|Sunday, March 26, 2000,
Another mass murder in Uganda
Protest against Clintons
Oscar poll angers Academy
Kohl admits taking cash gifts
criminal, says China
Musharraf staged hijack drama
KARACHI, March 25 (AP) Deposed Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharifs lawyer argued today that the alleged hijacking for which his client faces a possible death sentence was in fact orchestrated by the army chief.
Mr Sharif and six others, including his younger brother Shahbaz, are on trial on charges of hijacking, terrorism, attempted murder and kidnapping. The prosecution has asked for the death sentence.
Mr Sharifs defence will wind up its arguments on Monday and the verdict and the sentence is expected within one week.
Military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf, the then army chief, told the pilot not to land until his loyal army was in control of the Karachi airport, argued Sultan.
Mr Sharif is accused of trying to prevent a passenger plane, in which General Musharraf was returning to Pakistan, from landing in southern Karachi on October 12 the same day the military took power in Pakistan.
Reuters adds: It was General Pervez Musharraf who was controlling the plane," Sharifs lawyer Khawaja Sultan told the anti-terrorism court.
Mr Sultan said the prosecutions case that Sharif gave the orders to divert the plane rests on the testimony of only one witness former Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Aminullah Chaudhry. No other witnesses had knowledge of the conversation between Sharif and Chaudhry, and there was no recording of it.
"The first order from the ATC (air traffic control) to the plane was to hold and then to divert to its alternate landing destination which is the usual practice and within the legal rights of the ATC," he said.
He said an unlawful act was committed by the army officers who broke into the control tower and asked the plane to come back to Karachi while it was en route to the alternate airport of Nawabshah, 210 km northeast of Karachi.
153 bodies of cult members reburied
KAMPALA, March 25 (AFP) The 153 bodies exhumed by the police in three mass graves in a building rented by the Uganda cult, the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, have been reburied in a new mass grave, Internal Affairs Minister Edward Rugumayo told AFP today.
The police initially treated the Kanungu deaths as mass suicide, but have since changed that to mass murder.
The corpses were discovered yesterday in the village of Kalingo, 45 km from the cults headquarters in Kanungu, where the charred remains of another 330 persons were found in a church, the doors and windows of which had been nailed shut.
Fifty-nine of the exhumed bodies were children and most of the adults were women.
They had either been strangled or slashed to death, according to the police, and are believed to have been dead for between four to six weeks.
"The bodies were exhumed yesterday. They were then reburied in a different grave after the pathologists made their report," Rugumayo said.
The bodies were found in three mass graves in two rooms of a building rented by the sect in Rujumbura County in the south-western Rukingere district.
Protest against Clintons visit
PESHAWAR, March 25 (AFP) A small group of students burnt an American flag and shouted "down with America" during a protest here today as US President Bill Clinton arrived in Pakistan.
Some 50 persons from the countrys main fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami party staged the 30-minute demonstration outside the local press club as Mr Clinton arrived in Islamabad from India.
ISLAMABAD (PTI): Army and police personnel seized two bombs overnight and arrested the man who was planting the explosive in a vehicle in Islamabads twin city of Rawalpindi, ahead of the US President trip.
(Reuters): Two policemen were shot dead and at
least two persons died in a bomb blast at separate
incidents in Karachi on Saturday as the US President
arrived in the capital, Islamabad, for a five-hour visit.
Ruse to protect Clinton in Pak
ISLAMABAD, March 25 (Reuters) The White House staged an elaborate ruse to protect US President Bill Clinton on his visit to Pakistan today, sending a decoy aircraft ahead to Islamabad before bringing Mr Clinton in on an unmarked plane. The deception began at Bombay, where Mr Clinton walked down a red carpet to a large US military C-17 transport and hugged the US Ambassador to India Richard Celeste and his wife, who stood with a departure delegation to bid him farewell.
Instead of boarding the cavernous plane, Mr Clinton ducked around its nose and headed for two small gulfstream executive jets parked on the other side, one with regular blue-and-white US markings and the other unmarked.
