|Thursday, March 16, 2000,
Keep off Taiwan, China
Bush, Gore clinch primaries
Barak cancels land
Cancel Mozambiques debt:
Ex-police chief gets two
Hajis flock to Arafat
BEIJING, March 15 (Reuters) Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji told Taiwan today to shun pro-independence candidates during the Presidential election at the weekend or risk not getting a second chance to vote.
Mr Zhu added to a succession of threats to use force to achieve reunification, although he said Beijing would prefer a negotiated solution to 50 years of division.
Mr Zhu accused elements in the USA of using the Taiwan issue to thwart China.
Some people in America always want to use Taiwan to oppose China, he said. They view China as a potential enemy; they would be happy to see the Taiwan question drag on indefinitely.
But his comments at a news conference appeared to reflect Beijings worries that the main Opposition candidate, Mr Chen Shui-Bian, whose party has advocated independence in the past, might win Saturdays too close to call election in Taiwan.
Let me advise all those people in Taiwan: do not just act on impulse at this juncture, which will decide the future course that China and Taiwan will follow. Otherwise Im afraid you wont get another opportunity to regret, Mr Zhu said.
We believe in the political wisdom of the people of Taiwan and we trust that our Taiwan compatriots will make the right historical choice, he said.
No matter who comes into power in Taiwan, Taiwan will never be allowed to be independent. he said. This is our bottom line and the will of 1.25 billion Chinese people.
Mr Chen of the main Opposition Democratic Progressive Party is locked in a tight three-way race with Vice-President Lien Chan of the ruling Nationalist Party and rebel nationalist candidate James Soong. China has not officially endorsed or vetoed any candidate.
China issued a policy paper last month in which it threatened to use military force against Taiwan if the island dragged its feet indefinitely on reunification talks.
Mr Zhu denied the threat marked a change in Chinas policy and dismissed estimations by western military analysts that China was years away from having the aircraft and ships to be able to take well-armed Taiwan.
People making such calculations dont know Chinese history, he said. The Chinese people are ready to shed blood and sacrifice their lives to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland, he said.
He said advocates of Taiwan independence would come to a no good end, but tempered slightly his hard-line reiteration of Beijings position on the wealthy, democratic island that has been estranged from the Communist mainland since 1949.
Whoever stands for one China will get our support. We can have talks with them and our talks will cover anything.
AUSTIN (Texas), March 15 (Reuters) Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George, W. Bush wrapped up their parties presidential nominations yesterday, setting the stage for a bitter, contentious and lengthy election campaign.
Mr Gore and Mr Bush had effectively won the Democratic and Republican nominations last week with their victories on super Tuesday, which forced their rivals, Former Senator Bill Bradley and Senator John McCain of Arizona, out of the race.
They made it official yesterday, easily winning a string of primaries in southern states. As soon as election closed in Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee exit poll projected both men the victors.
Both were also expected to win in Texas where poll closed a little later.
Mr Bush held a huge celebration at a Jewish community centre in Austin, Mr Gore, who voted earlier in Tennessee, travelled to Florida for this victory declaration.
In the past week, both men have focused on the coming general election battle which promises to be an exhausting eight-month marathon. A new Gallup poll published yesterday showed Mr Bush leading Mr Gore by 49-43 per cent.
The poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points, showed Mr Bush winning more McCain supporters than Mr Gore, including 80 per cent of the Republicans who supported Mr McCain. Among independents who backed the Arizona Senator, 46 per cent said they now favoured Mr Bush while 37 per cent supported Gore.
Mr Gore voted along with his wife Tipper at River Forks School in Elmwood, Tennessee, a small town near his familys farm. He told about 150 children and adults who gathered there that he aimed to keep the economy strong and protect the environment.
I want to be President in order to keep our economy strong. he said in answer to one childs, question I dont want you to have to worry about big problems like global warming.
JERUSALEM, March 15 (Reuters) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak yesterday bowed to Right-wing pressure and cancelled plans to give up a West Bank village on Jerusalems fringes to Palestinian control.
Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ehud Barak has decided not to include Anata village in the 6.1 per cent (of the West Bank) which is to be handed over to the Palestinians, Mr Baraks office said in a statement.
The Prime Minister stresses that the unity of Jerusalem stands at the top of the list of priorities of his government, the statement said.
Mr Baraks embarrassing climbdown over the emotive issue of the future of the holy city came only hours after news leaked to the Israeli media that he intended to transfer control of Anata, stirring the ire of Israeli hardliners who oppose any concessions near Jerusalem.
It came less than 24 hours after his coalition government squeaked to a 47-42 victory in a no-confidence motion in 120-seat Parliament.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Baraks security Cabinet narrowly approved maps for an overdue Israeli troop withdrawal from the occupied West Bank, his office said. Five ministers voted for the maps, three against while one abstained.
