|Saturday, May 6, 2000,
had hand in Zimbabwe land seizures
rocket attack on Israel
senator demands House hearing
|Aceh rebels, govt to sign truce
JAKARTA, May 5 The Indonesian Government and separatist rebels in war-torn Aceh province will sign a ceasefire next week and open talks to resolve the long-running conflict, Human Rights Minister Hasballah Saad said yesterday.
UN warns Taliban of more sanctions
honours Hayer, Shourie
Fergie may tie the knot again
|US laser-based anti-missile system
NEW YORK, May 5 A powerful laser jointly developed by Israel and the USA to shoot down rockets has passed its first test at the White Sands Missile range in New Mexico, US media reports said today quoting US military officials.
Army had hand in Zimbabwe
THE OCCUPATION of hundreds of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe was organised by senior military officers, including the former commander of the notorious Fifth Brigade which carried out atrocities in Matabeleland in the mid-80s, according to sources in the ruling party. On Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe denied prior knowledge of the land seizures by self-styled war veterans and thousands of poor black people, although he said the government welcomed and supported the occupation.
But according to senior officials of the ruling Zanu-PF party, who are unhappy about the destabilising impact of the land crisis on Zimbabwe, the farm seizures were ordered by the partys politburo and coordinated by the military.
The revelations provide fresh evidence that the land occupations were organised at the highest levels and give the lie to President Mugabes claim that the seizures were a spontaneous outburst by desperate landless blacks. Zanu-PF leaders hammered out the strategy at a meeting in February in the wake of the governments politically devastating defeat in the national referendum on constitutional reform.
No one trusted the war veterans to organise it on the scale the leadership was thinking of, said one senior party source. They thought the veterans would just loot the farm houses and go home so the army was brought in to make sure they got on to the farms and stayed there. So they called in the military men who know how to do these things. The soldiers were also a restraining force, to make sure in only went so far. They didnt want it getting out of hand.
The occupations were coordinated by Gen Perence Shiri and retired Brig Ben Matanga. General Shiri formerly commanded the Fifth Brigade. He now heads Zimbabwes air force, which has been flying the war veterans leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi, between farms in a helicopter.
The party officials say the military deployed at least 1,000 soldiers and air force personnel and possibly twice that number to lead the occupations. The troops were ordered to wear civilian clothes and some were issued with army weapons, including Kalashnikovs. But the officials deny there was any intention to kill despite the murder of two white farmers during the occupations.
The military also provided food and transport to move the war veterans and others between farms. The army worked in coordination with Zimbabwes Central Intelligence Organisation, which actively recruited war veterans and other people to occupy land. Zanu-PF provided the cash to pay the veterans.
The army spokesman, Col Chancellor Diye, denied the militarys involvement in the land occupations. The ministry of defence wishes to reiterate that the Zimbabwe defence force is a professional force guided by the established roles and functions as provided for in the statutes and regulations, he said.
But the Defence Minister, Moven Mahachi, was more circumspect. War dont oppose the invasions because the army also wants land and this has been brought to my attention but what we dont want is anarchy, he said.
Each time the message was the same that the farmers had made a fatal mistake in supporting the Opposition and that unless they backed away from politics retaliation will be massive, according to a source close to the meeting. General Shiri also met CFU officials to convey a similar message.
As the land crisis has worsened, Mr Mugabe has increasingly fallen back on military rhetoric to justify his governments backing for the land seizures and the political row it has sparked with Britain.
Fresh rocket attack on Israel
JERUSALEM/BEIRUT, May 5 (DPA) A fresh volley of Katyusha rockets hit northern Israel on Friday morning shortly after Israeli jets had knocked out electricity supplies in Lebanon in an escalating cross-border fight.
Israel radio said the missiles hit a settlement in western Galilee, injuring a number of people slightly and causing damage to buildings. Most residents of the area had taken to air-raid shelters in the instructions of the armed forces.
The pro-Iranian Hezbollah Movement claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.
Israel had attacked two Labanese power stations early today to punish its neighbour for an earlier cross-border missile attack that broke their agreed rule against shooting at one anothers civilians.
Electricity failed in the capital Beirut after Israeli jets struck a power station in the mountainous region of Bsalim, northeast of Beirut, at 3 a.m. local time. The jets broke the sound barrier, causing panic among the capitals residents.
Shortly afterwards the jest struck a power station in the Beddawi region, north of the port city Tripoli, the police said.
The Israeli raids were condemned by Lebanese Prime Minister Selim Hoss in Beirut as barbaric.
In other raids, the jets struck a Hazbollah arms depot and fired a missile closed to a Syrian intelligence post on the highway linking eastern Labanon to Syria. The projectile hit about 10 metres from the building in the village of Tanniyel in the Bekaa valley, the police said.
Shrapnel from the missile caused some damage to the building and the explosion left a crater four metres deep, the police said.
US senator demands House hearing
WASHINGTON, May 5 (UNI) Another US lawmaker has come out in favour of the demand for a Congressional hearing on Pakistans role in abetting and exciting terrorism in Kashmir following the publishing on Monday last of the State Departments report highlighting Islamabads backing to organisations engaged in violent activities in the valley.
It is deeply troubling that the Government of Pakistan allows terrorist organisations to operate training camps and bases unhindered in its territory and provides political and logistical support for several of these rogue groups, including Harkat-ul-Ansar, which the State Department declared a foreign terrorist organisation in 1997, and which has also been linked to the Indian Airline hijacking, Congressman Robert Wexler (Democrat) said in a statement last night.
In a letter to House International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilani, he expressed concern about developments in Pakistan, including the proliferation of terrorist organisations that threaten the USA and India.
