|Wednesday, April 12, 2000,
Israel building new
settlements on Golan
Pak building radiation bombs?
Fujimori nears all-out win
No strain in ties with SA: Panja
Indian wins Pulitzer Prize
Kaho Na Pyar Hai
Author of Hitlers book loses
Elephants take centrestage
Israel building new settlements on Golan
JERUSALEM, April 11 (Reuters, AFP) An Israeli Cabinet Minister today called further talks with Syria pointless and said Israel must push ahead with settlement activity on the Golan Heights in the absence of a peace deal.
"Negotiations with Syria apparently are not in the offing and I think the way should be clear for... the natural growth (of settlements) on the Golan Heights, Mr Haim Ramon, minister in the Prime Ministers Office, told Israel Radio.
The radio, in a report aired as Prime Minister Ehud Barak flew to Washington for White House talks on troubled West Asia peacemaking, said work had begun recently on building 200 new housing units in the Golan settlement of Katzrin.
Mr Sami Bar-Lev, chairman of the Katzrin local council, told newsmen the project was approved months ago but construction got under way only two weeks ago.
"It shows our life here will continue and there is no government plan to evacuate us, he said.
Katzrin, the largest Jewish settlement on the Golan Heights, is home to 6,700 Israelis. In all, 17,000 Jewish settlers live on the strategic plateau captured in the 1967 West Asia war.
Mr Ramon accused Syria of hardening its negotiating positions and said the land-for-peace talks, which broke up in January after two rounds in the USA, were unlikely to resume for a long time.
"Negotiations are pointless: the residents of the Golan should be allowed to work and should be given housing if necessary, he said. "When there is a real change in Syria, in its positions, we will start the negotiations. The talks, at this time, failed - and not because of us.
Mr Ramon often speaks on behalf of the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, spurred by setbacks on all fronts in the West Asia talks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak jetted here for talks today with the chief peace process sponsor, US President Bill Clinton.
"Its a good moment to move the process forward. There is a lot of hard work that needs to be done," White House spokesman Mike Hammer said, pointing to fast approaching deadlines for ending the 50-year conflict.
Topping the agenda of the evening talks will be the Israeli-Palestinian framework accord that missed its march timetable and now is slated for may and must pave the way for a final peace deal in September.
Mr Barak is to deliver his final offer to President Clinton, according to his spokesman, who said on Israeli television yesterday that the Prime Minister will spell out where "exactly the red lines are that Israel will not go beyond."
But Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who follows Mr Barak to the White House on April 20, is attacking Mr Barak as the "leader of hardliners and settlers" and accusing him of foot-dragging in negotiations.
DAMASCUS: A Syrian official said chances for peace between Syria and Israel were fading and greater efforts by the USA were needed to rescue the peace process.
Mr Fouad Mardoud, editor of the governments English-language daily Syria Times, said Washington should exert pressure on Prime Minister Barak to accept full withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
Pak building radiation bombs?
WASHINGTON, April 11 (PTI) Pakistan may be building radiation bombs for itself and possibly for others, a former head of the US Defence Technology Security Administration has said.
The proof that Pakistan may be engaged in such activity is the interception of 10 Pakistan-bound lead-lined containers of highly radioactive material seized by Uzbekistans customs authorities recently, Mr Stephen D. Bryen said in an article yesterday in The Washington Times newspaper.
Pakistan, already a nuclear weapon power, did not need the radioactive material if it was not after a radiation bomb for itself and possibly for others, he noted.
The Uzbek customs authorities seized the Pakistan-bound consignment of "highly radioactive" materials on its border with Kazakhstan on March 30.
Ten lead containers with radioactive materials, on their way from Kazakhstan for Quetta-based Ahmadjan Haji Muhammad Company, were impounded by the Uzbek customs on the Uzbek-Kazakh border near Tashkent.
The consignment aboard an Iranian truck was declared by its Iranian driver as "stainless steel crape" which was to transit through Uzbekistan to Pakistan via Turkmenistan and Iran, Itar-Tass news agency had reported.
Although the driver of the truck had a certification from the Kazakhstan authorities that the consignment did not contain radioactive materials, Uzbek experts registered 5000 mili-roentgen/hour gamma radiation, 100 times stronger than normally allowed.
