Wednesday, May 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D


Clashes break out in Freetown
FREETOWN, May 9 — Intense fighting in this capital town of Sierra Leone has left at least 16 dead, according to a toll compiled by AFP today. Clashes broke out at a demonstration by Freetown residents in front of the house of the rebels’ chief Foday Sankoh.

An unidentified British passport holder carries his daughter as they are evacuated from Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Tuesday. British troops have joined UN peacekeepers to help evacuate people from the country. — AP/PTI

NAB has ‘proof’ to implicate Sharif
ISLAMABAD, May 9 — The Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau has said that the military government has “more than sufficient” evidence of alleged involvement of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party Chief Benazir Bhutto in money laundering.

Bangladesh poll chief quits
DHAKA, May 9 — Bangladesh Chief Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hena has resigned from his post on health grounds and in the face of a persistent opposition demand that he quit his office.

Mugabe’s terror goes on
A hit squad murdered Mr Alan Dunn here on Sunday. Six men dragged him from his home and bludgeoned him with concrete blocks. In less than 10 minutes the farmer was lying unconscious in a pool of blood with a fractured skull, broken arms and internal injuries. He died on Sunday.

Lord Paul heads UK varsity
LONDON, May 9 — Lord Swraj Paul, chairman of the 500 million Caparo group, today became the first Asian to head a British university following his appointment as the Chancellor of Wolverhampton University.



EARLIER STORIES
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  Rwanda agrees to troop pullout
KIGALI (Rwanda), May 9 — Rwanda’s post-genocide government has agreed to begin the pull-out its troops out of Congo’s over one year regional war, where the country is aiding rebel factions.

Dosanjh hopes to win 2001 poll
TORONTO, May 9 — British Columbia Premier Ujjal Dosanjh, the first provincial Premier of Indian descent in Canada, is optimistic that his New Democratic Party (NDP) will win the majority of seats in the next provincial elections scheduled to be held by June 2001.

13 Iranian Jews seek pardon
DUBAI, May 9 — Of the 13 Iranian Jews accused of spying for Israel, a few have asked for pardon from supreme leadership of the country. Reports today quoted an accused seeking pardon for the crime.

‘Abolish’ political cell of ISI
ISLAMABAD, May 9 — Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission Chairman Afrosiab Khattak has demanded the abolition of ISI’s political cell saying that it has damaged democracy and democratic institutions in the country.
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Clashes break out in Freetown

FREETOWN, May 9 (AFP, Reuters) — Intense fighting in this capital town of Sierra Leone has left at least 16 dead, according to a toll compiled by AFP today.

Clashes broke out at a demonstration by Freetown residents in front of the house of the rebels’ chief Foday Sankoh. They were protesting against the Revolutionary United Front’s (RUF) continued detention of up to 500 UN peacekeepers.

Witnesses said members of the RUF fired at demonstrators who were throwing stones at the rebel leader’s home in a residential area of the west of the capital. The army and pro-government Kamajor militia then attacked the house.

Sources at the city’s Connaught Hospital had earlier said seven demonstrators and four soldiers were killed and 40 people were injured. A journalist counted five bodies around Sankoh’s house, which was looted by the crowd. Local residents said the bodies were those of RUF rebels killed after the clashes.

Meanwhile, the rebels were fighting the army for control of Masiaka, an important crossroads town around 56 km from the capital, witnesses said.

A police officer who was stationed at Masiaka said the fighting continued today.

He said Nigerian soldiers from the United Nations mission in Sierra Leone (Unamsil), who had withdrawn to Masiaka from Lunsar, 40 km to the north-east, after a rebel attack, had now fled from Masiaka.

Sierra Leone rebel chief Foday Sankoh is with army soldiers who want to ensure his safety so that the peace process in the West African country can continue, a senior military source said today.

“For security reasons, chairman Sankoh has been taken to military headquarters where he is now, in the protection of the military,” a military source said. He was at the defence headquarters in the west end of the capital, Freetown.

