|Monday, May 1, 2000,
assures support to Lanka
to legalise land seizures
battle with kidnappers
border dispute soon: China
backing terrorist groups, Pak told
to abide by SC verdict
|Massive protest over Elian raid
MIAMI, April 30 Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Little Havanas main street here, in protest against the governments raid a week ago in which Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez was removed from his great-uncles home.
Saigons fall jubilee
India assures support to Lanka
COLOMBO, April 30 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh had reassured his Sri Lankan counterpart Lakshman Kadirgamar of Indias fullest support to the island nations unity and integrity, media reports today said.
Indias reassurance was conveyed to Mr Kadirgamar, when he met Mr Jaswant Singh in New Delhi early this week, the Sunday Times said here.
Mr Kadirgamar, who is currently in New Delhi undergoing treatment for his kidney ailment, met Mr Jaswant Singh to discuss Sri Lankan governments last weeks protest to India over the alleged remarks made by MDMK, leader V. Gopalaswami eulogising the LTTEs failed attempt on President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the paper said.
Mr Kadirgamar also met Defence Minister George Fernandes.
He is also expected to meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee before leaving for Colombo later next week.
Meanwhile, desperate over army reverses in the strategic Jaffna peninsula, nationalist groups in Sri Lanka, who had opposed the presence of the Indian Army during 1987-1990 in the country, are now calling for its (Indian Armys) return.
Yes, I was strongly against the IPKF then, but considering the present situation, it is imperative that we invite the Indian Army to help in halting the LTTEs advance into the Jaffna peninsula, Buddhist monk Elle Gunawansa, who led anti-India campaign when the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) served in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990, told a Sinhala-language weekly Lukbima.
Mr Gunawansa, who was considered to be a protege of the late President R. Premadasa, called for full-scale Indian military involvement to prevent the LTTEs onslaught in Jaffna.
Recently, the main Opposition United National Party (UNP) asked the Chandrika Kumaratunga government to seek foreign military assistance to stop the LTTE from taking over Jaffna.
The UNPs call has led to speculation among diplomatic missions here as it was a UNP government headed by the late President J.R. Jayawrdene which first invited the Indian Army under the Indo-Lanka Agreement in 1987 to restore peace in the North and East.
However, two years later his successor R. Premadasa termed the IPKF an occupation force and demanded its withdrawal. The IPKF was finally withdrawn in 1990 after the Premadasa government and the LTTE came together to demand its immediate recall.
The pro-UNP media here has been saying India should be approached specially in the light of Indian perception that a strong LTTE presence in Sri Lankas north could have a destabilising effect on Tamil Nadu and other southern states.
The media had also
prominently reported that India had alerted the
government on the possible LTTE attempts to assassinate
Ms Kumaratunga on December 12, 14 or 18. The attack on
her finally took place on December 18.
Mugabe to legalise land seizures
HARARE, April 30 (Reuters) Zimbabwes President Robert Mugabe will invoke special powers in the next 10 days to allow the forced acquisition of white-owned land for redistribution to landless blacks, his spokesman said today.
Mr George Charamba confirmed that the special Presidential powers were temporary and necessary in the absence of Parliament, which was dissolved this month ahead of parliamentary elections due in the next few months.
Because Parliament is not in session, the President is going to invoke temporary Presidential powers, which are provided for in the constitution, to amend sections of the Lands Acquisition Act, he told Reuters.
Self-styled veterans of Zimbabwes independence war with Britain have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms, with the approval of the government, to demand land redistribution.
Mr Charamba spoke a day after the state-owned Ziana news agency quoted Justice Minister Emmerson Mnagangwa as saying the legal framework to seize the land officially would be put in place within 10 days.
The Mugabe Government has said the issue of compensation is the responsibility of former colonial power, Britain. London is ready to help fund land reform, but wants illegal farm occupations to end first.
Britains stance is not our problem. It does not matter what they think or say. We are going ahead with our plans whether they like it or not, Mr Mnagangwa added.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwes self-styled war veterans and main Opposition party have pledged no-holds-barred campaigns for a general election in the coming months.
War veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi said his group was committed to the continued reign of President Mugabes ruling Zanu-PF while Mr Morgan Tsvangirai said his Opposition Movement for Democratic Change had vowed to end Mugabes rule.
A Zimbabwe delegation returned from London later after failing to secure British cash for land reform. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told them Britain would offer no money before lawlessness in Zimbabwe was halted.
At least 14 people farmers, farm workers and Opposition supporters have been killed in the nine weeks since land hungry militants began invading hundreds of farms.
Thousands of Hunzvis veterans and allies from Zanu-PF have invaded thousands of white-owned farmlands, saying that they were stolen from their forefathers by British colonialists.
Analysts say the occupation is meant to intimidate Opposition supporters ahead of parliamentary elections, which under must be held before the end of August.
Farmlands occupied by war veterans remained quiet yesterday but senior farming sources said the veterans were being funded by Zanu-PF, and received supplies daily from the ruling party.
