|Monday, February 14, 2000,
hostages leave Stansted
to stay on
vows strikes against Israel
|Pinochet fine, says police
LONDON, Feb 13 Reports that the health of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has deteriorated markedly over the past week were discounted today by the police, who insisted that the General was still under arrest in his suburban mansion.
Russians seal off 2 gorges
violent streak on genes
mass wedding via net
execute Bahais: Clinton
Freed hostages leave Stansted
STANSTED (England), Feb 13 (Reuters) The hostages freed from an Afghan airliner left yesterday the British airport where they had been held for four days at gunpoint by hijackers who threatened to kill them.
Afghanistans ruling Taliban movement pledged safe conduct for them on return but only 37 of the 142 freed hostages have said they want to go back home.
The hostages were driven away in a convoy of coaches from Stansted airport near London to a holding centre in western England where Immigration officials will decide their fate.
Human rights activists have urged British Home Secretary (Interior Minister) Jack Straw not to deport those wanting to stay in Britain after their gruelling ordeal.
Twenty-two persons arrested after the hijack ended peacefully on Thursday are still being questioned by the police. They are expected to appear in court early next week to be charged under the Britains Prevention of Terrorism Act.
LONDON (AFP): Britain denied reports today that it wanted to return hostages freed from a hijacked Afghan plane to a third country such as Pakistan.
However the Foreign Office admitted London had been in contact with several countries near Afghanistan over the hijacking.
So far, at least 74 of the 164 aboard the plane when it landed at Stansted early Monday, after its hijacking a day earlier, have requested asylum here, posing a headache for Britain which does not want to be seen as a soft touch.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said Britain had indeed been holding talks with countries near Afghanistan about various aspects of the hijacking. However she denied Pakistan had been approached specifically because of its Afghan community with a view to sending all freed hostages there.
KANDAHAR (Afghanistan), Reuters): Afghanistans ruling Taliban movement yesterday assured safe conduct for freed hostages from a hijacked Afghan airliner who return home.
The Taliban will
not persecute or harm them, Civil Aviation Minister
Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor told reporters in Kandahar,
southern Afghanistan, where a chartered plane is expected
to bring back dozens of the freed hostages from Stansted
airport, near London. British officials said 74 of the
150 hostages had applied to stay in Britain.
Wiranto to stay on
JAKARTA, Feb 13 (Reuters) Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid apparently climbed down in a two-week battle of wills with former military chief Gen Wiranto today, allowing him to keep his Cabinet job at least for now.
Gen Wiranto, who has repeatedly rejected Mr Wahids demands to resign, will remain in the Cabinet until a special probe last years violence in East Timor is complete, a government official said.
Asked whether Gen Wiranto would remain as Co-ordinating Minister for Politics and Security Affairs while the investigation was being carried out, Cabinet Secretary Marsilam Simanjuntak said: Yes.
His statement contradicted the Presidents comments yesterday that Gen Wiranto would be removed from the Cabinet if he persisted in his refusal to resign.
Mr Simanjuntak said Mr Wahid had not changed his opinion that Gen Wiranto should resign.
But following a three-hour meeting between Mr Wahid, Gen. Wiranto, Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman, it appeared a compromise may have been reached allowing Gen Wiranto to stay in the Cabinet for now.
There is an agreement that there will be an opportunity for the Attorney-General to conduct a deep investigation and the Attorney-General will form a team to investigate, Mr Simanjuntak said.
The result will be reported to the President, on whether Gen Wiranto should be brought to court.
Mr Wahid, who returned
from a 16-day foreign trip in the early hours of today,
has repeatedly told Gen Wiranto to resign after an
official Indonesian inquiry implicated him in the
violence that ravaged East Timor last year.
Hizbollah vows strikes against Israel
BEIRUT, Feb 13 (Reuters) Hizbollah has said it will continue attacking Israeli troops in south Lebanon even if Israel carried out its threat to bomb more civilian targets.
The bombing of the infrastructure in Lebanon will not protect the occupation soldiers rather, it will subject them to further painful blows and operations, Hizbollahs leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said yesterday.
Continuation of the Islamic resistance operations is not an issue for bargaining or threat, no matter what the price. These operations will continue unabated until the enemy is defeated and forced to withdraw unconditionally from Lebanon, Nasrallah was quoted as saying on Hizbollah radio.
Despite Hizbollahs uncompromising stance, fighting died down after Israeli forces and their South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia allies shelled hills near the eastern edge of Israels occupation zone during the morning.
Hizbollah claimed responsibility for a brief shelling attack on an Israeli radar position in the western sector of the 15-km (nine-mile) deep zone.
Israels chief of staff Danny Yatom, a top security adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, repeated on Saturday Israels pledge to leave Lebanon this year. We are leaving, we will go out of Lebanon not later than July 2000, period, he said on Israeli television.
Mr Barak has said the withdrawal will be in the context of a peace agreement, but with peace talks now frozen he has not said how a withdrawal would take place if Syria and Lebanon remained in a state of war with Israel.
