Saturday, February 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Restore Pak Senate: Oppn
ISLAMABAD, Feb 25 — Parties comprising Pakistan’s Grand Democratic Alliance have censured the military government for continued suspension of the senate and questioned its “negative” response to elections for the vacant seats.

Sharif’s statement to be private
KARACHI, Feb 25 — A Pakistani judge today ruled that a statement to be given by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his hijacking trial will be recorded in private and a decision on whether any of it should be made public would come later.

Dosanjh sworn in BC Premier
VICTORIA (British Columbia), Feb 25 — Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, who was born in a village in Punjab has been sworn in as Canada’s first Indo-Canadian Premier and leader of the country’s third largest province.

Russian war crimes snapped
LONDON, Feb 25 — BBC television broadcast what it described as “the first reliable visual evidence” of war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces in Chechnya.

US woman executed
HUNTSVILLE, Feb 25 — The state of Texas executed 62-year-old grandmother Betty Lou Beets, convicted of killing her fifth husband, by lethal injection here, prison authorities announced.

Kennedy crash due to pilot error
WASHINGTON, Feb 25 — Federal Investigators have concluded the July 16 plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister was caused by pilot error on his part, Fox News Channel reported yesterday.

French PM calls for Palestinian state
JERUSALEM, Feb 25 — French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has voiced support here — in the presence of his Israeli counterpart — for a full-fledged Palestinian State, saying it was needed for Israel’s own security.


QUENZON, PHILIPPINES: President Joseph Estrada, centre, lights the eternal flame assisted by former President Fidel Ramos and Corazon Aquino during the celebration of the 14th anniversary of the "Peoples Power Revolution" Friday, in suburban Quezon City. A coup de etat led by then General Fidel Ramos toppled the 20-year rule of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and led to the installation of Corazon Aquino as the new presiodent. — AP/PTI



EARLIER STORIES
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  Pak envoy’s notice to ‘Jinnah’ director
LONDON, Feb 25 — Solicitors acting for the Pakistan High Commissioner here have issued a legal notice to Jamil Dehlavi, Director of film ‘Jinnah’, to retract his allegations made in an article in the Guardian newspaper or pay compensation for the “injury to their client’s reputation”.
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Restore Pak Senate: Oppn

ISLAMABAD, Feb 25 (ANI) — Parties comprising Pakistan’s Grand Democratic Alliance have censured the military government for continued suspension of the senate and questioned its “negative” response to elections for the vacant seats.

Saying that the Upper House of Parliament is a symbol of the federation, they have urged the government to restore the House by holding immediate elections to the 40 Senate seats, falling vacant on March 20.

Three main Opposition parties — the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — have condemned the suspension of the Senate and demanded its restoration with immediate effect.

Asfandyar Wali Khan, ANP president, while talking to journalists at the conclusion of the GDA meeting last night, said that all political parties had a common stand on the federal parliamentary system and the Senate as a body to safeguard the federation. “The day the Senate is incomplete, the constitution would be abrogated,” he said.

PPP leaders said they would take up the issue at the party’s central executive committee meeting scheduled for the first week of March. A member of the suspended Senate and PPP secretary-general, Mr Jahangir Badr, when contacted, said the CEC would hold thorough deliberations on the issue.

Earlier, the GDA warned the government against amendment in the constitution and demanded a roadmap for the return to democracy. “In case the government delays announcement of a roadmap for democracy we will evolve fresh strategy”, said Hamid Nasir Chattha while briefing newsmen on the GDA meeting held at PML (J) secretariat.

When asked if the GDA would give a deadline to the government for such announcement, Mr Chattha said: “No, we are not in a position to give a deadline at this stage. We are reasonable people and want the things to be done in a reasonable way”.
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Sharif’s statement to be private

KARACHI, Feb 25 (Reuters) — A Pakistani judge today ruled that a statement to be given by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his hijacking trial will be recorded in private and a decision on whether any of it should be made public would come later.

Anti-terrorism court Judge Rehmat Hussain Jafri made the ruling after the prosecution asked that Mr Sharif’s statement be given in camera because of worries that state secrets would be revealed.

“If the accused give an oral statement, whatever they will say in it will be recorded and then the court will decide at the appropriate stage as to whether the same or part of it should not be released to the public or media for public consumption,’’ Mr Jafri said.

The prosecution in Mr Sharif’s hijacking case had asked the court to first “certify’’ that Mr Sharif’s statement did not tarnish the image of the military-led government. The trial begins again on Wednesday.
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Dosanjh sworn in BC Premier

VICTORIA (British Columbia), Feb 25 (Reuters) — Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, who was born in a village in Punjab has been sworn in as Canada’s first Indo-Canadian Premier and leader of the country’s third largest province.

Mr Dosanjh (52) was elected leader of British Columbia’s New Democratic Party Government on Sunday in a vote followed closely in both his adopted homeland and native country.

“When I started my journey on December 31, 1964, leaving India, little did I know, think or imagine that I would be standing before you being called Premier Dosanjh,” he told a ceremony here yesterday.

Mr Dosanjh was born in Dosanjh Kalan in Punjab, but came to Canada after secondary school. Canada has an estimated 400,000 citizens who trace their family roots to India, most living in British Columbia and Ontario.

Mr Dosanjh, who was B.C.’s Attorney-General, has also been active in Sikh religious affairs and was viciously beaten up with an iron bar in 1985 for speaking out against violent efforts to achieve an independent Sikh homeland.

Mr Dosanjh takes over a NDP Government that has seen its popularity plunge over its handling of the economy and scandals that led to resignation last year of Premier Glen Clark.
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Russian war crimes snapped

LONDON, Feb 25 (AFP) — BBC television broadcast what it described as “the first reliable visual evidence” of war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces in Chechnya.

Pictures taken in villages to the west of Grozny showed Russian soldiers rounding up young Chechen men, and bodies, some showing clear signs of mutilation and torture, being unceremoniously dumped in a mass grave.

The BBC said most of the pictures were “too disturbing” to broadcast.

It said allegations of atrocities against Chechen civilians, including rape, executions and torture, were dismissed by Moscow as “concoctions, unsupported by facts or proof.”

The pictures showed Russian soldiers entering a Chechen village and rounding up men for interrogation. Chechens claim many were innocent civilians.

“The operation was witnessed by a German journalist unhindered by Russian troops who object to the orders they have to carry out,” the BBC said yesterday.

The BBC report came as the Council of Europe’s Human Rights envoy arrived in Moscow yesterday.

MOSCOW (AFP): Russia’s acting President Vladimir Putin today unveiled a populist election manifesto, tough on crime and Chechen rebels, which he hopes will push him to victory in the next month’s presidential poll.

In an “open letter” to electors published in the Izvestia daily, Mr Putin said Russia’s two main problems were “the lack of will” and “the lack of firmness” which notably allowed criminal gangs to develop throughout the country.
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US woman executed

HUNTSVILLE, Feb 25 (AFP) — The state of Texas executed 62-year-old grandmother Betty Lou Beets, convicted of killing her fifth husband, by lethal injection here, prison authorities announced.

Late yesterday, Governor George W. Bush declined to grant her a 30-day reprieve shortly after the US Supreme Court rejected her final appeal, clearing the way for the execution.

Beets was sentenced in 1985 for killing her fifth husband, Dallas fireman Jimmy Don Beets, whose body was found buried in the front yard of their mobile home.

Her attorneys had argued that Beets was the victim of domestic abuse that her case was mishandled by her former attorney, Ray Andrews, who, according to them, did not bother to look into the history of her relationship with her slain husband.

Beets was only the fourth woman to be put to death in the USA since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.
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Kennedy crash due to pilot error

WASHINGTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) — Federal Investigators have concluded the July 16 plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister was caused by pilot error on his part, Fox News Channel reported yesterday.

Fox quoted sources close to the investigation as saying that no mechanical problems had been found with the plane Kennedy was flying.

A finding by the NTSB that Kennedy, the son of former President John F. Kennedy, was responsible for the crash could bolster plans by the family of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and her sister, Lauren Bessette, to file a wrongful death or negligence lawsuit against Kennedy’s estate.


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French PM calls for Palestinian state

JERUSALEM, Feb 25 (AFP) — French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has voiced support here — in the presence of his Israeli counterpart — for a full-fledged Palestinian State, saying it was needed for Israel’s own security.

Speaking during an official dinner hosted here by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Mr Jospin said that “Israeli security requires a viable, democratic, stable and prosperous Palestinian state”.

Only a Palestinian state “will provide the means to maintain public order and to avert the risk of violence,” he added.
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Pak envoy’s notice to ‘Jinnah’ director

LONDON, Feb 25 (PTI) — Solicitors acting for the Pakistan High Commissioner here have issued a legal notice to Jamil Dehlavi, Director of film ‘Jinnah’, to retract his allegations made in an article in the Guardian newspaper or pay compensation for the “injury to their client’s reputation”.

“The notice requires Dehlavi to immediately retract unfounded and scandalous allegations made in the article in The Guardian newspaper published on February 17 and to endorse a public statement acknowledging the falsehood of the allegations”, a press release issued by the High Commissioner for Pakistan, Akbar S. Ahmed said yesterday
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WORLD BRIEFS

27 terminally ill ‘die with dignity’
SALEM: In 1999, 27 patients suffering from terminal diseases committed suicide using a unique U.S. Law that legalises the prescription of lethal medications, said a report that has been released in the New England Journal of Medicine”. The patients died using medications that doctors could legally prescribe under a controversial Oregon law called the Death with Dignity Act” that was passed by voters in 1997. — DPA

Double-decker crash: 21 dead
SHANGHAI: An overloaded double-decker bus ran off the road in southern China, killing 21 people and injuring 27, the official Wenhui daily reported today. The 32-seat bus was carrying 47 passengers when the driver lost control and veered off the road into a ditch in the southern region of Guangxi, the newspaper said on Friday. — Reuters

Spice Girls lose case in court
LONDON: The Spice Girls lost their court case against the Italian motorcycle manufacturers Aprilia. The group had sued Aprilia for 340,000 dollars in unpaid fees from the company’s 800,000 dollars sponsorship deal for the Spice Girls’ 1998 world tour. As part of that promotion, Aprilia made a Spice Sonic scooter with a silhouette of all five singers on it. That product flopped when Geri Halliwell left the group, the company said. — AP

8 killed in Thai helicopter crash
BANGKOK: A Thai military helicopter crashed in the western province of Kanchanaburi on Friday shortly after take off from an army base killing at least eight senior army officers on board, a military spokesman said. Lieutenant General Lertrat Rattanawanit, Deputy Army Chief of Staff, told a local radio station that the helicopter which had eleven people on board, including officers from the Ninth Army Division, crashed due to bad weather as rains lashed the area. — Reuters

Winslet expects first baby
LONDON: British actress Kate Winslet, who starred with Leonardo Dicaprio in the film, “Titanic”, is expecting her first baby, newspapers reported. Winslet and her movie director husband Jim Threapleton met on the sets in 1997 and married 15 months ago. — Reuters

Barney the ‘X-rated’ dinosaur
RICHARDSON (Texas): A picture showing a naked woman massaging a naked man appeared in a ‘Barney the Dinosaur’ children’s book printed in Texas on recycled paper, the Fort Worth star-telegram has reported. Barney, a jovial purple dinosaur who is the star of the U.S. television show ‘Barney Friends’, is one of the most beloved children’s characters in the USA. — DPA

Thirsty monkeys stone herder
NAIROBI: A group of thirsty monkeys have stoned a herdsman to death in drought-stricken northern Kenya as he watered his livestock, a newspaper reported. “In a clear sign of worsening drought, a herdsman was killed after riotous monkeys stoned pastoralists at a watering point in Wajir district,” the East African Standard said on Thursday. — Reuters

11 killed in road accident
HANOI: Eleven people were killed and nine others injured when a minibus collided with an oncoming truck and motorbike on Vietnam’s highway 1-A, authorities said on Friday. Four bus passengers and all three drivers died instantly in the accident, which occurred at dusk on Wednesday in the southcentral province of Khanh Hoa, police said. — DPA

Bond passport fetches 15, 525
LONDON: A passport that James Bond creator Ian Fleming used in a real-life wartime spy mission has fetched 15,525 pounds (24,850 dollars) at auction, more than five times the estimate, Sotheby’s said. Fleming used the passport during a secret World War Two operation, code named ‘Goldeneye’, to ensure that communications between London and Gibraltar would remain open if Spain took Germany’s side. — ReutersTop

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