|Sunday, February 13, 2000,
slams rich nations UNCTAD talks
lifts off to map the world
Milosevic among nominees
Sharif sacked Musharraf before coup
Annan slams rich nations UNCTAD talks
BANGKOK, Feb 12 (AFP) UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today attacked worlds most powerful nations at the opening of major trade talks and blamed them for scuppering last years WTO talks and stunting development of poor countries.
Mr Annan said the leading economic powers were solely responsible for the spectacular failure of the World Trade Organisation summit in Seattle, which was supposed to launch a new round of trade negotiations.
He described as a popular myth belief that the talks were derailed by the violent protests which paralysed the summits programme.
The round was not launched because governments particularly those of the worlds leading economic powers could not agree on their priorities, he told the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Developing nations played a more active and united role in the Seattle talks than ever before, he said, while the industrial powers bickered among themselves and showed they did not have the will to implement reforms.
UNCTAD, which has earned a reputation as an advocate of poor nations, aims to bring developing nations into the global economic fold and calm fierce anti-trade sentiment.
But even before Mr Annan opened the talks, over 1,000 anti-globalisation protestors marched on the conference venue in central Bangkok, demanding immediate action to share the spoils of globalisation more fairly.
WTO/IMF/ADB/WB Go to Hell read a banner stretched between trucks that carried the protesters through the Thai capital before a cordon of riot police blocked their advance.
Mr Annan said the developing world remained excluded from the move towards globalisation, partly because of barriers put in place by industrialised countries. And he called for a Global New Deal where the benefits of globalisation would be spread among all pro-investment countries.
Can we not attempt on a global level what any successful industrialised country does to help its most disadvantaged or underdeveloped regions catch up, he asked.
There are already signs that the worlds most powerful nations and trade bodies are responding to criticism that developing nations have been dealt a raw deal in the liberalisation process.
WTO chief Mike Moore said he was working on a package of proposals to offer poorer economies better access to markets.
We have agreed to try and negotiate free market access for least developed countries, he said, adding WTO ambassadors had also agreed to discuss implementation issues.
Mr Moore said the acrimony of last year had now eased, and WTO talks since then had made considerable progress.
Conference organisers hope inclusion within the UNCTAD programme of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which have spearheaded opposition to free trade will minimise the risk of violent disruption.
At a round-table discussion that kicked off the talks, leading economists said widening inequality among the worlds rich and poor must be addressed in the interests of maximising global development.
IRA softens stand
DUBLIN, Feb 12 (Agencies) The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has told an international disarmament body it will consider putting its arms beyond use to ensure maximum public confidence, the commission reported today.
In a report to the British and Irish Governments, the decommissioning body headed by Canadian General John de Chastelain said it believed the IRA commitment holds out real progress of an agreement which would enable it to fulfil the substance of its mandate.
We welcome the IRA belief that the state of perpetual crisis can be averted and that the issue of arms can be resolved, the report said.
We find particularly significant, and view as valuable progress, the assertion made by the IRA that it will consider how to put arms and explosives beyond use, in the context of full implementation of the (1998) Good Friday agreement, and in context of removal of the causes of conflict.
The representative (of the IRA) indicated to us today the context in which the IRA will initiate a comprehensive process to put arms beyond use, in a manner as to ensure maximum public confidence, the report states.
The commission said it had had several contacts with the IRA and pro-British loyalist representatives since compiling its first report on January 30.
WASHINGTON: President Bill Clinton said he regretted that the IRA had not made a more timely commitment to disarm but said there were some signs of progress to resolve the Northern Ireland dispute.
Mr Clinton yesterday said there had been some progress in the past few days, citing a report by the independent disarmament commission which said the IRA had given a commitment holding out some hope that an agreement on disarmament might be within reach.
BELFAST: But within hours of that desperate measure on Friday, the British and Irish Governments jointly announced that the IRA had softened its position on disarmament, the issue threatening the Cabinets survival. They called the move a development of real significance that could allow power to return to Belfast.
Following an agonising week of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson resumed direct British control just 72 days after the four-party coalition intended cornerstone of the provinces 1998 peace accord received substantial powers.
Mr Mandelson argued that the reversal, while deeply disappointing, was necessary to prevent a Cabinet collapse because of the outlawed IRAs refusal to disarm, a protestant condition for its formation.
But hours later, the
British and Irish Governments announced that the IRA had
expressed newfound flexibility during the past
weeks secret discussions with an independent
disarmament commission, whose work is central to the
Endeavour lifts off to map the world
Cape Canaveral (Florida), Feb 12 (Reuters,AP) the US space shuttle Endeavour, yesterday roared off the launch pad on a long-delayed radar mapping mission that should produce the best-ever three-dimensional images of earths surface.
The six astronauts on board will spend 11 days in space bouncing radar signals off cities, fields, mountains, forests and other features that shape the earths surface between the polar regions.
As those signals bounce back into space, they will be collected by antennae aboard the orbiter and at the end of a 197-foot mast deployed from the shuttles cargo bay. It is those slightly off-set images, like the ones seen in a 3-d movie or picture, that should make this whole-earth topographical map the best ever assembled.
Nasa had been trying to launch the mission since September, but technical glitches and safety concerns kept Endeavour grounded. A launch attempt last week was scrubbed because of cold winds and heavy rain, and mission managers used the delay to replace a faulty piece of flight hardware that engineers detected late in the countdown.
Meanwhile, just five and half hours later, the astronauts began extending the 197-foot radar antenna mast from the shuttle cargo bay. It was a tense job and, by far, the biggest challenge of the mission.
Within 17 minutes, the tower-like mast was all the way out and the longest rigid structure ever deployed in space.
For the mapping mission to be successful, the mast had to make it all the way out and then pass a series of stability tests.Nasa had never attempted such a feat before.
Clinton, Milosevic among nominees
OSLA, Feb 12 (AP) A record 144 nominations for this years Nobel Peace Prize have been received including bids for Presidents Clinton and Milosevic and a small Albanian town.
Last year, when the prize went to the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, there were 136 nominations.The old record was 139 from 1998.
Geir Lundestad, the committees non-voting secretary, said yesterday the nominees so far included 32 groups and 112 individuals.
The total might hit 150, though, because nominations post-marked by the January 31 deadline may still arrive, and committee member scan propose candidates at their first meeting of the year, on February 23.
There appears to be a good geographic spread on the nominations, with the possible exception of Africa, where there werent as many,Lundestad said by telephone. There were also a lot more lesser-known names, and not as many of the big world names.
The five-member awards committee does not reveal who has been nominated. However, those making nominations often announce them.
Mr Clinton was nominated by two Norwegian legislators for helping safeguard world peace, freedom and democracy.It was at least his fifth straight nomination.
American George Mitchell was nominated for his efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland. Former President Jimmy Carter has also repeatedly been nominated for his wide-ranging peace efforts, and is on the list again this year. .
Other nominees include Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for their Balkan peace efforts; South Korean President Kim Dae Young for promoting good relations in Asia; and Hugh Thompson, an American helicopter pilot who risked his life in March, 1968, to stop the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war.
included the Salvation Army, human rights watch and
various church groups, including the Italian catholic
group St. Egidio for nurturing good relations between
Witness: Sharif sacked Musharraf before coup
KARACHI, Feb 12 (AFP) Deposed Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif sacked his army chief just hours before the army launched a coup, his Military Secretary told a Karachi court today.
Sharif signed the papers sacking Gen Pervez Musharraf and appointing a replacement on October 12, while the General was flying back to Pakistan from a visit abroad.
Hours after landing, Musharraf seized control of Pakistan, detained Sharif and proclaimed himself Chief Executive.
Sharif is now on trial with six of his officials, accused of denying the Pakistan International Airlines jet landing permission in Karachi.
KIEV, Feb 12 (AFP) The only reactor still running at Ukraines Chernobyl Power Station, site of the worlds worst nuclear disaster, was shut down yesterday after a dysfunction in the safety system, nuclear authorities announced.
No rise in radioactivity was registered and reactor 3 was to resume working on Wednesday.
filmmaker Vadim dead
for Jeanne Moreau
confesses to killing 13 kids
Spice speaks about split
calypso artist dead
Dane wins world
press photo award
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