|Friday, June 23, 2000,
US-Dalai Lama talks bold
Rebels capture town in Sierra
MQM leader debunks two-nation
Mugabe supporters let loose reign
Highest US honour for 22 Asians
Annan, Arafat discuss peace
Drug for resistant TB
US-Dalai Lama talks bold step
WASHINGTON, June 22 (PTI) The meeting between US President Bill Clinton and spiritual leader Dalai Lama reflected a marked change from the way America hitherto viewed the Tibetan issue with the White House even issuing a statement on it.
The White House, in a statement, for the first time accepted candidly and forthrightly that the two did meet and held talks. And some observers say that for Washington, this is a bold-and almost a revolutionary step.
On Tuesday the Tibetan spiritual leader had a 40-minute meeting with Mr Clinton at the White House and urged for his help, saying the Chinese pressence in the Tibet region has led to the situation reaching a very, very critical stage. Until this year, meetings between the two did take place and issues were discussed but out of respect for Chinese sensitivities they were spoken of in almost hushed tones.
"There used to be the pretence that the meeting was between the Dalai Lama and another administration leader and that the President dropped by as though he stimbled unknowingly into the meeting", one observer said.
"The Press Secretary would also say that Clinton met the Dalai Lama in the latters capacity as a respected religious leader," he added. But this time round, analysts clearly point to the marked change in the administrations policy towards Tibet issue and its vocal pledge to initiate dialogue on it.
"This time, partly
out of defence to China, Clinton did avoid an Oval office
meeting and the "drop-by" formula was abandoned
and so was the explanation that he met the Dalai Lama
only as a religious leader," one expert said.
Rebels capture town in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, June 22 (AP) Sierra Leones brutal rebels captured a front-line town as the government asked the UN Security Council today to help them establish a court to prosecute rebel leaders for war crimes.
UN spokeswoman Hirut Defecadu confirmed yestereday that the rebel Revolutionary United Front had taken control of Lunsar, some 110 km northeast of Freetown, but did not give details of when the town had fallen.
She said a contingent of Indian UN peacekeepers continued to hold their defensive postions at a key crossroads, Rogberi junction, 10 km away. The capture of Lunsar marked the second time in as many weeks that the rebels have retaken the town after being driven out.
Speaking on condition of anonymity a Sierra Leonean army officer said a dispute last week over a stolen car erupted in fighting between pro-government allies, causing them to abandon the town to the rebels.
In a statement broadcast yesterday on state-run radio, the government appealed to the UN Security Council to establish special war crimes court based in the country but operating under a blend of national and international law.
UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has condemned the continued detention of 21 Indian peacekeepers by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone and demanded their "immediate and unconditional" release. The councils statement came after day-long consultations with a ministerial delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mediation and Security Committee which joined the council members in condemning the continued restrictions on movement of UN personnel by the RUF.
MQM leader debunks two-nation theory
LONDON, June 22 (PTI) The MQM has said that present-day Pakistan has belied the vision of its founders as it faces an uncertain future and is on the verge of a catastrophe.
"What could be the future of a country, which has already been disintegrated, and the remainder is on the verge of catastrophe," MQM chief Altaf Hussain told a delegation when asked "what is the future of Pakistan".
The two-nation theory propounded by Mohammad Ali Jinnah to form Pakistan has been "proved to be wrong", he said, adding that the theory was raised to deceive 100 million Muslims of the sub-continent.
"History has proved the two-nation theory wrong," an MQM press note quoted Mr Hussain as telling the delegation of professors and intellectuals of history and international affairs from the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent yesterday.
"The Pakistan created under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was dismembered in 1971. East Bengal, the majority province that supported the creation of Pakistan based on the two-nation theory separated itself in 1971, proving that the concept of two-nation theory was a farce.
"The people of Bengal (former East Pakistan) had cast their 100 per cent votes on the slogan of the two-nation theory for the creation of Pakistan. By carving an independent country, the people of East Bengal redeemed themselves of the blunder they committed in pursuing the two-nation theory," Mr Hussain said.
"If we analyse the history of the Pakistan movement, it emanated that virtually all the Muslim majority provinces of the present day Pakistan had opposed the creation of Pakistan.
