|Wednesday, May 3, 2000,
of Sharifs property suspended
|Obuchi was refused prompt
TOKYO, May 2 Stroke-hit former Japanese Premier Keizo Obuchi refused to be taken to hospital soon after he felt sick, missing a crucial chance to get urgently needed treatment, a report said today.
PM with longest tenure
spree suspect charged with homicide
seized from Musharrafs plane
taxis, human cameras by 2010
Abu Sayyaf mens threat to behead hostages
JOLO (Philippines) May 2 (DPA) Government troops today clashed with Muslim extremist rebels holding 21 ailing hostages under squalid conditions in a southern Philippine jungle, but there was no immediate information about the captives, police said.
At least one soldier was killed, while four others and an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf extremists were wounded in the skirmish in the remote village of Tiis Kuttong in Julo island, Sulu province, 1,000 km south of Manila, a police report said.
The report said the firefight was triggered by a chance encounter between the soldiers and the guerrillas at 6 a.m. GMT in Tiis Kuttong, one km away from Bandang village, where the hostages were being held in a small bamboo hut.
But a wounded soldier said the troops were just resting in their camp when two Abu Sayyaf groups attacked them.
The clash erupted amid an appeal by the hostages for the Philippine Government to pull out some 1,000 soldiers and policemen patrolling around the Abu Sayyafs hideout.
The hostages also told Deutsche Presse-Agentur DPA, who briefly visited them yesterday with an emergency medical mission, that the Philippine Government must not undertake any stupid action.
We do not want to die here, said German hostage Werner Wallert, echoing sentiments of the other captives from France, South Africa, Finland, Lebanon, Malaysia and the Philippines, seized from the Malaysian island resort of Sipadan by the Abu Sayyaf.
Extremists holding the 21 hostages said today they would behead two foreign captives unless the military halted operations against their group.
If the military does not stop operations in Bsilan province, well give them a big surprise, a spokesman for Abu Sayyaf, who identified himself as Abu Escobar, said in a radio interview.
We will send them the heads of the two foreigners, maybe tomorrow or the days to come, he told station DXRZ.
In a separate incident, Islamic guerillas holding 27 hostages, mainly schoolchildren, in the southern Philippines apparently escaped with their captives from a rebel camp under assault by the military last week, Defence Secretary Orlando Mercado said today.
MANILA (AFP): Philippine President Joseph Estradas office today again rejected foreign mediation to free the 21 Western and Asian hostages.
Mr Ronaldo Zamora, Chief Presidential aide, rebuffed demands by the Abu Sayyaf extremist group to replace Manilas chief negotiator with a mediator from the United Nations and envoys from the hostages countries.
The problem is that they are asking for a negotiator from the United Nations. We will not allow that this issue be internationalised, Mr Zamora told DZMM radio.
COTOBATO: In a related development the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), seeking independence in the southern third of the Philippines, today ordered an all-out assault on government troops after pulling out of peace talks.
Pak stand on terrorism not clear
WASHINGTON, May 2 (UNI) The Clinton administration has cited friendship as one of the reasons for not declaring Pakistan a terrorist state, despite credible reports of official Pakistani support for Kashmir militant groups that engage in terrorism like the Harkat ul-Mujahidin.
I dont believe that Pakistan merits being designated a state sponsor of terrorism abroad, State Departments Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism Michael Sheehan said yesterday while briefing on its annual report on terrorism, Patterns to Global Terrorism 1999.
Pakistan is a friendly country. They cooperate with us on numerous terrorist issues, most recently with the extradition of an individual to Jordan for trial. They have some issues that have been raised at the highest levels by the President (Clinton) himself, when he was in Islamabad (in March), by the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and others, he said.
When we look at the designation of a state sponsor, we look at the countrys record on counter terrorism. And in the case of Pakistan, although we have some problems and issues with them, they were not designated a state sponsor. They do have problems, as I alluded to before, and were pressing them to move forward on that, Mr Sheehan said adding, We continue to work with them. But they definitely need to improve their efforts on this issue.
He made this statement following repeated questions as to why Clinton administration had not gone beyond this report and included Pakistan in the US list of states sponsoring terrorism abroad. Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria have been on the list since 1993.
When asked to explain the phrase used in the report that Pakistan continues to send mixed messages on terrorism, Mr Sheehan said Islamabad had a mixed record on it. On the one hand, theyll cooperate with extradition. They provide good security for our embassies. We have a good relationship on a broad range of security issues. On the other hand, they have relationships both with Kashmiri groups and with the Taliban in Afghanistan that are troubling. They need to improve the record on that score.