On one farm near Harare, veterans had raised a flag with the words: Zanu-PF. War veterans headquarters. This is Mugabes party and country. We will not allow threats to his rule.
The owner of the farm said the veterans received food, newspapers and daily pay from Zanu-PF couriers every morning.
The Zimbabwe congress of trade unions cancelled Mondays May Day celebrations across Zimbabwe because of security fears.
The MDC is independent Zimbabwes first viable opposition party. Its campaign accuses Mugabe of mismanaging the economy, allowing corruption and misjudging the costly deployment of 11,000 troops in the democratic republic of the Congo.
The police has
reintroduced the Draconian Law and Order Maintenance Act
which gives them powers to restrict the movement of
supporters of political parties and ban public gatherings
that ostensibly threaten law and order.
Troops battle with kidnappers
ZAMBOANGA (Philippines), April 30 (Reuters) Philippine troops fought intense battles today with Islamic rebels holding mainly child hostages on a southern island but the attempt to rescue the 27 captives came to nothing.
General Jose Calimlim, the armed forces Vice-Chief and intelligence head, told Reuters the troops controlled 95 per cent of the rebel camp on the island of Basilan.
The hostages and surviving rebels are believed to be in a concrete-reinforced tunnel in the camp and troops are advancing cautiously to avoid harming the captives, said Gen Calimlim.
He said the guerrillas, who are fighting for an Islamic state in the south of this mostly Roman catholic country, abandoned guns, sacks of rice and other equipment in their retreat into the tunnel.
The hostages, all Filipinos and held for more than a month, included 22 children and five adults, one a catholic priest.
We suspect the remaining rebels have gone inside a tunnel that is 200 metres long and taken the hostages with them, the General said. We still have to search the tunnel, he added. We havent recovered the hostages... there is no contact with them or with the rebels.
Elsewhere, the governments chief hostage negotiator said soldiers had surrounded rebels holding another 21 captives, including 10 foreign tourists, but repeated his warning against military intervention.
The provincial Governor Nur Misuari, a former rebel, also threatened to end negotiations unless the guerrillas started releasing the captives. These people... are already literally encircled from all sides, Mr Misuari told reporters, adding this was a tactical move intended to limit the movements of the guerrillas.
Either we expedite the release of these people or we terminate the negotiations, he said, adding that negotiations which have not formally begun should be completed quickly.
Earlier, one of Mr Misuaris emissaries who met the rebels told newsmen they had submitted a written list of fresh demands but Mr Misuari denied having received any list.
Mr Habib Jamasali Abdurahman, an emissary for chief government negotiator Nur Misuari, refused to disclose the demands but described them as reasonable.
The biggest Philippine Muslim rebel group suspended peace talks with the government today after weeks of fighting with the military on the southern Mindanao island.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), one of two groups fighting for an Islamic state in the south accused the military of violating a 1997 ceasefire agreement by attacking several of its camps.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front hereby unilaterally declares that the... peace talks (are) indefinitely suspended, said a front declaration signed by Al Haj Murad, the groups Vice-Chairman for Military Affairs.
The MILF suspended the talks two days after heavy fighting erupted at the defence perimeter of Camp Abubakar, near Cotabato city, which is the rebels biggest base.
Solve border dispute soon: China
BEIJING, April 30 (PTI) A senior Chinese Communist Party official has expressed the hope that China, India and Pakistan could live in peace and amity and called for and early resolution of vexed border dispute between Beijing and New Delhi.
The most ideal situation for the three countries is to live in peace and amity, Dai Bingguo, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Minister for International Department told PTI.
The relations between China, India and Pakistan should be based on co-existence, Mr Dai, who recently led a high level delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to India at the invitation of the BJP, said.
During talks with BJP leadership, the Chinese side hoped that India and Pakistan would develop a long-term, stable, good-neighbourly relationship through joint efforts, Mr Dai said.
Commenting on the vexed Sino Indian boundary issue, he said an early resolution was good for both countries. At the same time, Mr Dai said the border dispute should be properly settled.
While acknowledging that BJP leadership raised Indias concern about the Sino Pakistani nexus, Mr Dai said relevant reports in the media regarding this issue were wrongly interpreted by some Indian newspapers.
Asked to comment on his reported remark that Chinas relations with India had nothing to do with Sino-Pakistan relations, Mr Dai said I dont think it is the correct interpretation of my words.
What I said was that we hope and are dedicated to the long-term, good-neighbourly, friendly, mutually-beneficial and cooperative relations with India, Mr Dai said.
We are dedicated in the long-term, good-neighbourly, friendly, mutually-beneficial relations between China and Pakistan. We also hope that India and Pakistan can enjoy long-term, stable, good-neighbourly and friendly relations, Mr Dai clarified.