"Only the province of Sindh with the majority of one vote supported the creation of Pakistan. The people of Muslim majority province of East Bengal, which had supported the two-nation theory, however, created their own independent state in 1971" Mr Hussain said.
But all those who supported the concept of the two-nation theory and Pakistan have been labelled as "traitors" in Pakistan, he rued.
"Fazl-e-Haq, the lion of Bengal who presented the Pakistan resolution, was labelled a traitor, the Sindhis were labelled as traitors, the Balochs were labelled as traitors, and now the Mohajirs have also been labelled as traitors", he said.
Mugabe supporters let loose reign of terror
MATAGA, June 22 James Zhou has two gaping wounds where his buttocks used to be. For supporting Zimbabwes opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), he suffered unspeakable torture and his brother Finos was beaten to death.
"I thought I had the right to support any party of my choice," the visibly terrified Mr Zhou said in his hospital bed. "But now I think these politics are dirty. Its not good."
Violence and torture are rampant throughout rural Zimbabwe before the crucial parliamentary elections this weekend. Teachers, doctors and nurses have been picked on. More than 13,000 rural people have fled to the relative safety of the cities, according to the Human Rights Forum.
Confronted by swelling support for the MDC, President Robert Mugabes government is also using new voting regulations and restrictions on observers in a frantic attempt to reduce the size of the opposition vote. These aspects of intimidation are evident in Mataga, 402.25 km south-east of Harare.
The Zhou brothers were abducted from their home near Mataga on June 4 by 18 supporters of President Mugabes Zanu-PF party. They were taken to Texas Farm, where they were beaten and burned for more than 24 hours.
The violence was prompted by the fact that Finos had signed nomination papers for the local MDC candidate for Parliament. Finos died of internal injuries on June 6. James will need extensive skin grafts and reconstructive surgery to restore his backside.
Despite numerous identifications, the police has not arrested anyone for the Zhous murder and torture. They have not gone to Texas Farm which, war veterans and other Zanu-PF supporters have taken over for use as a torture centre.
The Zhou brothers horrific story is depressingly familiar in Mataga. Another man was wrapped in plastic bags which were set alight. More than 150 cases of assault, rape, genital mutilation and other torture of opposition supporters have been recorded, yet the police has taken virtually no action.
In Mataga and the surrounding area Zanu-PF supporters have burned the homes and fields of suspected MDC members and destroyed their passports and identification papers to prevent them from voting.
Zanu-PF gangs have set up roadblocks to restrict access to the area. People without Zanu-PF cards are beaten at the roadblocks.
Mataga is one of 10 areas identified as "no-go zones" where no group except Zanu-PF is free to operate. Observers from the European Union and the Commonwealth were warned by the police that it was not safe to go to there.
At first glance the town appeared normal to three visiting journalists, with people going to the shops along the main street. But just minutes after we got out of our car at the post office we were surrounded by about 12 youths, some wearing Zanu-PF T-shirts.
They questioned us and ordered us to stay where we were. We decided to move on. We went to some shops owned by opposition supporters which had been vandalised and burned by Zanu-PF.
A truck roared by filled with young men waving iron bars, clubs and machetes. They shouted and jeered at us. One pointed at us and pulled his machete across his throat as if to slit ours. The people at the shops were obviously frightened and would not speak to us.
At the Mataga police station the officer in charge assured us that the situation was calm and normal and that opposition parties were free to campaign. He admitted that the MDC offices had been burned down and he knew of no MDC people we could meet.
A few minutes later we found the officer laughing with the leader of the gang that had surrounded us. They were clearly in league with each other. It was getting dark so we decided to leave. The truck with youths waving crowbars and clubs followed us to the edge of town.
We came to a crossroads and stopped to decide way to go. A man leaned into the car and demanded to see our Zanu-PF cards and to search our vehicle. We said he was not a policeman and he had no right to demand anything.
He shouted and eight men approached our car. We sped off and they threw stones at the car. We came to another group setting up an illegal roadblock and drove right through it. Once again stones were thrown at us.
The intimidation we encountered was minor,and it was clear that if we had been local Zimbabweans much more serious assaults could have occurred.
