|Saturday, January 22, 2000,
Suicide by CDU finance officer
West Asia talks from Feb
Elians grandmas drop US trip
UK may set up visa counter in city
Low govt salaries fuel graft
Sharif booked in jail-break case
KARACHI, Jan 21 (AFP) The police has registered a case against deposed Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif for planning a jail break here, police and government officials said today.
The case was registered at a local police station on the complaint of Nusrat Hussain Mangi, Superintendent of Landhi prison, where Sharif and others are being held, they said.
Sharif, Saif-ur Rehman, former head of the Accountability Bureau, and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a former head of Pakistan International Airlines, were accused of taking part in planning the jail break.
A senior police official, who did not want to be named, said the plan was unearthed when prison authorities caught the daughter of one of the accused, Rehman, on January 9 leaving her fathers prison with a sketch map of the jail.
"These three persons prepared the jail break plan," said Chief Public Prosecutor Raja Qureshi, who is also the Advocate-General of southern Sindh province.
Qureshi said Sharif and two others accused in the case could be punished with a maximum 10 years imprisonment, if found guilty.
"Since these are not scheduled offences, the case of jail break would be tried in normal courts and not in the special anti-terrorism courts," he said.
But a lawyer for Sharif, Arshad Khan Jadoon, insisted the former premier was innocent.
"It is a lie. The former premier Mian Nawaz Sharif does not need to plan for jail break while he is already facing charges in the court," Jadoon said, adding that "it is just an attempt to humiliate the political leader."
On Wednesday, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court judge formally charged Sharif, his brother Shahbaz, and five other senior officials with abduction, attempted murder, hijacking and terrorism.
If convicted of the hijacking charge they could face the death penalty. Sharif pleaded not guilty.
Chechnya asked to hand over militants
MOSCOW, Jan 21 (UNI) The Leader of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has forwarded a proposal to Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov for ending hostilities with Russia.
"Hand over the militants to the Kremlin. It will pave the way for negotiations," Lord David Russel-Johnson summed up the results of his delegations visit to the troubled regions in north Caucasus.
According to "Voice of Russia", Lord Russel-Johnson spoke of his altered attitude on the Chechen question after an on-the-spot study.
The delegation, before commencing its mission, had firmly demanded the initiation of a political dialogue between the militants and the Kremlin and suspension of military operations against the Maskhadov regime.
Lord Russel-Johnson indicated that the delegation had changed its stand regarding Russias suspension from council membership. "It is no longer an issue," he said.
Russian forces yesterday occupied Groznys central square, known as Minutka, and secured the bridge over the Soza river. The bridge was the sole link between Grozny and the outside world.
But the militants continued to fight federal soldiers fiercely while retreating from the capital. Every street, every apartment bloc had become a battlefield.
This information was provided by Groznys newly-appointed and Moscow-backed Chechen militia leader Bislen Gantamirov in a telephonic conversation with Moscow radio.
For the sixth successive day, Russian aircraft and artillery continued to pound militant positions in Grozny and adjoining areas. Several militants, including foreigners, were nabbed by troops in the Chechen capital.
Party may sue Kohl
BERLIN, Jan 21 (AFP) The police swooped on the Bonn and Berlin homes and offices of a leading Christian Democratic Union (CDU) official who committed suicide, as a funding scandal which threatens to ruin the CDU and its leaders grows ever wider.
The Chief Financial Officer of the CDU parliamentary delegation, Wolfgang Huellen, a 49-year-old father of two, was found hanging in his apartment yesterday, the Berlin police said.
The CDU official claimed that he killed himself for personal reasons, but Berlin court spokesman Martin Steltner said magistrates would examine whether Huellen or any of his associates took part in the embezzlement.
But todays edition of the Berlin daily BZ said Huellen had said in his suicide letter that he was afraid of a financial audit based on the CDUs funding scandal and that he had transferred money from the parliamentary groups account.
The letter also drew attention to certain "financial practices of the CDU," BZ said in its report, which could not be immediately confirmed.
Berlin prosecutors launched an embezzlement probe based on the suicide note and a parliamentary committee began an investigation into the actions of former chancellor and CDU chief Helmut Kohl.
"We are investigating on suspicion of embezzlement," Berlin prosecutor Stefan Wolf told Spiegel TV.
In Parliament, CDU leader Wolfgang Schaeuble apologised for illegal practices and damage to institutions as a result of the secret funds gathered under Kohl.
In Hamburg on Wednesday, Kohl said he would remain silent in order to keep his promise not to reveal donors names despite demands from his own party to come clean. He has already been forced to stand down as honorary party chairman and now face calls to give up his parliamentary seat.
Mr Schaeuble spoke in the Lower House, the Bundestag, as a parliamentary committee separately opened an investigation into Kohl, his predecessor as party chief, for his role in running secret party funds from 1993 to 1998.
Mr Schaeuble asked the legislature "to give me the opportunity to apologise on behalf of the CDU for the fact that, under our responsibility, the law was openly violated and that we damaged trust in the integrity of political institutions."
Mr Schaeuble, who is himself implicated in the scandal, said he "had not reacted properly" when he told the Bundestag last year that he had only once met arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, a central figure in the affair.
BERLIN (Reuters): The CDU is considering to sue its long-time leader Helmut Kohl to make him reveal the source of secret slush funds that have dragged the party into its worst-ever scandal.
Party leaders, many of them his proteges, want him to name the donors as a way of shaking off the scandal, and their pressure has forced him to quit as honorary CDU chairman.
Late on Thursday, former
party General Secretary Heiner Geissler said on national
ZDF television that the CDU was considering launching a
civil suit because the crisis could not be overcome until
Kohl gave the names.
West Asia talks from Feb 1
JERUSALEM, Jan 21 (DPA) Mr Israel, Palestine and the USA will meet in the USA on February 1, to begin a marathon negotiating session aimed at reaching a framework agreement on Israeli-Palestinian peace by its due date of February 13.
The Israeli Yediot Aharanot daily reported yesterday that the three-way session was decided on at a meeting Monday night between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yassir Arafat.
According to the Israeli paper, the two leaders decided that the marathon negotiations would begin in West Asia immediately after Mr Arafat returns from the USA, where he was to hold talks on Thursday with President Clinton.
Negotiators would then depart for the USA at the beginning of February, for intensive talks, which should end by February 13.
Mr Yediot said the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams would be joined by US Special Peace Envoy Dennis Ross, who would try to help them reach an agreed formula for the framework document.
Israel Radio reported on Monday night that Mr Barak had asked Mr Arafat to agree to postpone the deadline for the framework agreement by two months. However, Mr Mahmud Abbas, deputy to Mr Arafat, on Wednesday denied that such a request was made, and instead said the two leaders had agreed to speed up the talks.
However, the Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinian officials had conceded privately that even with accelerated talks it would take at least until March to reach a framework agreement.
WASHINGTON, (Reuters): US President Bill Clinton, at a meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Thursday urged Israelis and Palestinians to be flexible as they worked to hammer out a peace agreement.
"In any process like this there must be inevitable and difficult compromises, Mr Clinton said as he began a meeting with Mr Arafat in the Oval office. "No one can get everything that either side wants but I am convinced we can get there.
Meanwhile, Mr Clinton said he expected Israel and Syria to announce "before long when they would resume high-level peace talks that they postponed this week.
Mr Clinton also told
reporters that the two sides, which resumed peace talks
in December after a 45-month freeze, had made more
progress laying the groundwork for their negotiations
than he would have expected by now.
Elians grandmas drop US trip
HAVANA, Jan 21 (Reuters, AP) The grandmothers of Cuban shipwreck boy Elian Gonzalez said today that they would not be travelling to the USA for the moment despite having been granted US visas to go there.
Asked by reporters in Havana whether they intended to make the trip, one of the grandmothers, Raquel Rodriguez, answered "no and then emphatically wagged her finger to reinforce her negative answer.
Rodriguez gave the reply as she and other members of Elians family in Cuba left looking grim after a meeting with a visiting US church mediator, Dr Joan Brown Campbell.
Dr Campbell, a former general secretary of the New York-based National Council of Churches, flew into Havana yesterday in an apparent attempt to persuade Elians grandmothers to accompany her back to the USA.
