Sunday, February 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Annan slams rich nations UNCTAD talks
BANGKOK, Feb 12 — UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today attacked world’s most powerful nations at the opening of major trade talks and blamed them for scuppering last year’s WTO talks and stunting development of poor countries.

IRA softens stand
DUBLIN, Feb 12 — 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.

Endeavour lifts off to map the world
Cape Canaveral (Florida), Feb 12 — 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 earth’s surface.

Clinton, Milosevic among nominees
OSLA, Feb 12 — A record 144 nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize have been received including bids for Presidents Clinton and Milosevic and a small Albanian town.

Witness: Sharif sacked Musharraf before coup
KARACHI, Feb 12 — 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.

Chernobyl closed
KIEV, Feb 12 — The only reactor still running at Ukraine’s Chernobyl Power Station, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, was shut down yesterday after a dysfunction in the safety system, nuclear authorities announced.



Love is in the air at Sea World Orlando as Valentine's Day approaches. Cupid's arrow apparently hit Shamu and Namu, two of the park's killer whales, leading the couple to show their affection with a smooch on Friday.
ORLANDO, USA: Love is in the air at Sea World Orlando as Valentine's Day approaches. Cupid's arrow apparently hit Shamu and Namu, two of the park's killer whales, leading the couple to show their affection with a smooch on Friday. — AP/PTI

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Annan slams rich nations UNCTAD talks

BANGKOK, Feb 12 (AFP) — UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today attacked world’s most powerful nations at the opening of major trade talks and blamed them for scuppering last year’s 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 summit’s programme.

“The round was not launched because governments — particularly those of the world’s 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 world’s 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 world’s rich and poor must be addressed in the interests of maximising global development.

They said that in a system where the rich make the rules, the incidence of poverty is rising and rates of development are becoming even more uneven.
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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 Cabinet’s 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 province’s 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 IRA’s 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 week’s secret discussions with an independent disarmament commission, whose work is central to the current crisis.
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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 earth’s 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 earth’s 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 shuttle’s 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.

Nasa and NIMA hope to map more than 70 percent of earth’s terrain by the end of the flight, as far North as Hudson Bay and as far South as Cape Horn.
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Clinton, Milosevic among nominees

OSLA, Feb 12 (AP) — A record 144 nominations for this year’s 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 committee’s 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 weren’t 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.

Organisations nominated included the Salvation Army, human rights watch and various church groups, including the Italian catholic group St. Egidio for nurturing good relations between different religions.
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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.

Chernobyl closed

KIEV, Feb 12 (AFP) — The only reactor still running at Ukraine’s Chernobyl Power Station, site of the world’s 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.

Of the plant’s four original reactors, only number 3 is still producing electricity. In 1999, it was operational for five months and under repair for the remainder of the time.
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WORLD BRIEFS

French filmmaker Vadim dead
PARIS: Roger Vadim, the French director whose wives Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda starred in his films, died of cancer on Friday aged 72, his entourage said. Vadim, whose real name was Roger Plemiannikov, launched his first wife Bardot in “And God Created Woman” in 1956. Fonda starred in his sultry 1968 movie “Barbarella”. He had been married to his fifth wife, French actress Marie-Christine Barrault, since 1990, and died leaving four children, one of them with film star Catherine Deneuve. — AFP

Lifetime award for Jeanne Moreau
BERLIN: Even after more than 50 years in the film business, French actress Jeane Moreau says she wants to stay down to earth. “My first reaction is to feel a little embarrassed”, she said on Friday before receiving a special Golden Bear award for lifetime achievement at the Berlin Film Festival. Moreau, 72, began her film career in 1949 and worked with many leading directors, including Francois Truffaut in “Jules et Jim” and Orson Welles in “Chimes at Midnight”. — AP

Drifter confesses to killing 13 kids
RIO DE JANEIRO: A fat, rumpled and bearded drifter in Brazil has confessed to killing at least 13 children, the police in Sao Paulo said. Laerte Orpinelli, 48, confessed to the killings after hours of interrogation on Thursday night. The police is investigating whether he may have committed others among 96 unsolved child-murder cases currently on their books. Orpinelli was arrested on January 13 in the city of Rio Claro, about 175 km northwest of Sao Paulo, after the police received an anonymous tip. — DPA

‘Ginger Spice’ speaks about ‘split’
LONDON: Geri Halliwell, facing a lawsuit with her former bandmates in the “Spice Girls” from an Italian scooter maker, told a British court on Friday that quitting the group was “like leaving a marriage”. Aprilia Spa is suing the top-selling pop band for nearly 1.5 million, claiming that a sponsorship deal was thrown into chaos by Halliwell’s departure in September 1998 to pursue a solo career. Dressed all in black with her red hair flowing over her shoulders, the 27-year-old once known as “Ginger Spice” told Justice Arden of the difficulties she had in coming to terms with her decision to quit. — Reuters

Legendary calypso artist dead
BRIDGETOWN (Barbados): Lord Kitchener (77), a legendary Caribbean calypso artist who carried the music of his native Trinidad and Tobago to international acclaim, died on Friday at age 77, a hospital official said. Kitchener, whose real name was Aldwyn Roberts, succumbed to a severe infection brought on by a blood disorder and organ failure, said Dr Leslie Ann Roberts, assistant general manager at the Eric Williams Medical Complex. — Reuters

Dane wins world press photo award
AMSTERDAM: A piercing black-and-white image of a wounded Kosovar Albanian refugee taken by Danish photographer Claus Bjorn Larsen won the World Press Photo of the Year Award on Friday. Two first places in the subject category competitions were won by Associated Press photographers Yuri Kozyrev and Enric Marti. The photo of the year winner was taken on the streets of Kukes, Albania, on April 5, 1999, as masses of ethnic Albanians were fleeing the Yugoslav army crackdown in Kosovo during the NATO bombing campaign. — APTop

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