He said Afghanistan was not on the list, because the USA did not recognise the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, nor did the United Nations.
Earlier, while releasing the report, the Secretary of State, Ms Madeleine Albright said, This years report also reflects changes in the nature of our common foe. We are seeing a shift from well-organised local groups supported by state sponsors to more far-flung and loosely structured webs of terror.
We are detecting a shift from state funding to private sponsorship in criminal enterprises such as blackmail and trafficking in drugs, guns and even human beings. And we are seeing an eastward shift in terrorisms centre of gravity, from the Middle East to South Asia, particularly Afghanistan, she observed.
Confiscation of Sharifs property suspended
KARACHI, May 2 (AFP) A Pakistani High Court today suspended the fine and confiscation of property imposed on former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pending an appeal against his conviction and life sentence for hijacking and terrorism, court officials said.
The two-judge Bench adjourned the case until May 9.
Mr Justice Abdul Ghani
Sheikh and Mr Justice S.A. Rabbani of the Sind High Court
said they would also address the admissibility of a
prosecution appeal seeking the death penalty for Sharif
at the next hearing.
Cwealth to decide Zimbabwes fate
LONDON, May 2 (AP) Under pressure from Britain to take a tough stance on the crisis in Zimbabwe, Commonwealth Ministers met today to decide how to respond to the occupation of white-owned farms and harassment of Opposition groups in the southern African state.
Foreign Ministers from eight Commonwealth countries, including Britains Robin Cook, also were expected to discuss the failure of Pakistans military rulers to set a date for civilian elections.
Before the meeting, Mr Cook said Britain hoped the committee members would agree on a clear statement that they share entirely Britains concerns about the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe and the atmosphere of intimidation that surrounds the forthcoming elections, if indeed they take place.
That statement from the Commonwealth will have a considerable impact around Africa, but perhaps particularly in Zimbabwe, where President Mugabe had tried to pretend that the problem is only Britain, Mr Cook told BBC TV.
What President Mugabe is crying out for is for us to treat him as a martyr so he can then try to present himself, in elections, to his own people as somebody who is standing up on their behalf against the old colonial master, Mr Cook said.
Mr Cook said the committee would not consider imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwe or suspending it from the 54-nation club of Britain and its former colonies. But such punishments may follow if Mr Mugabe fails to hold elections by August, as Zimbabwes constitution requires, he said.
Obuchi was refused prompt treatment
TOKYO, May 2 (AFP) Stroke-hit former Japanese Premier Keizo Obuchi refused to be taken to hospital soon after he felt sick, missing a crucial chance to get urgently needed treatment, a report said today.
Obuchi first complained of numb hands and feet shortly before 7.30 p.m. IST on April 1, and his doctor from Tokyos Juntendo Hospital rushed to the Premiers residence about 30 minutes later, Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said.
By 9.30 p.m. IST neurosurgeon Yoshikuni Mizuno had been placed on standby to treat Obuchi at the hospital, the newspaper quoted hospital sources as saying.
But Obuchi arrived at the central Tokyo hospital only around 9.50 p.m. IST, missing out on a crucial two-hour window in which early treatment for a stroke could make a major difference, the unidentified sources were quoted as saying.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki has said Obuchi was rushed to Juntendo Hospital and slipped into a coma in intensive care later.
The hospital diagnosed Obuchi as having been hit by a cerebral infarction, a type of stroke in which a blood vessel to the brain is blocked.
But the Mainichi said
doctors had been unable to administer a drug to dissolve
the blood clot. The golden time of within two
hours had already passed, the newspaper
quoted Juntendo Hospital chief Shozo Ishii as saying.
PM with longest tenure dead
HANOI, May 2 (AFP) Former Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong, one of the last leaders of the countrys independence struggle, has died aged 95 here, the Communist Party announced today.
An official party communiqué will be released this evening, a party spokesman said.
Dong, born in 1906, died on Saturday on the eve of celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon - now Ho Chi Minh City - at the end of the Vietnam war.
He headed the Vietnamese delegation at the 1954 Geneva conference which resulted in Frances withdrawal from its former colonial possession and the partition of the country.
The same year he was named Prime Minister of North Vietnam, a post he held through the reunification of the country following the fall of the pro-US regime in the South, until 1987.