Asked if the BJP raised the question of terrorism and Chinas reluctance to condemn Pakistan-sponsored terrorist acts in India, Mr Dai said the two sides did not discuss the issue in Detail. However, he reiterated the Chinese stand that Beijing was opposed to all forms of terrorism.
Stop backing terrorist groups, Pak told
NEW YORK, April 30 (PTI) The US State Department has admonished Islamabad for aiding and abetting terrorists in Kashmir and for the first time identified Pakistan and Afghanistan a major hub of international terrorism providing safe haven and support to world terrorist groups.
However, it stopped short of listing Pakistan as state sponsoring terrorism saying it (Pakistan) is a friendly state that is trying to tackle the problem.
The New York Times quoted the latest annual report of the department as saying Afghanistan also poses a major terrorist threat by, among other things, continuing to shelter the Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, wanted in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa.
Pakistan, too, the report asserts, is sending mixed messages on terrorism by harbouring and aiding known terrorists, many fighting to wrest control of Kashmir from India.
Pakistan, the report says, while it has arrested and extradited several terrorists, it has refused to end support for groups that train terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan itself, and has declined to close certain Pakistani religious schools that serve as conduits for terrorism.
There are also credible reports, the report says, that Pakistan continues to support militant groups like the Harkat ul-Mujahedin, which had one of its leaders freed from an Indian prison in exchange for hostages of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane last year.
The New York Times said the State Department stopped short of adding either Pakistan or Afghanistan to its list of state sponsors, against whom a series of tough sanctions automatically apply.
Seven countries are on the departments list of nations that sponsor terrorism: Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea.
Michael Sheehan, the Departments coordinator for counter-terrorism said Pakistan was not added because although its record badly needed improvement. It is a friendly state that trying to tackle the problem, he said.
The paper had obtained a copy of the 107-page report ahead of its publication which is expected on Monday.
Informed by the Times of
the State Department report, Zamir Akram, the deputy
chief of mission at Pakistans embassy in
Washington, vigorously denied that his
country was supporting or tolerating terrorism.
PML to abide by SC verdict
ISLAMABAD, April 30 (ANI) A senior Pakistan Muslim League (PML) leader Khurshid Mahmood Qasuri has said that all political parties, including the PML, would accept the Supreme Courts verdict which is expected at the end of the month.
A number of identical petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the dismissal of the Nawaz Sharif government by army and the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).
Qasuri told the BBC that all democratic parties wanted that they should remain united. It is not a minor thing that in spite of adverse circumstances the PML is united. The Coordination Committee deserves appreciation that it has kept the party united, he said.
Massive protest over Elian raid
MIAMI, April 30 (AFP) Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Little Havanas main street here, in protest against the governments raid a week ago in which Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez was removed from his great-uncles home.
The marchers moved off amid strong sunshine yesterday, as loudspeakers blared slogans justice for Elian and human rights for Cubans.
Another slogan was, we will make ourselves heard in November, an allusion to the upcoming US presidential election, when the Democratic Partys showing here could suffer from fall-out from the Elian drama.
The march had been slated by organisers to draw 80,000 people equivalent to one-in-ten of the citys Cuban-American population of 800,000 out of Miamis total population of around two million.
There was a strong turnout, but the police declined to estimate how many. They were evidently relieved there had been no repeat the disturbances a week earlier, when within hours of the raid by heavily armed federal agents there had been tyres burning in the streets, and 300 arrests by the end of the day.
We are here to
show our solidarity with Elian, said Maria Lopez, a
local woman. The court is to decide. Even if we
dont like it, well accept it, she said,
referring to Elians great-uncle Lazaro
Gonzalezs petition that the boy should be allowed
to apply for asylum in the USA.
Vietnam celebrates Saigons fall jubilee
HO CHI MINH CITY (Vietnam), April 30 (DPA) Commemorations got underway early today marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the end of what Vietnam officially calls the American war.
Top Communist party dignitaries, city and Central Government leaders, and military commanders gathered on the steps of Reunification Palace, under a looming billboard of revolutionary icon Ho Chi Minh, to witness a parade of military troops and civil groups.
Party chief Le Kha Phieu, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and other cadres, as well as thousands of militiamen in formation, stood at rigid attention as a brass band performed Vietnams national anthem.
Retired General Vo Nguyen Giap, architect of the Communist victory over the US-backed Saigon regime, was also on hand at the palace, site of South Vietnams April 30, 1975 surrender to Communist forces who stormed Saigon and renamed it Ho Chi Minh City.
Security was tight but low-key from the pre-dawn hours today and was to continue through the day, when a series of elaborate cultural and musical events are set to take place throughout the city.
The great victory
of April 30 represents the greatest epic of Vietnamese
heroism and the most crystallised expression of
Vietnamese traditions, values, characteristics, resolve
and ability, city Mayor Vo Viet Thanh said.
get life term for eye gouging
trafficking: two held
China jails Oppn
Puppy burns down
delivering twins in car
Wedding in jail
No to passport
for lack of 20s document
as presidential nominee
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