|Tuesday, February 22, 2000,
war games may be advanced
protest against towns division
poised for big win
fighting in Philippines
trial put off
from Lebanon by July
paid to Bangla martyrs
Bhattarai gets reprieve
KATHMANDU, Feb 21 (UNI) The on-going leadership crisis within the ruling Nepali Congress today appeared to have been defused for the time being following an agreement between party President Girija Prasad Koirala and Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, the septuagenarian duo at the helm of party-affairs.
The understanding was reached here after mediation by the younger generation leaders who feared that the Nepali Congress could well split if the Koirala-Bhattarai confrontation was allowed to snowball.
Led by former P.M. Dsher Bahadur Deuba, the man most likely to don the leadership mantle if the two septuagenarians relinquish the reins, the younger leaders prevailed upon both party President Koirala and premier-and NCPP leader-Bhattarai to defer a decision on voting on a censure motion against Mr Bhattarai during todays meeting of the Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party.
As a result, todays NCPP meeting, convened after 58 NC parliamentarians had on February 16 registered a no-confidence motion against Mr Bhattari, deferred the voting and the certain ouster of the premier. The meeting was adjourned till next Saturday without transaction of the slated business.
Earlier, Mr Deuba and other younger generation leaders, including deputy PM Ram Chandra Poundyal, Foreign Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, Former DPM Shailaja Acharya and former Finance Minister Mahesh Acharya, chalked out a compromise formula to allow premier Bhattarai to step down gracefully.
According to NC sources, the compromise envisaging that Mr Bhattarai would resign voluntarily from office very soon and thus not be seen to have been forced out, was thrashed out late yesterday shortly after Mr Deuba arrived here cutting short a visit to Australia where he had been invited by the Canberra Government.
Speaking to mediapersons on his arrival here, Mr Deuba had flayed the proposed NCPP censure move observing that an attempt to remove the Prime Minister through a no-confidence motion at the NCPP meeting rather than with dignity would be insulting to premier Bhattarais lifelong dedication and contribution.
Mr Deuba had further pointed out that barely three months ago, premier Bhattarai had promised to relinquish office in April-May soon after the conclusion of the coming winter session of Parliament.
What changes of such great magnitude have come to pass during the past three months, or what developments of great significance are expected to take place within the next three months that the Prime Ministers word to quit is being ignored, Mr Deuba queried.
Premier Bhattarai did
not attend todays NCPP meeting where 87 of the
partys total of 137 MPs were present. The Nepali
Congress has 113 members in the 205 seat Prathinidhi
Sabha, the Lower House of the Nepalis Bicameral
Parliament, and 24 in the 60-seat Upper House, the
Pak war games may be advanced
ISLAMABAD, Feb 21 (PTI) Pakistans military regime is likely to advance its war games, scheduled for October-December this year, a top official has hinted, according to media reports today.
Pakistans armed forces hold war games every year between October and December, but if the need arose, these could be held ahead of schedule, the English daily Pakistan Observer quoted the Chief Executives Press Secretary, Major Gen Rashid Qureshi as saying in an interview to Online.
The exercises are held twice every year in winter and summer .... Pakistans military manoeuvres have traditionally been novel, and they would be novel this time also, it said.
The Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf would personally inspect the exercises and address jawans, General Qureshi said, ahead of the two-day Corps Commanders meeting on national security and defence issues, due to begin today.
It said the conference, to be chaired by General Musharraf, would address the issue of aggression from across the border and deliberate on strategies as demanded by the situation.
On the recent expulsion of three Pakistani diplomats by India, General Qureshi said such incidents only show that Indians are not serious in giving peace initiatives a chance.
He also expressed satisfaction at the performance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with special reference to US President Bill Clintons visit to South Asia.
Mass protest against towns division
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA (Yugoslavia), Feb 21 (Reuters) NATO troops pushed ahead today with a major search operation in the volatile Kosovo city of Mitrovica, brushing aside yesterdays attacks on US soldiers by Serbs throwing rocks and bottles.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 ethnic Albanians marched from Kosovos provincial capital, Pristina, today towards Mitrovica to protest against its division into Serb and Albanian dominated sectors.
Hundreds of soldiers from several countries participated in the search in Mitrovica, which started yesterday. The operation is going on, said a spokesman for the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force, Lieut-Col Patrick Chanliau.