The leader of the RUF and a member of the government after a 1999 deal to end a civil war, had disappeared from view after the battle outside his residence.

UNITED NATIONS (PTI): As fighting raged in Sierra Leone, the UN has asked the rebels to “cease immediately any hostile action” and admitted that the world body has stumbled in the war-ravaged nation even as British troops moved in to secure Freetown’s airport for possible evacuation.

With rebels still holding over 500 UN workers, a spokesman for the Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement that Mr Annan was “extremely concerned” about the rapidly deteriorating situation in Sierra Leone — in particular reports of shooting in Freetown and continuing military movements by the rebels — and called on all parties to do their utmost to defuse the situation.

Acknowledging the criticism that UN has lost its credibility in Sierra Leone, Mr Annan said botched reporting of the advance on Freetown and other communication problems with the mission were certainly not helping the tense situation.

In Freetown British paratroppers have secured Freetown’s Lungi airport and crossed the strip of ware separating it from the city in helicopters to start evacuation of EU and Commonwealth nationals following clashes in the capital.

The UN World Food Programme has said the worsening security situation had forced it to suspend its emergency humanitarian assistance in most areas of the country. It had halted food deliveries and distribution to more than 43,000 internally displaced people, orphans and hospital patients in Freetown in the wake of hostage-taking and subsequent fighting.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the USA was looking at ways it could provide logistical support to help deal with the crisis in Sierra Leone, where a U.N. peacekeeping operation is in disarray.

After an hour-long meeting yesterday with the Secretary-General she told reporters: “We have been having discussions with the Nigerians, as has the Secretary-General, and we are just going to be looking at different ways that the international community and we can be supportive.”

Diplomats said Nigeria was considering sending two battalions to Sierra Leone, but not as part of the U.N. Operation, and the USA might help get them there.

“The idea from the Nigerian side is to get people in there fast and the USA may be considering the mechanics of doing so,” one envoy said.
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NAB has ‘proof’ to implicate Sharif

ISLAMABAD, May 9 (PTI) — The Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau has said that the military government has “more than sufficient” evidence of alleged involvement of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party Chief Benazir Bhutto in money laundering.

Accusing both of transferring huge amounts of money to foreign banks, NAB Prosecutor-General Farouk Adam Khan told Dawn in an interview that the claim by the Sharif family that the London flats are not theirs is merely semantic.

It is “ridiculous” on the part of a lessee to say that he is not the owner, he said, adding “I only want to know where the money came from to have these flats on lease.”

On the probe on Ms Bhutto, he said “... We have more than sufficient proof that huge amounts of money have been siphoned off and deposited with overseas banks” and expressed hope that “Substantial amounts will be repatriated to Pakistan on the completion of formalities with overseas governments and the judicial systems”.

The government was investigating whether the Surrey Palace in the suburbs of London had been purchased by the PPP chairperson and her husband, he said, adding a Swiss team had come to Pakistan in relation to investigation on involvement of Asif Ali Zardari and his friend Fauzi Ali Kazmi in drug trafficking.
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Bangladesh poll chief quits

DHAKA, May 9 (UNI) — Bangladesh Chief Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hena has resigned from his post on health grounds and in the face of a persistent opposition demand that he quit his office.

“As the Chief Election Commissioner, I tried my best to discharge my constitutional duties with utmost honesty and neutrality,” Abu Hena said in his resignation letter to President Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed on Sunday.

He informed the President that he has been suffering from physical weakness and high blood pressure.

“As the chief of the Election Commission, my long absence is not desirable and good for such an important national institution. Specially, I am concerned that due to my long absence I am not be able to do justice to the responsibility shouldered on me as the Chief Election Commissioner,” he said.

As per the Bangladeshi Constitution, he was to discharge responsibilities for another one year till April 8, 2001.

