|Thursday, May 4, 2000,
tightens screws on Mugabe
names press enemies
fail to reach agreement
with Di was arranged
in Canadas News Hall of Fame
UN workers taken hostage
succumbing to pressure: Mugabe
Two hostages killed in clash
TALIPAO (Philippines), May 3 (AP) Two foreign hostages died in a clash today between military troops and Muslim rebels, who are holding 21 persons on Jolo island in the southern Philippines, a guerrilla leader claimed.
Military officials said they had no knowledge of any hostage fatalities and the claim could not be immediately verified.
Soldiers and Abu Sayyaf rebels clashed several times yesterday and early today after about 100 heavily armed guerrillas attempted to escape through an encirclement by the military. At least one soldier was killed and six injured, officials said.
Commander Robot, an Abu Sayyaf leader, claimed in a telephone interview with a local ABS-CBN radio network that one hostage had been shot in the encounter and another died of a heart attack.
He apologised to their families and said it was not the rebels doing.
The rebels had threatened yesterday to behead two foreign hostages if the military does not back away from the rebels hide-out, but a government spokesman said the encirclement of the area would continue.
COTABATO, Philippines (AFP): The 70 civilians, who were held captive in a bus by separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas are now free, reports said yesterday.
The rebels stopped a bus travelling along a highway in the town of Koronadal near here and held the passengers captive to use them as human shields amid a counter-offensive against government troops, military officials said.
Cwealth tightens screws on
ROBERT MUGABE was facing growing international pressure last night (Tuesday) after the Commonwealth launched a stinging attack on him for failing to uphold the rule of law during the occupation of white-owned farms.
As another member of the Zimbabwean Opposition was beaten to death by supporters of Mr Mugabes Zanu-PF party, Commonwealth Foreign Ministers underlined their deep concern by sending the organisations Secretary General to Harare. Mr Don MacKinnon will tell President Mugabe that the intimidation of Opposition politicians must end to ensure that the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe are held in a free and fair environment.
The decision to send Mr MacKinnon to Zimbabwe came amid signs in Harare that President Mugabe will set a date for parliamentary elections within days. In a flurry of political activity, Zanu-PFs manifesto is expected to be launched later, signalling that the delayed ballot could be held in early June after weeks of land occupation and political violence that has claimed at least 15 lives.
Commonwealth ministers last night stepped up pressure on President Mugabe when they agreed a hard-hitting statement that unequivocally condemned the farm occupation, which have been orchestrated by the government. After a day-long meeting in London the ministers voiced their concern over the ongoing violence, loss of life, illegal occupation of property, failure to uphold the rule of law and political intimidation in the run-up to Zimbabwes parliamentary elections.
They also called on Mr Mugabe to live up to his pledge to abide by the constitution and hold elections free of intimidation. During his talks with President Mugabe, Mr MacKinnon will discuss sending Commonwealth observers to monitor the elections.
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook last night welcomed the Commonwealth statement, describing it as a stinging criticism of Mr Mugabe which would send a powerful message. This shows that it is not just Britain criticising Zimbabwe or Britain having a post-colonial [attitude] towards Zimbabwe, Mr Cook said. What Mr Mugabe has to admit is that this has been expressed by the Commonwealth as a whole.
While the British Foreign Office was delighted with the Commonwealth statement, Mr Mugabe may be more susceptible to pressure from neighbouring South Africa, where President Thabo Mbeki has warned that the upheaval in Zimbabwe could spill across the border and destabilise the region. The two men are expected to meet at the end of the week.
Mr Mugabe and his Cabinet met yesterday to discuss the failure of talks with the British Government to resolve the land issue, and the election date.
A senior government source said the president would set a date soon, within days. Mr Mugabe has apparently decided that with the opposition in retreat, and a plan under way to invoke special powers next week to begin formal land redistribution from white farms to poor blacks, the time is ripe for the vote.
The rural people are being beaten and intimidated. The urban people are being intimidated. The white farmers and the labourers have been brutally intimidated. With a nation that is frightened, elections cannot be free and fair.
The leader of the war veterans organisation which has led the farm occupations, Chenjerai Hunzvi, has put further pressure on white farmers by demanding that their union withdraw contempt of court charges against him.
