|Sunday, May 14, 2000,
talks for consensus on
ruling sparks controversy
UN warns Eritrea, Ethiopia
hit Baghdad; child killed
rules out signing NPT
crime growing worldwide
NPT: talks for consensus on
UNITED NATIONS, May 13 (PTI) Negotiators at the five-year review conference of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have been working to find some consensus after three weeks of discussions failed to produce agreement on any of the major issues, diplomats and officials said.
The time is running out as the conference is scheduled to end next Friday and with few areas of agreement identified, everyone is feeling frustrated, they said yesterday.
Virtually conceding that, so far, negotiators have failed to agree on any tangible proposal, conference President Abdullah Baali of Algeria said they had no plans to consult four non-members India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba or incorporate their views in the final document.
However, there is proposal by one delegation to have consultations with those countries after the conference to persuade them to join NPT, he said.
Asked if that would be beneficial, he said he believes that it is very important to make every effort to have the four join the treaty. They could not stay outside forever. At least we should encourage them to take steps that move in the direction of strengthening the non-proliferation regime, he added.
Replying to a question, he said the issue of India and Pakistan could only be addressed in the larger forum at the Conference of Disarmament in Geneva as at the review conference, everything is restricted to parties to the treaty.
The five nuclear weapons states have refused to go beyond vague promises made in their statement at the conference to move towards nuclear disarmament. The suggestion that they give some time table has evoked no response from them despite emotional speeches made by several delegates from non nuclear weapon states at the meet being attended by 187 signatories.
The attitude of nuclear weapon states the United States of America, Britain, France, Russia and China is causing disillusionment among the rest of the states who had come to the meet with high hope, an official said.
The three main committees set up by the conference to discuss various issues in depth ended their sessions mostly empty handed as the conference entered its final week. They were expected to have finished their work by Friday but time was extended till Tuesday in an effort to save the embarrassment of ending the meet without a consensus document.
Mr Baali rejected suggestion that the conference be extended by a few days to enable it to find some sort of consensus. We might stop the clock for a few hours but not for a few days, he said.
He also rejected the idea of adopting any document by vote even though that procedure is permissible under the rules. In his opinion that would not help as those opposed may not implement the decision and the conference could do little about it. That would undermine the treaty.
The committee on nuclear disarmament failed to make any headway and could not even agree on when the members should start fissile material cut off negotiations with China reportedly opposing an early start.
The two other committees were on nuclear weapons non-proliferation and peaceful uses of atomic energy too failed to make any headway.
Mr Baali said the negotiations were very complex since there are strong positions in the field of nuclear disarmament. But all understood that the meet should not fail as it would detrimental to the NPT and the regime of non-proliferation.
In some areas, there had been some rapprochement while others need more work. That is what would be addressed in the days ahead. While the next week is going to crucial, everyone is willing to cooperate, he said.
He himself plans to hold discussion in an effort to find consensus by the end of the conference.
said the conference needs to accomplish two things before
ends draw up a plan of action for next five years
and agree on steps to strengthen the review process and
improve its effectiveness.
SC ruling sparks controversy
ISLAMABAD, May 13 The Pakistan Supreme Courts ruling justifying the military takeover of the government under what it called the doctrine of state necessity has triggered an intense controversy in political and legal circles.
Deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs wife Kulsoom said the judgement was predictable in the context of the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) issued by the military regime to which judges have sworn allegiance.
She noted that the court had been given three years to play with the destiny of the country and said no good could be expected from a government in three years when it had failed to deliver the promises made during the past seven months.
In its judgement yesterday, the court validated the October 12 military coup that toppled Sharif and set a three-year time-frame for the handover of power to a civilian government.
However, former Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and a senior leader of Sharifs Pakistan Muslim League (PML) accepted the Supreme Courts verdict, saying that the PML had tremendous regard for courts. At the same time, he hoped that the army would also accept with large-heartedness if any court ever gave a judgement against it.
The PML leader said the apex court had brought an end to speculation that the army wanted to stay in power for an indefinite period. Since a time-frame had been set for fresh elections, the PML would have sufficient time to prepare itself for the new poll.
Commending the court decision, Mr S.M. Zafar, advocate, who appeared as amicus curiae, or impartial court adviser, in the case, said the judgement would help the countrys return to democracy. By providing a road map for the restoration of representative institutions, it would help ease the countrys isolation in the West and the Commonwealth, he said.
Ms Hinna Jilani, a lawyer and secretary-general of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, said the Supreme Courts decision would put more doubts about the independence of the judiciary. The ruling reinforced the view that the judiciary was failing Pakistans Constitution, she said.
Former Supreme Court Bar
Association president Abid Hassan Minto said the
judiciary was a part of society and the judgement was
fully reflective of Pakistans socio-political
norms. Civilian governments and political institutions
fail to strengthen democracy in the country and it falls
to the lot of the judiciary to find formulae for
validating military take-overs. We have failed to
ensure uninterrupted constitutional rule and evolve a
culture of democracy and tolerance, he said.
UN warns Eritrea, Ethiopia
NEW YORK, May 13 (DPA) The United Nations Security Council in an emergency session late last night warned Ethiopia and Eritrea that an arms embargo and other sanctions could be instituted against them if they failed to end clashes by Monday night.
The warning was the councils first outright threat to Eritrea and Ethiopia, which have been engaged in a border war for two years. Without the threat, repeated demands that the two countries find a peaceful resolution to their conflict are unenforceable, according to the word from diplomatic circles at UN headquarters in New York.
After a rest pause yesterday, Ethiopia and Eritrea yesterday resumed fierce battles against each other over a number of economically insignificant border areas. Both sides reported military success and accused the other of having initiated the fighting.
In New York, the USA, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands proposed a complete weapons embargo and, if necessary, other far-reaching measures against the warring countries.
London Ambassador to the UN Geremy Greenstock, who helped to compile the resolution, called the current conflict absolutely unnecessary and absolutely senseless.
Greenstock said there were members of the council who in the past had sold weapons to both sides of the conflict, but that they were in agreement with the current embargo proposal.
Russia, which is a Permanent Council member with the right to veto, as well as the Ukraine and Bulgaria, belong to countries that have formerly profited from wars in the poorest of the poor countries. But diplomatic circles said that they are now ready to put a halt, at least for the time being, on selling weapons to either country.
Eritrea, which was part of the Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum, was an Italian colony from 1890 to 1941 when it was captured by the British.
Following a period of British rule and UN supervision, it was awarded to Ethiopia as part of the federation. But Ethiopia annexed it as a province in 1962 leading to the 31-year conflict, which ended when Eritrea declared itself independent on May 24, 1993.
Tension between the two countries started around that time as the border between the two was not clearly marked.
The Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) drew up a framework agreement which was accepted by Ethiopia in December, 1998 and by Eritrea in February last year.
But the talks on its implementation failed last week as Eritrea wanted ceasefire to be a prior condition but Ethiopia favoured waiting till other problems were resolved.
At that stage, it became clear that resumption of fighting was only a matter of time. The Holbrooke Mission, which had gone to take stock of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the United Nations is planning to deploy peacekeepers, decided to travel to Ethiopia and Eritrea to make effort to prevent restart of fighting.
But its efforts apparently failed.
ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopia) (AP): Ignoring international pleas to end their two-year border conflict, Ethiopia and Eritrea have returned to open warfare with fighting reported on three fronts.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan predicted a very brutal war and expressed frustration that peace efforts had failed.
Missiles hit Baghdad; child killed
BAGHDAD, May 13 (Reuters) Eight missiles slammed into a residential quarter in central Baghdad early today, killing a child and wounding four persons, an Iraqi Defence Ministry spokesman said.
He blamed agents of Iran for the attack in the early hours.
The spokesman identified the dead child as three-year-old Zahra Mohammad Hamid, and said she had been martyred.
Agents of the Iranian regime have committed another crime against the people of Iraq, the spokesman said.
An Iranian-backed Iraqi opposition group said in Kuwait it was behind the attack, which a spokesman said targeted one of President Saddam Husseins palaces.
The Islamic resistance fired nine rockets at the presidential palace in Baghdad overnight at 4 a.m. Baghdad time, said Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim, brother of the head of the Tehran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Mohammed Baqer Al-Hakim.
Hakim, on a visit to Kuwait, said the group did not know the extent of the damage caused but its sources in Baghdad said scores of ambulances were seen rushing to the scene.
Eyewitnesses told us that some members of the regime were killed, Hakim said.
An SCIRI official in Teheran confirmed the attack and vowed to continue attacks until the Iraqi regime was toppled.
Israel rules out signing NPT
UNITED NATIONS, May 13 (PTI) Israel has justified its decision not to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), asserting that it faced dangers especially from Iran and Iraq.
It is a fact that the technology purchased by Iran is intended to develop weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles, some of which could reach Israel, Israels Foreign Minister David Levy said.
