|Tuesday, January 18, 2000,
Socialist is Chile President
Sharif case put off again
Pak better equipped to tip
Anti-Christian rampage in
West Asia talks may be delayed
|Parcel bomb for Chandrika defused
COLOMBO, Jan 17 A parcel bomb addressed to Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga was detected by her security staff today and was safely detonated by the army, exactly a month after an unsuccessful LTTE suicide bomb attack on her.
Rebels lose 150: in no mood to give up
MOSCOW, Jan 17 (Reuters) Russian officials said they believed Chechnyas devastated capital, Grozny, would soon fall under Moscows control, but the rebel fighters signalled they were ready for partisan war and had no plans to surrender.
As Russian forces bombed and shelled rebel targets in Grozny and Chechnyas southern mountains, acting President Vladimir Putin braced for renewed Western pressure to halt the military campaign and to begin peace talks with the Chechen leadership.
Mr Putin was due to meet Lord David Russell-Johnston, President of the Parliamentary delegation of the Council of Europe, later in the day.
Lord Russell-Johnston said Russia might face expulsion from the council, which promotes human rights and democracy in Europe, if it persisted with its offensive, condemned by western countries as excessive and indiscriminate. Asked by a Russian reporter yesterday evening about the possibility of expulsion, he said: "This cannot be excluded."
After meeting Mr Putin, the Council of Europe delegation is expected to make a fact-finding trip to the north Caucasus, including Russian-controlled Chechnya, tommorow and on Wednesday.
The Deputy Commander of Russian forces in the North Caucasus, Gen Gennady Troshev, said in televised remarks yesterday the rebels could be driven from Grozny "in the near future".
More than 150 Chechen rebels have been killed during the past 24 hours by Russian federal troops in their final assualt on the embattled capital, Voice of Russia said today quoting the southern military command.
Sources in the defence headquarters in the Caucasus said the brief slackening of operations ended yesterday and heavy bombardment of rebel positions had begun.
"Our troops will not leave Chechnya until the last bandit has been destroyed," he added. Moscow refers to the rebels as "bandits and terrorists".
Itar-Tass news agency earlier quoted General Troshev as saying there would soon be "serious changes" in the operation to take Grozny.
Despite the expressions of Russian optimism, the Chechen rebels were sending a clear message of defiance. They also scored a minor diplomatic coup on Sunday by winning formal diplomatic recognition from Afghanistans ruling Taliban Government.
Afghanistan is the first country to recognise Chechnya as an independent state but the Taliban is itself still struggling for international recognition. Afghan officials admitted they could do little to help Chechnya.
Interfax news agency quoted Chechen "Defence Minister" Magomed Khambiyev as saying rebel commanders had decided at a meeting to declare a hit-and-run war on Russia.
"The period of battles for strategic positions is coming to an end. From now on the tactic of a partisan war will mainly be used," the agency quoted Khambiyev as saying.
RIA news agency said large groups of rebels were setting up bases in the mountainous districts of Shatoi and Vedeno to prepare for further advances by the Russians and to coordinate guerrilla activities in areas already under Russian control.
Rebel spokesman Movladi Udugov said the Chechens had beaten back Russian forces in the southern villages of Duba-Yurt and Serzhen-Yurt.
Vows to put Pinochet on trial in Chile
SANTIAGO, Jan 17 (DPA, AFP) Ricardo Lagos has been elected Chiles President with 51.3 per cent of the counted vote, making him the countrys first socialist leader since Salvador Allende, who fell victim to Augusto Pinochets 1973 coup.
Lagos populist, right-wing rival Joaquin Lavin conceded defeat yesterday and congratulated the winner after gaining 48.7 per cent of the vote, with about 90 per cent of the ballot counted.
Jubilant supporters of 61-year-old Lagos celebrated his victory by driving through the streets of the capital and sounding their car horns.
Lagos campaigned on a social justice platform for the 10-year-old ruling coalition of Christian democrats and socialists. The law and economic experts enjoys wide respect among the population.
Lavin managed to keep his close ties to Pinochet out of the public eye while waging a slick campaign promising pragmatic politics and a "new beginning".
Celebrating his victory in presidential elections, Mr Lagos pledged "to heal the wounds that still remain" from Chiles troubled recent history, while letting justice run its course.
Many of the thousands of supporters listening to his speech yesterday, clearly wanted to see ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet stand trial. As President-designate Lagos pledged that under his government all would be equal before the law, the crowd in Constitution Square broke into a roar, interrupting him with repeated chants of "trial for Pinochet!"
Lagos (61) who played a key role in returning Chile to democracy after 17 years of dictatorship, responded by promising that "under my government, trials will be conducted by courts of law, and the decisions of the courts will be respected."
Pinochets dictatorship has been blamed for more than 3,000 deaths.
While Mr Lagos has supported the current Chilean Governments demands that the ex-dictator be sent home rather than face trial in Spain, he has also previously made it clear that he wanted Pinochet to face the courts in Chile.
Sharif case put off again
KARACHI, Jan 17 (Reuters) A Pakistani court adjourned a preliminary hearing today against deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif so the defence can get key prosecution evidence.
Later, Prosecutor Raja Qureshi told reporters that he hoped the handing over of the evidence would allow the judge to formally charge Mr Sharif and six others tomorrow in a case resulting from the military coup which overthrew his government on October 12.
Mr Sharif, his brother Shahbaz and five former aides are accused of criminal conspiracy, attempted murder, waging war against Pakistan and hijacking which can carry a death sentence.
But the case has dragged on in the courts for two months without formal charges being laid.
Anti-terrorism court judge Rehmat Husain Jafri ordered the prosecution today to take one of the lawyers representing the defence to Karachi airport to witness the copying of tapes made in the air control tower on the day of the alleged hijacking.
One court official would also be present, a prosecutor said.
Security was tight today, with hundreds of armed police and security officials guarding the courthouse and police snipers on the rooftops of adjacent buildings.
Mr Qureshi, who is also Advocate-General of Sindh Province, accused the defence of trying to delay the start of the trial.
Asked whether Mr Sharif would be formally charged tomorrow, Mr Qureshi said, "that depends on the judge. We hope charges will be framed tomorrow.
Pak better equipped to tip missiles
NEW YORK, Jan 17 (PTI) Pakistan is better equipped to put nuclear warheads on missiles and launch them than India, a US expert on South Asia, who recently wrote a book on Indias nuclear bomb, says.
"Pakistan today has a better capacity to put nuclear warheads and launch them," George Perkovich, says in an interview to be published in the upcoming edition of "American" magazine.
"Pakistan has two competing missile programmes which wasnt known until recently. The A.Q. Khan labs have the Ghauri missile assisted by North Korea. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Organisation has missiles assisted by China.
"Theyre racing against each other for money and prestige, for the title of great providers of Pakistans strategic might," he says.
He says the nuclear scientists in Pakistan, especially Abdul Qadir Khan, are out of control but in India, they are "much more sober".
He describes Khan, whom Pakistan calls the father of its bomb, a "mad scientist" who makes "outrageous statements."
"He is doing business with North Korea, procuring missiles. Hes a bad dude. One of the key questions for Pervez Musharraf is whether he can rein this guy in," Perkovich says.
Anti-Christian rampage in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Jan 17 (Reuters) Thousands of Muslims went on an anti-Christian rampage, torching churches in the Indonesian resort island of Lombok today after a rally calling for an end to communal bloodshed turned violent.
President Abdurrahman Wahid, his government under attack for failing to end religious violence sweeping the predominately Muslim country, said he might revamp his young Cabinet but ruled out a wholesale reshuffle.
Thousands have been killed in recent months of sectarian violence, much of it in the Spice Islands at the eastern end of the archipelago where there were reports of further clashes over the weekend.
Witnesses said todays violence in Lombok, just 30 km east of the popular resort island of Bali, erupted after a Muslim rally urged an end to the bloodshed.
West Asia talks may be delayed
DUBAI, Jan 17 (UNI) Peace talks between Syria and Israel appeared deadlocked as Damascus cast doubts on whether the third round of negotiations between the two sides would be held as scheduled on Wednesday, media reports said today.
Kuna said a telephonic conversation between US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara indicated the possibility of delaying the upcoming round amid Syrian pessimism over its outcome.
The news agency said Ms
Albright and Mr Al-Shara discussed the results of the
previous round of talks held at Shepherds town in the USA
and "reviewed horizons of the peace process in the
light of evaluations the parties concerned would reach
before taking a decision on the upcoming round."
Parcel bomb for Chandrika defused
COLOMBO, Jan 17 (PTI) A parcel bomb addressed to Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga was detected by her security staff today and was safely detonated by the army, exactly a month after an unsuccessful LTTE suicide bomb attack on her.
Electronic detectors picked up the metallic objects concealed in a large-sized envelope while screening the mail, official sources here said.
The bomb disposal squad,
which was summoned immediately, found a timer device
attached to plastic explosives. It was later detonated
safely with the help of dynamite on the beach front
opposite the Secretariat, the sources said.
wins $ 1 million
kills 44 rebels
18 German Viagra
perceives objects with camera
US soldier held
for Kosovo girls murder
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