The Serbs threw snowballs, bottles and stones, KFOR rejected Serb accusations that the Americans had been too aggressive.
The French General in charge of Kosovos northern military sector nevertheless pulled the US troops out of the area to prevent any escalation.
Serbs in Kosovos third largest city of Mitrovica have formed a majority in the district north of the river Ibar. Albanians complain that members of their community cannot return to the homes they fled in fear of Serb forces, before NATO bombing drove those forces out of Kosovo last June.
The search has so far
yielded a provisional haul of 12 AK-47 weapons, six
rifles, two pistols, eight blocks of plastic explosive,
25 loaded magazines, a large amount of other ammunition,
four grenades and one machinegun, KFOR said. Seven
Albanians and one Serb were arrested for illegal weapons
Reformists poised for big win
DUBAI, Feb 21 (PTI) The landslide victory of reformists in the just concluded elections will help President Mohammad Khatami pursue his programme of social, political and economic reforms, often stymied by the outgoing conservatives in Parliament.
The conservatives received the worst-ever drubbing at the hands of the reformists who won the long-sought majority in the 290-member House by bagging 132 seats while their allies garnered 20 of the 192 results declared so far.
The Right wing conservatives have managed to win only 40 seats.
The results would strengthen the hands of Mr Khatami who can now pursue his liberal policies more vigorously, analysts said.
IRNA said 67 per cent of the winners were reformers and observers attributed the result to the high turnout in Fridays elections in which 80 per cent of the 38.7 million eligible voters exercised their franchise.
Reformists won all five seats in Isfahan in central Iran and ousted conservatives in their yet another stronghold such as the holy Shiite Muslim city of Mashhad.
Fresh fighting in Philippines
ZAMBOANGA (Philippines), Feb 21 (AFP) Philippine troops today killed at least eight Muslim rebels in renewed fighting as officials from both sides tried to salvage peace negotiations.
Military aircraft bombed the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Fronts (MILF) Camp Omar in Maguindanao province while troops fired mortars on outlying rebel positions near the camp early today, senior guerrilla leader Nash Abbas said.
At least eight freedom fighters were martyred and died fighting in the name of Allah, Mr Abbas said.
Soldiers took control of a satellite camp on the perimeter of Camp Omar, which was being defended by some 300 heavily armed MILF guerrillas, he said.
Sporadic clashes were also reported by the military in the nearby provinces of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, areas where the rebels maintain strong positions.
(Philippines): Muslim separatist rebels and the
Philippine government today agreed to hold an emergency
meeting in an effort to salvage formal peace talks put on
hold as a result of escalating violence in the south.
Lanang Ali, a lawyer for the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF), said officials of the two sides agreed to
hold the meeting to discuss the cessation of hostilities
and prospects for resuming the formal negotiations.
Anwars trial put off
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 (DPA) A Malaysian judge today adjourned the ongoing sodomy trial of sacked Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim to next month after his lawyers asked for time to prepare for his appeal hearing starting next week.
Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Arifin Jaka agreed to the postponement and fixed March 6 for the trial, which began last June, to resume its proceedings.
Pullout from Lebanon by July
JERUSALEM, Feb 21 (DPA) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has said during a speech he is committed to evacuating Israeli army forces from Southern Lebanon before or until July, by agreement.
Israel Radio carried Mr Baraks remarks which included the promise that Israel will exhaust every possibility to reach an agreement in Lebanon, since a withdrawal without agreement may demand more victims.
To ease criticism of
Israels recent bombing raids in Lebanon, he is
sending the head of his political staff Dani Yatom to
Moscow, to fill in Russian Premier Vladimir Putin on the
political situation in the Middle East.
Homage paid to Bangla martyrs
DHAKA, Feb 21 (PTI) Thousands of people marched barefoot to a martyrs memorial here today to pay homage to those who laid down their lives for their mother tongue, Bangla, 48 years ago.
The red and green national flag flew at half mast and songs were rendered today, observed as International Mother Language Day, in memory of those who died in police firing at a demonstration demanding recognition of Bengali as the official language alongside Urdu.
Thousands wearing black
badges streamed into the memorial singing Amar
bhayer rokte rangano ekushey February, ami ki bhulite
pari (How can I forget February 21, a day drenched
in the blood of my brothers).
World record in
Staff sacked for
for final mission
wins Golden Bear
for poisonous talk
rapid deployment force
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