Mr Hunzvi is awaiting sentence on Friday for failing to obey a court order to tell his members to leave the occupied land, and to halt violence against white farmers and their black workers.
Mr Hunzvi appeared in court yesterday on separate fraud charges over allegations of stealing $ 7,900 ($ 12,300) from a compensation fund for victims of the liberation war.
The farmers union reported new land invasions in several parts of the country. Five farms were seized in Masvingo, and two more in Mvurwi, northwest of Harare.
CPJ names press enemies
NEW YORK, May 3 (AP) A rebel leader from Sierra Leone, the supreme leader of Iran and the President of Yugoslavia head the list of 10 Enemies of the Press compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Foday Sankoh, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Slobodan Milosevic, and the others on the list use methods that range from outright torture and murder to more subtle techniques aimed at keeping uncomfortable truths from being told, said Ann Cooper, committee executive director.
The annual list from the New York-based press freedom group includes the leaders of Cuba, China and Peru.
Sankoh of Sierra Leone led the list. Sankoh is the leader of the Revolutionary United Front, a rebel movement that the CPJ accused of killing at least eight journalists during the countrys civil war.
The CPJ said Khamenei had created a repressive atmosphere for reformist newspapers, and that after a speech of his last month, 16 newspapers were forced to close.
Milosevic was cited on the list for the second consecutive year. According to the CPJ, the authorities in Yugoslavia had intensified their crackdown on the independent Serb media with an almost daily barrage of attacks on press freedoms in the first few months of 2000.
Some of the other names on the list were:
Jiang Zemin, President of China, who the CPJ allege had 18 Chinese journalists in jail at the beginning of this year.
Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, accused by the CPJ of keeping four independent journalists in jail for crimes such as dangerousness, for reporting stories critical of the Cuban system.
Prime Minister of Malaysia. He was accused by the CPJ of
controlling most major media in the country for nearly 20
years. In 1999, he tightened the screws on his
countrys small opposition Press, following an
election in which the opposition made significant
Koreas fail to reach agreement
SEOUL, May 3 (Reuters) North and South Korean officials today failed to reach in agreement on procedures for an unprecedented June summit.
The North and South were able to reach agreement on most parts but still have to discuss some remaining issues, said a spokesman for South Korean Minister of Unification Park Jae-Kyu.
The two sides agreed to meet again on May 8 to hammer out procedural issues, including communications, security, protocol, accommodation and transportation areas sensitive for the two countries still technically at war.
They held their third round of vice-ministerial preparatory talks at Panmunjom, the UN truck village in the demilitarised zone dividing the Stalinist North from the capitalist South.
Anything that has ups and downs can be solved if tried three times, said Mr Kim Ryong-Song, head of the Norths six-member delegation, just prior to the meeting, but he stopped short of predicting an agreement.
Well have to see the response of South Korea.
The talks are aimed at paving the way for South Korean President Kim Dea-Jung to travel to the North Korean capital Pyongyang for a summit with the Norths reclusive leader Kim Jong-Il from June 12 to 14, plans for which the two Koreas announced early last month.
The Souths Yang told reporters prior to the meeting the two sides had discussed economic cooperation leading up to todays talks but had agreed not to reveal details.
Mr Lee Hoi-Chang, head of South Koreas main opposition Grand National Party, said Seoul must insist on reciprocity in any deal reached with Pyongyang.
Mr Lee, whose party is
the largest in Seouls National Assembly, said it
was important to avoid excessive optimism regarding
inter-Korea talks and urged the Souths negotiators
to safeguard against any deal that night jeopardise the
Affair with Di was arranged
LONDON, May 3 (PTI) James Hewitt, the British cavalry officer who conducted a lengthy affair with Princess Diana, says Prince Charles knew of her infidelity and that the relationship was arranged to provide solace for the lonely princess.
Yes, of course he (Charles) did. I spoke to him about it, you know, when we met at polo, when he would inquire how the riding lessons were going, Hewitt says in an interview to be screened by the BBC.
People seem to forget that she was very lonely, very ill, very sad and need an outlet. And I think I was the outlet. She wanted to meet me again and it was arranged for her to do so, Hewitt says in the interview, according to media reports published ahead of the broadcast.
Hewitt also expresses regret about letting the army down and says it would have been easier had he been killed in the 1991 Gulf war, in which he saw active service.
I do feel as though I have let the army down and that really hurts actually, Hewitt says in the interview.
Hewitt was in the Gulf when his affair with the princess became public. He says he spoke to her just before he went into combat and claims there could have been a mole who may have recorded a conversation he had with her on a satellite telephone.
I have got this hang-up in my mind. It would have been much easier if I had been killed in the Gulf.
Diana accused Hewitt of betrayal in her own celebrated November, 1995, BBC television interview.
The former cavalry officer was roundly condemned by his fellow officers as a scoundrel and a rat for his willingness to cash in on the relationship.
Hayer in Canadas News
Hall of Fame
TORONTO, May 3 Slain Sikh editor-publisher of the Indo-Canadian Times, Tara Singh Hayer, has become the first Canadian of non-English, non-French descent to be inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame.
The plaque in the Hall of Fame at the Toronto Press Club was unveiled by club president Ed Patrick with Hayers son, Dave Hayer, and his wife, standing next to him.
It is my pleasure to induct your father, Tara Singh Hayer, in the Canadian News Hall of Fame, Patrick told Dave Hayer. He is the first ethnic journalist to be inducted and it opens a new chapter in Canadian journalism, he added.
Hayer, who was killed last year, was chosen by nine judges, many of them senior journalists and writers and themselves amongst the 114 inductees in the Hall of Fame in the past 35 years since the Toronto Press Club was established.
Gordon Donaldson, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee, said the criterion for selection was having made an important contribution to Canada. Asked about Hayers contribution, he said the Indo-Canadian continued to publish his paper against all adversities and that was quite a courage for a newspaper publisher.
It is not common what Hayer did and that is he carried on despite threats and that way he showed highest standard in newspaper publishing, he added.
Hayers induction into the Hall of Fame was announced at a formal dinner at downtown Torontos prestigious Ontario Club with the cream of the nations journalist community present. There was repeated applause when Hayers name was announced and the plaque presented to his son.
We are so honoured to receive this award, Dave Hayer said. This award is not just for our late father. This award is for all journalists who believe in freedom of thought and freedom of the press.
Dave Hayer later told IANS, Tara Singh Hayer stood up for democracy and freedom of thought. The slain editor, a moderate Sikh, strongly opposed the violent movement for Khalistan in Punjab and had therefore earned the ire of the separatists, many of whom were in Canada.
The first attempt on Tara Singh Hayers life was in 1988 when Harkirat Singh Bagga shot him in the back several times from close range. That left Hayer wheelchair-bound as he was paralysed from waist down. My father was undaunted by that attack and threats that followed, Dave Hayer said.
The police has identified a suspect in the assassination, Dave Hayer said. The police is in touch with us and we have information that we cant divulge as the investigation is ongoing. Interestingly, the Hayer killing is being investigated by the Air-India Task Force of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that is conducting the probe into the 1985 bombing that killed 329 passengers and crew. There is a theory that the group responsible for the bombing may have some connection with the Hayer killing.
51 UN workers taken hostage
FREETOWN (Sierra Leone), May 3 (AP) Rebels took 51 UN workers hostages as the West African intervention force that defended the government during eight years of bloody civil war completed its pull out of Sierra Leone, UN officials said.
Revolutionary United Front rebels captured 16 UN military observers and peacekeepers in the central city of Makeni, UN Force Commander Maj Gen Vijay Kumar Jetley said yesterday.
Twentyseven more persons were taken hostages in the eastern city of Kailahun and seven others were captured in Magburaka, Mr Jetley said. All were taken hostages during the past two days, he said, adding that rebels promised to free the peacekeepers early today.
The government condemned what it called the recent incidents of indiscriminate violence perpetrated by some misguided ex-combatants against the international peacekeepers in a statement issued last night.
No succumbing to pressure: Mugabe
HARARE, May 3 (Reuters) Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe today rejected international diplomatic pressure and said he would not order self-styled war veterans off hundreds of white farms occupied in two months of a deepening land crisis.
Let no one ever think that we will call upon the war veterans to withdraw. They need the land to backtrack to, Mr Mugabe said.
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