|Sunday, June 18, 2000,
Missing N-secrets: two hard drives
|Rebels release 5 Filipino children
JOLO (Philippines), June 17 Islamic extremists today freed five Filipino school children after 90 days in captivity, but demanded ransom for a second set of hostages comprising of 21 westerners and Asians in a southern Philippine jungle.
Speight to help draft constitution
SUVA, June 17 Fijis coup leader George Speight will be part of a team drafting the South-Pacific nations new constitution, the martial law authorities said.
Solomons : new date set for Parliament
HONIARA, June 17 The Solomon Islands Governor-General today set a new date for Parliament to meet and elect a new Prime Minister in an attempt to bring peace to the restive South Pacific nation.
Student kills teacher
LAKE WORTH, Florida, June 17 A 13-year-old American student was failing a course taught by the teacher he is accused of killing on the last day of classes, a school official said.
14 condemned to death in China
BEIJING, June 17 Fourteen persons have been sentenced to execution in China for the murder of 28 coal miners killed as part of a systematic operation to steal death compensation payments, the official press reported today.
Weapons cache found in Kosovo
PRISTINA,Yugoslavia, June 17 A secret training camp with an assault course and a major weapons dump with automatic weapons, explosives and rockets have been discovered by peackeeping troops in Kosovo, a spokesman said today.
USA, Canada extend missile plan
WASHINGTON, June 17 The USA and Canada have extended for five years their joint North American aerospace defence (NORAD) missile warning programme.
Missing N-secrets: two hard drives found
WASHINGTON, June 17 (AP) Two computer hard drives containing nuclear secrets from the Los Alamos weapons lab have been located within the confines of the labs secure area and are being evaluated, the Energy Department has said.
US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said yesterday the two hard drives, which disappeared more than six weeks ago, were found within the secure areas of X Division which houses the vault where they had previously been kept.
The hard drives devices contained an array of secret, highly technical information on the dismantling of US and foreign nuclear bombs.
Despite the discovery, Mr Richardson said the investigation into their disappearance continued. He said while the devices had been found, their authenticity was still being evaluated.
It was not clear specifically where within the Los Alamos compound the drives were located. The area is being treated as a crime scene by the FDI, a department statement said.
At the White House, officials said they were withholding judgement until they got more facts. Forensic tests would be performed to determine if the drives had been compromised, one official said. White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger were alerted about the discovery, and Podesta was informing President Bill Clinton.
The disappearance of the hard drives set off an uproar when it was disclosed on Monday. The House Intelligence Committee yesterday called the disappearance a major failure and a potentially devastating compromise... in national security.
Mr Richardson said the FBI was evaluating the devices regarding their authenticity and that an intensive investigation was continuing to find out how they were apparently misplaced.
While some concerns were eased because the devices were discovered within the highly secure confines of X Division where nuclear designers work Mr Richardson said he would continue to aggressively pursue the matter.
There will be accountability and disciplinary actions regarding the Los Alamos incident, he said in a statement.
The FBI has begun a criminal investigation into the disappearance. Six Los Alamos lab managers have been put on leave with pay.
The devices were last seen on May 7, when the vault in which they were kept was examined. The disappearance was not reported to top lab officials until May 31 and to the Energy Department the next day.
Testing of Prithvi worries USA
WASHINGTON, June 17 (IANS) The USA has shown concern at Indias test of its short-range surface-to-surface Prithvi missile and warned that it could worsen the situation in South-East Asia.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: We regret the Indian Governments decision to proceed with this test.
We have long urged countries developing missile systems, including India and others, to exercise restraint.
Missile testing has the potential to increase tensions in the region and we hope that India will consider the impact of missile tests under the current circumstances, he added.
Indias Ministry of Defence announced yesterday that the Prithvi had been fired from a testing site at Chandipur-on-Sea in the Bay of Bengal, but provided no other details.
Mr Boucher also expressed concern over the controversy that seems to have been generated following recent reports on NBC News that Pakistans nuclear weapons programme was far superior to that of India.
He said that Washington was worried the fuelling of such a speculation about the nuclear programmes of India and Pakistan could prompt both countries to accelerate the arms race in the region.
