|Tuesday, March 21, 2000,
Clinton to meet Syrian President
after trip to Indian subcontinent
Stop sending ultras to Kashmir,
Clinton to ask Pak
Pak CJ questions ban order during
Britain's minister in the dock
Russia warns against NATO
Pak assurance on Iran-India
Putin ready for talks with rebels
China offers to negotiate with
More than 6, 00,000 animals
sacrificed during Haj
Counsel may charge Clinton in
Quake rocks Taiwan
Prosecution seeks death sentence for Sharif
ISLAMABAD, March 20 (PTI) The prosecution today demanded the punishment of death penalty for deposed Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz and five others in the plane hijacking case.
Chief prosecutor and Advocate-General, Sindh, Raja Qureshi told the Karachi anti-terrorism court Judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffrey that "the maximum punishment" should be awarded to all accused.
The prosecution began their final arguments today after a week's delay following the refusal of Sharif's lawyers to participate in the trial in Karachi because of the killing of the their colleague Iqbal Raad. They (prosecution) have two days more to wrap up the arguments.
Mr Qureshi read out excerpts from the testimony of several witnesses to argue that Sharif and the co-defendants had taken control of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight from Colombo endangering the lives of Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf and the 198 passengers on board.
Alleging that the
deposed Prime Minister had conspired with the other
accused at the Prime Minister's house in Islamabad, Mr
Qureshi said, "It is established that the accused
were present in the process of hatching a conspiracy.
They stand fully implicated in the commissioning of the
Clinton to meet Syrian President after trip to Indian subcontinent
DAMASCUS, March 20 (AFP) Syria today reiterated its demand for an Israeli commitment to withdraw from the whole of the occupied Golan heights as US president Bill Clinton announced he would meet president Hafez al-Assad in Geneva.
The "leaders in Tel Aviv" must realise that "peace and occupation cannot coexist," Tishrin, a government daily, said.
"These leaders must choose between peace and occupation, between security and expansion, and if they don't do it today, they will be forced to make up their minds very soon," the paper said.
"Syria and Lebanon have repeatedly proposed to Israeli leaders that a lasting peace can be reached, reinforced by appropriate and balanced security arrangements, as long as they agree to a full withdrawal from the occupied Lebanese and Syrian territory to the pre-occupation borders," Tishrin said.
DHAKA: US president Bill Clinton announced today he will meet Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in Geneva on Sunday to discuss the stalled Syria-Israel peace process as "I think this is the next logical step".
"When I conclude my visit to Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, I do intend to go to Switzerland to meet President Assad and we'll just have to see what comes out of the talks," Mr Clinton said as he made a historic visit to Bangladesh.
Stop sending ultras to Kashmir, Clinton to ask Pak
ISLAMABAD, March 20 (PTI) US President Bill Clinton, during his visit here on March 25, will urge Pakistan to bring the temperature down on the Line of Control (LoC) by discouraging ultras from entering Kashmir, the first time that Washington will make a summit-level request to Islamabad on the subject, official and western diplomatic sources here have said.
Mr Clinton, in his expected meeting with military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, will also ask Pakistan to make a "firm announcement" to "officially ban" the militant Harkat-ul Mujahideen outfit and curtail activities of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideed, the sources were quoted as saying by The News today.
He will further demand steps to "force" the Taliban to expel terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan and shut down all militant training camps in the mountainous country, they said.
Pakistan will also be asked to announce the schedule for the election process to bring back democracy, they added.
"The US has joined voices within Pakistan, such as that of the human rights commission of Pakistan, which has rejected the holding of local bodies elections as a substitute for national elections.
"This may dampen
the significance of the announcement to be made by Gen
Musharraf on March 23 (Pakistan Day) to hold local bodies
elections in the country in November this year," the
daily said quoting the sources.
Pak CJ questions ban order during Clinton's visit
ISLAMABAD, March 20 (PTI) Pakistan's Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan today questioned the validity of the countrywide ban on political meetings at public places imposed by the military regime last week reportedly in view of the US President Bill Clinton's visit.
The Chief Justice sent a notice to the Attorney-General directing him to appear before the Supreme Court on March 30 to show cause the validity of the ban.
"News-items have appeared in the national press that the government has imposed countrywide ban on all political meetings at public places, strikes and processions," the notice said.
"In exercise of suo motu power, let notice go to the learned Attorney-General of Pakistan to appear before the court on March 30 to show cause the validity of banning political activities throughout Pakistan," it said.
Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar has said the ban was a short-term measure to ensure security for Clinton's visit.
The US has "deplored" Pakistan's decision to impose the ban, saying "the broad ban is a challenge to the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly and is inconsistent with the government's pledge to respect the fundamental rights conferred by the Pakistani constitution."
Military ruler General Pervez Musharraf on March 17 said there was nothing new on the ban on political meetings and "it was inherent in the emergency proclamation order".
Britain's minister in the dock
LONDON, March 20 (PTI) Britain's Minister for Europe Keith Vaz is under further investigation after new allegations that he accepted undeclared payments from businessmen, a charge denied by him.
Ms Elizabeth Filkin, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, is investigating the accusation and has reportedly written to businessmen in the Indian-origin politician's constituency, Leicester east, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Russia warns against NATO expansion
MOSCOW, March 20 (AP) Any further expansion of NATO will exclude Russia from the decision making process over European security, the Russian Foreign Minister told his Greek counterpart today.
