|Friday, June 16, 2000,
Korean reunification possible
Russia documents slave
UN talks on Indian hostages
Korean reunification possible
SEOUL, June 15 (AFP, Reuters) South Koreas President Kim Dae-Jung said today that he believed the Korean reunification was possible, as he returned to Seoul from a historic three day trip to the rival North.
I return with the firm conviction that unification can be achieved, he said in a speech at Seoul airport. Both Koreas have a long history of a united and single race.
Kim also thanked the people of Pyongyang for the welcome he received there.
The special flight bringing the president back landed at airport barely an hour after leaving Pyongyang where he and the Norths leader Kim Jong-IL signed a landmark reconciliation accord.
Earlier Kim Jong-IL, capping three days in the international spotlight, gave the departing South Korean President a historic hug at the stairway to his plane, after walking with him along a long, red carpet at Pyongyang airport.
Rows of North Koreans cheered, chanted and waved as a military brass brand played lustily.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori compared the landmark meeting to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, saying the agreement constitutes a major change towards peace.
The USA, which has 37,000 troops in South Korea, reacted more cautiously. It welcomed the agreement but noted that it did not touch on the possible threat from North Koreas long-range missiles.
An official South Korean Government note said officials from North and South would meet shortly to begin discussing how to implement an accord that Kim Dae-Jung hoped would chase away the fear of war from our land.
In accordance with this spirit, the South and North will implement measures such as the opening of direct military hotlines, the suspension of mutual denunciation and acts of destruction and insurrection, the note said.
The giddy if still fuzzy prospect of permanent peace between two countries still technically at war failed to impress the Seoul stock market. The benchmark Kospi index fell 5.9 per cent.
Economists said serious questions had to be answered about South Koreas ability to foot the bill for co-habitation with the North, where living standards are about 10 times lower.
Guesses based on the lessons of German unification a decade ago put the cost of reuniting the two Koreas at 1 trillion dollars, a bill that the heavily indebted South could struggle to shoulder.
South Koreas press largely banished such gloomy thoughts today, hailing in particular the agreement to hold reunions of families torn apart when the Korean War broke out 50 years ago.
The Korean peninsula has just escaped from the threat of war and is heading for true peace and prosperity, the Kyunghyang Shinmun said.
The agreement was the highlight of an extraordinary summit that has shown dear leader Kim Jong-IL, hitherto demonised abroad as either a pudgy playboy or a mysterious megalomaniac, to be confident, relaxed and funny.
Kim Jong-ILs wife did not attend yesterdays banquet, prompting him to joke that they too should be counted among Koreas divided families. The banquet hall erupted with laughter.
After the signing ceremony, television showed the two Kims clasping hands and then raising them in triumph.
An ebullient Kim Jong-IL, who accepted an invitation to a return summit in Seoul at the appropriate time, then drained his champagne in one gulp, savouring the triumph and the television spotlight.
The two Koreas have been
on the verge of breakthroughs in the past agreeing
to a joint declaration in 1972 and signing non-aggression
treaties in 1991 only to lapse back into sullen
confrontation that spilled over into occasional clashes.
Rebels to hand over town
HONIARA, June 15 (AP) Easing tensions in the strife-torn Solomon Islands, rebels who seized the capital last week, agreed today to let the police take back control of law and order.
The agreement came after Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufaalu, held last week at gunpoint by the rebels, resigned yesterday and unveiled a plan to negotiate a permanent ceasefire between warring islanders.
It is hoped a deal will be reached within the next 14 days, paving way for Parliament to select a new Prime Minister.
As from today, the regular police will start to resume control of law and order enforcement in Honiara City, said a joint statement today by the police and the rebels.
The statement was signed by Malaitan rebel spokesman Andrew Nori and the Deputy Police Commissioner, Mr Wilfred Akao. Mr Akao agreed to continue consultations with the rebels to ensure a smooth transition to normal policing.
But the Malaitan rebels did not agree to lay down their weapons, seized from an armoury in Honiara last week. They would disarm only after a comprehensive peace agreement had been reached and the issue of compensation for land lost by Malaitans addressed, Mr Nori told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio in Honiara today.
Hopes were growing today that the warring parties would meet with a committee made up of government and opposition lawmakers to broker a settlement in the coming days.
The 12-member committee met for the first time today but was not yet ready to make an announcement about when talks between the rebel factions might take place, said committee member Fre Fono, Solomons Minister of Development Planning.
An Australian warship has moved closer to Solomons coast and may be used as a neutral venue for the peace talks or for Parliament, Australian Defence Department said today.
Official flayed for N-secrets loss
WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) Furious Republican Senators Grilled Energy Department officials yesterday over the loss of two computer hard drives carrying nuclear weapons secrets, pointedly blaming an absent Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
At two public appearances elsewhere in Washington, Mr Richardson said he would testify to Congress next week when he had more information about the case.
Mr Richardson said lie-detector tests began yesterday for workers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the disappearance of the hard drives was discovered May 7. Mr Richardson oversees Los Alamos.
At this stage, the hard drives are believed to be misplaced and not stolen, but espionage has not been ruled out.
Sen. Richard Shelby told a Senate panel that Mr Richardson had been invited to explain to the representatives here of the American people why some of their most sensitive nuclear weapons information appears to have walked out the door.
Apparently Secretary Richardson has decided theres something more important to do than account to the American people, the Alabama Republican told a joint hearing of the Intelligence and Energy Committees.
I am outraged at whats happened, but we have dramatically improved security, and we need to get to the bottom of this, Mr Richardson told a National Press Club luncheon.
He added: Ill appear next week. I think we have to have more information before I appear and I anticipate well have more next week he said.
President Bill Clinton said he retained his confidence in Mr Richardsons leadership, although he said the lapse was a very serious issue.
Weve just got to see this through here, he told reporters at the White House. I think its a serious matter and I dont think we any of us need to be characterising anything until we know what happened.
Later, at the Energy Department, Mr Richardson met with former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, a Republican, and former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, who are helping to investigate the incident.
A key criticism of the Los Alamos case has been the lag between May 7, when the hard drives were determined to be missing, and May 31, when Lab Director John Browne was informed.
Mr Browne linked the disappearance of the two hard drives to wildfires that swept through parts of New Mexico in early May, saying the confusion caused by fire-related evacuations of workers may have been a factor but said this was no excuse.
excuse errors, but people do make mistakes when
theyre under stress, Mr Browne told the
Senate hearing. My assumption was that someone made
a serious mistake during this period ... And I still am
hoping that, in fact, that mistake will be found out and
that we can move on, he said.
Russia documents slave trade
MOSCOW, June 15 (UNI) Russian will soon present to the world the horrifying picture of human atrocities and oppression in Chechnya through a documentary revealing the $ 6 billion slave trade being run by the Chechen separatists.
The documentary throws light on the atrocities committed on kidnapped persons and those caught in the war theatre, the Voice of Russia disclosed last night.
According to the Voice of Russia, the film, which was relayed on Russia television channels on June 13, will now be shown in the USA. Europe and to the human rights organisations, who have been relentlessly criticising Moscows offensive in Chechnya.
The radio said the Chechen rebels earned a whopping $ 6 billion a year through human trafficking. The persons involved in the trade were the ones kidnapped or held hostage by the rebels. Those persons, whose relatives were unable to pay the asked ransom, were pushed into the trade or killed. Also the persons who resisted the wishes of the traders were done away with in the most beastly manner.
The champions of human rights will have food for thought after witnessing the gory scenes in the film, the radio said.
The Voice of Russia also disclosed that the fate of 3,597 persons taken hostage by the militants is unknown
Meanwhile, in Grozny, Mufti Akhmed Kadyrov has taken charge of the civilian administration of Chechnya. The Mufti declared that election would be held in Chechnya in two years time after the military operations. Only then would it be possible to hold a referendum on the status of the Chechen Republic vis-a-vis the Russian Federation, he said. However, a political observer said, This is the point on which the Mufti and Moscow may differ a lot as Moscow does not regard the question of referendum as topical.
On other hand, defence
observers feel the Russian operation in Chechnya is
likely to go on till November. They say some 1200 rebels
are still taking refuge in the high mountains and
mingling with the local populace in the plains.
Sharif in soup over Kargil
ISLAMABAD, June 15 (AFP) Pakistans military-led government has hinted that more charges could be levelled against ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over his allegations about last years Kargil crisis, reports said today.
The government is reviewing this statement at the highest level, official spokesman Major-General Rashid Qureshi was quoted as saying in the The Nation newspaper.
Other senior officials have reportedly blasted as treacherous Sharifs outbursts this week against the militarys handling of the Kargil intrusions.
He claimed that the conflict was planned secretly by the military without his consent and demanded a high-level commission probe into the debacle which derailed a budding peace initiative between Pakistan and India.
George in Russia for defence talks
MOSCOW, June 15 (UNI) The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, who is paying an official visit to Russia from June 27 to 30, will hold talks with the President, Mr Vladimir Putin, and the Defence Minister, Mr Marshal Igor Sergeev, covering issues such as joint naval exercises, exchange of military delegations and study by servicemen in each others military academies.
This was disclosed here today by a Defence Ministry spokesman for External affairs, Gen Leonid Ivashov.
