|Wednesday, March 29, 2000,
Tigers, 50 soldiers killed
turns away Taiwan emissaries
quo in US-Pak relations
ex-CM declared proclaimed offender
order in child killer case un-Islamic
|Ex-smoker gets $20 m damages
SAN FRANCISCO, March 28 A dying ex-smoker was awarded $ 20 million in punitive damages in her lawsuit against the USAs two largest tobacco companies.
Oppn boycotts House
shared calling code of White House
India-Vietnam defence pact
HANOI, March 28 (PTI) India and Vietnam today signed a wide ranging defence agreement paving the way for greater military-to-military cooperation, sale of advanced military light helicopters, assistance in repairs and overhaul of Hanois mainstay MiG fighters and raising the level of military contacts between the two countries.
The defence cooperation agreement signed at the conclusion of the visit of the Defence Minister George Fernandes to the Vietnamese capital also provides a framework for periodical talks between the Defence Ministers of the two countries and cooperation between the Indian Coast Guard and the Vietnamese sea-police in combating the growing menace of piracy in the Eastern seas.
After the agreement was signed by senior officials of the two countries in the presence of Mr Fernandes and his Vietnamese counterpart Gen Pham Van Tra, the Defence Minister described it as most significant.
Through this agreement we have sought to raise defence contacts between the two countries to a much higher and larger plane, Mr Fernandes told newsmen adding that under the new pact, India would also assist Vietnam in the repair and upgradation and building of warships and fast patrol crafts as well as training of technical personnel of the Vietnamese navy, sea police and air force pilots and technicians.
Mr Fernandes, who leaves tomorrow morning for Ho Chi Minh city wound up his visit to Hanoi with a warm meeting with the Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong during which the latter commented that Vietnam and India should continue to support each other in all regional and international fora.
Under the new pact, Vietnam has offered to admit Indian armed forces personnel for training in the field of jungle warfare and to get this project underway speedily, the Vietnamese army has offered training in their language to Indian officers selected for the warfare course.
With the proposed sale of the multi-role advanced light helicopters, Vietnam would be the second major foreign buyer of the HAL, which is yet to enter service with the Indian Air Force or the aviation wing of the Army.
Though no numbers were specified, Mr Fernandes said this would depend on the requirements and availability of resources with the Vietnamese.
He said the Vietnamese, who almost use 100 per cent erstwhile Soviet Union weaponry, had also agreed to study the catalogue of the Ordinance Factory Board and explore possibilities of using the products and services being provided by Indias defence manufacturing industries.
The pact paves the way
for the visit of Indian naval ships to Vietnamese ports
and participation by the Vietnamese navy in the
international fleet review being held in India in
February, 2001. India has also agreed to assist Vietnam
in the process of setting up its defence industry and
also opened its doors to the research done by the DRDO.
150 Tigers, 50 soldiers killed
COLOMBO, March 28 (UNI) More than 150 Tamil Tigers and 50 soldiers were killed and hundreds injured in heavy fighting near the Elephant Pass in the northern Jaffna peninsula after the LTTE launched an attack early yesterday to capture the peninsula from the control of the Army.
Two officers and 50 soldiers were killed. At least 275 soldiers were injured, 103 of them seriously, according to a military spokesman.
The LTTE suffered heavy casualties in the action. The spokesman said though the ground troops had estimated well over 150 casualties, the figure could be much more.
Continuing the overnight battle, he said the LTTE attempted to launch their cadres in three boats at 0800 hours this morning towards Chempiyanpattu. However, the navy and air force jointly thwarted this attempt and destroyed the boats.
The forces also
destroyed enemy concentrations at Maruthankorni,
Chempiyanpattu and Manmunai. Again at 0920 hours, the
army and navy detected seven boats approaching Killay.
The navy and the armour engaged them and two boats were
destroyed. An hour later, a number of boats attempted to
land at Chempiyanpattu.
China turns away Taiwan emissaries
TAIPEI, March 28 (AFP) Taiwan President-elect Chen Shui-bian has sent several emissaries to Beijing but all were turned away because of the one China stumbling block, a report here said.
Chen does not accept Beijings view that one China means Taiwan is inalienable part of China.
Quite a few envoys were secretly dispatched to the mainland to try contact or hold discussions with Beijing authorities but they were all turned away, legislator Feng Hu-hsiang was quoted by Taiwans Central News Agency as saying yesterday.
Feng, from the right-wing New Party, is in Beijing at a closed-door meeting seeking reconciliation between Taipei and Beijing following Chens surprise victory in the March 18 presidential elections.
The overtures were not accepted because Beijing has not got Chens commitment to the one China principle, Feng said.
Chen, the candidate for the Opposition Democratic Progressive Party which advocates independence, has yet to win Beijings trust despite his pledges not to declare independence nor seek a plebiscite.
