Tuesday, June 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D


A woman and two children cool off in one of the fountains in Trafalgar Square in London on Sunday, as temperatures touch 30 centrigrade in the city
A woman and two children cool off in one of the fountains in Trafalgar Square in London on Sunday, as temperatures touch 30 centigrade in the city. Trafalgar Square was host to an Indian cultural event. The family declined to be named. AP/PTI photo

58 bodies found frozen in truck
LONDON, June 19 — In a blood-curdling incident, 58 persons, believed to be asylum seekers of Chinese origin, were found frozen to death inside the refrigerated container of a truck in Dover, England’s busy southern port, the police said today.

Indian US teenager wants to become US President
NEW YOGK, June 19 — Indian American teenager Shelly Mirpuri, who finished school at the age of 16 and obtained her bachelor’s degree at 18, has a lofty goal — she wants to become the president of the United States of America.

Auschwitz’s last Jew remembered
JERUSALEM, June 19 — When he died last month, Shimson Klueger was thought to be the last Jew of Auschwitz.



EARLIER STORIES
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William & the media — the story begins
LONDON, June 19 — Britain’s new media darling Prince William stepped blinking into the limelight at the weekend as newspapers splashed pictures of him enjoying some of life’s normal pleasures — football, food and fancy clothes.

Pak envoys refused by EU countries
ISLAMABAD, June 19 — In a major diplomatic setback, three European countries have refused to accept retired military officers as Pakistan’s ambassadors, The Friday Times reported today.
Participants pose for photographers after a press conference for the 7th Queen of the Year International Pageant 2000 World Final in Kuala Lumpur Monday
Participants pose for photographers after a press conference for the 7th Queen of the Year International Pageant 2000 World Final in Kuala Lumpur Monday. A total of 19 finalists from all over the globe will compete for the crown on July 1 at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre, outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. — AP/PTI photo

Conference on "Community of Democracies"
“INDIAN democracy is a lesson of modesty in international relations not only for the Third World countries, but also for European states. It is a model which is worth admiring and we, in Poland, always get inspiration from India”, says the Polish Foreign Minister, Prof Bronislow Geremek, while describing the importance of the forthcoming international conference on “Community of Democracies”, scheduled to be held here on June 26 and 27.

Jailbreak in Solomons
SYDNEY, June 19 — The strife-torn Solomon Islands edged closer to anarchy today as almost 100 escaped prisoners, including hardcore criminals, roamed the capital Honiara after a mass jailbreak.

Bashar named Baath Party leader
DAMASCUS, June 19 — Syria’s ruling Baath Party has proclaimed Bashar al-Assad, son of late President Hafez al-Assad, “leader of the party and of the people,” at a plenary session of its current Congress, the official SANA news agency reported.

Japan’s ex-PM Takeshita dies
TOKYO, June 19 — Former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, who reigned as one of the top kingmakers of Japanese politics long after he was driven from office in 1989 by scandal, died today after a lengthy illness.
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58 bodies found frozen in truck

LONDON, June 19 (PTI) — In a blood-curdling incident, 58 persons, believed to be asylum seekers of Chinese origin, were found frozen to death inside the refrigerated container of a truck in Dover, England’s busy southern port, the police said today.`

Two persons found alive inside the air-tight compartment of the Dutch-registered vehicle were taken to hospital where they were recovering from their trauma, a spokesman of the police said.`

Customs officials were “pretty traumatised” after discovering the bodies of 54 men and four women on their routine inspection of the lorry carrying tomatoes when it arrived at Dover last night on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.`

“There is a major criminal investigation in place”, Kent Police spokesman Mark Pugash said.`

“I imagine it was a pretty horrific thing to come across,” a customs and excise spokeswoman said. The driver of the vehicle had been detained and would be questioned about the gruesome incident, the police said.`

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is attending a European Union summit in Portugal, said the “evil trade” in illegal immigrants must be stamped out.`

“We are awaiting details of what has happened. It is the subject of a major criminal investigation”, he told Sky News.`

The incident underlined the importance of stamping out “what is an evil trade in bringing people into this country”, Mr Blair said.`