The opposition alliance led by the BNP had been strongly demanding his resignation, accusing him of siding with the government.

Meanwhile, Mr Mohammad Abu Hena’s resignation has triggered a new political crisis in the country with the main opposition today rejecting the Prime Minister’s offer to choose the new incumbent on the basis of a consensus.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has turned down the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed and said that it would discuss the issue with President Shahabuddin Ahmed.

The Opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia has decided to meet the President and request him to appoint a new CEC on the basis of consensus, the domestic United News of Bangladesh (UNB) said.
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Mugabe’s terror goes on
from Maasplein Farm (Beatrice, Zimbabwe)

A hit squad murdered Mr Alan Dunn here on Sunday. Six men dragged him from his home and bludgeoned him with concrete blocks. In less than 10 minutes the farmer was lying unconscious in a pool of blood with a fractured skull, broken arms and internal injuries. He died on Sunday.

The killing provides fresh evidence that Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, is continuing a campaign of violence against supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The murder brings to 19 the number of MDC backers killed by Mugabe supporters since April 1. The dead include white farmers, black farm labourers, city residents and peasants.

The MDC, which said 12 serious assaults on members had been reported in 24 hours, accuses Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party of trying to intimidate voters before parliamentary elections.

In the first reported revenge attacks, two black farm workers were beaten up by white men in incidents yesterday.

Mr Dunn was a local MDC official, as well as a leading employer in Beatrice. After receiving death threats he left his farm two weeks ago. He returned at the weekend to pay his workers and to let his three teenage daughters pack for the start of a school term.

His wife and daughters were on the front veranda when he answered a knock on the back door. The men beat him to death in his carport.

Mr Dunn’s farm was not one of the 1,200 occupied by Mugabe supporters. “This is not about the land issue. Alan Dunn was an MDC supporter and maybe that has something to do with it,” said Jerry Grant, Deputy Director of the Commercial Farmers’ Union, which represents 4,500 farmers.

Many of Mr Dunn’s 180 workers have no doubt about the murderers. “He was killed by Zanu-PF supporters because they knew he backed the MDC,” said. Tendai Mahoso. “He was a very good man and a very good employer ... if we had any problems, he helped us. He even helped people on the [government] resettlement scheme by giving them fertiliser and transporting their crops to the market.”

“It is part of a terror campaign that has been going on for the last three months,” the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said yesterday. “White farmers who support the MDC are seen as a challenge to Zanu-PF and they are made to pay — some with their lives.”

But Chenjerai Hunzvi, leader of the war veterans who spearheaded the invasion of white-owned farms, was unmoved. “There is nothing to say. He is dead,” he said.

On Sunday Mr Hunzvi told British passport holders to leave Zimbabwe.

Tendai Mahoso does not share Mr Hunzvi’s view. “Mr Dunn was one of those white people who helped us. Now who will give people free transport? The government? I don’t think so.” — The Guardian, London
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Lord Paul heads UK varsity

LONDON, May 9 (PTI) — Lord Swraj Paul, chairman of the 500 million Caparo group, today became the first Asian to head a British university following his appointment as the Chancellor of Wolverhampton University.

Addressing a select gathering, including fellows, honorary awardees, academics and students, 69-year-old Lord Paul, said the challenge to universities , and “to this university in particular, is to widen access”.

He said “higher education is no longer an option, it is a necessity. In today’s world, no society can prosper unless it provides its people with this fundamental entitlement. As the premier educational institute in this region, we have an obligation to incarnate this vision in the most broad-based way possible”.

Welcoming the new Chancellor who succeeds Lord Shrewsbury, Mr A.J. Smith, Pro-Chancellor and chairman of the governors said Lord Paul had a deep interest and commitment to the values of higher education, an understanding of the role of a regional university and empathy with the social, cultural and economic background from which many of the students come.

