|Monday, June 26, 2000,
China may strike first
Bollywood stars shine in London
Woman confirmed as man after 31
Talks to end Solomons crisis begin
Kudos to OAU for truce
Lab reports two security breaches
China may strike first under threat
WASHINGTON, June 25 (PTI) China may strike first if it feels that a technologically superior country like the USA is preparing to go to war against it, says a Pentagon report to the Congress.
Impressed by the American militarys performance in the Gulf war and the "collapse" of Yugoslavia under the American air attack, Chinese leaders have reportedly been discussing ways to offset US power, to include accelerating military modernisation, pursuing strategic cooperation with Russia and increasing its proliferation activities abroad, it says.
However, none of these options is likely to improve Beijings position fundamentally.
The technological level of the Chinese defence industrial complex is too far behind that of the west to produce weaponry that could challenge a technologically advanced foe such as the USA or Japan for an indefinite period of time. All this has increased Chinas notion of "active defence" and pre-emptive strikes.
While the enemy is assembling its forces, this doctrine holds that there is a window of opportunity for pre-emptive attack. This approach "gaining the initiative by striking first" is viewed as an effective method to effect or negate the advantages possessed by a more advanced foe.
The predominant view within the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), as advocated by the late Deng Xiaoping, is that "selective pockets of excellence" are sufficient to take on a superior foe.
Rather than shifting priority resources from civil infrastructure and economic reform programmes to an across the board PLAs modernisation, says the Pentagon, Beijing intends to focus on programme that will give China the most effective means of exploiting critical vulnerabilities in adversarial defences.
This approach could give Beijing the "credible intimidation" needed to accomplish political and military goals without having to rely on overwhelming force-on-force superiority, a concept known as "victory through inferiority over superiority".
Chinas strategists, says the Pentagon, are working to identify innovative tactics and technologies that the PLA has used successfully or can be reasonably expected to use in the next two decades.
Beijing has laid emphasis on the development and acquisition of stand-off weapons such as the anti-ship cruise missiles, long-range land-based cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles.
China is also working to
ameliorate weaknesses in C41 (command, control,
communications, computers and intelligence) training and
placing increased emphasis on "electromagnetic
warfare" to degrade or destroy enemy operational
Musharraf defends "jehad"
NEW YORK, June 25 (PTI) Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf has defended terrorist groups for "waging holy war" against India saying the "jehad" is a tolerant concept.
"There is no question that terrorism and jehad are absolutely different," the New York Times magazine quoted Gen Musharraf as saying.
"You in the West are allergic to the term jehad but jehad is a tolerant concept," he said.
The Harkat ul-Mujaheedeen (HUM) is among the organisations that are waging "violent jehad" against India and is believed to be behind the hijack of the Indian Airlines plane in December last year, the magazine said.
The group keeps training bases in Afghanistan but its leader, Fazlur Rahman Khalil, has an office in Rawalpindi not far from General Musharrafs house and moves freely in Pakistan, it says.
"These people are not terrorists. They are fighting a jehad," General Musharraf said.
The interview is published as a part of an article on religious schools.
The article says some one million students from eight to 35 years of age are studying in 10,000 or so madarasas and militant Islam is in the core of most of these schools. Some of them are sponsored by Pakistans religious parties and some are affiliated with the "Mujaheedeen" groups fighting "jehad" in Kashmir.
General Musharraf also defended the role of religious schools or madrasas. "Very few of these schools are engaged in any kind of militancy. Most of them are humanitarian. They give food and lodging to the poor people," he said.
Asked if he believes in the US assessment that Osama bin Laden is a terrorist, he did not reply the question directly.
"If at all
hes involved in planning or conducting bombings or
hijackings, hes a terrorist," he said. Pressed
whether he doubted the US claim that bin Laden is a
terrorist, General Musharraf said: "The Taliban have
stand on the subject. They say they need proof which has
not been given to them. We have asked for the proof from
U.S. And we are in the process of getting this. From the
legal point of view, I havent seen the proof."
Woman confirmed as man after 31 years
KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (DPA) A 31-year-old Malaysian man has been officially confirmed as a male after spending his whole life mistakenly listed as a woman, which cost him his schooling, jobs as well as marriage, a newspaper has reported.
Labourer N. Mahaletchumans woes began soon after his birth when his father went to register his name at a hospital at Port town of Dickson as is required for all newborns in Malaysia.
However, the registration clerk mistakenly wrote "Mahaletchumi," which is a popular Indian name for a girl, and listed the newborn as a female.
His parents, apparently, failed to correct the mix-up as the boy grew up.
Mahaletchuman said because of his name, he suffered ridicule when he started school which caused him to drop out at nine years.
"I was forced to mingle with the girls at school after my class teachers categorised me as a female in the registration roll and the boys kept making fun of me," he told The Star daily.
He said he also had a tough time getting work because he was legally identified as a female.
The worst blow occurred when he was jilted by his fiancée of three years after they went to register their marriage earlier this month and he had to produce his birth certificate.
His fiancees shocked family became doubtful of his sex and accused him of being a "transvestite" when they saw the document.
However, Mahaletchumans troubles were lifted recently after he met a lawyer who helped him rectify the gender error in his official documents.
The Star carried a large picture of the smiling Mahaletchuman looking at his new documents, including a birth certificate which confirmed his male status.
Talks to end Solomons crisis begin
HONIARA (SOLOMON ISLANDS), June 25 (Reuters) Talks to end the political crisis in the Solomon Islands began on an Australian navy ship today but without a representative from the Malaita Eagles Force which attempted a coup three weeks ago.
It was also not clear if any member of the opposing militia group, the Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM), was at the talks as reporters were not allowed onboard HMAS Tobruk.
"The talks this morning are to pave the way for ceasefire talks between the two militant groups," Francis Saemala, a member of the Malaita province premiers delegation, told Reuters before boarding a landing craft to go to the ship.
A Guadalcanal provincial delegation was picked up at a secret location east of Honiara to attend the peace talks. The premier of Malaita province, David Oeta, said he was taking a Malaita Eagles Force (MEF) position paper to the talks, but did not disclose the groups position.
"MEF has decided
not to attend the ceasefire talks because we feel that
the talks should only take place when a new government is
in place after the meeting of Parliament on
Wednesday," MEF member Andrew Fuiga told Reuters.
Bollywood stars shine in London
LONDON, June 25 (PTI) Director Sanjay Leela Bansalis blockbuster "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" hogged the limelight winning 10 awards and showman Subash Ghais "Taal" bagged five at the first International Indian Film Awards (IIFA), a cinematic equivalent of the Oscars, at a glittering function here last night.
In a night filled with the glamour and glitz of top celebrities from Bollywood as well as Hollywood at Londons Millennium Dome saw Bansali walking away with the best director prize while former Miss World Aishwarya Rai was bestowed the honour of best actress, both for HDDCS.
The movie also won awards for best cinematographer (Anil Mehta), best screen play (Bhansali), best story, best re-recording, best dialogue, best sound recording and best male playback singer (Udit Narayan).
"Taal", a story delving into the external conflict between the East and the West secured five awards, including the best music director, A.R. Rahman and the best supporting actor, Anil Kapoor.
Sanjay Dutt was adjudged as the best actor for his role in Vaastav, a story revolving round underworld dons.
The packed audience gave a standing ovation to melody queen Lata Mangeshkar and veteran actor Sunil Dutt when they were given awards for their invaluable contributions to the Indian cinema.
Amitabh Bachchan, was chosen as the Indian actor who will be sculpted at famous Madame Toussauds Wax Gallery. He was selected from the five shortlisted Amitabh, Raj Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit.
Speaking on the occasion, Amitabh Bachchan who is also on the advisory board of the IIFA said he felt deeply honoured by the recognition.
Shah Rukh Khan was declared as the most popular star for the past five years while Aishwarya Rai received the personality of the year award.
Famed director Shekhar Kapoor got a special award for his contribution in bringing recognition to Indian cinema globally.
Among the highlights was the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to martial arts legend Jackie Chan.
"It is so exciting to be here," said Chan. "Im good at action but not so good at speeches. I dont only do action and comedy you know. Im a good singer and Im not too expensive."
The film "East is East" also won an award for outstanding achievement in international cinema.
India produces between 600 and 800 films every year and the awards ceremony was expected to reach an estimated audience of 500 million fans, said organiser Mamo Sharma.
Pop singer Kylie Minogue
was among the entertainers performing for Bollywood
luminaries. The ceremony was co-hosted by reigning Miss
World Yukta Mookhey, who said she was also considering
several offers to star in upcoming films.
Kudos to OAU for truce
THE Organisation of African Unity (OAU) deserves kudos for bringing peace between two warring neighbours, Ethiopia and Eritrea, who are among the poorest countries in the world. If this Africa watchers memory serves him right, it is the first time that this 37-year-old African regional organisation has successfully brokered peace between two embattled nations on the continent.
Entire credit for this must go to the Algerian President and the current OAU Chairman, Abdelazia Bouterflika, whose untiring year-long efforts ensured that Foreign Ministers of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed in Algiers on June 18 a peace plan to end their two-year border war. In the fitness of things special envoys from the USA and the European Union attended the signing ceremony at the Peoples Palace in Algiers.
The peace plan in the Horn of Africa calls for an immediate ceasefire and deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in a 25-km buffer zone inside Eritrea until the disputed border is demarcated. Meanwhile, Ethiopia said its army withdrew from the western Eritrean town of Tesseney less than 24 hours after the two countries signed the ceasefire.
According to strategic analysts, this withdrawal seems to be as much a tactical move as a gesture towards Eritrea. An Ethiopian government spokesperson said on June 19: "Having successfully completed their mission, the Ethiopian defence forces withdrew from Tesseney this morning to positions from which they can defend themselves."
Tesseney, an agricultural town of 60,000, which lies near the Eritrean border with Sudan, changed hands several times in the later stages of the two-year border war, with Ethiopian troops marching in to take the town for a second time only recently.
When Eritrean Foreign Minister Haile Woldensae reached Algiers to sign the peace accord, the Algerian official news agency, APS, quoted him as saying : "We hope that the signing of this accord will allow a rapid end to fighting, because there is no reason for the war to continue"
On May 30, the UN Security Council had welcomed the resumption of proximity talks in Algiers between Ethiopia and Eritrea and urged the two parties to cease hostilities and concentrate on diplomatic efforts to resolve their conflict. The council also expressed strong support to OAUs efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
More than 100,000 soldiers from both sides have been killed in the war which erupted in May 1998 following disputes over trade and borders. Ethiopia blames Eritrea for starting hostilities.
Eritrea and Ethiopia are the only Christian-led countries in the Muslim-dominated Horn of Africa, and have latterly been regarded as contributing a zone of stability in the midst of crisis afflicting Sudan and Somalia.
Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, ending a conflict between Eritrean freedom fighters and Ethiopian forces, which lasted three decades and was regarded the longest war of independence fought in Africa. Interestingly, Eritrean liberators worked in tandem with Ethiopian liberation forces to end 17 years of dictatorial, military-Marxist rule in Addis Ababa.
Eritrea and Ethiopia then parted company in a friendly manner; it was known as "velvet divorce" on the Czech-Slovak lines. Since the creation of Eritrea in 1993 as a sovereign country, land-locked Ethiopia has cooperated marvellously with the former by conducting all its maritime business through Eritrean ports of Asmara and Assab. But, when hostilities began in 1998, Ethiopia was obliged to change over to facilities in the Djibouti port.
In the process Eritrea spoiled its relations with Djibouti as well. The former severed diplomatic ties with Djibouti after the authorities in Asmara (Eritrean capital) accused Djibouti of supporting Ethiopia in its border dispute.
Drought-prone Eritrea had been having adversarial relationship with Ethiopia and Djibouti. Not only that. Since 1995, it locked horns with Yemen having invaded Hanish islands in the Red Sea, claiming sovereignty over them.
Eritrea is in all kinds of trouble with its neighbours; 70 per cent of its meagre budget goes towards the war effort. There is little doubt that Eritrea was comprehensively defeated in the war with Ethiopia, but not long ago its President Afewerki boasted that expecting Eritrea to withdraw from the disputed border territory with Ethiopia "is as unlikely as the sun never rising again".
But all is well that ends well. It is a happy thought that the OAU has succeeded in bringing peace to the Horn of Africa. Africa watchers are now asking why the OAU cannot bring peace in Sierra Leone, Angola and Sudan. The OAU must first make efforts to solve the Sierra Leone hostage crisis, which had defied a solution so far.
Much will be expected from the new Chairman of the OAU, President Eyadema of Togo, who will take over after the next OAU summit in July in Lome, the capital of Togo. But the OAU has its own contradictions.
For example, Angola has decided to boycott the OAU summit in the light of the fact that Togo has been helping UNITA supremo, Jonas Savimbi, who is violating UN Security Council sanctions against UNITA. Angola is also mobilising support for its stand from other OAU members. Disunity among OAU members is disheartening.
Lab reports two security breaches
LOS ALAMOS (New Mexico), June 25 (AP) An inventory of all classified data at Los Alamos National Laboratory, taken in response to the criticism over the disappearance of two top-secret hard drives, has found two more possible security breaches, a lab official said.
The possible security breaches were reported yesterday by lab spokesman Jim Danneskiold.
Two 10-year-old floppy disks containing classified information were reported missing on Wednesday at the nuclear weapons lab. However, they were found a day later, attached to a paper report in a nearby secured area. And apparently no classified information was compromised, Mr Danneskiold said.
This and the second case involving an unlocked door arent as serious as the missing computer hard drives, but Mr Danneskiold said the disappearance of the floppy disks would be investigated by the Department of Energy, which oversees the lab.
The disks "are obsolete. Very few, if any, computers are around that can read them," he said. The disks had last been recorded in an inventory conducted two years ago.
Mr Danneskiold said he didnt know how the disks got misplaced and would not disclose what type of information they contained.
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