British Home Secretary Jack Straw said he was “appalled” at the discovery of the bodies and expressed the government’s determination to continue its crackdown on such trafficking “whose perpetrators have no regard for human life”.
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Indian US teenager wants to become US President

NEW YOGK, June 19 — Indian American teenager Shelly Mirpuri, who finished school at the age of 16 and obtained her bachelor’s degree at 18, has a lofty goal — she wants to become the president of the United States of America.`

Shelly Mirpuri, a resident of Lecanto, Florida, last week was conferred a bachelor’s degree in business at the commencement exercises of Saint Leo University at its main campus at Saint Leo, Florida, becoming one of the youngest students to receive the degree in the university’s 111-year history and the youngest in the class of 2000.`

At the age of 18, many high school seniors either scramble to get admission to colleges or adjust to the first year of their college life. Mirpuri, who graduated in business administration with specialisation in management at the top of her class, has not only obtained her bachelor’s degree but said that she earned the maximum grade point average (GPA) of four, and is the youngest student to graduate in Florida with that level of GPA.`

For her achievement, the university presented her a plaque of honour as the most outstanding student in business administration, and accorded her the privilege of singing the alma mater’s anthem and the United States National Anthem at the commencement ceremony.`

As a gifted student, Mirpuri skipped her seventh grade. She graduated from Lecanto High School while she was a junior. She then earned 60 undergraduate credits from the Central Florida Community College in one year and then the rest of the 60 credits needed for graduation from Saint Leo in the next year. She said she was overloaded with classes, taking 24 credits in a semester against the usual 15, to reach her goal.`

She achieved the feat, while under great personal trauma. Her mother, Linda, a former secondary school teacher, is suffering from breast cancer, and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant during this period. On weekends her father, Govind Mirpuri, would take her to meet her mother who was then hospitalised in Gainsville. Shelly Mirpuri spent many weekends with her mother at the hospital.`

But despite the pressures at home, she made it on the dean’s list of outstanding students last year as well as this year. She was also a member of the Sigma Beta Delta and Phi Theta Kappa honour societies and the Oratorial Society.`

Besides being a good student Shelly Mirpuri is also very active in community service. She is the secretary and a member of the board of directors of Citrus 20/20 Inc, an organisation that strives to promote Citrus County, Florida and define a vision as to what the county should be by the year 2020.`

An accomplished singer, she was a member of the vocal ensemble at the college. She said she sang with television actress Barbara Eden and then Miss America in 1997 at Disney World.`

Mirpuri plans to go to law school and then wants to enter politics. She aims to practise international law to gain expertise and experience for the lofty goal she has set in life: to become the President of the United States of America.`

She said she has been approached to run for the Citrus County Commission, part of the county’s administration. But she refused as she is not ready to enter politics without adequate preparation, she said.`

India Abroad News Service.
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William & the media — the story begins

LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) — Britain’s new media darling Prince William stepped blinking into the limelight at the weekend as newspapers splashed pictures of him enjoying some of life’s normal pleasures — football, food and fancy clothes. `

But as the Prince’s 18th birthday approaches, so too does the realisation that his adult life, as second-in-line to the throne, will for the most part be far from normal.`

As the Prince heads into manhood and officially takes on the title His Royal Highness on Wednesday, the understanding between the royal family and the media to leave him in relative peace during his childhood will fall by the wayside. As an adult he will have to face the media unprotected.`

The young Prince has said he would prefer people not to use his formal title — just William will do — and he has signalled a similar attitude to being photographed, saying: “I like to keep my private life private.”`

And so for the young man whose mother Princess Diana’s love-hate relationship with the tabloid media rolled on even after her tragic death, the release of a selection of approved photographs to the ever-hungry media marked the start of his own relationship with them.`

It is one that his father Prince Charles has already warned him about. “The scrutiny and interference is just beyond description and I personally don’t envy him at all,” the heir-to-the throne said as the build-up to his son’s 18th birthday reached fever pitch.`

The collection of friendly snaps showing William playing soccer with friends, cooking paella and showing off his taste in colourful waistcoats was designed to satisfy a media ravenous for any snippets about the good-looking young Prince. `