Feng called on both governments to return to the one China, different interpretations consensus reached in 1972 at the historic dialogue between the two rivals, separated in 1949 at the end of a civil war.
WASHINGTON (Reuters): China is building two surface-to-air missile bases near the coastal city of Fuzhou, opposite Taiwan, part of an ongoing military build-up that worries US officials, the Washington Times reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper quoted
unnamed US intelligence officials as saying that the new
bases would increase the danger of a military
confron-tation along the Taiwan Strait. They said the US
Defence Department was monitoring the build-up closely.
Status quo in US-Pak relations
WASHINGTON, March 28 Despite the visit of US President Bill Clinton to Pakistan, relations between the two former cold war allies remain on the same footing as before with the Pakistani military ruler, Gen Pervez Musharraf, making little concessions on many crucial issues.
Although President Clinton urged Pakistan to restore democracy, reduce its nuclear arsenal, fight terrorism and find a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue, General Musharraf remained unmoved on most of these issues, The Washington Post reported yesterday.
Meanwhile, a senior Clinton Administration official, briefing the press about the Presidents meetings in Pakistan, said that there was an extensive discussion of Pakistan's relations with India and the Kashmir issue.
He said Mr Clinton reiterated his earlier statement in New Delhi wherein he made it clear that there was no role for the USA in the Kashmir issue and that Pakistan must exercise restraint, respect for the Line of Control, make efforts to ensure an end to violence and a return to dialogue as soon as possible.
However, General Musharraf, speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, denied that Mr Clinton had even raised the Kashmir issue claiming that his regime had no role in sending such groups to India, media reports said.
The senior administration official said General Musharraf didnt break any new ground in his position on that issue (supporting infiltration). But "we heard no new assurances from the General," he said.
Pakistan also refused to budge on its stand of not signing the comprehensive test ban treaty. It only acceded to Mr Clintons plea in one area, promising not to help in the proliferation of the nuclear weapons technology.
"Let me say in this regard (proliferation) that General Musharraf gave the President a very firm assurance that Pakistan would not be the source of the export of any dangerous technologies or weapons of mass destruction", the official told the reporters.
He said that when Mr Clinton asked for General Musharrafs response to the question of Pakistans return to democracy, the military ruler refused to give concrete dates and instead reverted to previous statements on the issue that he needed to set the stage for restoration of democracy.
President Clinton flew into Pakistan under extraordinary security conditions, sending a decoy aircraft with a dummy standing in for him. The US team took pains to keep Musharraf literally at an arms distance by refusing any media coverage while Mr Clinton met with the military chief. The US team instead released an official photo of the two leaders seated at a distance from each other, media reports said.
The Chicago Tribune, in a report about the visit, said that the lackluster welcome was part of a gameplan by the USA to play down the visit. After debating for months whether to come and finally deciding to visit, Mr Clinton was at pains to show that while he was expressing friendship with Pakistani people, he was not endorsing Musharrafs rule, the report added.
Commenting on the visit, a report in The Los Angeles Times said Mr Clintons talks with General Musharraf underscored the rapid rate at which US relations with India and Pakistan were changing. Mr Clinton declared repeatedly last week that a new era had begun between the USA and India, but Americas relations with Pakistan had come under serious strain.
concluded a six-day trip to South Asia yesterday. After
his meeting with Pakistani leaders yesterday, he stopped
in Oman for refuelling before heading for Geneva to meet
Syrian President Hafez Assad about chances of renewing
peace talks with Israel. However, reports said that his
three-hour meeting with Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad did
not produce any results.
Pak ex-CM declared proclaimed offender
ISLAMABAD, March 28 (ANI) An appellate Bench of the Peshawar High Court has declared former Chief Minister Aftab Sherpao of the North-West Frontier Province as a proclaimed offender for his failure to appear before the court in an appeal against his conviction by an accountability court.
Mr Sherpao was asked through a proclamation by the PHC Bench on February 14 to ensure his appearance by March 20. He failed to appear on that date, forcing the court to declare him a proclaimed offender under Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC).
Law experts said his declaration as a proclaimed offender may lead to confiscation of his property by the provincial government. This action will be taken under Section 88 of the Cr PC.
The former Chief Minister went into appeal, following his conviction by the accountability court in a corruption reference, along with former Director-General of the Peshawar Development Authority Syed Zahir Shah. They were found guilty of misuse of power in the allotment of hundreds of plots in the Hayatabad township, near Peshawar. Both of them were fined Rs 1 million each by Judge Said Maroof Khan on December 31. Zahir Shah also filed an appeal.
The National Accountability Bureau also approached the Appellate Bench for the enhancement of punishments. All the three appeals were being heard by an accountability Appellate Bench of the PHC, comprising Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, Khalida Rachid and Shahjehan Yusufzai.