Elaborating on tasks ahead of the university, Lord Paul said “as our intake expands, we must take care to maintain and upgrade our standards. How to uphold quality, while increasing quantity, is a question that will engage us. This is not an unusual issue for those of us in business”.

Lord Paul said, “Concerned as we are with technique and technology, with inputs and internets, we forget introspection. We back, and train for, excellence — and so we should. But the purpose of excellence is not simply excellence alone.
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Rwanda agrees to troop pullout

KIGALI (Rwanda), May 9 (AP) — Rwanda’s post-genocide government has agreed to begin the pull-out its troops out of Congo’s over one year regional war, where the country is aiding rebel factions.

The pledge came during a visit by a seven-member UN Security Council delegation — led by US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke — that is trying to boost chances of peace in Congo, where five neighbouring states and numerous rebel and militia groups have been drawn into the struggle.

“The government of Rwanda is prepared to move quickly to implement a phased withdrawal,” a Rwandan Government spokesman said on Sunday, reading from a joint UN-Rwandan statement released at the end of the visit.

It is not the first time that Rwanda has pledged to withdraw troops from its vast Central African neighbour. In early April, Rwanda and Uganda both signed an agreement committing themselves to a gradual pullout. So far, no troops have withdrawn.

Congo’s President Laurent Kabila has repeatedly warned that a permanent peace can never be achieved until all foreign “invaders” pull out.
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Dosanjh hopes to win 2001 poll

TORONTO, May 9 — British Columbia Premier Ujjal Dosanjh, the first provincial Premier of Indian descent in Canada, is optimistic that his New Democratic Party (NDP) will win the majority of seats in the next provincial elections scheduled to be held by June 2001.

“My following in the public opinion polls is 63 per cent, as high as that of Prime Minister Jean Chretien,” he told IANS. But the following of the ruling NDP has declined in the last three months from 25 to 16 per cent, he conceded.

Asked whether that would not have an adverse impact on his chances of getting re-elected, Mr Dosanjh said he would have to change the party’s image.

Mr Dosanjh was here on Sunday to attend a fund-raiser organised by the Indo-Canadian business community in suburban Mississauga. The organisers said they were giving Mr Dosanjh a cheque for Cdn$50,000 for the NDP campaign. The same group of individuals had raised $ 40,000 for Mr Dosanjh last year as well.

Mr Dosanjh said that in the two months he had been in office, things had changed for the better in British Columbia, especially on the economic front. “We have announced the budget transparency legislation. Our unemployment rate is lowest at seven per cent and the hi-tech industry is booming,” he said. “Exports are up by 10 per cent, twice the national rate.”

Mr Dosanjh was also optimistic about the likely outcome of the case that three voters — Ed Conroy, Sue Hammell and Graeme Bowbrick — have filed against the NDP for claiming during the 1996 elections that the Budget has been balanced when in fact books were in the red. The trio wants three legislators to be UN-seated for making false claims as they voted for the NDP because of its fiscal policies.

Currently the NDP has 39 legislators while the opposition Liberals have 35. In case the court UN-seats three NDP members, Mr Dosanjh would be left with a single seat majority.

— India Abroad News Service
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13 Iranian Jews seek pardon

DUBAI, May 9 (UNI) — Of the 13 Iranian Jews accused of spying for Israel, a few have asked for pardon from supreme leadership of the country.

Reports today quoted an accused seeking pardon for the crime.

Yesterday, another accused in the espionage case admitted that he supplied Israel with information about Iranian economic and religious institutions, regional news agencies said.

This has raised to five the number of defendants, who have reportedly admitted to espionage.

“Activities of the spy network included gathering and supplying information about economic and religious centres, especially Friday prayers venues, important bridges and hospitals”, Shahrukh Paknehad, one of the accused,told reporters after the end of his last defence in the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz in south Iran.

Paknehad and the other 12 accused are on trial on charges of endangering Iran’s national security and cooperating with Mossad, the Israeli spy agency. The accused face death penalty if found guilty.

The judge in the defence has rejected the defence request for the closed-door proceedings to be made open to the public.
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Abolish’ political cell of ISI

ISLAMABAD, May 9 (PTI) — Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission Chairman Afrosiab Khattak has demanded the abolition of ISI’s political cell saying that it has damaged democracy and democratic institutions in the country.

Pakistan’s citizens should be allowed to elect their representatives without interference, Mr Khattak told reporters in Quetta yesterday, while demanding the abolition of ISI’s political cell.

Demanding a permanent institution to initiate accountability process, he said it was not the job of the Army to be involved in the process.
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WORLD BRIEFS

US missile-warning satellite launched
CAPE CANAVERAL (FLA.): The USA’s most powerful unmanned rocket carried a $ 250-million missile-warning satellite into orbit on Monday. The $ 432-million, 20 storey US Air Force titan 4B rocket, built by Lockheed Martin Lmt.N, lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 4.01 GMT. Life-off was delayed for two-and-a half hours as launch crews struggled to close a door on the side of the rocket. Communications trouble with a tracking station added to the delay. — Reuters

US health care costlier: report
WASHINGTON: Health care costs in the US are double health expenditures in other industrialised countries, but it is not clear whether US citizens have better health care as a result, a report in the journal Health Affairs said on Monday. A total of $ 4,270 per person, which amounts to 14 per cent of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was spent on health care in the United States in 1998, the report said. — AFP

Carrier turned into military theme park
BEIJING: Even as China is keen to acquire an aircraft carrier to enhance its naval power, it has turned an old Russian aircraft carrier into a military theme park, an official report has said. The aircraft carrier from the former Soviet Union Navy has been turned into a military theme park and will be stationed at Dapeng bay in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province. — PTI

S. Korea ‘destroying’ chemical weapons
SEOUL: South Korea is destroying hundreds of tonnes of chemical weapons in compliance with a global ban on the lethal weapons, a newspaper reported on Tuesday. The Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the military had been dismantling nerve gas and other chemical weapons since late last year at a secret disposal plant inside a remote army facility in Yongdong in central South Korea. — AP

Smugglers stash drugs in corpse
DUBAI: Drug smugglers stuffed their stash in the corpse of a young girl whom they had apparently killed, in a foiled attempt to bring narcotics into the Gulf Arab region, a senior UAE policeman was quoted as saying on Tuesday. The Gulf News quoted Abdul Rahman Naser Al-Fardan, head of the Police Drug Squad in Sharjah, one of the seven Emirates in the oil-rich UAE, as saying that a woman carrying the dead girl was arrested on arrival at the unnamed Gulf state. — Reuters

Wiesel boycotts Austrian ceremony
MAUTHAUSEN, Austria: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel has boycotted a memorial ceremony at Austria’s infamous Mauthausen death camp to protest the Far Right’s entry into power, he told the event. In a special message read out at the ceremony in a vast granite quarry next to the concentration camp on Sunday, he said the Far-Right Freedom Party of Joerg Haider sets people against each other. — AFP

Kyoto temple’s statue destroyed
TOKYO: A pre-dawn fire raged through the historic Jakko-in Temple in Japan’s Kyoto on Tuesday, gutting the main hall and destroying the centuries-old Buddhist statue dedicated to the temple, fire officials said. The Kyoto Fire Department said the priceless “Jizo Bosatsu” statue, built in 1229, was charred by the fire. The 2.6 metre wooden statue, housed in the main hall of the convent, has been designated by the state as an important cultural treasure. — DPA

“Water Lilies” sold for over $ 20.9 m
NEW YORK: A painting from Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” series sold for more than $ 20.9 million at the first Christie’s springtime auction in New York. An anonymous bidder placed the deal by telephone for the impressionist masterpiece on Monday, which Monet painted at his world-famous garden in Giverny, France in 1906. — AFPTop

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