But already there were signs yesterday that the camera-shy William would not be as protected from the glare of publicity in his adult life as he was while a child.`

The news of the World, Britain’s biggest selling tabloid, ran William’s photographs next to a story about his reported choice of university — St Andrews in Scotland — which it said has earned the nickname “St Randy’s” for a student life which entails “lots of sex and more booze than you can handle”.`

The Sunday Mirror ran an “exclusive” story claiming that a friend of William’s who attends the exclusive private Eton College had been kicked out of the school after being caught with drugs during his exams.`

The same newspaper followed up on the next double page spread with a kiss-and-tell story from a former girlfriend of William’s uncle, and Prince Charles’ brother, Prince Edward.`

The Sunday Express busied itself with more weighty matters, conducting a poll on whether Britons would rather see Prince William or his father as the country’s next monarch.`

The survey showed an equal split with 44 per cent backing each Prince.`

Whether he follows his father to the English throne or leapfrogs over him, Britain’s media will leave William in no doubt of their demands on him.`

He must be charming, charismatic and regal, but be sure to remain “the people’s prince” in the image of his mother, Diana. And beyond all that he must carry the legacy of the monarchy in his hands.`

“If William goes wrong, the British monarchy, with its glorious 1,000-year history, might well fall,’’ The Sunday Express warned. `

Reuters adds: Britain’s Prince William should break with tradition and be his own man rather than follow in his father’s footsteps, a poll commissioned by The Daily Telegraph showed today.`

Fiftyone per cent of the people questioned thought that William should not go to traditional universities such as Oxford or Cambridge — his father Prince Charles studied at Cambridge — but attend a university of his choice.`

William, who turns 18 on Wednesday, has already indicated that he wishes to study at Edinburgh University.`

Fortyfour per cent of those polled thought William should work in a civilian job after university rather than going into the armed forces as his father and grandfather did.`

In keeping with the movement away from tradition, 60 per cent of the respondents thought that the monarchy should continue to exist but become more democratic and approachable. This compared with 50 per cent in a 1993 survey. Eleven per cent wanted the monarchy to be abolished, the same proportion as in 1993.
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Auschwitz’s last Jew remembered

JERUSALEM, June 19 (Reuters) — When he died last month, Shimson Klueger was thought to be the last Jew of Auschwitz.`

Closeted from prying eyes in his ramshackle hut, Klueger lived more than half a century as a recluse — the sole surviving Jew in the Polish town of Oswiecim, notorious for its Nazi death camp in which 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died.`

People in the Southern Polish town, known by both its German and its Polish names, recalled that Klueger had once been a member of the orthodox Jewish Belzer Hassidic sect. Some left him food in a bowl he placed outside his weathered wooden door.`

But few, if any, saw him for years.`

A Jewish educator from Jerusalem, Michael Berl, who happened to be in Poland when Klueger died, said he had first learned of the man’s existence while touring Auschwitz a decade ago.`

“I asked our guide if there were any living Jews there, and he said yes there was — Klueger, but that he bordered on being a hermit,” Berl told Reuters in Jerusalem on Sunday.`

When Berl tried to make contact with the man, he was met with a brusque yiddish “gay avek” (go away).`

“He still thought the war was raging. After 50 years alone, he had lost it,” said Berl, who acknowledged he knew nothing of what the recluse endured in the war.`

When Klueger died aged 72 in the local institution where he had lived for two years, there seemed little hope of giving him a Jewish burial.`

There were no Jews to say the ritual blessings, no rabbi to prepare his body and mourn him. Attempts to reach Klueger’s only known relative, his brother Moshe in Brooklyn, failed.`

A young rabbi in nearby Cracow, who had been contacted by Klueger’s institution, was unversed in the techniques of Jewish burial preparation, Berl said. By chance, Berl was leading a tour group of Jewish American youths a few hours’ drive away. `

Berl’s mobile phone rang. It was the rabbi. He knew it was just a few hours before the start of the Jewish sabbath, when all work and driving is forbidden according to orthodox law, but the rabbi wanted to know if the group could come and help.`