The maps for the 6.1 percent withdrawal, which was due to have taken place in January, are to be presented by chief Israeli negotiator Oded Eran to Palestinian senior negotiator Saeb Erakat.
The pullout covers villages on the outskirts of Jerusalem already under Palestinian civilian rule Beitunia near Ramallah to the north and Ubaydiyah to the southeast near Bethlehem.
Several of the Prime Ministers coalition partners had lined up against the government on Monday, ostensibly to show dissatisfaction with plans to teach Palestinian poetry in Israeli schools but also to signal to Mr Barak that they had the power to limit his peace options.
Israeli hawks flocked to Jewish settlements near Jerusalem on Tuesday to meet worried residents after Israeli media reported that Anata, near the settlement of Pisgat Zeev, would be included in the next handover of West Bank land.
Later in the day, Mr Barak, repeatedly defended his commitment to a united Jerusalem before the heckling of Right-wing members of the Knesset at a newly instituted question and answer period.
Barak is casting a Palestinian ring of strangulation around the capital, said Jewish settlement spokesman Yehoshua Mor-Yossef.
Israel radio said the
6.1 per cent handover, postponed since January over
differences about which areas would be transferred is
expected to take place next week after the maps are
approved by Israels Cabinet.
MAPUTO, March 15 (Reuters) Southern African leaders have urged western donors to cancel Mozambiques foreign debt to help it recovery from mass flooding, but aid workers say disease and malnutrition are more immediate threats.
Nine presidents and prime ministers, meeting in an emergency summit yesterday, said the international community needed to write off Mozambiques $ eight billion obligations to enable it to channel all available resources to the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure.
That sort of assistance may be necessary but aid workers say there are more immediate concerns with the spread of disease, particularly malaria and cholera, probable if the relief effort is not carefully coordinated and supported.
Aid workers told Reuters that there is acute malnutrition among some young children and say that if seeds are not planted quickly, a food crisis will hit the country.
Were seeing acute malnutrition in babies and were very concerned. Lack of food and access to clean water weakens their immune system, said Ian Macleod, emergency coordinator for the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF).
If seeds for maize and other crops are not planted in the next few weeks, peasant farmers will not be able to reap this years harvest, prolonging the food shortage and aggravating the possibility of malnourishment.
In the washed-out town of Chokwe, about 190 km (120 miles) north of Maputo, residents complained on Tuesday of food shortages nearly a month after the rains first hit.
France proposed on Tuesday that sovereign debt claims on Mozambique be postponed and said it was ready to cancel the $ 470 million it is owed as soon as other countries agreed to an overall debt relief plan.
Botswana President Festus Mogae, attending the emergency summit of the Southern African Development Community, said debt write-off was a pre-requisite to a successful recovery from the flooding, and said the impact of the disaster highlighted the vulnerability of southern African economies.
This disaster shows that the fragility and vulnerability of our economies is real and not just fabricated as a means of getting aid, he said.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (AP) Malaysias former police chief was sentenced to two months in jail today for assaulting former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was blindfolded and handcuffed to a jail bed during the attack.
Abdul Rahim Noor, who pleaded guilty was convicted yesterday, and fined 2,000 ringgit ($ 526). But he didnt go to jail, as the court granted him bail until the appeal on his sentencing is heard. No date was set for the appeal.
Abdul Rahim, 56, sat without any expression in the court as Sessions Court Judge Akhtar Tahir read his decision to place him behind bars for two months.
The punishment will serve as a lesson to the police, who are responsible for ensuring peace in the nation, the judge said.
Although it was the first time a former police chief had been sentenced to jail in Malaysia, the ruling was criticised as being too light for the brutal assault which shocked Malaysians and drew international condemnation.
The sentence is manifestly inadequate. Here is an inspector general of police who assaulted a defenceless man who was blindfolded and handcuffed, said Mr Karpal Singh, Anwars lawyer in an ongoing sodomy trial.
An official of the
opposition National Justice Party, formed by Anwars
wife, said that while ordinary Malaysians receive harsher
sentences for peacefully protesting against the
government, Abdul Rahim was not even required to go to
jail right away.
ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia, March 15 (AFP) More than two million Muslims gathered at the site of Prophet Mohammads last sermon on the plain of Arafat to pray for forgiveness today, the high point of the annual Haj pilgrimage.
The faithful poured in by bus and on foot from a tent city in Mina, outside Mecca in western Saudi Arabia, where they spent the night. Many carried umbrellas to keep off the sun, as the temperature reached 29 Celsius.
Here I am, Allah, answering your call. There is no other God but you, they chanted in unison, repeatedly, as they converged on Arafat.
They assembled for the
standing on the Mount of Mercy (Jabal
al-Rahma) for the climax of the 1,400-year-old journey of
faith, spending the entire day praying for mercy in a
symbolic enactment of the final judgement.
arraigned for murder
Ex-PM jailed for
Woman seeks sex
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