According to him, although there were some differences in the nuclear weapons programmes of the two countries, Washington believed that the two were strategically on par through their ability to develop and use nuclear weapons.
Mr Boucher said that during the cold war, both USA and the erstwhile Soviet Union had gone down the same path, when differing perceptions about which country had more missiles had propelled a massive arms race.
We hope that India and Pakistan do not indulge in a similar competition... we are worried that perceptions of some kind of gap could lead to more actions that enhance destabilisation, he said .
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, addressing a news conference at the National Press Club earlier in the day, denied that Pakistans nuclear prowess was far greater than that of India.
We are not engaged in a competition with India and what we have to ensure is that we retain a credible deterrence Mr Sattar added.
He emphasised that Pakistan has no desire to engage in any nuclear arms race.
We have no ambitions for
a global or regional role, but if the present situation
destabilises, Pakistan will be obliged to upgrade its
deterrence in order to ensure its survivability and
Family reunion talks proposed
SEOUL, June 17 (AP) North Korea proposed that Red Cross officials from North and South Korea should meet this month to discuss the reunion of families who have lived in separation for 50 years by the worlds most heavily armed border.
The proposal was another tangible sign that the isolated, Communist North might be eager to implement a series of agreements struck by the leaders of the two Koreas during their historic three-day summit, which ended on Thursday.
For over 50 years, the two Koreas have traded sabre-rattling rhetoric across the demilitarised zone, guarded by nearly 2 million battle-ready troops. Occasional progress towards rapprochement had often been reversed by armed skirmishes.
In a telegram sent to its South Korean counterpart yesterday, the North Korean Red Cross Society suggested that they meet at the border village of Panmunjom this month to discuss the reunion of separated families and repatriation of North Korean spies held in the South.
Red Cross societies on both sides must actively contribute to improving North-South relations by faithfully implementing the summit agreements, absolutely supported at home and abroad, it said.
Relations have warmed
since this weeks summit when South Korean President
Kim Dae-Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il signed
agreements aimed at easing the tension, helping the
impoverished North rebuild its economy and eventually
work toward reunification.
Rebels release 5 Filipino children
JOLO (Philippines), June 17 (DPA) Islamic extremists today freed five Filipino school children after 90 days in captivity, but demanded ransom for a second set of hostages comprising of 21 westerners and Asians in a southern Philippine jungle.
The Abu Sayyaf extremists released the five school children in a village in Patikul town, Jolo Island, Sulu province, 1,000 km South of Manila. The 21 foreign hostages were being held several km away on the same island.
Senior presidential adviser Roberto Aventajado, the governments chief negotiator for the second set of hostages, said no ransom was paid for the children who were swapped for seven abducted relatives of Abu Sayyaf chieftain, Khadafi Janjalani where they had an emotional reunion with their families.
The Abu Sayyaf rebels are still holding captive two female teachers and a teenaged son of a pro-government militiaman killed in the rescue of the Filipino hostages.
The rebels second
set of captives comprise three Germans, two French, two
Finns, a South African couple, a Lebanese woman, nine
Malaysians and two Filipinos. They were abducted from the
Malaysian diving island resort of Sipadan on April 23.
Speight to help draft constitution
SUVA, June 17 (AFP) Fijis coup leader George Speight will be part of a team drafting the South-Pacific nations new constitution, the martial law authorities said.
Fijis military spokesman, Col Filipo Tarakinikini told a press conference that this would not compromise the new constitution.
Its the final product that matters, he said. Colonel Tarakinikini said the military had received a list from Speight of nominees for the new interim civilian government.
We find some of these names are acceptable to us, he said. However, he confirmed that Speights name was not on the list.
WELLINGTON (AFP): New Zealands Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said he wanted Fijis coup leader, George Speight, declared an international criminal.
Goff said on Friday on his arrival back in New Zealand from Fiji that he had instructed his officials to look at ways of bringing Speight to justice in international courts.
We will be investigating whether there is any action we can take should they set foot outside Fiji to bring them before any international court of justice for their act of terrorism.
Speight, accompanied by armed gunmen took hostages Fijis ethnic Indian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and members of his government on May 19 in the name of indigenous Fijians.
Goff had been in Suva as part of a Commonwealth delegation for talks on the constitutional crisis with the military leaders now running the country.
He ruled out bringing a case before the International Criminal Court currently being set up because it dealt with war crimes and acts of genocide.
But added: I have asked my officials to look whether there is any prospect of bringing a case against Speight in any other court such as the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
Solomons : new date set for Parliament
HONIARA, June 17 (Reuters) The Solomon Islands Governor-General today set a new date for Parliament to meet and elect a new Prime Minister in an attempt to bring peace to the restive South Pacific nation.
Governor-General Sir John Ini Lapli told Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp (SIBC) the meeting was set for Wednesday, June 28, with nominations open from June 23-26.
Sir John said Parliament would assemble here despite reservations voiced earlier in the day by caretaker Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufaalu over security in the capital where one of the two warring militias, the Malaita Eagles Force (MEF), still patrols the streets.
There was no mention in Sir Johns broadcast of Mr Ulufaalus conditions that the rival ethnic militias, the MEF and the Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM), surrender their arms in the next 14 days before Parliament reconvenes.
Malaita leader Andrew
Nori has said his militia will not disarm until a
satisfactory compensation package is negotiated for lost
land and damaged property. Mr Ulufaalu was
dismissive of reconvening Parliament.
LAKE WORTH, Florida, June 17 (AP) A 13-year-old American student was failing a course taught by the teacher he is accused of killing on the last day of classes, a school official said.
But it isnt clear whether Nathaniel Brazill knew about his grade before the fatal shooting, school superintendent Ben Marlin told The Palm Beach Post newspaper. Brazill, a seventh-grader at Lake Worth Community Middle School, wouldnt have received his report card before a counsellor dismissed him early in the school day, Marlin said.
The boy is accused of shooting English teacher Barry Grunow with a .25-caliber automatic handgun he brought back to the school after being sent home for throwing water balloons.
14 condemned to death in China
BEIJING, June 17 (AFP) Fourteen persons have been sentenced to execution in China for the murder of 28 coal miners killed as part of a systematic operation to steal death compensation payments, the official press reported today.
The China Youth Daily said the verdicts were handed down recently by the intermediary court in Jinzhong city in the northern province of Shanxi.
Four of the death sentences were suspended. The court also jailed one member of the gang for life, and another for 15 years.
The gang was found guilty of murdering 28 miners between November, 1996, and October, 1998, in several mines in the province and stealing a total of 520,000 yuan ($ 63,000).
The accused would initially convince unemployed people to hire themselves as miners.
Some days after they were taken on, the victims would be killed at work and the murder disguised as an accident, such as a collapsed tunnel or an explosion.
The killers would then pass themselves off as the victims parents, blackmailing the mines managers into letting them pocket compensation payments by threatening to expose breaches of safety.
China has thousands of small privately run, and mostly illegal, coal mines. Once threatened, the mines operators quickly agreed to the gangs demands, the paper said.
Weapons cache found in Kosovo
PRISTINA,Yugoslavia, June 17 (AFP) A secret training camp with an assault course and a major weapons dump with automatic weapons, explosives and rockets have been discovered by peackeeping troops in Kosovo, a spokesman said today.
The find is one of the biggest of its kind in the Yugoslav province since last years war.
A KFOR spokesman said four bunkers were found only a kilometre from the former headquarters and present summer home of Agim Ceku, head of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
The training camp with its assault course had looked as though it were still in use, the spokesman said.
Two bunkers with steel doors were absolutely full of weapons, he added.
One bunker contained between 30 and 50 rifles and automatic weapons, and some 50 explosives, rockets, small-arms ammunition, mortars and mortar rounds.
USA, Canada extend missile plan
WASHINGTON, June 17 (AFP) The USA and Canada have extended for five years their joint North American aerospace defence (NORAD) missile warning programme.
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her Canadian counterpart Lloyd Axworthy signed the agreement here yesterday which keeps in operation the radar tracking system created in 1958 to guard against possible Soviet missile attacks over the Arctic.