Mr Bryen said countries for which Pakistan might be building the bombs might include Iran because the seized material, which might be either cobalt 60, cesium 137 or strontium 90 - all perfect ingredient for a radiation bomb, was on its way to Pakistan in a truck driven by an Iranian national.
Such bombs were easily carried by individual terrorists and could, if used, have devastating consequences, he said, adding that radiation bombs were also one of the dreaded terrorist weapons which could be used against any country.
These bombs could be a threat to the USA, Israel and many other countries. "It is a weapon that West Asian terrorists are likely to use in the near future," he said.
According to Mr Bryen, the radiation bomb was made of highly radioactive materials and conventional explosives.
The first recent example of such a weapon was built by Chechen terrorists and planted in a Moscow park in November, 1995.
For terrorists prepared for martyrdom, said Mr Bryen, carrying around a highly radioactive weapon in a suitcase was not a factor of importance in their calculations.
He said the Uzbeks were able to interdict the shipment because the USA provided a handful of portable radiation detectors under an obscure but well-managed programme called the defence department customs counterproliferation programme.
This programme has minimal funding less than $ 2 million per year for 18 countries in the former Soviet Union, the Baltic states, eastern and central Europe.
He said the USA also needed to gear up its counter-terrorism work in these countries and stop worrying about extraneous human rights issues.
Terrorists, who got
their support from Iran and Afghanistan, he said,
threatened Uzbekistan. Yet the USA hardly lifted a finger
to help the Uzbek authorities deal with the terrorism
problem "even though there is a clear link between
the terrorists and the nuclear smuggling
Fraud feared in Peru
LIMA, April 11 (Reuters) Perus presidential elections appeared to put President Alberto Fujimori within a whisker of winning re-election with just over half the votes counted and as officials prepared on Tuesday to publish more results.
With 56 per cent of the vote counted yesterday, the National Election Office said Mr Fujimori had received 49.6 per cent of the vote compared with his main rival, Mr Alejandro Toledo, one of 16 children born in a poor Indian family, trailing with 40.6 per cent.
But the elections in this Andean nation of 25 million, seen as a democratic laggard within Latin America, were in turmoil amid monitors criticising the vote as undemocratic and tainted by fraud suspicions as Mr Fujimori bid for a third five-year term.
To avoid a risky runoff against a united Opposition, Mr Fujimori needs to win a simple majority. If the President remains below 50 per cent once all the votes are counted, a second-round runoff would be held in early June.
The 61-year-old Mr Fujimori, who came to power in 1990 and won a comfortable re-election in 1995, is admired for defeating Shining Path guerrillas and hyperinflation but criticised for weakening Perus democratic institutions.
Mr Toledo, who surged in polls in the month before the election on promises of jobs and wage hikes, said he would not recognise the result even if a final count showed he forced a runoff that many political analysts believe he can win.
"Whatever the result, no matter if it favours me, we will not recognise it, Mr Toledo, who protested possible fraud in a massive march in the early morning hours on Monday that was dispersed by police firing tear gas.
Hours later, Mr Fujimori, the hemispheres longest-serving democratically elected President, said the elections were fair and that results could not be judged by pollsters projections.
"Other than a few little problems which occur in any election, weve had a normal vote, he told reporters in his first public declarations since the end of Sundays balloting.
Mr Toledo, a one-time shoeshine boy who rose from abject Andean poverty to become a World Bank economist, charged before the election that Mr Fujimori had prepared vote rigging.
After Perus most criticised campaign in decades caused friction between Washington and one of its closest allies in the fight against regional drug-trafficking, the USA said it expected a second round and urged Peru make the runoff fair.
No strain in ties with SA: Panja
DUBAI, April 11 (UNI) Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja has dismissed suggestions that match-fixing allegations against South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje by the Delhi police had resulted in a diplomatic row between India and South Africa.
"It has not strained relations in any manner. I cant just disbelieve the police or the South African authorities. The matter is in a stage of inquiry", he told reporters here last night.
Mr Panjas remarks came amid reports that Indian High Commissioner to South Africa Harsh Bhasin was summoned by the government in Pretoria and asked why the Indian police had tapped Cronjes cellphone without informing the South African authorities.