During Mr Fernandes talks with Russian leaders, questions of military-technical co-operation will also be given importance, Russian news agency Novosti said.
The talks between the two sides are expected to dwell on the delivery of Russian weapons to India.
The Defence Ministers of both the countries will also discuss conditions for delivery of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov in the near future.
New Delhi and Moscow had recently signed a major defence contract worth $ 160 million for the supply of 40 MI-17 heavy transport helicopters to India.
India, UN talks on Indian hostages
UNITED NATIONS, June 15 (PTI) Senior Indian officials led by Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt-Gen N.J. Vij have had extensive discussions with top UN officials on the peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone and also the issue of 21 Indian soldiers who are being held hostage by Revolutionary United Front Rebels.
The Indian officials also met Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Bernard Miyet and several other officials of the department.
Details of the discussion held yesterday were not available as both the UN and Indian officials have refused to part with details.
Immediately after holding talks at the UN headquarters, the Indian team left for Washington.
Man waiting for kidney gets heart
CHICAGO: Doctors preparing a patient for a kidney transplant last month were aghast to discover an organ bank had mistakenly sent them a donated heart instead, the organ bank admitted on Wednesday. The patient, 31-year-old John Sherman, died in a Springfield, Illinois hospital, on Sunday without ever getting a suitable kidney. The coordinator was not fired, Dave Bosch of the organ bank told Reuters, as it was his first mistake Shermans planned May 12 surgery had progressed to the point were doctors had made an incision and prepared nerve ending for the transplant. Reuters
Plea against censorship
COLOMBO: Sri Lankas Supreme Court on Wednesday submitted five petitions filed against the censorship of domestic media of editors and other journalists. The petitions have been filed by a group of journalists, including the editors of 10 independent newspapers, who urged that the government lift the censorship imposed under an emergency decree. Earlier this month, the government lifted the monthlong censorship on foreign media. The three-judge bench set the first hearing for July 29. AP
Pirated CD sales gross over $ 500 m
LONDON: Pirate CD sales top $ 500 million a year and account for one in every five sold around the world, the record industrys watchdog said on Wednesday. The IFPI warned that organised crime was muscling in on the $ 4.5-billion business and Internet piracy was the big new menace. There was a flood of traffic from Southeast Asia into Latin America, with 34 million CDs seized in the last two years. The industry is responding with 100 international investigations to stamp out the worldwide trade and the number of global investigators has doubled. Reuters
Wedding bells ring in prison
SAO PAULO: The bride is usually the last to arrive at the Church, but on Wednesday 120 Brazilian brides and their wedding guests showed up two hours early for a required body search. The blushing brides, many of them in traditional white and veils, were entering the front gate of Carandiru, Latin Americas largest prison, known best for the 1992 police massacre that left 111 inmates dead. On the other side of the gate, 120 of Carandirus 7,400 inmates awaited their betrothed in cell block 6, where officials and evangelical pastors had fashioned a church for Brazils first mass prison wedding. Reuters
Amnesty slams US death penalty
WASHINGTON: Amnesty International slammed the USA for its continued use of the death penalty and lamented prison conditions around the country in its annual report. The human rights watchdog groups report, released on Wednesday said the US authorities continued to violate international standards protecting children by subjecting them to incarceration in adult prisons, and executing some criminals for crimes committed when they were younger than 18. AFP
Racists beat man to death
LONDON: The Welsh police said on Wednesday they were treating the murder of a man of Indonesian origin who rescued his daughter from a street attack in Newport, South Wales, as racially motivated. Jan Marthin Pasalbessi, 48, was battered to death in front of his daughter, Christina, 14, on Monday evening after he had earlier rescued her from a racist street attack. The fatal second attack occurred at the hospital where they had gone to get treatment for Christina. DPA
Greece arrests 136 stowaways
ATHENS: The Greek Coast Guards on Wednesday arrested 136 illegal immigrants hidden inside an English-flagged yacht coming from the Turkish coast, Merchant Marine ministry officials said. They said the stowaways 122 men, five women and nine children from India, Iraq, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were found inside the 21-metre yacht Isabart Bruney off the Aegean Sea Island of Samos, near the Turkish coast. Two Greek crew members were also detained. Reuters
Over 100 killed in vigilante killings
Indonesian mobs have killed more than 100 suspected
thieves in Jakarta this year, sometimes by burning them
to death, as vigilante justice continues unabated despite
police warnings, a local report said on Wednesday. A
delivery of five charred bodies to the morgue at the
state-run Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital last
Saturday brought the total number of deaths to 103 since
January, the Jakarta Post reported. The morgues
staff this year introduced a victims of mob
violence category into its statistics because of
the drastic rise in vigilante killings. In the past, such
victims were listed in the general homicides category.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |