Minister early today, Ms Helen Clarks big moment was tinged with deja vu.
Three years ago, it looked as if she would become the countrys leader under a new proportional representation voting system for the general election.
But third party New Zealand first, which held the balance of power and prevaricated for six weeks after the election, confounded expectations and formed a coalition with the centre-right national party instead.
Too bad that Ms Clark was already on the cover of Time magazine posing as the countrys first female Prime Minister. Outgoing Premier Jenny Shipley later took that title after an internal national party coup.
This time around, however, Ms Clarks victory after 28 years in politics, including six in government, and nine in opposition was decisive, with Labour winning 52 of Parliaments 120 seats against Nationals 41.
WELLINGTON: A woman who was once a man and admits to having worked as a drag queen entertainer, stripper and prostitute was elected a Member of Parliament in Saturdays general election.
Georgina Beyer, born
George Bertrand, was hailed as the worlds first
trans Sexual Mayor when elected to head the local council
in Tiny Carterton (population 7,000), near Wellington,
four years ago. Now she claims to be the first
NRIs of a different kind
SIDDHARTNAGAR (Nepal), Nov 28 (PTI) It could be termed as reverse migration. Matching the influx of Nepalese, who continue to seep into the Indian society, is a sizeable community of Indians, who have migrated to the Himalayan kingdom and struck gold as traders.
Called Nepali citizens of Indian origin, these people migrated mostly from eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan, as traders and entrepreneurs and stayed put on striking success. And money.
Today, at least 30 per cent of the populace in this sleepy hamlet on the Indo-Nepal border comprises the Nepali NRI, who is prepared to take up even odd jobs for a living.
My forefathers came here in search of a job from Gorakhpur, but never returned. I was born and brought up here. Now its my turn, says Manoj Gupta, who trades in foreign (western and Chinese) goods.
A third generation Indian here, Guptas flourishing business has enabled the family to set shop in the busy Bhairava market and also own a grain grinding unit in the town.
Today, we have special rights that allow us to trade here, but it was not the case till some years ago, says Gupta, adding that the business is booming and we may not go back to India at all.
The Agarwals, who migrated from Rajasthan, are thriving as wholesalers and also have a roaring business in imported garments, mainly leather jackets from China and Thailand.
While the likes of Gupta have settled here for good, there is also a sizeable number of floating traders who keep shuttling between India and Nepal, and have hired houses here.
I frequent between this place and my native village in Bihar of and on in a month or so, says Shankar Pandit, a vendor of grams and peanuts.
One can come across innumerable Indians, having virtually swarmed the town as coolies, rickshaw-pullers, hotel boys, even as security guards a job associated with Gorkhas in India.
In fact it is such
attitude of local inhabitants that the Madesi
(local for outsiders) have been able to cash on.
Moreover once people leave their homeland in search of a
living, they are always ready to do anything for
survival, says R.K. Pandey, a senior Indian
Germany blamed for anti-Milosevic plot
BELGRADE, Nov 28 (AP) Germany was involved in an alleged French plot to kill Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, a Belgrade newspaper has reported.
France has denied the allegation made on Thursday by a senior government official, Goran Matic, who claimed the police has arrested five Serbs for plotting to kill the Milosevic under orders from French intelligence.
Quoting what it said was a source close to the government, the newspaper Vecernje Novosti said yesterday that the continuing investigation into the plot would soon reveal shocking details.
The newspaper said the police had captured three groups, mostly Serbs, who under the patronage of French and German intelligence services, were working on four scenarios for the assassination of President Milosevic.
Identifying the five Serbs by name, Matic described them as ruthless mercenaries who fought in the recent Balkan wars on the Serb side but were also undercover agents recruited by foreign governments.
Three of the arrested
are said to be Bosnian Serbs. The Belgrade daily said its
sources among the Bosnian Serb military confirmed that
the three belonged to a 10th Commando
Detachment within the Bosnian Serb Army that was
under a direct command of a separate intelligence
Iraq says it fired on US planes
BAGHDAD, Nov 28 (AFP) Iraqi anti-aircraft defences forced US and British planes flying over the north and south of the country to flee, a military spokesman in Baghdad has said.
The eight formations of enemy aircraft carried out 16 missions over the northern provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Nineveh, yesterday attacking civilian and service installations, he was quoted by the official INA news agency as saying.
Iraqi anti-aircraft fire forced them to flee in the direction of their bases in Turkey.
Five other formations of
enemy planes flew 11 sorties over the
southern provinces of Zi Qar and Muthanna, but
Iraqi anti-aircraft fire forced them to flee toward
their bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, he said.
Indian support vital for Tamil struggle: LTTE
COLOMBO, Nov 28 (PTI) Antom Balasingham, a key aide of LTTE supremo V. Prabhakaran, has said that LTTE `considers Indias support was important to the Sri Lankan Tamils struggle to achieve Eelam, a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lankas north and east.
Addressing his first public meeting in London yesterday, Balasingham, who along with his Australian wife Adele recently sneaked out of the LTTE-held Vanni region in Sri Lanka to Britain, said the future state of Tamil Eelam would be an ally of India, the pro-LTTE Internet website, Tamilnet reported today.
The LTTE ideologue, who in the past termed India as a "hegemonistic and a dictatorial power" for sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to enforce the 1987 Indo-Lanka accord signed by late Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayawardene and then Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi, refuted fears that a Tamil state in Sri Lanka would attempt to work for secession of Tamil Nadu from India.
cite fears that Tamil people of India will demand a
separate state if Tamil Eelam is achieved, but this is
baseless," he said adding that the "Tamil
people in India are not being starved and bombed and
prosecuted. Why would they want a separate state",
Britain's terms for dealing with Pak
LONDON, Nov 28 (PTI) In a major policy shift, Britain has said it is willing to resume normal relations with Pakistan if the military regime "gives uncompromising commitments" towards building a new democracy, the 'Sunday Telegraph' reported.
"Gen Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan, will find us ready listeners and willing to play a constructive role as long as he gives uncompromising commitments to building a new democracy," British Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain told the paper.
Britain has also demanded Pakistans cooperation in tracking down the exiled Saudi terrorist Osama Bin Laden, currently sheltering in Afghanistan. It also wants Islamabad to sever political and financial links with the Afghan Taliban and sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Mr Hains also signalled that Britain would not be pushing for restoration of Nawaz Sharif government, as "his was a corrupt and dreadful regime that looted the country and which, given the big mandate he had electorally, was an absolutely criminal waste."
Mr Hain's statement indicated that the armed forces had a case for overthrowing the government of Sharif, despite his overwhelming electoral mandate.
|Zulu prince stoned to death
JOHANNESBURG: A member of the South African Zulu royal family has been stoned to death near his parents palace, the police said on Saturday. The South African Press Association reported that Prince Thokozani Thembenkosi Zulu, (26) was found dead near his home in Nongoma in the politically charged province of Kwazulu-Natal on Friday. There was no motive for the killing, it reported. Reuters
Sharmila gets award
Star draws flak
10 feared dead
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