Before World War II, Poland was home to a Jewish population of 3.3 million, 10 per cent of the total population. The Nazi genocide wiped out 90 per cent of the Jewish community that had previously been the largest in Europe.`

A post-war pogrom and later bouts of anti-semitism reduced the population to around 10,000.`

During the four-and-a-half-hour drive to Oswiecim, one of Berl’s group, who was a member of her local burial society, coached the rabbi by phone through the process of readying the body for burial in keeping with Jewish law.`

The group arrived before sunset. Students from New York’s Ramaz school in Manhattan wrapped Klueger’s body in the ritual prayer shawl used as a burial shroud and carried out the ceremony in Oswiecim’s small wooded Jewish cemetery.
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Pak envoys refused by EU countries

ISLAMABAD, June 19 (UNI) — In a major diplomatic setback, three European countries have refused to accept retired military officers as Pakistan’s ambassadors, The Friday Times reported today.

The unprecedented rejection of diplomatic nominations came from Italy, Sweden and Belgium — all members of the European Union.

The Pakistan Government nominated Maj-Gen Mustafa Anwar Hussain (retd), Vice-Admiral Shamoon Ali Khan (retd) and Air Marshal Mohammed Najeeb (retd) as ambassadors to these countries. Their nominations were rejected by the European nations without citing any reason, the paper further said.

The rejection is a clear indication that these governments are unhappy with the military regime in Pakistan.After the rejection of nominations of the defence personnel, the military regime has decided to retain Mr Naeem ul Hasan in Sweden and Mr S.K. Dehlvi in Belgium, while Mr Arif Ayub has been shifted from Italy and is being considered for Afghanistan
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Conference on Community of Democracies”
From Surender Bhutani in Warsaw

“INDIAN democracy is a lesson of modesty in international relations not only for the Third World countries, but also for European states. It is a model which is worth admiring and we, in Poland, always get inspiration from India”, says the Polish Foreign Minister, Prof Bronislow Geremek, while describing the importance of the forthcoming international conference on “Community of Democracies”, scheduled to be held here on June 26 and 27.`

It is at the Polish initiative and blessed by both India and the USA. The conference, to be participated by 102 countries, would like to “promote and strengthen” democracy across the globe.`

A core group of seven countries, the USA, India, Poland, the CZech Republic, Mali, Chile and South Korea took the task of the organisation. The US delegation, led by Secretary of State. Madeliene Albright, and the Indian delegation, led by Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, will focus on the challenges, threats and workings of democratic model in their respective panels. At the same time more than 60 foreign ministers will lead their delegations along with a UN delegation headed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Both Pakistan and China have not been invited.`

The Warsaw conference is coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Solidarity Movement in Poland which acted as cataclysm for democratic movements in Eastern Europe and by 1991 all East European countries had adopted democratic constitutions.`

For the first time, Warsaw will be the venue for old and new democracies to come at one platform. After the conference, there will be a Warsaw Declaration stating the achievements of democracy as well as the future course of action — how to preserve and strengthen the model. In a sense, it will be a fitting rejoinder at a time when many developing countries and island states are witnessing an upsurge of violence and military coups and that too in the 21st century.
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Jailbreak in Solomons

SYDNEY, June 19 (AFP) — The strife-torn Solomon Islands edged closer to anarchy today as almost 100 escaped prisoners, including hardcore criminals, roamed the capital Honiara after a mass jailbreak.

Australian officials said the entire population of the prison had escaped or had been released by overworked prison staff, heightening tensions as an uneasy truce continued after the June 5 coup.`

The escapees include about 20 members of the Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM) on remand on charges related to the ethnic violence that led up to the coup by the rival Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) militia.`

Officials believe the IFM prisoners released a number of other inmates and the prison guards, unable to control the situation, freed the remainder. `

Up to 60 persons died in ethnic violence before the coup and 20,000 Malaitans were expelled from the land on which they had lived for up to half a century.`

Yesterday’s jailbreak came after a spate of lawlessness, including car thefts and robberies, attributed to unruly elements of the MEF in an increasingly deserted Honiara.
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Bashar named Baath Party leader

DAMASCUS, June 19 (AFP) — Syria’s ruling Baath Party has proclaimed Bashar al-Assad, son of late President Hafez al-Assad, “leader of the party and of the people,” at a plenary session of its current Congress, the official SANA news agency reported.