Popes call emboldens Palestinians
RAMALLAH (West Bank), March 25 (Reuters) Palestinian leaders said today they had papal support for an independent state, as Pope John Pauls tour of the Holy Land neared its close.
A Cabinet statement, broadcast on Voice of Palestine Radio, said the Popes visit yesterday to Bethlehem had been a great contribution "to the just Palestinian cause and the Palestinian peoples national and inalienable rights".
The Pope, whose week-long pilgrimage ends tomorrow, gave an emotional endorsement to a Palestinian homeland in Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus. "Your torment is in the eyes of the world; and it has gone on too long," he said.
He also called for a just solution to the plight of refugees during a visit the same day to a squalid camp on the edge of the Palestinian-ruled West Bank town.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has vowed to declare a state this year in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Israeli-held East Jerusalem as its capital, with or without the agreement of the Jewish state.
The Popes pilgrimage has jangled political nerves in West Asia at a time when Israel and the Palestinians are negotiating its future in talks in Washington on a final peace treaty.
NAZARETH: Welcomed by sing-ing, drumming and cheers, Pope John Paul II journeyed through Christs boyhood town today to deliver a solemn Mass amid some of the heaviest security of his weeklong visit to the Holy Land.
This biblical town is
also the scene of a modern quarrel over plans to
construct a large mosque in the shadow of the hulking
basilica that has been built on the site where Roman
Catholics believe the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with
the news that she would give birth to Jesus. Christians
are in a minority here.
Queen honours Timor hero
CANBERRA, March 25 (Reuters) Britains Queen Elizabeth today bestowed the highest military award in Australias honours system on Maj Gen Peter Cosgrove, who commanded the Australian-led multinational force in East Timor.
At a ceremony at Government House here, Major General Cosgrove was made a companion in the military division of the Order of Australia.
"His leadership contributed significantly to the success of the multinational mission and provided the people of East Timor with hope and a new beginning, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said in a statement.
"I feel personally very proud and indeed honoured over receiving the award, Major General Cosgrove told reporters after the ceremony. "But any leadership award is equally shared by everybody in the force.
Ray of hope for sex victims
RELATIONS between the sexes in Japan may never be the same again after one of the countrys most powerful politicians was forced to humbly admit his guilt in the highest-profile sexual harassment scandal the country has ever seen.
The former Osaka Governor "Knock" Yokoyama pleaded guilty in Osaka district court this week to charges of indecent assault. His admission that he molested a member of his campaign staff is being hailed by equal rights activists as a sign that women no longer need to suffer sekuhara (sexual harassment) in silence or face recrimination for speaking out.
It also vindicates a year-long campaign by the victim - an unnamed 21-year-old student - who pushed ahead with the case despite the scepticism of the public and her tormentors attempts to bribe, lie and intimidate her into submission.
The woman accused Mr Yokoyama of groping her for 30 minutes in a campaign bus during his re-election bid last April. After her ordeal was over, the Governor allegedly offered to buy her designer handbags if she kept quiet.
Few people believed the story at first, not least because Mr Yokoyama - a popular comedian-turned-politician - was swept into office by an electorate that believed he stood for a change from the usual scandal-tainted politics.
This week, however, the former Governor - who has been forced to resign his post - admitted that he performed an obscene act, lied to the media and psychologically damaged the woman.
"I went too far and I have no excuses," he said, claiming ignorance of the victims feelings as his only defence. "I did not sense the woman was annoyed because she did not resist much when I slipped my hand inside her pants."
It is a far cry from the former Governors response when the woman first filed the lawsuit. At that time he called her claim a "whopping lie" and counter-attacked with his own suit against her "fraudulent campaign", which he said was politically motivated.
Last December, a civil court ordered Mr Yokoyama to pay 11m yen ($102,000) in compensation to the woman. He may now face the criminal charge of assault.
The case is far from unique. According to a 1997 survey by the labour ministry, 62 per cent of working women in Japan have experienced some form of sexual harassment. Groping on rush-hour trains is also a widespread problem. Very few victims, however, speak out. In the past 10 years, there have been little more than a 100 harassment lawsuits.