Mr Sherpao went into hiding in January to avoid arrest by the NAB authorities. He is wanted for investigations into the alleged corruption he committed during his tenure as Chief Minister.
Sharif trial may end today
KARACHI, March 28 (AFP) The trial in the hijacking case against deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the six other accused was likely to end tomorrow, defence lawyers said today.
The anti-terrorism court hearing the high profile case was expected to give its verdict sometime next month, legal sources said.
We will finish our final arguments by tomorrow, defence lawyer Manzoor Malik told reporters during a break in the proceedings.
Chief prosecutor Raja Qureshi told reporters the trial was expected to end tomorrow.
The six have been on trial on charges of hijacking, kidnapping, attempted murder and terrorism.
Judges order in child killer case un-Islamic
ISLAMABAD, March 28 (ANI) The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has declared as detrimental to shariat, the verdict of a district court in Javed Iqbals case ordering the cutting of the convicts body into 100 pieces and dissolving them in acid.
This verdict can create an impression in the country and abroad that the judgement was in accordance with the Islamic injunctions and it may cause misunderstandings about the Shariat, a CII statement, released by Dr Ghulam Murtaza Azad, Director-General (Research) said.
On March 16, Lahore
Sessions Judge, Allah Bakhsh Ranjha, convicted Javed
Iqbal of killing 100 children, and sentenced him to death
on 100 counts. With 700 years of imprisonment, the court
also ordered the execution at Minar-e-Pakistan and the
body of the convict be cut into 100 pieces and dissolved
in chemicals as he did with his victims.
Ex-smoker gets $20 m damages
SAN FRANCISCO, March 28 (AP) A dying ex-smoker was awarded $ 20 million in punitive damages in her lawsuit against the USAs two largest tobacco companies.
The Superior Court jury on Monday ordered Mr Philip Morris and Mr R.J. Reynolds to each pay $ 10 million to Ms Leslie Whiteley and her husband. The same jury awarded the couple $ 1.7 million in compensation last week after finding that the companies deceived the public about the dangers of smoking.
That verdict was the first for a smoker who took up the habit after warnings by the US Surgeon-General first appeared on cigarette packages in the 1960s.
The Whiteleys had asked the jury for $ 115 million in punitive damages, which, they said, would represent 1 per cent of the companies combined net worth. Their lawyer said cigarette-makers remain unrepentant for the harm they cause.
Lawyers for Mr Morris
and Mr Reynolds suggested punitive damages of $ 3.4
million to 5.1 million. They said the companies clearly
have got the message, noting the $ 206 billion settlement
reached in 1998 by cigarette-makers and 46 states suing
over health costs.
Saddams son wins
BAGHDAD, March 28 (AFP) Mr Uday Saddam Hussein, eldest son of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, has secured a seat in Parliament with 99.99 per cent of votes, the Al-Ittihad newspaper reported today.
He was elected on the ruling Baath party ticket to represent Baghdads fifth constituency after yesterdays parliamentary ballot where 2,89,066 persons voted, Al-Ittihad said.
Bangla Oppn boycotts House
DHAKA, March 28 (PTI) Opposition parties in Bangladesh today boycotted the opening day of the Parliament session as part of their campaign to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas Government.
There is no environment (to join back), said Mr Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Secretary-General of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), while brushing aside any new thoughts of joining Parliament.
The Opposition parties have been boycotting parliamentary proceedings since August last year as part of their campaign, demanding the early general election and resignation of the Hasina Government. The last session of Parliament was prorogued on January 30.
The Opposition, led by former Premier Khaleda Zia, has already turned down Ms Hasinas offer for talks to resolve their differences. Zia says she wants Hasinas resignation first.
The BNPs allies
the main faction of the Jatiya Party, headed by
former President H.M. Ershad, and the Jammat-e-Islami
also boycotted Parliament. The first days
session was adjourned after half-an-hour.
Sergeant shared calling code of White House
NEW YORK, March 28 (AP) President Bill Clintons phone bills rose more than $ 50,000 after an Army sergeant gave out the White House long-distance calling code, US federal prosecutors have said.
The scheme allegedly culminated in the arrest of David Gilmer (30) of Woodbridge, Virginia, an Army sergeant assigned to the White House Communications Agency.
In papers filed
yesterday in the federal court in Manhattan, US Attorney
Mary Jo White alleged that Gilmer gave the White House
phone access number to people in New York and New Jersey,
allowing them to make 9,400 unauthorised calls between
December 5 and February 8.
Anwar's trial put off again
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (AP) Jailed politician Anwar Ibrahims sodomy trial suffered another postponement today and defence attorneys expressed frustration over delays that have hampered the case. The trial would resume on Friday as lead prosecutor Abdul Gani Patail was ill, said Deputy Registrar Rozilah Salleh.
survives no-trust vote
art suit for $ 5.8 m
Life at Bosnian
UK punk poet
dies of cancer
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