|Sunday, April 9, 2000,
makes human genetic map
boy set to reunite with father
would have no sanctity: Panja
|US sanctions against India
WASHINGTON, April 8 There can be no development of Indo-US relations to its full potential, in spite of President Bill Clintons recent visit, until India joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a top Clinton administration official has said.
Vajpayees US trip
likely in August
factions resume fighting
Archer held for questioning
Russian train guards found dead
Celera makes human genetic map
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) Celera Genomics has said it has finished the first step of sequencing the genes of one person, making a human genetic map that could eventually transform medicine and biology.
The company aims to be the first to have a complete sequence of the human genome, which is the collection of all the genes and other genetic material that are the basic blueprint of life.
Scientists will use this map to learn more about genes involved in disease, how medicines work, and the workings of basic human biology.
This is the key milestone, Venter, Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of Celera, said in an interview on Thursday.
Celera plans to use the genes of five different persons, who will remain anonymous, to make up a final human genome sequence. It will copy this sequence several times over to make sure it is correct.
Venter has pledged he will not use the law to prevent other scientists from mining the human genome for insights or for profit.
The White House and publicly funded researchers also stressed that no one wants to restrict the right to patent and profit from new discoveries.
Last month, shares in the entire biotechnology sector plunged when US President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a joint statement urging that genome information be made freely available to the public.
Venter said his companys intentions had been misunderstood.
One of Celeras founding principles is that we will release the entire consensus human genome sequence freely to researchers on Celeras Internet site when it is completed, Venter told a hearing of the energy and environment subcommittee of the House Committee on Science yesterday.
We are not attempting to patent the human genome, any of its chromosomes, or any random sequence, he added.
We will place no
restrictions on how scientists can use this data... the
only protection that we have indicated that we would seek
is database protection, as exists in Europe, to inhibit
other companies from selling the Celera database.
Cuban boy set to reunite with father
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) US Authorities yesterday made plans to reunite Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez with his father as early as next week in a painful custody war that has pitted the boys surviving parent against relatives in Miami.
The boys father, who came from Cuba on Thursday to reclaim his son, was given assurances about a reunion during an emotional meeting on Friday with Attorney-General Janet Reno that started with a formal handshake and ended with a hug.
Ms Reno told a news conference that she would give instructions early next week to the Miami relatives looking after the 6-year-old boy about when and how Mr Juan Miguel Gonzalez could be reunited with his son.
Next week I expect the USA to take steps to transfer the custody and the parole and care (of Elian), Ms Reno said.
She also made it clear that the boys father would be free to return to Cuba with his son if the Miami relatives, who do not want the child to grow up in Communist Cuba, fail to provide an undertaking that they would voluntarily hand him over after exhausting their legal appeals.
Elian has not seen his father since last November when he was rescued off Floridas coast, floating on an inner tube for 50 hours after surviving a disastrous migrant voyage in which his mother, who was divorced from his father, drowned.
They gave me all their support in resolving this as soon as possible. They have assured me, the state and the government has assured me, that this will be done. I am sure that it will be so and that soon I will have my son with me again, the boys father said after meeting Ms Reno and Immigration and Naturalisation Commissioner Doris Meissner.
Ms Reno, who would not be pinned down on the exact day of the reunion, said she had asked the Miami relatives to meet two psychiatrists and a psychologist on Monday to work out how a transfer could take place in the least disruptive way.
Ms Reno, who comes from Florida, stressed that no Cuban government officials attended her hour-long meeting with the father, in a case that has stirred passions in Cuba and among Cuban-Americans in Miami.
reject Cubas system of government. Mr Gonzalez and
I do not share the same political beliefs, but it is not
our place to punish a father for his political beliefs or
where he wants to raise his child, she said.
Talks would have no sanctity: Panja
CAIRO, April 8 (PTI) India today said there would be no sanctity of any Indo-Pak talks while the military regime was at the helm in Islamabad and that ties between the two neighbours could not improve till Pakistan continued to indulge in cross-border terrorism in the country.
Unless Pakistan held elections, with whom could India hold talks. And even if New Delhi held talks where is the sanctity of such talks ... The next elected government in Pakistan may not find the earlier talks binding, Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja said here.
Asked if New Delhi saw any possibility of improving ties with Islamabad with Gen Pervez Musharraf as the ruler there, Mr Panja said, Relations cannot be improved when one side (Pakistan) makes it its policy to indulge in cross-border terrorism, supporting acts of violence, fomenting extremism and indulging in vicious propaganda against the other side.
Problems between India and Pakistan have to be resolved bilaterally through a dialogue and Pakistan has to understand that it is in its own interests and in the interests of the region to abjure the path of cross-border terrorism and hostile propaganda and create the conditions necessary for a dialogue, he said.
If our jawans are being killed, it is not possible to hold talks, he added.
Reiterating that Jammu and Kashmir was part and parcel of India, Mr Panja warned Pakistan that if a Kargil like situation arose ever again, the Indian Army would forthwith throw out the infiltrators.
Not a single inch of soil of our motherland will be surrendered to anybody. The whole of Kashmir is part and parcel of India, said the minister, who was transiting through the Egyptian capital on his way to Sudan to co-chair the second meeting of the India-Sudan Joint Commission set up in 1995.
Asked what would be New Delhis response if the USA offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, he said, Our stand is principled and consistent, and has been understood by the USA.
Referring to US President Bill Clintons recent visit to India, he termed it a success and noted it was a matter of time before results of the tour began to show.
By agreeing to an institutionalised dialogue across a wide spectrum of issues, both sides have laid the foundations for a much more constructive and productive relationship in the future, he said.