One of the most developed missile is called Jerusalem with the specialised intent to threaten Israel and harm its capital, Levy told media at the United Nations after a meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The question was raised in the context of criticism of Israel at the ongoing NPT review conference where Arabs have made concerted attacks on it for being the only country in the West Asia that has not signed the treaty or placed its nuclear facilities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Woman waits for hangman
ISLAMABAD, May 13 (UNI) Her passionate love for a married man drove him to kill his wife and five children nine years ago in Toba Tek Singh (Punjab) and today she is waiting to become Pakistans first woman to be hanged in the death cell of a Lahore jail.
Khadija Bibi, (35) had conspired with her lover Khan Mohammad to eliminate his wife and children to make the way clear for them. But both were caught and given a death sentence. Khan Mohammad has already been hanged while Khadija Bibi was given a three weeks reprieve by President Rafiq Tarar to seek the pardon of her victims family.
The reprieve period ended on Wednesday without her succeeding to get the pardon. But reports last night said that Khadija has not been served the black warrant (mandatory formality before the execution) yet although she has been shifted from a jail in Gujranwala to the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore for hanging.
It appears the hanging may be delayed for some more time. She is expected to be sent to a hospital on Monday for an examination of her mental condition.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), which has been demanding abolition of capital punishment, says if Khadija is hanged she will become the first Pakistani woman to be so punished for murder.
Cyber crime growing worldwide
HONG KONG, May 13 (AFP) From software piracy in China to virtual money laundering in the south Pacific, across Asia criminals have been quick to cash in on the new opportunities offered by the Internet.
A year after melissa wreaked havoc on the worlds computers, the love bug e-mail virus showed that lessons in cyber security and legislation have still to be learned.
Voicing common concerns, the Australian Federal police believes cyber crime is a growing international problem.
With the exponential growth in Internet use its going to get larger but its an international problem calling for close cross-border cooperation, said commander Barbara Etter, who heads a working party set up to develop a strategy to deal with cyber crime.
The main problem with cyber crime is estimating the extent of the problem, she said.
Its very difficult to quantify because people dont report it or even detect it, she told AFP.
The most recent survey of Australian business revealed 42 per cent of companies which detected crime did not report it to the police and most cyber crime was an inside job.
In addition, consumer fear of fraud and reluctance to put credit card details on the Internet were inhibiting the development of Internet commerce, said Citibank payment products chief Ed Eger.
A Citibank survey found 60 per cent of consumers did not trust the Net with credit card details.
Not only is this fear factor impacting upon the shopping habits of many consumers, it is also affecting Australian e-tailers who are missing out on business opportunities as a result of this concern, he said.
In the south Pacific, however, carpetbaggers and con-men have been quick to seize on the business opportunities offered by the Internet, promoting remote island republics and kingdoms as offshore financial centres free from regulatory interference.
Nauru, an tiny island republic in the southwest Pacific, has 400 offshore banks registered to a single mail box and is accused of being a major centre for the Russian mafias money laundering operations.
The Dominion of Melchizedek and the Kingdom of Enenkio Atoll, also promoted as offshore finance centres, take Internet fraud one step further they exist only in cyberspace. Seizing on widespread ignorance of the pacific, their lack of substance has not stopped them selling bonds and passports to the gullible.
The i love you virus also exposed holes in legislation to deal with cyber crimes. A man suspected of unleashing the love bug was investigated by Philippine police acting under the Access Devices Act, a law which is normally used in detecting credit card fraud.
In China hackers have wreaked havoc on 40 per cent of Chinese websites and 44 per cent of firms have had their online information tampered with, according to a recent survey of Chinese Internet firms.
Copyright pirates, a major headache for Chinese and international software and music firms, have now turned their attention to the Internet, offering pirated software and music through websites.
Beijing last month announced it was introducing new laws to crack down on the cyber pirates, but was short on details of just how it was going to enforce the legislation.
In February Japan enacted a law against hacking, following 16 successful cyber attacks launched against government websites, and 32,000 failed attempts. Latest figures from the National Police Agency show there were 247 high-technology crimes involving computers in 1999, not including uncounted hacking attacks. The crimes included distribution of child pornography on the Internet, fraud and copyright violation.
Moving beyond their traditional protection and prostitution rackets, Japanese gangsters are thought to be behind some of the Internet crimes.
We dont have exact evidence, but we have heard that the Yakuza are linked to come hi-tech crime, such as child pornography cases, a police spokesman said.
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