|Wednesday, February 16, 2000,
for East Timor not now: Annan
faces treason for pro-Indian song
move fails against Barak
|Cyanide waters reach Belgrade
BELGRADE, Feb 15 A burst of cyanide-laced water that has flown into the Danube killing everything in its path reached Yugoslav capital Belgrade yesterday and was heading eastwards to where the Danube slices a path between Romania and Bulgaria.
US tornadoes kill 22
in Dhaka despite new law
Tribunal for East Timor not now: Annan
JAKARTA, Feb 15 (DPA) United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived here today, one day after President Abdurrahman Wahid suspended former military chief Wiranto from the Cabinet over his alleged involvement in the bloodshed in East Timor last year.
Mr Annan hailed Mr Wahids decision to suspend Wiranto, saying in Singapore yesterday that a global tribunal will not be set up at this stage to try those responsible for the East Timor atrocities.
The Government of Indonesia has demonstrated its determination to put those accused on trial and if it does go through, I think it will make Indonesian stronger and it will be helpful for its own legal system, Mr Annan said.
A U.N human rights commission investigation into the East Timor violence recommended an international human rights tribunal be set up to try those responsible for the bloodshed.
Mr Annan is scheduled to held talks with Mr Wahid and other leaders tomorrow with East Timor issue high on the agenda, officials said.
WASHINGTON (AFP): The USA has offered its firm backing for President Wahids suspension of General Wiranto from his Cabinet calling it a significant step for democracy.
This action reflects President Wahids governments intention to seriously address charges against individuals alleged to be responsible for human rights abuses in East Timor, State Department spokesman James Rubin told reporters.
It is a significant step forward in development of democracy and the rule of law in Indonesia after decades of authoritarian rule and ignoring these key values, Mr Rubin, said referring to the tenure in power of former President Suharto.
In addition to noting
the positive human rights message sent by Mr Wahids
suspension of the General, Mr Rubin said it also showed
that Indonesia was moving toward a reform of the military
which for long had been a force with little or no
civilian oversight or control.
Actress faces treason for pro-Indian song
ISLAMABAD, Feb 15 (DPA) Pakistans popular film actress Reema, facing a charge of treason for singing a pro-Indian song while in the USA, furnished a bond of Rs 20,000 ($ 400) to a court to assure that she will not run away from the trial, press reports said today.
A citizen moved the court after she sang Jan Jan Hindustan (India is my life) at a concert in the USA last year. It was an altered version of a patriotic song entitled Dil dil Pakistan, jan jan Pakistan, sung by a Pakistani pop group several years ago.
The complainants ire was aroused because Reemas rendition was broadcast by an Indian television channel at a time when tensions between the two nations had touched a new height in the wake of the Christmas-eve hijacking of an Indian plane, allegedly by Pakistan-backed Kashmiri militants.
Reema appeared in burqa in the courtroom in Lahore, Pakistans film centre, yesterday. The prosecuting lawyer demanded that the veil be removed to establish that it was really Reema behind it.
But Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranjha did not agree, saying he was satisfied it was her, according to the mass-circulation Urdu-language daily Jang.
Reemas lawyer called the charge of treason blackmailing and asked for protection for his client as her fans crowded the courtroom. Eventually the judges own bodyguards escorted her out safely.
If convicted Reema, who is known for her sexy roles in Pakistani films, could be sentenced to death or imprisonment.
No-trust move fails against Barak
JERUSALEM, Feb 15 (Reuters) Prime Minister Ehud Barak, with rare backing from the Right-wing Opposition, has defeated a no-confidence motion put forth by Israeli Arab parties in Parliament over retaliatory air strikes in Lebanon.
Briefing deputies of his one Israel alliance before the vote, the Labour Prime Minister said appeals for an immediate troop pullout from South Lebanon would have to wait.
A rare alliance between one Israel and the Likud opposition yesterday defeated the no-confidence motion by an overwhelming vote in a session raucous even by Parliaments stormy standard.
Grassroots backing for an immediate pullout from Israels South Lebanon occupation zone soared after Hizbollah guerrillas killed seven soldiers in three weeks this year. Israeli bombings have wounded at least 20 persons and cut power to much of Lebanon.
Barak told one Israel deputies that he would exhaust all chances to clinch a deal with Syria and its ally Lebanon before ordering the pullout.
I know that there is a question going around throughout the public: why dont we do this immediately, tomorrow?, he said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli President, Mr Ezer Weizman, will apparently not be indicted for his role in a financial scandal in which he received cash gifts from French millionaire Eduard Sarousi, Israeli television stations reported last night.
Cyanide waters reach Belgrade
BELGRADE, Feb 15 (DPA) A burst of cyanide-laced water that has flown into the Danube killing everything in its path reached Yugoslav capital Belgrade yesterday and was heading eastwards to where the Danube slices a path between Romania and Bulgaria.
The European Union assured Hungary and Romania, which are both seeking EU membership, of technical help to fight the disaster.
The news agency Beta said officials in the northern province of Vojvodina were concerned that groundwater would be polluted if the dead fish were simply buried.
The mayor of Kanjiza, Istvan Bacskulin, said local authorities had been told by Belgrade to put any dead fish in landfills.
The cyanide, which is used to flush gold out of ore, was released from a basin at an Australian-owned goldmine in Baia Mare, Romania, two weeks ago. It first flowed west and entered the south-flowing Tisza, Hungarys second-largest river. This empties into the Danube.
In Hungary, reports yesterday said there were tons of dead fish floating in the river. Ecologists said it could take years for the eco-system to recover, since the poison hit in the spawning season.
The worst damage was in the far northwestern corner of Romania where the release happened, but because the valley system doubles back, Romania was due to be hit by the pollution a second time.
An AP report said work
crews pulled out tonnes of dead fish from the Tisza and
Danube rivers even as Romania rebuffed compensation
demands from Yugoslavia and Hungary for the gold mine
spill that contaminated the rivers with cyanide.Serbia,
the larger of the two republics in Yugoslavia, banned the
sale of most freshwater fish yesterday and Hungary warned
of long-term ecological damage.
US tornadoes kill 22
WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (AFP) Tornadoes ripped through Georgia and other states in the south-eastern USA killing at least 22, a spokesman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency has said.
We dont have a number on the missing yet. So far folks are somewhat accounted for, said agency spokesman Dan Brown in a telephone interview yesterday.
Georgia was the worst hit, though tornadoes also touched down in Arkansas, Alabama and northern Florida, said Mr Ken Davis, another state agency spokesman.
President Bill Clinton offered condolences for the victims of the tornadoes while speaking at the Hispanic American achievement ceremony in the While House last night.
Strike in Dhaka despite new law
DHAKA, Feb 15 (Reuters) Thousands of police and paramilitary forces today patrolled Dhaka as the Opposition launched another strike to try to bring down the government.
The national strike, the latest bid to topple Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is scheduled to last three days. It began at 6 a.m. and comes the same day when a controversial public safety law comes into effect.
Under the law, jail terms of up to 14 years of hard labour can be handed down for crimes that include obstructing transport and damaging property.
feared dead as bus falls into river
absent at Vadims memorial
home not to be demolished
Spice Girls must
wait for judgement
Kidman film team
searches for girl
interest to Rushdie bounty
S. African flood
Boy run over by
train on birthday
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