|Saturday, April 29, 2000,
rebels killed, LTTE takes key junction
conditions for talks, USA tells Pak
bid to malign army to be probed
talks with Zimbabwe: UK
craft docks with Mir
|USA, Russia fail to bridge gaps
WASHINGTON, April 28 US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov has said that lengthy discussions here on arms control had failed to bridge gaps between the two sides.
Millionaire bride to earn
tests new fighter plane
30 rebels killed, LTTE takes key junction
COLOMBO, April 28 (PTI) Thirty Tamil rebels were killed in fresh fighting in Sri Lankas north even as the LTTE claimed to have captured more territory amid growing Opposition demand for foreign help to halt the guerrillas advances in Jaffna.
The army today said here that it clashed with the rebels in a number of places in the Jaffna peninsula and Vanni yesterday in which 30 rebels were killed.
The LTTE today claimed to have launched fierce attacks on armys new defence lines and captured an important road junction on the highway leading to Jaffna town.
The clandestine Voice of Tigers rebel radio said the LTTE had captured Puthukadu road junction near Pallai, 8 km from the Elephant army garrison captured last weekend.
Meanwhile, the main opposition the United National Party (UNP), today demanded that the Chandrika Kumaratunga government seek international military assistance to prevent Jaffna from falling into the hands of the LTTE.
Ms Chandrika, who returned after having treatment for her injured eye yesterday, held a prolonged meeting of the National Security Council, comprising top defence officials.
Sri Lanka today called out all regular reserves to active duty to bolster its war against the LTTE rebels after the recent loss of a strategic northern military complex. It is the first time the reserves are being called to active service since the ethnic war broke out 17 years ago.
Meanwhile, the United
Nations today suspended most of its operations in Sri
Lankas war-ravaged Jaffna peninsula. Most of the
over 60 UN staff, involved in various relief and
rehabilitation programmes in Jaffna, had been redeployed
elsewhere with immediate effect, a statement from the UN
office here said.
Create conditions for talks, USA tells Pak
WASHINGTON, April 28 (UNI) The USA has asked Pakistan to help create necessary conditions for making meaningful the dialogue that its military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf is trying to have with New Delhi.
Speaking here yesterday on the US policy in South Asia: The road ahead, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas R. Pickering referred to General Musharrafs repeated offers to start a dialogue with India and said, We are asking New Delhi to consider very seriously the possibilities for resuming this dialogue.
But, Pakistan now should do its part to help create the peaceful conditions needed to make such a dialogue meaningful. This need not be a matter of public fanfare, proclamations or even comments what matters most to be able to see the reality on the ground, he said.
Mr Pickering, who is visiting New Delhi for discussion with India on Asian Security, welcomed Indias release of several leaders of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, Indicating a willingness to talk with them. Reportedly, other Hurriyat leaders might be released soon, he added.
Today, the question is how best to move towards the objective of calming the conflict and answer, in our view, is through peaceful dialogue between India and Pakistan, in the spirit of the Lahore meeting between their two leaders in February 1999.
The senior State Department official recognised the enormous damage that the Kargil incident had done to the Lahore process, insisting, Kargil could not be forgotten, but it could and should be transcended.
Mr Pickering said other issues also might be resolved apart from the broad question of Kashmir. For example, India and Pakistan were once very close to an agreement on the Siachen glacier. Other border issues also could be cleared up, including Sir Creek and Wuller Barrage, he added.
He also spoke of the possibility of reviving economic cooperation between the two countries, leading to further efforts on political disputes.
In reply to a question, he said there was no change in the US stand on the lending to India by the International financial institutions.
Mr Pickering said Pakistan had a last chance to save itself from economic stagnation, or worse and if it made the right moves in this direction, Washington and the international economic community would lend appropriate support to it.
Sharifs bid to malign army to be probed
RAWALPINDI, April 28 (UNI) The military government in Pakistan has reportedly decided to institute an inquiry into deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his governments alleged efforts to malign the army during the Kargil mission.
Urdu daily Jang reported quoting responsible sources that the Kargil fact-finding commission would probe the charge that Mr Nawaz Sharif on the excuse of the Kargil mission wanted to get Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death for endangering Pakistans independence.
The report said that because of the unity in the army, Mr Sharif was finding it difficult to replace General Musharraf. He could not make a dent in this unity even with the offer of crore of rupees and expensive gifts to corps commanders who were made these offers, kept gen. Musharraf informed about it, the paper writes.
The paper said after the military coup on October 12, it was revealed that Mr Sharif did not only want General Musharraf replaced but also removed from his way. The army chief was forced to go to Sri Lanka although it had been decided earlier that another officer would go there.
The idea behind his
forced despatch to Sri Lanka was to charge him with
hobnobbing with his Indian counterpart in Colombo and
also make the Kargil mission as an
excuse for trying him for endangering Pakistans
independence. On this charge, he was to be given the
death sentence or life imprisonment, writes Jang.
MIAMI, April 28 (AFP) An appeal court in Atlanta, Georgia has denied Elian Gonzalezs Miami relatives their requests to appoint a neutral court guardian acting on the Cuban boys behalf and to let them visit Elian, a court spokesman said.
The court agreed, however, to a third request presented by lawyers for Elians Miami-based great-uncle Lazaro Gonzalez, which prevents the six-year-old from entering premises that enjoy diplomatic immunity, such as a Cuban diplomats residence.
On Wednesday, Elians father, Mr Juan Miguel Gonzalez, stepped into the legal battle over his son, asking the Atlanta court to recognise him as Elians sole legal representative in asylum appeals on his behalf, court documents showed.
An attorney for Mr Lazaro Gonzalez, Mr Richard Sharpstein, claimed yesterday it was unlikely that the fathers request would be accepted by the court.
The court hasnt ruled on that yet, and I dont think they will allow that, he said.
Mr Lazaro Gonzalez is waging a court battle to allow Elian to request political asylum in the USA.
HAVANA (AP): Guban President Fidel Castro on Friday sent nine more persons to join Elian Gonzalez and his family in the USA, where they await court action that may allow the boy to return to Cuba.
President Castro called the US refusal to grant more visas crazy.
Cuban officials are trying to create a little bit of Elians hometown, Cardenas, at the Wye River conference centre where the boy is staying.
They have said we want to move Cardenas to the USA, President Castro said, complaining about US refusal to grant visas to all 31 persons. Cuba had proposed to help the six-year-old shipwreck survivor recover from trauma, catch up with school work and renew relations with his friends.
There have been nothing but obstacles and difficulties of all kinds, President Castro said at Havanas Jose Marti International Airport after bidding farewell to Elians physician, four of his schoolmates and four of their parents.
No talks with Zimbabwe: UK
HARARE, April 28 (Reuters) Zimbabwe police said yesterday that it would crackdown on rising political violence by using powers dating back to the era of white rule that the opposition said threatened free elections.
We will maintain law and order, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told a news conference in Harare.
Opposition parties called the new powers draconian and said they jeopardised the chances for free and fair parliamentary elections due by August.
The police statement came as ministers began talks in London on President Robert Mugabes demand that Britain pay for land he plans to take from white farmers for redistribution to blacks.
But those talks ended without agreement. Speaking at the end of an eight-hour session, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said there could be no resumption until violence and invasions of white-owned farms ended.
The ball is now in their court. It is up to them (the Zimbabwean Government) to end the occupations, Cook told a news conference.
But the Zimbabwean delegation leader insisted that the London talks had not failed.
It is not a failure. We have broken the ice, John Nkomo said. Our officials will be continuing with the talks that we began today.
Earlier, a British Foreign Office source said Nkomo had been insisting the money should be paid before the violence connected with the land-grab issue died out.
Cargo craft docks with Mir
MOSCOW, April 28 (Reuters) A cargo ship docked successfully with Russias ageing Mir space station early today, Itar-Tass news agency said.
Docking of the Progress M1-2 craft, launched from Baikonur cosmodrome on Wednesday with oxygen, fuel and other supplies, was carried out in automatic mode by commands from mission control centre, the agency said.
It added that immediately afterwards, cosmonauts Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kaleri started checking operations to make sure the docking module was tightly sealed.
The cosmonauts returned to Mir earlier this month after a 223-day break, giving what officials hope will be a new lease of life to the worlds only space laboratory.
USA, Russia fail to bridge gaps
WASHINGTON, April 28 (AFP) US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov has said that lengthy discussions here on arms control had failed to bridge gaps between the two sides.
But each emphasised that both Washington and Moscow remained committed to trying to resolve the differences, particularly regarding vehement Russian objections to a US desire to amend the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for a limited national missile defence system.
Obviously, we do not agree on all issues, Ms Albright told reporters following nearly two hours of wide-ranging talks with Mr Ivanov at the State Department. But we cannot both be right all the time.
She said she had made
clear to Mr Ivanov that Washington was determined to work
with Russia to promote nuclear stability through
further mutual reductions in our arsenals and through
preserving the ABM Treaty by adapting it to meet 21st
Millionaire bride to earn her money
WASHINGTON, April 28 (AFP) The blonde nurse who wed a US millionaire as part of a televised contest and later annulled the marriage is considering showing the world what her former husband never saw, according to reports yesterday.
Darva Conger is considering posing nude for the adult magazine Playboy for a six-figure fee, the New York Post reported.
But TV hubby Rick Rockwell, a 42-year-old millionaire, doesnt even plan to buy the upcoming issue,likely to be published in the fall. Instead, he plans on flipping through the Playboy pages at a news-stand and then putting the issue with her nude full-frontal poses right back on the rack, ABC said.
Its a stunning about-face for the 34-year-old blonde nurse, whos insisted the controversial made-for-TV stunt wrecked her life and that she desperately wanted to fade back into obscurity, the Post said yesterday.
Jay Thomas, who hosted the special broadcast of Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? says this latest development exposes Congers true motives.
Shes achieved her goal of making some good money, Thomas told the New York daily.
Russia tests new fighter plane
MOSCOW, April 28 (AFP) Russia carried out a second successful test flight on a new fighter plane to replace MIG-29 and SU-27, Interfax reported, quoting MIG General Director Nikolai Nikitin.
Known as Product 1.44, the plane flew for 22 minutes near Moscow yesterday, reaching an altitude of 20 km, the official said.
2.9 m ADB loan for Pak
set for May 3
destroys artists painting
apologises for ad
bins in UK schools
Man slept with
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