Before the meeting with Dr Campbell, Elians other grandmother, Mariela Quintana, had also signalled her reluctance to make the trip, saying that she would not go unless she could be sure of bringing her grandson back with her.
The two women were issued visas by the US Interests section in Havana yesterday, raising expectations that they might travel to the USA to try to break the eight-week custody deadlock over 6-year-old Elian.
Earlier the women were expected to fly to New York today, apparently escorted by the church group. Democratic Republican Charles Rangel of New York, who had offered to accompany the boy to Cuba, planned to meet the women. They hoped to return home with Elian, according to congressional sources.
The sources said New York was chosen as a destination because the welcome there would be far friendlier than in Miami, where Elian had been living with relatives for almost two months and where sentiment for his remaining in the USA was strong.
In New York, National Council of Churches spokeswoman Sara Vilankulu said three council representatives arrived in Havana aboard a chartered plane.
Indonesia to try Aceh rights violators
JAKARTA, Jan 21 (AFP) Indonesia will soon start trials of human rights violators military and civilian in the troubled province of Aceh and is open to limited dialogue with separatist rebels, reports said today.
Eighteen military personnel and two civilians would be tried by a joint military-civilian panel of six judges in Aceh later this month, State Minister for Human Rights Affairs, Hasballah M Saad said.
Mr Saad said defendants would be tried over the murder of 65 persons in West Aceh in July, The Jakarta Post daily reported.
Meanwhile, as an uneasy calm settled on the riot-torn resort island of Lombok, Indonesias military warned it would not allow violence sweeping the archipelago to spread to the capital Jakarta.
The police and residents in Lombok, scene of the latest religious violence in Indonesia, said the local capital Mataram and the nearby district of Ampenan were calm today after four days of anti-Christian riots in which five persons were killed.
"The situation has slowly returned to normal. People are starting to go about their business, a policeman told Reuters in Mataram, about 30 km east of Indonesias main tourist island, Bali. But refugees are still too scared to return to their homes.
In Jakarta, the Army Chief of Staff, Gen Tyasno Sudarto, said the military would take stern action against any violence in the Indonesian capital.
UK may set up visa counter in city
LONDON, Jan 21 (PTI) Britain is exploring possibility of issuing visas in regional centres like Chandigarh and Ahmedabad in India and Sylhet in Bangladesh, Keith Vaz, Foreign Office Minister said today.
Vaz, who will undertake a week-long visit to Bangladesh and India from January 29, will launch feasibility studies in Sylhet, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad as a prelude to opening the visa issuing facilities in those centres.
The focus of the visit would be on the visa operations conducted by the British High Commission in Dhaka and New Delhi and the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai.
Low govt salaries fuel graft
WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (PTI) A Transparency International (TI) survey in several countries, including India, has shown that low public sector salaries and immunity from prosecution have fuelled corruption.
The findings, the organisation, which crusades against corruption worldwide, said underscored the need for a transparent civil service system and an independent judiciary as cornerstones of anti-corruption efforts.
The countries surveyed were India, Indonesia, the Philippines South Korea and Thailand in the Asia/Pacific (China could not be surveyed because the facilities were not available there), Argentina, Brazil and Colombia in Latin America, Hungary, Poland and the Russian federation in Europe; and Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. These account for 60 per cent of total imports of all emerging market economies.
Ironically, the USA
which is at the forefront of the crusade against
corruption, more than any other country, uses
"unfair business practices, in addition, or instead
of, bribery" to secure business abroad, it said.
Hedy Lamarr dead
ORLANDO, Jan 21 (Reuters) Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr, an Austrian bankers daughter billed as "the worlds most beautiful woman" when she rose to silver screen stardom in the 1930s and 40s, has died, the police said on Wednesday. She was 86. Lamarr was found dead in bed at her Altamonte Springs home, just north of Orlando, Florida, by friends.
The dark-haired Lamarr
became a sensation before her arrival in Hollywood when
she did a nude scene in "Ecstasy," one of her
first European films. In 1949 she made her biggest hit
and favourite film, Cecil B. de Milles "Samson
Prizes to increase in value
17 die in
charged with babys murder
Record fine for
illegal art export
speech notes to go under hammer
for Polish film director
bars for murder
biggest dinosaur found
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |