|Thursday, February 10, 2000,
bid for asylum in UK?
die in Lanka bus bomb blasts
bags Delaware primary
separatists killed in Aceh
C. Asian rebels being
trained by Taliban
frowns upon stir against Water
Hijack: bid for asylum in UK?
ISLAMABAD, Feb 9 (Reuters) The hijackers of an Afghan airliner now at a British airport could be linked to some of the passengers in an attempt to get political asylum, the head of the airline told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency on Wednesday.
Mullah Hamidullah, quoting an Ariana airline steward released in a stopover in Tashkent, told independent AIP that there appeared to be a large group on the aircraft of up to 40 men, women and children, who could be involved in an attempt to get political asylum.
It seems to us now that there is a big group including about 40 women, men and children on board, who were travelling to Mazar-i-Sharif pretending to attend a wedding there, and they are linked with this hijacking, he told AIP.
And it is possible that these people were interested in going to London, he said.
The motive for the hijacking has not been made public since the Boeing 727 was commandeered on an internal flight from Kabul to Mazir-i-Sharif on Sunday and forced to fly to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and then Londons Stansted airport.
Meanwhile, the mystery over why gunmen hijacked an Afghan airliner has put a spotlight on British asylum policy and whether the hostage-takers might ask to stay in Britain.
The government today sought to put down speculation that the hijackers, holding about 150 hostages, could remain in Britain after media detailed how another group of hijackers were now living in London, drawing benefits.
The issue is a sensitive one for Tony Blairs Government , already under attack by the opposition Tories for being soft on asylum-seekers after a sharp rise in refugee numbers.
Britains Home Office said that if anyone from a foreign country wanted asylum in Britain, they could apply, but they had to show they were fleeing persecution. And if criminal proceedings were in order, these would take place first.
The opposition Conservatives were among those watching the situation closely. Ann Widdecombe, the shadow Home Secretary, warned that hijackers should face a long custodial sentence.
What we mustnt do is allow this to become a way of coming into the UK to claim asylum, she said.
The crews decision to escape from a hijacked Afghan airliner today sparked outrage on the international pilots unofficial website.
But contributors to the professional pilots rumour network an informal chatline with its own website were blunt in their condemnation after the four-man crew escaped through a cockpit window at Stansted airport near London.
Isnt the captain supposed to go down with the ship? or do we get paid to be trained for such situations for no real reason? one asked.
Some suggested that
established anti-hijack techniques to deal with a scourge
that constantly plagues the industry around the world
should not be discussed because this played into the
hands of the hijackers.
3 die in Lanka bus bomb blasts
COLOMBO, Feb 9 (PTI) Three persons were killed and 50 injured in bomb blasts in two buses here late last night while two policemen died and three others were injured when their vehicle was blasted by LTTE rebels in northern Jaffna today.
The toll in the last nights blasts in the two buses went up to three today with two more injured passengers succumbing to their wounds. Fifty others were admitted to hospitals with injuries.
The police said 19 people had been injured when a bomb exploded in a long distance bus at the Central Bus station at northern Pettiah here last night. The blast occurred when the passengers were boarding the bus bound to Welimada in south-eastern Badulla district.
Minutes later, another bomb exploded in a crowded suburban bus at Wattala killing two persons and injuring 30 others. The condition of seven of the injured persons in the two blasts was stated to be serious, police said.
In another incident, two policemen were killed and three injured when their vehicle was blasted by the rebels at Koppai in northern Jaffna peninsula today, army sources said.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan transport authorities have stepped up security in passenger buses to stop the spate of suspected LTTE bomb blasts.
The authorities say the explosions were part of the terror campaign unleashed by the rebel group.
Previously they were targeting telephone exchanges followed by electricity transformers. Now it is the buses. The unfortunate victims are the innocent people, a police official said. The LTTE has not acknowledged its alleged role in any of the explosions.
officials have announced a series of measures to deal
with the increasing explosions.
Bush bags Delaware primary
WILMINGTON, (Delaware), Feb 9 (AP) Republican George W. Bush won Delawares Republican presidential primary and earned a badly needed lift into the next stage of contests, even as chief rival John McCain came in with a solid finish in a state he ignored.
I think this is a piece of good news that will buoy our supporters, the Texas Governor told Associated Press after his win yesterday.
Mr McCain, who skipped Delaware to focus on the critical February 19 primary in South Carolina, attributed his totals to the momentum generated by his win over Mr Bush in New Hampshires leadoff primary last week.
Its bound to give us a boost, the Arizona Senator said. I think there are some good signs for us, but I think we still have a long, long way to go. Im still the underdog.
With 26 of 28 precincts reporting, the Texas Governor had 51 per cent of the votes and Mr McCain 25 per cent, a solid victory for the national frontrunner. Though far behind Mr Bush, the Arizonan did surprisingly well for a candidate who didnt visit or spend money in the state.
By contrast, conservative Steve Forbes had a disappointing 20 per cent after winning the states primary in 1996 and campaigning heavily in the state this year. He will be under pressure to pull out of the race.
Democrats voted Saturday
in Delaware, giving Vice-President Al Gore an easy
victory over Mr Bill Bradley.
10 separatists killed in Aceh
JAKARTA, Feb 9 (DPA) At least 10 separatist rebels were killed and two security officers injured in five separate gun battles in Indonesias troubled province of Aceh, news reports said today.
Acehs military authorities said the armed skirmishes were part of the recent government forces raids against alleged separatist rebel base camps since early this month.
An armed clash took place at dawn yesterday in Syamtalira Bayu of North Aceh district, killing two separatist rebels. Security forces also launched raids yesterday against the camp of the Free Aceh Movement in Bireuen district, killing two secessionists, Media Indonesia daily reported.
Another gun battle between government forces and separatist rebels took place on Monday night in South Aceh district, killing three rebels, while another three separatists were shot to death in a similar armed clash in Central Aceh district on the same day.
Meanwhile, human rights
advocates claimed yesterday that Lieutenant Colonel
Sudjono, a key suspect in a massacre allegedly carried
out by soldiers in West Aceh district in July, may have
been kidnapped to prevent an upcoming trial.
C. Asian rebels being trained by Taliban
DUSHANBE, Feb 9 (Reuters) A senior representative from Afghanistans ousted government has said that people from the formerly Soviet Central Asian regions were attending guerrilla training camps run by the Afghanistans ruling Taliban regime.
The Taliban is using its territory to prepare international terrorists, acting Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah told a news briefing in Dushanbe.
It is known that many citizens of Central Asian countries, particularly from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, are attending terrorist training camps held by the Taliban.
Abdullah is part of the administration of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was driven from power by the Taliban in 1996 but is still recognised by the United Nations. Rabbanis government-in-exile holds Afghanistans UN seat.
Mr Rabbani was in
Dushanbe yesterday to meet with Francesc Vendrell, the
new UN representative to Afghanistan.
Jaitley frowns upon stir against Water
LONDON, Feb 9 (PTI) Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley has disapproved of the agitation against Deepa Mehtas controversial film Water saying if there is something objectionable it is for the censor board to act against it.
In an interview to BBC World for its Asia Today programme last night, the minister, however, said filmmakers also ought to be sensitive to popular sentiments.
He made it clear that there was no ban on the shooting of the film and it was purely because of a law and order problem that the Varanasi district administration had asked for deferment of the shooting by a fortnight.
Mr Jaitley also explained that clearance of the script was required under the countrys law as it was a foreign production.
As far as the
central government is concerned our role in the first
instance was to clear the script. We had cleared it, the
producer came back to us because there was resentment
against the script and wanted to withdraw some five
sentences from the script we granted the approval
once again but when the producer had gone back it appears
that the city has taken it very badly and there is
some element of resistance in the city creating a law and
order problem; he said.
Bill on direct rule in N. Ireland passed
LONDON, Feb 9 (DPA)
Britains Lower House of Parliament late
yesterday passed a Bill enabling London to restore direct
rule in Northern Ireland, where the peace process has
ground to a halt over Catholic paramilitaries
refusal to give up their arms.After debate by the Upper
House and Royal Ascent, the new law would be in force by
Friday, enabling Britain to suspend the
Protestant-Catholic limited government in Belfast that
was formed just two months ago.
Sharifs trial enters 3rd week
KARACHI, Feb 9 (Reuters) The trial of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif entered its third week today with the prosecution saying it planned to produce at least 10 more witnesses.
Raja Qureshi, Advocate-General of Sindh province, told Reuters the witnesses would testify about events at Sharifs house in Islamabad on October 12.
witnesses have been testifying on what had happened at
the Karachi airport. The new witnesses will describe what
happened at Prime Ministers house,
Russia begins final phase in Chechnya
KHANKALA,Russia, Feb 9 (Reuters) Russian military officials today said they had started the last phase of their battle to control the breakaway region of Chechnya and one general confirmed two regiments would soon be withdrawn.
Russian troops have
turned their attention to fighting rebels in
Chechnyas southern mountains where thousands fled
after Moscow seized the rebel regions razed capital
Grozny. Russia launched its campaign in Chechnya four
sentenced to 60 yrs in prison
Officer held for
mailing bomb to Clinton
for accidental killing
car wont be sold
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