Mr Waxler, who is member of House International Relations Committee as well as Asia Pacific Sub-Committee, said the report highlighted a disturbing shift in terrorist activities directed against the USA from the West Asia to South Asia.
The report also places a new and significant emphasis on terrorism activity emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past several years. Afghanistan has become the training ground and base of operations for terrorists from all over the world, it says.
The State Department report says that the Taliban, which control most of Afghan territory, has given permission to and provided logistical support for non-Afghan terrorists organisations waging jihads in Chechnya, Lebanon, Kosovo, Kashmir, and elsewhere.
The lawmaker supported the Clinton administrations decision to sanction Afghanistan, because of the Talibans unwillingness to hand over Bin Laden to US officials. Furthermore, the Taliban must he held accountable for any further terrorist activities initiated by Bin Ladens organisation.
I am also increasingly concerned about developments in Pakistan, including the proliferation of terrorist organisations that threaten the USA, India, and our allies in the region, he added.
President Clinton, during his march visit to Pakistan, outlined the position of the USA with respect to terrorist organisations that are operating unhindered on Pakistani soil. In discussions with Pakistani leader Gen Pervez Musharraf, President Clinton urged Pakistan to change its destructive behaviour that negatively affects stability and security in South Asia.
Aceh rebels, govt to sign truce
JAKARTA, May 5 (AP) The Indonesian Government and separatist rebels in war-torn Aceh province will sign a ceasefire next week and open talks to resolve the long-running conflict, Human Rights Minister Hasballah Saad said yesterday.
He said the two sides had met four times in recent weeks in Geneva, to iron out details of a memorandum of understanding that would include the truce and a commitment to open negotiations on the future of the troubled region.
The government and the Aceh rebel movement will sign a memorandum of understanding in Geneva on May 12, Saad told reporters at the presidential palace in Jakarta.
The statement, if true, would represent a major victory for the reformist President Abdurrahman Wahid, who has worked hard to defuse the conflict since he assumed office last October.
UN warns Taliban of more sanctions
UNITED NATIONS, May 5 (PTI) The UN Security Council has warned Afghanistans Taliban of fresh sanctions if they ignored its resolutions, and criticised the militia for pursuing a military policy in the country with outside help.
A statement read out yesterday by Council President Wang Yingfan expressed grave concern at mounting reports of preparation by the Afghan warring parties for a new offensive.
Conflict between the Taliban and an Opposition alliance led by Ahmad Shah Masood generally erupts during the summer months.
Members of the Council strongly warned the parties not to undertake new attempts to pursue a military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, which could only aggravate the humanitarian situation in the country, Mr Wang said.
IPI honours Hayer, Shourie
Boston, may 5 (PTI) Journalist Arun Shourie and a Canadian newspaper publisher Tara Singh Hayer, who was killed two years ago after being on the hit list of Sikh hardliners, are among 50 journalists from five continents honoured as World Press Freedom Heroes.
The International Press Institute (IPI), an organisation of editors and publishers from 110 countries, at a special ceremony on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday honoured Shourie for exposing major scandals and government corruption when he was the editor of an Indian national newspaper
Shourie, now a Union Minister of State, was among 27 scribes who received the award in person on the concluding day of the golden jubilee general assembly of the IPI. Seventeen of those chosen for the honour are dead.
Those honoured posthumously included Hayer, who went to Canada in 1970 and worked as miner, teacher and truck driver before founding the Indo-Canadian Times, the largest Punjabi language weekly in North America.
The citation states that Hayer was excommunicated by a high priest of Akal Takht in Amritsar in 1988 but he continued to support moderate Sikhs.
The IPI called Shourie one of Indias most renowned and controversial journalists who had battled attempts of successive governments to muzzle the Press from 1979 to 1990.
institute, while honouring the scribes for
significant contribution to the defence of
promotion of Press freedom in their country or worldwide
over the last 50 years, mentioned Shouries crusade
against unsuccessful government proposal in 1988 to enact
a defamation Bill targeting the Press.
Andrew, Fergie may tie the knot again
LONDON, May 5 (Reuters) Wedding bells may ring a second time for Britains Prince Andrew and his not-so-estranged former wife, the flame-haired Duchess of York, the pair have hinted.
Queen Elizabeths second son and the duchess, popularly known as Fergie from her maiden name Sarah Ferguson, divorced in 1996 but remain on friendly terms and live in different wings of Andrews mansion near London with their two daughters.
I dont rule remarriage out and I certainly dont rule it in, Andrew said in an interview with Tatler magazine leaked to British media yesterday ahead of June publication.
Fergie was equally enigmatic. If it should happen, great. It is not in, nor is it ruled out, she told the high-society glossy.
A rekindling of the royal romance would mark an about-face to reports that Fergie was encouraging her ex-husband dubbed Randy Andy by tabloids for his once active love life to go out with playboy covergirl and former wonderbra model Caprice.
US laser-based anti-missile system
NEW YORK, May 5 (PTI) A powerful laser jointly developed by Israel and the USA to shoot down rockets has passed its first test at the White Sands Missile range in New Mexico, US media reports said today quoting US military officials.
When eventually deployed, the system would be the first laser-based anti-missile defence, The New York Times reported.
To my knowledge, no nation has ever deployed an anti-missile system based on a laser, Lt-Col Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation at the Pentagon, was quoted by the paper as saying.
Designed and built by a
California contractor for Israel and the US army, the
laser and its tracking system were tested last week
against stationary targets, said Lt-Gen John Costello,
commander of the US Army Space and Missile Defence
sued for stealing plot
lose battle for life
ex-First Lady convicted
FBI probe into
No ban on gays
in French Army
N. Korea to open
air route for Kim
home opened for tourists
rumours led to attack
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