Noriko Ishida, the plaintiffs lawyer, said Mr Yokoyamas admission would be a spur to change. "This will be hugely influential. It will reassure women that they no longer need to keep quiet and it will act as a warning to men that they face court action for acts of harassment." The victory is the clearest sign that relations between the sexes are changing as Japan tries to coax more women into the workplace.
The most symbolic shift, however, took place in Osaka earlier this year, when voters replaced Mr Yokoyama with Fusae Ota, the countrys first woman Governor.
Oscar poll angers Academy
LOS ANGELES, March 25 (Reuters) The Academy Awards were thrown into uproar yesterday as a newspaper published a poll of Oscar voters predicting the winners. Angry organisers said the breach could take the fun out of Hollywoods biggest night.
With only two frantic days to go before the sealed envelopes are opened and the actual Oscar statuettes presented, the Wall Street Journal published a poll based on interviews with about 6 per cent of the 5,600 Academy voters that said "American beauty", a tragi-comic tale of a family falling apart, was the odds-on favourite to be named best picture.
No one had ever conducted a political-style poll of members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since a trade newspaper did an informal straw poll in the 1950s.
Oscar winners are one of show business most closely guarded secrets, and Academy leaders still reeling from the theft earlier this month of 55 Oscar statuettes and the misplacing of some 4,000 ballots were furious.
Mr Bruce Davis, the Academys Executive Director, said the journal did a "geeky thing in the world of journalism." He added, "we clearly dont like this at all". This is supposed to be fun, and they are trying to take the fun out of this."
While some commentators have accused the journal of trying to be the grinch who stole the Oscars, the storys chief reporter, Lisa Gubernick, said the Academy brass should lighten up. "I never felt like a spoilsport. I thought I was making this fun for everyone," she said.
Ms Gubernick has spent several weeks calling hundreds of Academy voters to find out how they would vote.
With the part-time help of six others, she also discovered that Hilary Swank, star of "Boys Dont Cry", was the surprise favourite over Hollywood veteran Annette Bening, the star of "American Beauty," to be named best actress. British actor Michael Caine was projected the winner in the best-supporting-actor category, and Denzel Washington, star of "The Hurricane," was said to have a slight edge over Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty" for best actor.
Also named as probable winners in what is billed as Hollywoods "suspense-filled night of the stars" were Angelina Jolie for best supporting actress for "Girl, Interrupted," and Sam Mendes as best director for "American Beauty."
The journal poll marked
the most systematic media attempt to peer behind the
curtain of Oscar secrecy in nearly half a century. The
entertainment trade paper daily variety conducted its own
pre-Oscar straw poll for several years during the 1950s,
correctly predicting many winners.
Kohl admits taking cash gifts
BERLIN, March 25 (AFP) Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has acknowledged receiving cash gifts between 1989 and 1992 in an interview with Mondays edition of Focus magazine.
"I do not want to rule out that there were also cash gifts received in that period. As far as I am concerned, I remember that for the 1990 electoral year we received donations to support our candidates," Mr Kohl said.
Until now, he has only admitted receiving 2.1 million marks ($ 1.07 million/Euros) between 1993 and 1998, a sum which did not appear, as German law requires, in the accounts of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
He has refused to name the donors.
Mr Kohl also announced
recently that he had raised 6.3 million marks from
industrialists and private individuals to pay fines,
which were expected to be levied on the scandal-ridden
CDU in punishment for the secret bank accounts managed by
the former Chancellor.
Lee a criminal, says China
BEIJING, March 25 (PTI) China has dumped the outgoing Taiwanese President Lee Teng-Hui as a criminal and the scum of the Chinese nation, who colluded with anti-China foreign forces to obstruct Taiwans reunification with the mainland.
In a stinging commentary
on Mr Lees resignation yesterday as Chairman of
Taiwans ruling Kuomintang Party (KMT), Chinas
state-run Xinhua news agency noted that Mr Lees
resignation under mounting pressure showed that whoever
advocated "Taiwans independence" could
come to no good.
animation film awarded
nail babies to death
Iran directed to
pay to ex-hostage
unites to save sick child
Lanka retires 7
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |