|Monday, March 6, 2000,
PM steps up war on graft
Pinochet, say protesters
monks oppose Oslos mediation
|Most female MPs in Nordic states
BERLIN, March 5 India ranks 68th among 177 countries in women representation in the Lower House of Parliament while European Nordic countries continues to occupy the top four positions having maximum female parliamentarians.
Russia to set up N-plants
Chinese PM steps up war on graft
BEIJING, March 5 (PTI, Reuters), Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji today pledged unremitting efforts to rein in corruption, promising greater efforts to provide a clean and honest government and defended the crackdown evil organisations like Falun Gong.
Fighting corruption is still a high task, Mr Zhu said in a speech at the opening session of the National Peoples Congress (Parliament), a day after a senior lawmaker was placed under investigation for graft.
We still fall far short of what the central authorities require of us and what the people expect of us, he said adding that greater efforts should be made to fight corruption and build a clean and honest government.
Mr Zhu said the government should be strict with itself in carrying out its duties in accordance with the law and try to be honest, diligent, pragmatic and efficient.
Our government is a peoples government. Honesty in the performance of official duties is the minimum requirement for governments at all levels, he said.
Yesterday, the Chinese Parliament spokesman, Mr Zeng Jianhui, confirmed that a Vice-Chairman of parliament was the subject of a bribery probe.
In his speech, Zhu hailed the decisive measures taken last year against the sect, which had gained a following of millions since it was founded in the early 1990s by a Chinese former granary clerk.
Beijing says the sect brainwashes and bilks its followers, and has caused 1,400 deaths by instructing them to use Falun Gong practices rather than medicine to cure illnesses, or by driving them to suicide.
Evil cults must be banned and attacked in accordance with the law, Zhu said in his speech.
Prime Minister Zhu warned Taiwan and its supporters not to underestimate Chinas resolve to retake the island and warned Beijing will not sit idly if Taipei went ahead with its independence bid.
We will not sit idly by and watch any serious separatist activity aimed at undermining Chinas sovereignty and territorial integrity, Mr Zhu told NPC members.
Such activity included advocating Taiwans independence or pushing the two states theory suggested by the countrys outgoing president Lee Teng-Hui, he said while describing Chinas reunification with Taiwan as a sacred mission.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have been tense ever since China released a policy white paper on the Taiwan issue on February 21, indicating for the first time that it would use military force, if the island kept dragging its heels on reunification talks.
Mr Zhu declared that talks with Taiwan can only be conducted on the basis of one China.
On Chinas foreign policy, the Prime Minister said the country would adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace, oppose hegemonism, safeguard world peace and resolutely defend the nations sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Earlier, the police near Tiananmen Square detained at least two dozen suspected followers of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.
Countless uniformed and plainclothes officers patrolled the area below the portrait of the late Chairman Mao Zedong across the Square from the Great Hall of the People, where the National Peoples Congress was opening its 11-day session.
Some of the detainees had unfurled banners before they were surrounded by the police and hustled quickly aboard small buses.
Two buses, each loaded with about 15 detainees, drove off within half an hour of the start of Premier Zhu Rongjis keynote speech to the opening session of the NPC.
All but the area of the Square around Maos portrait, which stares across the vast Square from the Gate of Heavenly Peace, was closed to the public. The rest was used as a parking lot for the nearly 3,000 delegates of the Congress.
Paramilitary police blocked off all tunnels and sidewalks leading to the Square, the political heart of China, and laid out spikes in the roads to keep traffic well away from the Great Hall once Zhus speech began.
The orderly arrests
contrasted with scenes a month ago when the police beat
and kicked scores of Falun Gong protesters who unfurled
banners and began meditating in the Square on the eve of
the lunar New Year.
MAPUTO, March 5 (Reuters) Logistical snags are looming in Mozambique as western donor nations join forces with south African rescuers today to help the country cope with the catastrophic aftermath of its worst floods in memory.
Lack of clear coordination is also likely to become an issue in the next few days as so far there has been no official word on how the western rescue missions will be deployed and who will organise their diverse operations.
South African air force officials said ferrying fuel supplies by air to centres cut off by the floods would pose a logistical nightmare as most of the incoming western aircraft were not built to operate in rugged and remote terrain with no refuelling facilities. The western pilots are reluctant to ferry fuel on their aircraft as the south Africans have been doing.
With the amount of helicopters you have its going to be a logistical nightmare to get in the fuel thats needed, said Brigadier-General John Church.
Our aircraft have been prepared to operate from rugged areas and infrastructure that dont have refuelling facilities. The others dont have that, he told a news conference late on Saturday.
The South Africans have been operating alone in the countrys central and southern provinces since February 11, rescuing thousands of people trapped in trees and on rooftops by rising flood waters and delivering food aid.
French, Spanish, German and US Civilian and military helpers flew tonnes of food, medicines and equipment, including trucks and powerful boats, into Maputo yesterday.
LUSAKA: Impoverished Zambia and Malawi said today they were pouring aid into neighbouring Mozambique to help with rescue operations and emergency feeding after its devastating floods.
Though the southern African nation struggles with its own poverty and debt problems, Zambian Air Force Commander Sande Kayumba told reporters the government had released 120 tonnes of food and medical aid worth three billion kwacha ( $1 million ).
Zambian well-wishers also had donated $ 250,000 in cash for neighbouring Mozambique.
Mr Kayumba said 55 tonnes of medical aid had been sent, including quinine, antibiotics, and surgical equipment. Two air force helicopters from Malawi have been in Mozambique since Tuesday helping with the rescue effort.
Zambia has flood
problems of its own from the weeks of rain that have
doused southern Africa. It opened the spillway gates of
Kariba Dam last weekend after water levels rose well
above designated standards.
Jail Pinochet, say protesters
SANTIAGO, March 5 (Reuters) Protesters demanding jail for Augusto Pinochet fought police in Santiago as officials fumed over an apparent return to health by Chiles ex-dictator who escaped trial in Spain on grounds of illness.
The 84-year-old General awoke free at his luxury residence to a view of his beloved Andes for the first morning after 503 days under arrest in Britain.
As Pinochet spent a quiet day with relatives, 5,000 protesters clamoured outside the Moneda Presidential Palace for him to be jailed in Chile.
After most demonstrators left peacefully, a few hundred threw rocks and soft drink cans at the police who replied with baton blows and several bursts of a water cannon.
Several people, including a news photographer, were hurt. Human rights lawyer Hugo Gutierrez said six protesters were arrested for the incidents on the march.
Meanwhile, lawyers have filed a new suit against Augusto Pinochet and protesters demanded his prosecution, while the ex-dictator, cheered by supporters, rested at home following his release from Britain.
Pinochet (84) who had been found unfit to face trial in Spain, showed no signs of ill health as he appeared on two occasions at the door of his Santiago home waving with both hands to some 200 supporters.
Human rights groups say the ex-strongmans evidently robust health when he stepped off the plane that brought him home on Friday ridiculed claims he could not face trial.
It appears that Pinochet is in a perfectly good condition physically and mentally to be prosecuted, said lawmaker Isadel Allende, daughter of President Salvador Allende, who committed suicide during the September 1973 military coup that brought Pinochet to power.
Lankan monks oppose Oslos mediation
COLOMBO, March 5 (PTI) President Chandrika Kumaratungas efforts to hold direct talks with the LTTE under Norwegian mediation have suffered a major setback with Sri Lankas two leading Buddhist sects strongly opposing the move.
The heads of Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters of Buddhism, which have a strong following among the Sinhalese majority, along with four Sinhala right-wing groups have threatened to launch an agitation against the peace talks under the auspices of the Norwegian Government, saying Oslo supported the LTTE.
The opposition by the two monks Ven. Rambukavalle Sri Vipassi Tehara of the Malwatte sect and Ven Madihe Pannaseeha Mahanayaka Thera of the Asgiriya sect has put a spoke in Mrs Kumaratungas latest peace efforts of offering broad autonomy to the Tamil province as a political solution to the nearly three-decade-old ethnic conflict which has so far claimed 55,000 lives in the island-nation.
The two monks,
Mahanayakas as they are called, and the
Sinhala groups, consistently opposed to any rapprochement
with the LTTE, decided to send a petition opposing
Oslos intervention to the President at a conference
here yesterday, the local media reported today.
Most female MPs in Nordic states
BERLIN, March 5 (PTI) India ranks 68th among 177 countries in women representation in the Lower House of Parliament while European Nordic countries continues to occupy the top four positions having maximum female parliamentarians.
India, which had 49 women MPs accounting for 9 per cent of the 543-member Lok Sabha, was among the 103 countries where womens representation in the lower house of national parliament was less than 10 per cent, according to a report prepared by the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The numerical strength of Indian women MPs in the Lok Sabha was also lower than the world average of 13.4 per cent of parliamentarians being from the fair sex. Of the 32,945 lower house MPs all over the world, there were 28,523 men and 4,422 women.
The report, prepared along with a comprehensive survey titled politics, womens insight, gives out an assessment of participation of women in political life, and will be presented at the UN headquarters in New York tomorrow.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson and President of the IPU council, Najma Heptulla, in her comments in the survey observed that the feminist movement around the world has gathered momentum and that it was encouraging to see that even men have come to accept women as equal partners in the process of civilisation.
In Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, the percentage strength of women MPs was 42.7 per cent, 37.4 per cent, 37 and 36.4 per cent of their respective lower house, the IPU report said.
In terms of actual numbers, China has the highest number of women MPs 650. But the total strength of the Lower House of Parliament in that country is also as high as 2,979.
As many as 60 countries
did not have a women MP at all in the lower house. They
included Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique
and Nigeria, but, jordan, Nigeria and Liberia had women
members in the Upper House or senate which is 22 per cent
of the total strength of the House.
Russia to set up N-plants
ST,PETERSBURG, March 5 (PTI) Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov has said Russia could build a nuclear power plant in India.
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