On the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), Mr Panja said it was expected to be finalised by 2001. This would spell out the schedule for trade liberalisation among the SAARC countries.
On border talks with China, he said India had sought a resolution of all outstanding problems between the two countries through dialogue in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.
US sanctions against India to persist
WASHINGTON, April 8 (PTI) There can be no development of Indo-US relations to its full potential, in spite of President Bill Clintons recent visit, until India joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a top Clinton administration official has said.
Until it (India) does so, the strong US sanctions against India will persist, John Holum, Clintons Senior Adviser for Arms Control, Non-Proliferation and Security Affairs, said yesterday.
Holum said the three countries who had chosen not to enter the treaty and to preserve their nuclear options India, Pakistan and Israel should not consider the issue as over.
It would be wrong to think that India, Pakistan and Israel have got away with their decision to keep out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said.
US pressure will continue until India, Pakistan and Israel join the NPT, he added. The NPT allows the right to nuclear weapons only to a select group of five nations the USA, China, Britain, France and Russia.
Holum, the administrations most authoritative voice on non-proliferation, said an Indian signature on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the proposed convention to cut off further production of missile materials would be viewed only as the first step for New Delhi.
India has always maintained that it believed in disarmament but wanted the top nuclear nations to take the lead and fix a time frame in this regard for themselves.
The UN Security Council threatened additional sanctions against Afghanistans Taliban rulers if they did not stop fighting and surrender Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden for trial.
The Security Council reaffirms its readiness to consider the imposition of further targeted measures...With the aim of achieving full implementation of all its relevant resolutions, the 15-member body said in a statement yesterday.
The Taliban is under Security Council air and financial sanctions in an attempt to force it to hand over Bin Laden.
Minister Lloyd Axworthy, who presided over a debate on
Afghanistan, called the Taliban a criminal
gang and suggested the council consider an
arms embargo. But this has been rejected in the past as
being nearly impossible to enforce.
Vajpayees US trip likely in August
WASHINGTON, April 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees visit to the USA, in response to Mr Bill Clintons invitation extended during the US Presidents India visit, may take place in late August or early September, New Delhis Ambassador in Washington Naresh Chandra has said.
The way the Clinton visit went in India was simply fantastic and the institutional structures set up during it will help us to exploit in good time and in quick time the potential which has been identified, he told Atlantic Council here yesterday.
Mr Chandra expected the coming months to be a period of intense activity to move the relations of the two countries forward.
We have recognised there are also hurdles. There are legislative hurdles and sanctions are still in place but we are working generally to reduce these artificial barriers to maximise the utilisation of the potential that exists, he said.
We are planning an early meeting of our External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh with the Secretary of State (Madeleine Albright) and a whole lot of preparation would go into that, said Mr Chandra.
Afghan factions resume fighting
KABUL, April 8 (AFP) Afghanistans ruling Taliban attacked opposition positions in a strategic valley north of Kabul overnight, but failed to gain any territory, anti-Taliban officials said.
The Islamic militia first launched a barrage of heavy weapons fire at the positions in the Giawa area of the Nejrab district in northern Kapisa province late on Thursday, they said.
Hours later, around midnight they launched their infantry attack, but failed to gain ground, said Assem Suhail, a spokesman for key anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Masood.
The fighting between the Taliban, which control most of Afghanistan, and Masood loyalists holding northeast mountainous areas continued until yesterday morning, Suhail said.
Largely controlled by the Taliban militia, Nejrab, 85 kms north of Kabul, controls access to Masoods Panjsher valley stronghold, a bit farther north in the Hindukush mountains.
UNITED NATIONS: With clashes mounting in Afghanistan, a senior UN official yesterday said he believed combatants were preparing for an organised large-scale offensive, recruiting both fighters and arms from abroad.
Mr Renninger, who opened a Security Council meeting on Afghanistan organised by Canada, said Taliban fighters and equipment were being concentrated on the front lines in the Shomali plains, about (40 kms) north of Kabul, the capital. The object was to capture terrain in Samangan and Baghlan provinces to the north.
He said foreign combatants were flocking to Afghanistan again, an apparent indication of difficulties in recruiting enough fighters locally.
In some cases, reports
indicated fighters were openly recruited through
religious schools in Pakistan and sent into Afghanistan
by a convoy of buses and trucks to fight for the Taliban,
Mr Renninger said.
Jeffrey Archer held for questioning
LONDON, April 8 (AP) Novelist Jeffrey Archer has been arrested for questioning over his admission last year that he asked a friend to lie for him before a 1987 libel trial.
The best-selling novelist and former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party was yesterday questioned for several hours at a London police station before he was released on bail. He was not charged.
Archer had filed and won the libel suit after Daily Star accused him of hiring a prostitute.
Daily Star last year asked Scotland Yard to probe whether a criminal offence had been committed, after Archer admitted that he had asked a friend to cover for him before the trial by saying they were having dinner together when he was actually having dinner with a close woman friend.
Archer, Tory candidate
for London Mayor, was forced to drop out of the London
Mayors race in November and was expelled from the
Conservative Party for five years after admitting he had
asked the friend to lie.
Seven Russian train guards found dead
MOSCOW, April 8 (DPA) Seven Russian military guards were found shot dead yesterday on a freight train carrying military equipment, police said.
According to a report by Itar-Tass news agency, the guards had been shot with automatic weapons.
Initially the bodies of three officers of the Russian interior ministry unit were found on the train near the city of Saratov on the Volga.
oldest bookshop to close
Woman jailed for
15 yrs in jail
for imaginary rape
Libya claims $
33.6 b loss from sanctions
money for sons photos
first test-tube quintuplets born
Man confesses to
stabbing Leeds fan
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