Foreign minister Igor Ivanov told George Papandreou, Foreign Minister of Greece, a NATO-member, that Russia wants to improve relations with NATO. But he said expanding the alliance "does not promote European security," the Interfax news agency reported.
"We oppose the tackling of essential issues behind Russia's back," Mr Ivanov told Mr Papandreou at the talks in Moscow.
In February, Russia and
NATO restored ties that were all but frozen when the
alliance began its bombing campaign on Yugoslavia last
spring. But Moscow continued to criticise NATO's plans to
add new members, and many Russians regard the alliance as
Pak assurance on Iran-India pipeline
ISLAMABAD, March 20 (AFP) Pakistan has assured Teheran of its full support to a proposed Iran-India gas pipeline through Pakistani territory, an official statement said today.
The assurance was given by an official Pakistani delegation which visited Teheran last week for talks on cooperation in the oil and gas sector.
Detailed discussions on the pipeline project were held between the two sides. "Both sides reiterated their commitment to the project and considerable progress was made towards its implementation," the statement said, without giving details.
delegation assured the Iranians of its full support to
the pipeline going across its territory to India,"
the statement said. It was also agreed during the talks
that Pakistan would import 35,000 barrels of Iranian
crude oil daily, starting later this year.
Putin ready for talks with rebels
MOSCOW, March 20 (AFP) Acting president Vladimir Putin went to Chechnya today and for the first time said he was ready to talk to rebel fighters who yield to the advancing Russian army.
Mr Putin was unexpectedly whisked to Grozny in a Sukhoi-27 fighter jet to consult military chiefs on how to deal with the last resisting rebel separatists, and start rebuilding the war-torn republic.
With just six days to go to Russian presidential elections, the vote favourite said he was prepared to talk to fighters as long as they end their cat-and-mouse antics in Chechnya's southern mountains.
"We are giving them a choice, including to those people who are in the mountains," said Mr Putin, referring to an estimated 1,500 rebel fighters still resisting a Russian push, deep into Chechnya's southern highlands.
"Even with these
persons, we are prepared to talk and solve the problem of
this territory... through peaceful talks and a political
process," Mr Putin said in remarks broadcast on
Russian television channels.
China offers to negotiate with Taiwan
BEIJING, March 20 (PTI) Chinese president Jiang Zemin today offered to negotiate with Taiwan's President-elect Chen Shui-Bian but asked the rebel province to first recognise Beijing's sovereignty over the island, the state media reported.
Restating the Chinese position, Mr Jiang, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China, stressed that dialogues and negotiations across the Taiwan straits should have a basis, namely, "One China" principle must first be recognised.
Under this prerequisite, everything can be discussed, Xinhua news agency quoted Mr Jiang as telling visiting Congolese president Denis Sassau-Nguesso.
Mr Jiang's comments is the first by a Chinese leader on the just-concluded presidential polls in Taiwan that saw the Kuomintang party losing its 50-year-long grip on power.
"The election in Taiwan region is over. We said before and still hold today that whoever comes to power in Taiwan is welcome to the mainland for talks, and we may also go to Taiwan," Mr Jiang indicated for the first time.
China considers Taiwan,
a rebel province that must be brought back under mainland
rule, and it has threatened war if the island rebuffs
talks on reunification or if it moves towards
independence. Mr Jiang fully supported premier Zhu
Rongji's outbursts on March 15 in which he declared that
China would not allow Taiwan's independence and appealed
to over 15 million voters of Taiwan not to elect
More than 6, 00,000 animals sacrificed during Haj
RIYADHA, March 20 (Reuters) More than 6,37,000 sheep, cattle and camels were slaughtered for Muslim pilgrims during the annual Haj pilgrimage which ended on Saturday, Saudi Arabia said.
The official Saudi Press Agency said the animals were slaughtered by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on behalf of the pilgrims.
It quoted the IDB president Ahmed Muhammad Ali as saying the meat, packed and refrigerated, would be distributed to refugees and needy persons in 27 countries.
The Haj culminates with Eid al-Adha (feast of sacrifice). Muslims have a religious duty to offer sacrifices during the pilgrimage and hundreds of thousands of animals, mostly sheep, are slaughtered each year and the meat donated to the needy.
Counsel may charge Clinton in Lewinsky case
WASHINGTON, March 20 (DPA) US Independent counsel Robert Ray has not ruled out bringing criminal charges against US President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.
"Additional investigators, including FBI staff, would help Mr Ray reach a decision on whether to charge Mr Clinton once he leaves office," Mr Ray said yesterday on the ABC network in his first public comments on the case.
''I am anticipating making judgements about whether or not it is appropriate to bring prosecution,'' he said.
He added: ''There is, as the public is well aware, a matter involving the President of the US in connection with the Lewinsky investigation.''
Quake rocks Taiwan
TAIPEI, March 20 (Reuters) A moderate earthquake shook central Taiwan before dawn today, but the police and seismologists said there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.
State seismologists said the earthquake, at 1757 GMT Sunday, registered 5.0 on the open-ended Richter scale and was centred 27.7 km (17 miles) southwest of the southern mountain of Yushan. It was felt in some neighbouring towns.
die in shootout
out New Mexico
killed in jail blaze
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