|Wednesday, January 26, 2000,
Gore win Iowa caucuses
to introduce Bill in House
raids take heavy Russian toll
lawyer alleges contempt
were violating visa rules
kin leave Miami sans meeting
guard loses in Croatian election
President forgoes some powers
Pak military backed IA plane hijackers
NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) The USA believes that a terrorist group supported by the Pakistani military was responsible for the hijacking of an Indian Airlines jet last month, todays New York Times reports, quoting Clinton Administration officials.
The judgement puts Pakistan at risk of being placed on Washingtons list of nations that support terrorism, according to unnamed officials, the paper said.
The new military leader of Pakistan, Gen Pervez Musharraf, was asked in a meeting with three administration officials in Islamabad last week to ban the group, Harkat Ul-Mujahedeen, but the request was rebuffed, senior officials in Washington said.
Administration officials said they received information that Harkat Ul-Mujahedeen was responsible for the hijacking after it became clearer who made arrangements for the escape of the hijackers.
Indications came through intelligence channels, and I dont know anybody around here, including the sceptics, who dont find that credible, an official was quoted as saying about Harkat Ul-Mujahedeens involvement in the hijacking.
Mr Karl F. Inderfurth, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, who was one of the three officials who met with General Musharraf, told the General that the USA was concerned about the links between Harkat Ul-Mujahedeen and his military and intelligence services, officials said.
The General was told the USA believed Harkat Ul-Mujahedeen was responsible for the hijacking and that the USA believed the group operated openly and clandestinely with the support of the Pakistani military and intelligence services, a senior official said, according to The Times.
In response, General Musharraf is reported to have said he would consider the administrations request to shut down the group, but left the impression that no action would be taken soon.
Bush, Gore win Iowa caucuses
DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan 25 (AP) Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush won the Iowa caucuses last night, validating their front-runner status in the opening contest of the 2000 presidential election season.
Mr Gore won two-to-one over former Sen. Bill Bradley while Mr Bushs victory was tempered by a strong second-place showing from conservative publisher Steve Forbes.
Its a solid victory and Im grateful, the son of former President George Bush told the AP.
Mr Forbes, who has poured millions of his own dollars into his second bid for the presidency, ran second to Mr Bush. Mr Alan Keyes, US Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council in the 1980s, ran a respectable third.
With counting incomplete, Mr Bush had support from 42 per cent of the caucus participants and Mr Forbes 29 per cent. Mr Keyes had 14 per cent, with Mr Gary Bauer at 9 per cent, Mr John McCain 5 and Mr Orrin Hatch just 1.
The process will yield 47 delegates to the Democratic convention and 25 delegates to the GOP convention, a tiny fraction of the total a candidate needs to win the nomination.
An AP analysis showed that Mr Bush was likely to earn 11 delegates of Iowas 25 nominating delegates, compared to seven for Mr Forbes, four for Mr Keyes, two for Mr Bauer and one for Mr McCain.
In an interview, Mr Bush said, I am humbled and honoured about the outpouring of support.
We have a
record-shattering victory tonight. Im grateful for
the support for my message of compassionate conservatism
has received, and Im looking forward to taking it
to the state of New Hampshire.
Pallone to introduce Bill in House
WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (UNI) Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone last night urged the Clinton administration to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism abroad.
In a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, he said he would introduce a legislation in the House of Representatives later this week, expressing the sense of Congress that the State Department should take this step.
Mr Pallone urged the State Department to explore ways to step up US-India cooperation in the struggle against terrorism. I hope that the State Department will, at a minimum, demand from Pakistan greater accountability and cooperation on these matters as a basis for improving US-Pakistani relations, he added.
He asked Secretary Albright to provide an explanation or clarification for what the threshold is for determining whether a nations frequent associations with terrorist activities, movements and individuals must finally qualify that nation for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Mr Pallone said the recent hijacking of the Indian-Airlines plane was only the latest in a long series of incidents that point to Pakistans role in promoting violence and instability in the south Asia region.
He said the hijackers were part of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which the State Department had described as an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan. Among the hijackers demands were the release of the organisations general secretary, Masood Azhar, who hails from Pakistan and other jailed Pakistani militants.
Mr Pallone recalled that in 1999, when Pakistani forces attacked positions on Indias side of the Line of Control in Kashmir. The USA recognised that India was acting legitimately in self defence, and US pressure was brought to bear to convince Pakistan to call off its reckless and ill-advised attacks.
I hope, said Mr Pallone, we can build on this progress in our bilateral relations, with the USA recognising and respecting Indias legitimate security needs.
Most of the US sanctions imposed on India in 1998 have been reduced, and I will work toward the removal of the remaining sanctions. We must continue to work to preserve or re-start economic relations that have developed during the past decade, which witnessed such profound changes in our bilateral relationship, while creating a positive atmosphere for new economic relations.
At the same time,
I hope that we can continue to build upon educational,
cultural and other people-to-people ties that have
developed between our two countries. I look forward to
seeing the Indian-American community, more than 10 lakh
strong, continue to provide the important human
bridge between our two countries.
Rebel raids take heavy Russian toll
NAZRAN (Russia), Jan 25 (AFP, DPA) Russia today intensified its push to capture the Chechen capital with federal forces battling rebels in the streets and fighter jets making more than 250 air raids, Interfax news agency said.
Russian Sukhoi-24 bombers, Sukhoi-25 fighter jets and Mi-24 helicopters destroyed more than 30 rebel strongholds in air raids over Grozny and the Argun and Vedeno gorges yesterday, it quoted Russian headquarters in the North Caucasus as saying.
Bitter street battles broke out in Groznys Oktyabrsky district near the strategic Minutka Square, Interfax said.
Federal forces are trying to break through small Chechen groups of some 15 men apiece who have cut off entry to the square, a key crossroad.
Russian military headquarters said some 30 armed fighters were killed after federal troops surrounded a group of 150 rebels in Grozny.
Fierce street fighting and an inferno of exploding bombs and shells rocked the Chechen capital today as rebel defenders continued to block the Russian advance there, reports said.
KABUL: Chechnyas only embassy in the world is tucked away behind a chipped brown door across from a shop selling fake flowers in Afghanistans war-torn capital Kabul.
Anwars lawyer alleges contempt
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 (DPA) The sodomy trial of Malaysias sacked Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim resumed today after a two-month break, with his lawyer claiming that a recent sedition charge against him was in contempt of the current trial of his client.
When the proceedings resumed today, defence counsel Karpal Singh raised the issue of his recent arrest and charge under the Sedition Act for comments he made during Anwars trial in September last.
But Karpal Singh said he was not seeking a ruling from Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Arifin Jaka on the matter because his sedition charge was to be tried separately in a different court.
The Attorney-General is in contempt of court by having sanctioned my prosecution. As lawyers, were duty bound to stand up in the defence of our client without fear or favour, Karpal Singh said.
Judge Arifin agreed that lawyers had a right to say what they wished in court, unless the statements were contentious or had clearly disturbed trial proceedings.
Karpal Singh contended
that as a lawyer he is entitled to immunity from
prosecution for statements made during a trial. He added
that he was the first lawyer in the British Commonwealth,
of which Malaysia is a member, to be so charged.
Programmers were violating visa rules
WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (PTI) The US Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) has said that the Indian programmers, arrested and released on bond at the air force base near San Antonio on Thursday, were working in violation of their non-immigrant visa status.
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service believes that the programmers at the Randolph airbase were working in violation of their non-immigrant visa status, Mariela Malero, regional spokeswoman for the INS in Dallas, Texas, told PTI today.
She also did not rule out sanctions against the companies that brought them here pending outcome of investigations.
We will continue to look into workings of the company (which brought them). That could be the potential for sanctions if we indeed found the company in violation (of visa provisions). Right now, there is an administrative investigation. We will just have to take it from there.
Ms Malero said the programmers have been removed from the workplace and would be removed from the USA as well if found not entitled to stay on.
We have removed those individuals from the workplace. If they are not entitled to remain in the country and working, then under the provisions of the law they will be removed from the USA, she said.
programmers, brought into the country by two Indian
firms, Softech and Frontier, were arrested, handcuffed
and paraded like common criminals for not carrying their
valid H1-B visas on their person.
Elians kin leave Miami sans meeting
MIAMI, Jan 25 (Reuters) The grandmothers of young Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez left Miami last night after failing to see the boy in the middle of an international custody battle.
The two women left on a private plane from Tamiami airport as Miami relatives arrived at the airport without Elian to meet them, witnesses said. They were heading for Washington.
The Miami relatives, who want to keep the boy in the United States of America, had insisted the grandmothers from Cuba come to their house if they wanted to see the boy. The two women, apparently worried by the crowd gathered around the house, wanted to meet on neutral ground.
They hoped to bring the boy back to his father in Cuba.
Elian was taken to Miami after he was rescued at sea on November 25. A boat bringing him and 13 others from Cuba capsized, drowning his mother and 11 others.
WASHINGTON: The political tug of war over Elian Gonzalez moved to Congress as lawmakers, returning from a winter recess, made ready Bills to grant the 6-year-old Cuban boy American citizenship or residency.
Florida Republican Senator Connie Mack, backed by Senate majority leader Trent Lott, said he would propose a citizenship bill tomorrow and rush it to the floor for a vote by the full senate by tomorrow.
The citizenship bills, which are extremely rare, are aimed at thwarting any effort by the Clinton administration to return the boy to his father and grandmothers in Cuba in accordance with a ruling by the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS).
Old guard loses in Croatian election
ZAGREB, Jan 25 (AFP) Stipe Mesic and Drazen Budisa, members of Croatias new centre-left parliamentary majority, face a run-off for the presidency next month, after winning through in yesterdays first round vote, according to results announced early today.
The near-complete election results delivered a final blow for the Nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of late leader Franjo Tudjman, which received its second electoral defeat in less than a month.
With votes in from 96.69 per cent of polling stations, centrist Mesic (65), representing a four-party coalition, finished well ahead with 41.64 per cent of the votes, head of the Electoral Commission Marijan Ramuscak announced.
Mr Mesic would have required 50 per cent of the votes for an outright win.
Israeli President forgoes some powers
JERUSALEM, Jan 25 (AFP) Israeli President Ezer Weizman has agreed to forgo his powers to amnesty prisoners and appoint judges during a criminal investigation against him for alleged corruption and tax fraud, reports said today.
Mr Weizmans decision to waive the presidential powers was announced by his lawyer Yaacov Weinroth in a letter to Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, according to media reports.
women first to conquer both Poles
to write book
revolt in Istanbul
Mugabe has spent
$ 260m on travel
Venus statue to
stay in garden
Pope cries while
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