It said the ninth Congress had taken “its most important decision” yesterday in “proclaiming comrade Bashar al-Assad leader of the party and of the people.”
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Japan’s ex-PM Takeshita dies

TOKYO, June 19 (AP) — Former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, who reigned as one of the top kingmakers of Japanese politics long after he was driven from office in 1989 by scandal, died today after a lengthy illness.

Takeshita (76) died of respiratory failure at a Tokyo hospital early today, said Shigeo Yoshimura of the Takeshita family sake brewery in western Japan.`

Takeshita, who served as Premier from 1987 to 1989, announced his retirement from politics last month after more than a year in the hospital. He was originally hospitalised in April 1999, complaining of lower back pain.
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GLOBAL MONITOR

Suharto may repay $ 25 bn

JAKARTA: Embattled former Indonesian President Suharto, under investigation over graft allegations, may hand over $ 25 billion to the government, President Abdurrah-man Wahid was quoted as saying on Monday. Local media also reported the former general has complained to the United Nations Human Rights Commission over the government’s decision to put him under house arrest. The Jakarta Post daily quoted Mr Wahid as saying that although the courts would decide how much Suharto should return to the state, he expects at least $ 25 billion. — Reuters

Report on Yeltsin’s daughters denied

ZURICH: Geneva prosecutor Bernard Bertossa denied a published report that he intended to file corruption charges against two daughters of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. U.S.-based Newsweek magazine had reported that Swiss authorities investigating whether construction companies had paid kickbacks to win lucrative contracts for refurbishing official Russian buildings would soon file such charges. “I do not intend to do this,” Mr Bertossa told the Sonntagsblick Sunday newspaper, which asked him when such charges were expected against Mr Yelstin’s daughters. — Reuters

Of pregnant women and mosquitoes

NEU ISENBERG (Germany): Mosquitoes are particularly attracted to pregnant women, according to a report in the German doctor’s publication “aerzte zeitung”, citing a report by British researchers in Gambia, West Africa. The scientists recorded on three successive nights the rate at which mosquitoes found their way under the mosquito nets where pregnant and non-pregnant women were sleeping. They found twice as many of the insects bit pregnant women. — DPA

Plane departs sans minister

FEIRA (Portugal): There were red faces among top brass of Germany’s Luftwaffe, the air force, yesterday after a plane flying officials to the European Union summit in Portugal forgot Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping at the airport. Mr Scharping, who commands the Luftwaffe, the left sitting in the dust at Cologne-Bonn airport after a Luftwaffe airbus jet picked up his delegation but forgot to check if the Minister himself was on board before taking off, diplomatic sources said. The sources said the jet was en route to Berlin to pick up Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, when somebody asked: ‘“where’s Rudolf?’’ — DPA

Jet crashes: 2 pilots die

WASHINGTON: A U.S. fighter jet with two pilots aboard crashed into a wooded field during an air show near Philadelphia on Sunday, news reports said. Both crew members died and three other persons were treated for injuries, CNN reported. The f-14 Tomcat exploded on impact, according to spectators at the 200 Sounds of Freedom show at the Willow Grove naval air station, 25 km north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The plane was performing an air manoeuvre and approaching the runway when it veered off course and crashed into a wooded area. — DPA

Paralytic climbs Mount Rainier

ASHFORD (Washington) : Paraplegic climber Peter Rieke has reached the summit of Mount Rainier under his own power — the first paralysed climber to achieve that goal, the National Park Service says. Rieke, (43) a research chemist from Pasco, radioed from the 14,411-foot (4,323-metre) summit on Sunday: “base camp, base camp, this is the summit. ... We have done it!” He began the climb on June 8 at the 5,240-foot (1,572-metre) level using a hand-cranked “snow pod” he designed and built. He crossed the Nisqually glacier and then moved onto the Kautz glacier to reach the summit. — (AP)

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