BAGHDAD (AFP): An official Iraqi newspaper yesterday called for a jihad to defend Lebanon against Israels attacks over the past week and said Arab governments had been put to shame.
There is no other
way but to declare jihad because the Zionist
enemy thinks Arabs do not need electricity or to send
their children to school, said Al-Iraq, referring
to Israels air strikes on Lebanons
Pinochet fine, says police
LONDON, Feb 13 (AFP) Reports that the health of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has deteriorated markedly over the past week were discounted today by the police, who insisted that the General was still under arrest in his suburban mansion.
He is fine, he is well. He had not been taken to the hospital, a police spokeswoman told AFP today.
Retired Gen Luis Cortes Villa, who heads the Chile-based Pinochet Foundation, had earlier prompted intense speculation that the 84-year-old General might be nearing death after he told a press conference in Santiago yesterday that the former dictator was depressed.
We fear that anything could happen, Gen Cortes Villa added.
leukaemia condition has seriously worsened, doctors
reportedly told one of his sons, Mr Marco Antonio
Pinochet. Gen Cortes Villa said the Generals close
relatives would travel to London within hours.
Russians seal off 2 gorges
MOSCOW, Feb 13 (Reuters) Russian planes bombed guerrilla strongholds in Chechnyas mountainous south today in preparation for a decisive onslaught on the remaining rebel-held areas, Interfax news agency said.
The separatist rebels, who have announced plans to switch from frontal resistance to their former strategy of hit-and-run attack, struck a key Russian military base in Chechnya outside the capital, Grozny.
Interfax quoted the Russian regional command as saying that bombers and fighter-bombers made more than 100 sorties in the past 24 hours, in the Vendeno and Argun river gorges. It said 18 rebel strongholds, two communication points and several smaller positions had been destroyed.
The Russian military say their troops have sealed off the two gorges, where up to 8,000 rebels are believed to be holed up, and have already seized the heights commanding the gorges. But they have not yet moved troops into the area to seize control.
Russia is trying to
defeat large groups of rebels in the mountains before the
snow melts in the spring, making it easier for the rebels
to manoeuvre. But the military admits it could take it
some time to overcome the smaller rebel groups.
Blame violent streak on genes
CHICAGO, Feb 13 (AFP) Researchers have identified a genetic flaw in violent antisocial men, bolstering the theory that criminal behaviour may be determined by genetics as much as environment.
A team at the University of Southern California (USC) found that men with a history of violent crime had damage to the part of their brains governing morality and self-control.
The study appearing in Tuesdays Archieve of General Psychiatry, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine 21 volunteers diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and 60 other men.
It shows that some men are pre-disposed to crime, said Adrian Raine, a psychopathologist at the USC in Los Angeles.
Its a significant piece of the jigsaw, he continued, adding: Weve just begun to discover the brain mechanisms that can pre-dispose to antisocial and violent behaviour.
Raines team reported that the 21 volunteers had 11 per cent less nerve cells in their prefrontal cortexes than normal males.
The brain damage, seen
under the MRI, may explain the lack of conscience, poor
decision-making skills and abnormal fear responses that
are typical of antisocial, psychopathic behaviour, he
Largest-ever mass wedding via net
SEOUL, Feb 13 (Reuters) About 450,000 couples were today married in a mass ceremony connected by the Internet and satellite and officiated by Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon, church officials said.
About 30,000 of the couples some of whom had only just met took part in a live ceremony on an overcast Sunday at Chamsil Stadium in Seoul.
Yes, weve just met here in the stadium for the first time, said Mr Shino Hamashima, 29, of Japan, on the arm of her smiling husband, Mr Nejh Taner, 31, who flew from Turkey.
I am so happy, she said, shaking with excitement, and due to the chilly winter air.
A church spokesman said the Chamsil Stadium ceremony wedded 10,000 couples while 20,000 married couples rededicated their marriage vows to each other.
They were joined via satellite and the Internet by 420,000 more couples from around the globe, including North Korea, in what was said to be the largest-ever mass wedding, the spokesman said.
At the stadium, Rev Moon
and his wife blessed the identically dressed couples with
more than 150,000 well-wishers and viewers watching.
Dont execute Bahais: Clinton
WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) President Bill Clinton urged Iran not to execute three members of the Bahai faith, the White House said, adding it believed the men were tried solely because of their religious beliefs.
The White House yesterday said Mr Clinton was deeply troubled by death sentences that were reaffirmed on Sirus Zabihi-Moghaddam and Hedayet Kashefi-Najafabadi and by a new death sentence imposed on Manuchehr Khulusi.
The first two men were arrested in 1997 for violating a ban on religious gatherings while the third has never had formal charges brought against him, according to National Spiritual Association of Bahais spokeswoman Kit Cosby.
Clinton continues to hold the Iranian Government
responsible for the safety of the Bahai community of Iran
and strongly urges that these executions not be carried
out, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said
in a statement.
daily resumes publication
futuristic mini satellites
to US President
first woman test pilot dead
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