|Wednesday, April 19, 2000,
enters 20th year as land grab goes on
Council for smarter sanctions
penalty for Sharif demanded
under house arrest: Kulsoom
3,000 stranded in Tibet landslide
family not good for Elian
Nobel awards for 7
to release 13 Lebanese
Zimbabwe enters 20th year as land grab goes on
HARARE, April 18 (Reuters) Zimbabwe marked two decades of independence from Britain today mired in a bloody crisis, with tempers fraying and land-hungry supporters of President Robert Mugabe occupying hundreds of farms.
At least five persons have been killed, including a white farmer kidnapped from his home on Saturday, since veterans of the 1970s war against white settler rule began leading squatters on to more than 600 white-owned farms.
Meanwhile, a second white farmer has been killed in Zimbabwe's deepening crisis, the man's mother said today the 20th anniversary of independence in the former Rhodesia.
"They killed my son, they beat him to a pulp", said Gloria Olds in a telephone call from the farm called Silverstreams near Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo.
Martin Olds (42), who was married with two teenage children, was the second white farmer killed in Zimbabwe since supporters of President Robert Mugabe began an illegal land grab two months ago.
Spokesman for the country's 4,500 predominantly white commercial farmers were called to meet Mr Mugabe at half an hour's notice on Monday and came away with cautiously optimistic.
"I just get the feeling that he was feeling fairly determined to get the situation back to normal as soon as possible", Mr Tim Henwood, president of the Commercial Farmers Union, told reporters.
But the 76-year-old Mugabe, whose popularity has ebbed after 20 years in power, refused once more to order veterans off the farms, which they say British colonisers stole a century ago. Mr Mugabe is due to meet the leader of the War Veterans Association, Mr Cherjerai Hunzvi, and the outcome will be keenly watched by all Zimbabweans.
Mr Hunzvi, who uses the alias "Hilter", claims that his veterans are the real power behind Mr Mugabe.
Farmers fear that tempers have frayed to the extent that even if the squatters are promised speedy land reform many may still refuse to leave the farms.
White Zimbabweans queued at the British High Commission in Harare yesterday to recalim their citizenship.
Britain, its relations with Mr Mugabe at an all-time low, urged African nations to persuade him to restore law and order.
The invasions, openly supported by Mr Mugabe but, recently, not by his senior ministers, have crippled the farm sector that forms the backbone of the country's disintegrating economy.
Fuel shortages caused by lack of foreign exchange lead to huge queues at garages, interest rates are around 60 per cent and unemployment at over 50 per cent.
Critics accuse Mr Mugabe of having engineered the land invasions and inflamed anti-white sentiment in a bid to divert attention from the economic chaos.
Mr Mugabe's term runs till 2002, but political analysts say deep divisions within his party may force him to stand down.
"He is behaving like an uncrowned absolute monarch. He is not even taking wise counsel from some of his own senior officials, and those are the seeds of self-destruction", political analyst Emmanuel Magade told newsmen.
Dr Magade, a law
lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said Mugabe was
desperate but had painted himself into a corner. "He
has always played to the gallery of the gullible but that
gallery is getting empty", he said.
Security Council for smarter sanctions
UNITED NATIONS, April 18 (Reuters) Uneasy about sanctions, particularly against Iraq, the UN Security Council has set up a working group to search for ways of targeting a countrys or groups leadership rather than the entire population.
At the same time, the council was yesterday criticised for not being able to enforce some sanctions, such as arms embargoes it imposed during the past decade, particularly in Africa, where weapons abounded in civil wars.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, who presided over a four-hour council debate, said the 15-nation body needed to bolster its expertise on sanctions and lacked experts to analyse impact and violations.
The meeting focused on searching for ways of making embargoes "smarter" by targeting leaders rather than vulnerable groups, such as using foreign assistance as a carrot or searching for bank accounts of abusive rulers or rebel groups. Council President Robert Fowler of Canada said a working group, including outside experts would review the councils sanctions policy over a six-month period.
Many envoys indicated that the sweeping 10-year-old embargoes against Baghdad, with their disastrous effect on the civilian population, would make it difficult to impose stringent new economic sanctions in the future.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, at a seminar earlier in the day, said the public was growing sceptical about the usefulness of sanctions. "there appears to be a growing distrust of this instrument and its ability to bring about change at a fair cost," he said.
The most recent, a book titled "The Sanctions Decade" and issued by the New York-based International Peace Academy, analyses a dozen countries targeted for UN sanctions over the past decade. On Iraq, it does not necessarily recommend lifting the embargoes but criticises Washingtons stance, based on the goal of getting rid of President Saddam Hussein.
"In effect, the Security Council was held hostage by Washingtons belligerent and unyielding posture towards Baghdad," the authors, David Cortight of the Fourth Freedom Forum and George Lopez, a Notre dame scholar, wrote.
Death penalty for Sharif demanded
KARACHI, April 18 (AFP) Pakistani prosecutors today said they had filed an appeal in the Sindh High Court here demanding the death penalty for deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on hijacking and terrorism charges.
Chief Public Prosecutor Raja Crush told mediapersons that he had also challenged the April 6 verdict of an anti-terrorism court ordering the acquittal of six co-accused, including Mr Sharifs brother Shahbaz.
We have demanded the normal sentence which is death penalty for Sharif, Mr Qureshi told mediapersons here.
We have submitted the two applications to the Deputy Registrar of the Sindh High Court, he said.
The process will begin on May 2, but the appeal hearing could take several more weeks after that to begin. The Judges, Abdul Hamid Dogar and S.A. Rabbani, will first decide on a stay order filed by Mr Sharifs lawyers to prevent the seizure of the former Prime Ministers extensive property and assets.