But Mataga is not all menace and fear. It is also full of heroic resistance. The MDC candidate for the Mataga area is a courageous woman called Sekai Holland. She was held by the Mataga police without charges for two nights and then taken away to the nearest city, Zvishavane.
She has not been able to return to Mataga because of the roadblocks. Her car was burned and more than Z$85,000 (US$2,190) was stolen from her by Zanu-PF supporters.
"They are terrorising our area," said Lewellin Sibanda. "But we go back to campaign at night and to put up posters. They cannot stop us because the people want change."
China refutes Dalai Lamas charge
BEIJING, June 22 (PTI) China today issued a White Paper refuting the Dalai Lamas allegation that 50 years of Communist rule in Tibet had led to cultural extinction in the Himalayan region.
The so-called extinction is "completely ridiculous, for it goes against the tide of progress of the times and the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people," the paper released to coincide with the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mdeleine Albright, said.
Highest US honour for 22 Asians
WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) President Bill Clinton has presented the countrys combat medal, the Medal of Honour, to 22 Asian-Pacific Americans for valour under fire in World War II.
Yesterdays awards were the latest step in a push by the government and military in recent years to make sure that members of minority groups receive proper recognition for past military service.
"It is long past time to break the silence about their courage, to put faces and names with the courage, and to honour it by name," Mr Clinton said in a White House ceremony.
Only seven of the honourees were alive to receive the medal attached to its light blue lanyard. The remaining 15 were presented posthumously and were received by family members.
Sen Daniel Inouye was there to receive one. He is a Hawaii Democrat who was wounded seriously by machine gun fire and a grenade and lost an arm at San Terenzo, Italy, in 1945.
The Senator, who single-handely destroyed three German machine gun nests after being shot in the stomach, and all but one of the 21 other honourees served in the European theatre during the war. The awards came out of a review ordered by Congress in 1996 of World War II combat records of Asian-Pacific American soldiers to determine if any had been passed over for the medal of honour.
"The review found indeed that some extraordinarily brave soldiers never did receive the honours they clearly had earned," Clinton said.
"So today America
awards 22 of them the Medal of Honour. They risked their
lives on their own initiative, sometimes even against
orders, to take out machine guns, give aid to wounded
soldiers, draw fire, pinpoint the enemy, protect their
own. People who can agree on nothing else fall silent
before that kind of courage," he said.
Annan, Arafat discuss peace
RAMALLAH, (West Bank), June 22 (Reuters) United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan held talks with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat today as part of a West Asia tour to discuss peace moves and a new Israeli-Lebanese border.
Mr Annan met Arafat after holding a second round of talks on today with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who said he would pursue peace with the Palestinians despite a government crisis.
"We are determined to move forward on the peace process, on the Palestinian track and others," Mr Barak told a joint news conference with Mr Annan in Jerusalem yesterday.
"We are committed to the real mission the people of Israel put upon us, to put an end to the conflict of 100 years..."
U.S. envoy Dennis Ross was expected to hold talks in the region today to try to bring together Israelis and Palestinians before a September target date for a peace treaty.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is scheduled to return to the West Asia next week to try to narrow land-for-peace gaps and set the stage for a possible summit to be attended by Mr Barak, Arafat and U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Israel and the Palestinians are trying to resolve the most difficult issues at the heart of their conflict Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, borders and Jewish settlements.
Drug for resistant TB developed
PARIS, June 22 (AFP) US scientists say they have developed a potential treatment for strains of tuberculosis that have becoming worryingly resistant to antibiotics.
A member of a family of compounds called nitroimidazopyrans has been successfully tested on TB cultures and infected mice and guinea pigs, according to the team, reporting in latest issue of Nature, the British scientific weekly.
With sufficient funding and clinical trials on humans the candidate drug, PA-824, could be licenced within five to eight years, they said.
Tuberculosis is the biggest single infectious cause of mortality in the world, killing roughly 20 lakh people each year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
a day keeps tumours at bay
Four killed in
Boy saves lives
of 2 climbers
Wife throws acid
undies to pay fees
£ 75,000 award
for Dindigul NGO
guilty to eight murders
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