Indian wins Pulitzer Prize
WASHINGTON, April 11 (UNI) Jhumpal Lahiri (33), an author of Indian origin, has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her debut collection of short stories, "Interpreter of Maladies," featuring "marriages that have been arranged, rushed into, betrayed, invaded and exhausted."
The 84th annual awards were announced by the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University in New York yesterday.
Jhumpal Lahiri was born in 1967 in London, and grew up in Rhode island. She has travelled several times to India. Both her parents were born and raised in that country. Her father is a librarian and mother a teacher.
Kaho Na Pyar Hai charms Kiwis
AUCKLAND, April 11 (AFP) A Bollywood love story is creating a lucrative industry in New Zealand and bringing hundreds of new tourists in on its celluloid dreams.
While 38 Hindi movies have been made here in the past three years, Octobers "Kaho Na Pyar Hai" is leaving officials stunned.
New Zealands New Delhi-based South Asia Trade Commissioner, Peter Healy, says the government spent around $ 5,000 (NZ) to attract the films producers.
In return came a three-hour movie which heavily featured New Zealand and which has been seen by 300 million people, as well as paying a round $ 400,000 in wages and hire costs to the New Zealand film industry.
Director Rakesh Roshan whose son Hritik Roshan played the lead with Amisha Patel is heading back to make two more movies, as are dozens of other film makers, bailing out of Switzerland.
Healy called Fiji Indian Kamal Singh, who organises Hindi movies in New Zealand, "our secret weapon."
Singh is currently on the road with another big budget movie starring Mahesh Babu and former Miss India Namrata Shrodhkar.
In 1993, Singh formed a company and advertised in the movie press in Mumbai offering to assist Bollywood companies in New Zealand.
He got one reply. And when that director showed up Kamal gave him a free tour of New Zealand. But he came back in 1995 and spent 45 days shooting the first Hindi movie here.
The new industry has put New Zealand in direct competition with Switzerland.
Switzerland is closer to India but the New Zealand money is attractive to foreign film makers. After airfares are added, costs tend to even out added and the decision on location are often made on the attraction of the new and unseen.
The jewel is Queenstown in the Southern Alps. One director said of it: "You can get Switzerland here, and much, much more."
Rakesh Roshan told the New Zealand Herald newspaper his films success had a lot to do with the location.
"The new location heightens the romance and makes the story believable in that people think that if they were in a beautiful place like that, they would fall in love too," he said.
"We dont attract the big crowds in New Zealand that we do in India and we are left to get on with the job. The scenerys great, the cost is competitive, but the people and the service is the biggest draw."
Tourists are following behind, drawn from the 200 to 250 million-strong middle class in India, said to be the fastest growing in the world.
Anwars wife summoned
KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 (AP) A close aide of jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim today testified that Malaysian police tried to coerce him into making false sexual allegations against his former boss.
Mohamad Azmin Ali, the former Deputy Prime Ministers private secretary for nearly a decade, said he was detained by police and interrogated for days soon after Anwars September 1998 sacking and arrest.
Anwar denies the charge, saying allegations by the driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, are false and are part of a web of lies fabricated by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamads allies to end a political challenge.
Meanwhile, Anwars wife and three other top opposition leaders today drove to a Kuala Lumpur police station in response to a police order.
Author of Hitlers book loses suit
LONDON, April 11 (AP) Historian David Irving, who has outraged survivors of Nazi death camps by challenging the scope of the Holocaust, today lost the libel suit he launched to save his academic reputation.
Irving had filed the suit in Britains high court against American scholar Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, in connection with a 1994 book that he said branded him a "holocaust denier" and accused him of distorting the truth of what happened in Adolf Hitlers Nazi Germany.
Irving, the author of several books, including "Hitlers War," said he do not deny Jews were killed by the Nazis, but challenges the number and manner of Jewish concentration camp deaths.
Elephants take centrestage
NAIROBI, April 11 (AFP) Pressure groups and the worlds media here have focussed on the plight of the elephant on the first working day of an international conference on endangered species.
One of the most
important decisions to be made by 1,700 delegates during
the 10-day conference on the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES) will be whether or not to allow limited sales of
for impotence pill
to be auctioned
38 jail inmates
Queen Mother to
get Russian medal
killings" on the rise
cops for torture
|| 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 |