|Thursday, June 22, 2000,
One more held in truck deaths case
Situation in Tibet
Minister faces sex charges
Jaswant arrives in Moscow
152 killed in violence, says
Drives may have been missing
for 6 months
USA had asked Pak to pull
First recording of meteors hitting
12 children perish in fire in
Prince William is 18
One more held in truck deaths case
LONDON, June 21 (AP) The police has arrested another person in connection with the deaths of 58 Chinese illegal immigrants who stifled in a Dutch-registered truck at the end of a painful, four-month odyssey from southern China.
The Dutch police yesterday raided three houses in Rotterdam and arrested a man, but refused to say if the suspect was a 24-year-old Dutch engineer who last week registered a company that leased the truck.
In the English port of Dover, the Dutch and the British police interrogated the truck driver who on Sunday brought the young stowaways, most of them in their 20s, on the disastrous final leg of their journey from southern Chinas Fujian province.
Fujian is notorious for immigrant-smuggling gangs, known as snakeheads who charge up to $ 60,000 a head for perilous illegal passages to the west.
The police said the victims, stowed with a cargo of tomatoes during the five-hour sailing across the English Channel from Zeebrugge, Belgium, died of respiratory failure.
Two survivors, vital to tracing the smugglers, remained under police guard traumatised by their futile struggle to escape as their companions collapsed.
To have 60 young people in the back of a truck, there would have to have been some organisation to get these people over from China, Kent county police Detective Superintendent Dennis McGookin told a news conference in Dover. In liaising with the Chinese police hopefully we will know more on this soon.
Yang Chen, who slipped into Britain in January and has applied for political asylum, said he was sure his cousin, Chen Lin (19) was among the dead.
TOKYO: Tokyo harbour officials have discovered a container that was used to ship illegal Chinese immigrants and a seriously injured illegal immigrant, news reports said on Wednesday.
The discovery came barely days after the English police discovered a container of 58 dead illegal Chinese immigrants in the port of Dover.
The news agency, Jiji Press, reported that the woman found near the container was injured apparently trying to climb out of a hole in the roof of the container through which an unknown number of her countrymen had escaped. Inside the container were foodstuffs and waste while nearby a backpack with clothing was discovered by the officials.
The police has launched a search for the illegal immigrants, Jiji Press said.
Situation in Tibet critical
WASHINGTON, June 21 (PTI) The Dalai Lama has said that situation in Tibet was "worsening" but showed his willingness to talk to China at any place and at any time.
He also asked US Congress members to help initiate a dialogue on the issue.
"The present situation inside Tibet is very, very critical. If we look (at the) Tibet problem locally, then time is running out," he told reportedly here yesterday after a meeting with US President Bill Clinton.
The Tibetan spiritual leaders during his meeting with key Republic can Democratic legislators and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sought their support.
The Dalai Lama said he was willing to talk to China without any preconditions, any place, anytime, I am willing to meet the Chinese leadership without preconditions," he said.
On the influx of Chinese people into Tibet, he said when he met President Liu Shao-Chi in the 50s he told him that China had a great many people and Tibet had much land.
"If there is mutual friendship between Chinese and Tibetans, bringing in more Chinese would be no problem but not under present circumstances. At present, relations between Tibet and China are very sad," the self-exiled leader said.
He thanked the senators and representatives for their friendship which, he said, was deepening year after year.
The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an organisation that supports the Tibetan cause said on the Dalai Lamas current 15-day visit to the USA that it had planned a march in front of the Chinese embassy on July 1.
On July 2, the Dalai Lama will hold a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony followed by a public address on the mall.
According to many Tibetans, the Chinese presence in Tibet is destroying the regions unique Buddhist culture.
The ICT said that in the
early years of Chinas occupation of Tibet, the
Chinese "virtually banned the study and practice of
Buddhism and that by 1969, not a single practising nun or
monk was left in Tibet-they had all fled, been executed
or imprisoned or defrocked".
Minister faces sex charges
WELLINGTON, June 21 (DPA) New Zealand police was investigating allegations that a Cabinet Minister made an underage girl pregnant and arranged for an abortion.
Mr Dover Samuels, Minister of Maori Affairs, denied the charges in a personal statement to the Parliament today, but announced he was temporarily relinquishing his duties pending the outcome of the inquiry.
Samuels (61) said he had himself asked the police to investigate the allegations made in a letter to Prime Minister Helen Clark by an opposition MP Richard Prebble, who leads the right-wing act New Zealand party.
"I wish to make it clear to this House categorically that I absolutely deny and refute the very serious allegations in this letter, allegations that should have been made to the police," he told the Parliament.
Details of the charges were not revealed in Parliament, but according to a TV news programme, they involved a teenage girl whom Samuels had made pregnant, subsequently arranging an abortion for her.
Prime Minister Clark told the Parliament that she had been aware of the allegations of serious criminal offending against Samuels since January and had accepted his assurances that they were not true.
Jaswant arrives in Moscow
MOSCOW, June 21 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh arrived here today on an official visit to hold talks with Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, on global and regional security and Indo-Russian economic cooperation.
Mr Jaswant Singh, on a four-day visit, told reporters on his arrival at the airport that the main purpose of his visit was to attend to issues related to Mr Putins India visit in October.
His visit is the first by a senior Indian leader to Moscow since Mr Putin assumed office as President in May.
During his stay, he will call on Mr Putin and hold extensive discussions with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
He is also scheduled to visit Russias imperial capital and President Putins home town St Petersburg.
Tomorrow Mr Jaswant
Singh is scheduled to hold wide ranging talks with the
Secretary of the Russian Security Council Sergei Ivanov
on regional and global security concerns and closer
152 killed in violence, says church activist
JAKARTA, June 21 (AFP) More than 150 persons were killed and many more injured in Mondays attack by Muslims on Christians on the island of Halmahera in Indonesias Maluku islands, a report said today as the military expressed helplessness in the face of constant anarchy.
A church activist was quoted by the state Antara news agency as saying that 152 persons were killed and 160 others wounded when nearly 4,000 Muslim fighters attacked the mainly Christian village of Duma in Galela district on Monday.
Yerda Jawa, the activist at a church synod in neighbouring Tobelo district, also said a number of women and children were taken hostage by the Muslim attackers.
But the military in neighbouring Ternate, capital of north Maluku, called the church report one-sided and insisted the death toll from the violence was 114, as first reported yesterday.
Sergeant Eka Satria of the North Maluku Task Force based in Ternate confirmed reports from the security forces posted in Galela which stated 114 persons were killed in the clashes.
THE owner of a Swiss electronics firm admitted on Tuesday that a timer which prosecutors say was used in the bomb which blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie could only have been supplied by his firm.
Edwin Bollier, co-owner of the Zurich-based company Mebo, admitted under questioning by prosecution counsel that fragments from a timer discovered by the police investigating the bombing were part of the MST-13 timer made uniquely by Mebo.
Mr Bollier has waged a campaign in the Press and on the internet denying that the detonator was supplied by his firm. He had claimed that a Florida-based firm had supplied identical detonators to the CIA, but on Tuesday he admitted that would not have been possible.
The Swiss businessman told the Scottish court in the Netherlands that he had supplied 20 of the sophisticated detonators to the Libyan secret services in Tripoli in 1985 in the hope of winning a contract from the military.
When he supplied the first batch of MST-13 timers he went with Libyan officials to the desert city of Sabha and watched as they were used in explosions. "I was present when two such timers were included in bomb cylinders," Mr Bollier told prosecutor Alan Turnbull QC. Earlier he told the court he had met one of the Libyan accused while he was in Tripoli. He said he believed Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi to be a major in the Libyan military, and that he might even be related to Colonel Gadafy.
Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah are accused of planting the bomb on the New York-bound jumbo, killing all 259 passengers on board and 11 locals in the Scottish border town in December, 1988.
The court heard that Mebo had done regular business with Libya, and in 1985 the company supplied 20 of its MTS-13 timers to the country in anticipation of a larger order, which never appeared.
Mr Bollier said the order for the prototypes was placed by one of two men, Said Rashid and Ezzadin Hinshiri. The timers were taken to the headquarters of the Libyan secret services before being tested in the desert trials.
During his dealings with Libya, Mr Bollier told the court, he came into contact with Megrahi. He said the Libyan accused had set up a business under the name of ABH at Mebo offices in Zurich.
Megrahi (48) and Fhimah (44) have denied charges of conspiracy to murder and breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act.
The trial, before Lord Sutherland continues.
Drives may have been missing for 6 months
WASHINGTON, June 21 (DPA) The two computer hard drives containing nuclear secrets that were found last week at Los Alamos National Laboratory may have been missing from a storage vault for as long as six months, The Washington Post reported today.
Previously it was thought that the hard drives, which hold information that an Energy Department response team would use to disarm a US or foreign nuclear weapon in an emergency, had been missing for about a month.
A member of the Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) has told investigators that the drives were in the vault when he conducted an inventory on April 7.
But there are no written records of that inventory, and the individual who claims to have seen the drives is one of several lab employees under investigation by the FBI, according to a government official close to the inquiry.
The last written record showing the hard drives in the vault was made in January, raising the possibility that they could have disappeared at any time since then, the official said.
Everything is up in the air, he said, adding that there seems to be a massive coverup among NEST members on how the drives disappeared and how they reappeared last Friday behind a copying machine in a room that had been thoroughly searched.
The FBI probe, which could lead to charges of mishandling classified information and giving false information to federal investigators, is focusing on six NEST members. Some of them have given contradictory answers to FBI questioners, and one has not been cooperative, sources told The Post.
Meanwhile, the FBI laboratory in Washington is checking the drives for fingerprints and attempting to determine whether anyone tampered with or copied them.
With Energy Secretary
Bill Richardson scheduled to testify before the Senate
Armed Services Committee, there is pressure
on the FBI to come up with some answers before his
appearance, one department official told the
DUBAI, June 21 (UNI) Gen Anthony Zinni, Commander of the U.S Central Command, has acknowledged that his country had, to an extent, asked Pakistan to pull back from Kargil during last years conflict and stop supporting militants in Kashmir.
The general, who had visited both India and Pakistan as a special envoy of President Bill Clinton during the conflict to defuse the situation, however, hastened to add that the decision to withdraw was entirely "their (Pakistan) own".
General Zinni was in Abu Dhabi yesterday as part of a pre-retirement tour of the Gulf region.
His comments assume significance, coming as they do at a time when an intense debate is on in Pakistan as to who masterminded the Kargil conflict.
Mr Nawaz Sharif, who was Pakistans Prime Minister at the time of the conflict, has claimed that he was kept in the dark by the Army about its Kargil plan.
The present military government, headed by Gen Pervez Musharraf, has termed Mr Sharifs statement as "ill-founded, factually incorrect and containing wild accusations against the Army.
Some prominent Pakistani politicians have suggested that the deposed premier be tried for treason for his comments on the Kargil conflict.
When a reporter asked General Zinni if he had been sent by President Clinton to Pakistan to pressurise Mr Sharif into withdrawing from Kargil, he said "the USA was concerned and feared that the situation could escalate into something extremely dangerous for the region".
Khaleej Times quoted General Zinni as saying "both sides were beginning to mobilise and escalate. Obviously both sides possessed weapons of mass destruction".
He said his role as envoy of the President was to ask the Pakistani Prime Minister to withdraw from Kargil and use his influence on militants in Kashmir to cease the situation in Kargil.
He said: "I talked
to Mr Sharif and the Chief of Staff and convinced them to
take steps to ease tensions and to withdraw from Kargil.
They agreed, there was no interest I found in Pakistanis
to see the situation escalate beyond control from either
side and they cooperated making the decision on their
First recording of meteors hitting moon
PARIS, June 21 (AFP) Astronomers say they have recorded the first pictures of meteors smashing into the moon a series of small, sudden impacts that occurred during the spectacular Leonid meteorite shower that illuminated skies last November.
The images show tiny flashes lasting less than a fiftieth of a second as five Leonids slammed into the dusty lunar surface at roughly 90-minute intervals, they report in tomorrows issue of Nature, the British science weekly.
The pictures were taken by Mexican astronomers, who joined with Spanish counterparts in a bid to be the first to capture images of a meteor impact.
Three of the flashes were corroborated by other observers, They say. Leonids are so called because they appear in the sky in the region of the constellation of Leo.
They are a stream of minute dust particles trailing behind the Tempel-Tuttle comet, which swings close to the earth every 33 years.
When the comet passes close to the sun, as it did last year, more of its ice core melts and more dust is released, thus providing a bigger show.
The Mexican pictures
were recorded on November 18 at Monterrey, using a
0.2-metre (eight-inch) telescope targeted at the
night side of the moon the
part of its face that was in darkness at the time.
12 children perish in fire in Brazil
SAO PAULO, June 21 (AP) A fire in a daycare centre in Southern Brazil has killed at least 12 children, aged one to three years, the police said.
The fire, apparently
caused by a short-circuit in an electric circuit
yesterday, swept through a classroom of the Casinha de
Emilia daycare centre in Uruguiana, a city 1250 km
southeast of Sao Paulo on the border with Argentina.
Prince William is 18
LONDON, June 21 (AFP) Britains Prince William, second in line to the throne, turned 18 today but had to hold fire on his own coming-of-age celebrations because of imminent school exams. While the rest of the royal family were gearing up for one of the biggest royal birthday bashes for a decade, William was busy revising for his A-levels with a history of art paper looming tomorrow.
Guatemala President flees
Vicar to undergo
New compound to
fight AIDS virus
baby to stranger, shot
60 hurt as
subway train derails
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