13 die in blast in Algeria
ALGIERS: A blast that ripped through a crowded market place in southwestern Algeria killed 13 persons and injured 43 on Saturday, residents said. Islamic extremists were suspected of planting the explosives underneath a car whose owner was among those killed in the explosion at Mascara, 360 km from Algiers. DPA
Schroeder called Fuehrer
BERLIN: Russian President Vladimir Putins translator raised eyebrows on Saturday by referring to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as the German Fuehrer, a little associated with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Schroeder appeared put out when he heard the simultaneous translation of Putins remarks at a joint news conference at the end of a two-day summit. Putin was not aware of the mistranslation. Reuters
No Place to Go wins prize
BERLIN: No Place to Go, the story of an author from the West who goes to live in Berlin after the fall of the wall, but kills herself when she fails to find acceptance, won this years German film prize on Friday. The prize for the Best Actress went to Hannelore Elsener, who plays Sisela Elsner, the woman on whose life the film is based. Called Die Unberhrbare in German, the film was directed by Gisela Elsners son, Oskar Roehler. DPA
Policeman to get compensation
SAN FRANCISCO: A police- man who injured his hand when he punched a wall while arguing with his boss is entitled to worker compensation, the California Supreme Court has ruled, according to reports on Friday. The ruling upheld an earlier decision that, because police officer William Smith was not trying to hurt himself, he can get sick leave and compensation for his medical bills. DPA
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has executed a Pakistani convicted on smuggling drugs into the kingdom, raising to at least 53 the number of people reported to have been put to death in the conservative kingdom so far this year. The official Saudi Press Agency quoted an Interior Ministry statement as saying the man was executed in Damman on Friday after being found guilty of smuggling an unspecified amount of heroin into the Gulf Arab state. Reuters
New title for Putin
BERLIN: Ex-KGB spy-turned Russian President Vladimir Putin will return to Moscow from his summit trip to Germany with a new title the, knight of Spandau. Mr Putins bodygurads watched unflinchingly as a man in a scarlet cloak and feathered hat wielded a metre-long broadsword to touch the Kremlin leader on both shoulders before bestowing the honorary title in a dimly-lit medieval theme tavern. Reuters
Just call me William
LONDON: Britains Prince William, the son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, has asked not to be called his royal highness when he turns 18 next Wednesday, news reports said on Friday. According to the Press Association, he has asked Charles and Queen Elizabeth-II if he can postpone using the title until after he finishes a university course he hopes to start soon. DPA
Chief Medical Officer demoted
SINGAPORE: The city-states Chief Army Medical Officer has been demoted from Colonel to Major for making sexual advances toward a married woman subordinate, it was reported on Saturday. Low Wye Mun pleaded guilty in a subordinate military court to two charges of disgraceful conduct and admitted having inappropriate intimate contact with the 34-year-old woman, The Straits Times said. Suspended from duty since May 19, Low stands to lose more than $ 324,000 in retirement benefits. DPA
NEAR ARKALYK (Kazakhstan): Two Russian cosmonauts have returned safely to the earth after spending more than two months aboard the orbiting Russian space station, Mir. Sergei Zaliotin and Alexandre Kalery floated down onto the Kazakhstan plains near Arkalyk village on Friday in their two tonne re-entry capsule suspended below a huge 1000 sq metre (10,700 sq. feet) parachute. AFP
Women cops stamped
LONDON: A British woman police sergeant has claimed it is common practice for male colleagues to rubber stamp new female arrivals at a station on their breasts and buttocks with the official station stamp. Belinda Sinclair (40) received a $ 400,000 pension and a $ 10,000 lumpsum from the Metropolitan police after she claimed she had been victimised by senior colleagues because she was seen as self-confident for a woman, the Daily Express reported on Friday. DPA
Russian media baron freed
MOSCOW: Russian media
magnate Vladimir Gusinsky was released from prison after
being charged with embezzlement on Friday, the spokesman
for his media empire said. Gusinsky had been arrested on
Tuesday, sparking an outcry among businessmen and
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