The favourite nephew of uncle Ho Chi Minh then retired from public life but retained a role as special adviser to the Communist Party s Central Committee until December 1997.
Despite his failing health and blindness, he continued to exercise huge influence over the Vietnamese regime.
The cause of Dongs death was unknown, although he had been hospitalised for at least six months. His funeral would be held this week.
His official date of birth was March 1, 1906. In private, Dong had maintained he was born three years earlier into a mandarin family, in the Central province of Guang Ngai.
Shooting spree suspect charged with homicide
PITTSBURGH, May 2 (AFP) Richard Baumhammers, a 34-year-old lawyer, has been arraigned in connection with a suburban shooting spree here that left five, including an Indian, dead and appeared to target ethnic and religious minorities.
Sandip Patel (25), a grocery store clerk, who was shot at an Indian restaurant, was among one Jew, two Asians and a black student killed in a shooting spree that spanned 36 km of the Pittsburgh suburbs, the police said.
His hands manacled to a leather belt, his legs shackled, Baumhammers stood quietly and answered yes when judges asked if he understood the charges against him and his constitutional rights.
He was accused of four counts of criminal homicide, one of attempted homicide, one of aggravated assault, seven of ethnic intimidation Pennsylvanias version of a federal hate crimes law and two counts of arson.
Baumhammers was ordered held without bail on the four homicide counts and given a bail of $ 1 million for the other charges.
Heroin seized from Musharrafs plane
ISLAMABAD, May 2 (UNI) Pakistan army search team seized 2.5 kg of heroin from the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft, which was to bring back Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf from Tripoli, where he had gone to meet Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.
The search team found heroin hidden in the panel of the aircraft two hours before its departure. All the members of the PIA engineering team were arrested after the seizure of the heroin, according to Daily Nation and Urdu News, Jeddah.
The Nation said that the aircraft was parked in the engineering section from April 18 for thorough cleaning and complete readiness for a VIP flight.
The army and Customs authorities received information that heroin has been kept in the aircraft. As such a thorough check of the aircraft was carried out in the engineering area, where nothing suspicious was found.
After this the army
along with some customs officers decided to go for yet
another search of the aircraft. The second search was
carried out on April 19 and 2.5 kg of heroin was seized,
which was concealed in a cavity very close to the rear
Robot taxis, human cameras by 2010
LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) Robot-controlled taxis and journalists with cameras implanted in their eyes will be commonplace by 2010, British engineers said yesterday.
Engineers at Roke Manor Research, a research and development unit owned by Germanys Siemens, also predicted the end of cash and credit cards, the advent of security systems based on fingerprints and the development of factories in space.
We are working on many of these future technologies now, and all of these scenarios are technically possible already, Ian Stewart, Chief Technical Officer at Roke Manor Research, said in a statement.
In the future envisaged by the research team, humans will be ferried home in robot-controlled taxis fitted with auto-drive systems which maintain safe distances and respond to signals from beacons.
Television news will be revolutionised as bionic reporters provide live images via sensors embedded in their optic nerves and transmit them through tiny mobile phone transmitters implanted in their shoulders.
The humble mobile phone which has seen such development over the last few years will become yet more powerful, replacing cash and credit cards.
Tills will be able to communicate directly with mobile phones and deduct the cost of purchases from a phone-based bank account.
Pin numbers, passwords and signatures will fall into disuse as fingerprint and retinal scans are used to identify individuals. The new security systems will enable more secure cross-border internet trade, the engineers added.
Meanwhile, the technology to power these devices may well be produced in space.
Between 2008 and
2010, the first factory in space will be shipped
gradually from earth in modular sections. Robots...will
work on the production line overseen by a small team of
humans, the research team predicted.
Israel begins pullout
JERUSALEM, May 2 (AFP) Israel began pulling out of two fortified forward positions in southern Lebanon in preparation for its planned complete withdrawal from the zone by July 7, a military spokesman said.
Communications equipment was dismantled at the Tzipporen fort in the north of the zone Israel had occupied for 22 years, while munitions from the small fort, 100 metres from the de facto Israeli-Lebanese border, were brought further back.
The same source said a pro-Israeli militiaman was injured yesterday during an attack by the Shia Hezbollah against a position in the north-east of the occupied zone.
stoned to death for adultery
Black man set on
Honour for US
spy pilot after 40 years
found in Colombian prison
to protest against eviction
prehistoric sloth found
First woman to
join Queens guards
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