Mr Sharif was convicted by a special anti-terrorism court on April 6 of hijacking and terrorism and sentenced to concurrent life sentences. His property and assets also were ordered confiscated. His lawyers filed a stay order requesting the seizure be delayed until the appeal processes are exhausted.
Tarar under house arrest: Kulsoom
DUBAI, April 18 (UNI) Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, says President Mohammed Rafiq Tarar is under house arrest in Aiwan-e-Sadr (presidency) even as she alleged that the anti-terrorism court ruling in her husbands case relating to hijacking and terrorism was subjected to many changes.
She said her family or
the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) did not hold any grudge
against the President. My statement about the
President has not been reported correctly because when I
was asked to comment on his continuation in the
presidency, I had remarked it would not be good either is
he steps down.
Over 3,000 stranded in Tibet landslide
BEIJING, April 18 (PTI) Over 3,000 persons are reported to be stranded in southwest Chinas Tibet autonomous region after a major landslide, delayed reports reaching here said today.
However, no one was killed or injured in the landslide which occurred in Powo County on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Nearly 500 million cubic meters of mud and stone rolled down the mountain slope and blocked Yigong river, pushing the water level at the rivers upper reaches above the warning line.
More than 4,000 residents in two nearby townships were stranded.
Up to now, over 1,000 local residents have been moved to safer areas. There has been no spread of epidemics in the region, Xinhua said.
Governments at various levels in Tibet have allocated funds and shipped food, butter, tents and other relief materials to help local residents tide over temporary difficulties.
Miami family not good for Elian
MIAMI, April 18 (Reuters) The US Government and the Miami relatives of Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez were locked in an angry impasse as they waited for a federal appeals court ruling that could determine how soon he will be reunited with his father.
The 11th US Circuit court of appeals in Atlanta was yesterday considering a last-ditch request by Elians Miami relatives to prevent the 6-year-olds return to Cuba pending legal appeals, and a government counter-request to order him handed over.
We will wait for the court to rule and then we will move, immigration and naturalisation service spokeswoman Maria Cardona said.
The decision could come at any time. If it favours the government, it would remove an obstacle in administration efforts to reunite the child with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, and end a bitter custody battle that has become a crusade for President Fidel Castro and his enemies among Cuban exiles in Miami.
The INS yesterday released a letter from the paediatrician who has been advising the government on Elian in which he urged that the boy be removed from the Miami relatives because he was being horrendously exploited.
Elian Gonzalez is now in a state of imminent danger to his physical and emotional well-being in a home that I consider to be psychologically abusive, Dr Irwin Redlener, president of community paediatrics at childrens hospital at Montefiore in New York, wrote in the letter.
Officials in President Bill Clintons administration said over the weekend that once the 11th circuit ruled. It was ready to move to return Elian to the custody of his father.
The Miami family said in a statement yesterday there had been no legal requirement to deliver Elian into government hands last Thursday.
The family, seeking an asylum hearing, appealed a federal court decision in March that upheld immigration authorities view that Elian belongs with his father.
The Atlanta court is to hear the appeal in May, but before that, it must rule on where Elian should live pending the hearing.
Fighting the government and US public opinion, lawyers and family representatives sought to build their case by alleging the father had abused Elian and the boys late mother, and that he really wanted to defect but could not speak freely.
Juan Miguel Gonzalez showed increasing anger and frustration with the relatives and denied the charges.
The way they manipulated him (Elian) ... Thats abusive. Everything that theyve done with him is abusive, he said in an interview with CBS broadcast on Sunday.
Environment Nobel awards for 7
SAN FRANCISCO, April 18 (Reuters) A jailed Mexican anti-logging campaigner, a Russian environmental lawyer and a Liberian conservationist who set up that countrys first and only national park were among seven activists awarded top world environmental prizes yesterday.
Other winners of this years $ 125,000 Goldman Environmental Prizes, included an Uzbek obstetrician who has fought to raise awareness of the dangers of pesticides, an ethnobotanist from Madagascar who has pioneered the use of local plants to treat disease, and two Paraguayan activists who have challenged a major dam project.
These selfless actions contribute to the survival of our planet and our ability to maintain life as we know it, Richard Goldman, president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the foundation made an early announcement of the award to Mexicos Rodolfo Montiel, who has been jailed for nearly a year on charges of drug trafficking and alleged guerrilla links.
Montiel, a 44-year-old peasant leader who organised local people to fight logging by US based Boise Cascade in the Mexican coastal state of Guerrero, was arrested by the Mexican military last year.
The other prize winners, announced on Monday, included 43-year-old Oral Ataniyazova, an obstetrician from Uzbekistan who has sought to publicise the pollution and pesticide problems stemming from the rapid shrinking of the Aral sea.
The recipient for Europe
was Vera Mischenko, 47, a lawyer credited with
introducing the concept of public interest environmental
law to Russia in 1991 by founding Ecojuris, the
countrys first public interest law firm.
Israel to release 13 Lebanese
JERUSALEM, April 18 (Reuters) Israels security Cabinet today decided to release 13 Lebanese detained without trial for more than a decade as bargaining chips for missing soldiers, the Israel radio said.
Prime Minister Ehud Baraks office declined immediate comment on the report.
The radio said the
security Cabinet decided to free by tomorrow eight
Lebanese detainees, who successfully petitioned
Israels high court for the release and five other
Lebanese prisoners held under similar circumstances.
Kosovo Albanians put on trial
120 on Comoros
Child set on
fire by foster mom
picture sets new record
Plan to re-make
Colossus of Rhodes
7 die in Myanmar
DNA test drive
leads to rapist
German beauty is
40 miners die in
5 convicted for
death of athletes
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