Sunday, June 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Israeli jets enter Lebanese airspace
Beirut, June 23
Israeli jets entered Lebanon’s airspace today, flying over several areas and breaking the sound barrier over the capital, witnesses said. They said the warplanes flew over south Lebanon and the Bekaa valley where most of the 25,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon are deployed. Israel, which ended its 22-year-long military occupation of south Lebanon 13 months ago, regularly sends jet fighters over Lebanon, staging mock raids and breaking the sound barrier.A war of attrition spearheaded by Hizbollah guerrillas was the main factor for Israel’s withdrawal from the south. Backed by Syria and Iran, Hizbollah still confronts Israeli forces in the Shebaa Farms, a disputed strip of land on the Lebanese-Israeli frontier. Reuters

Ammo dump on fire
Moscow, June 23
A Russian army ammunition dump in Siberia was on fire Saturday after being hit by lightning yesterday. More than 1,000 soldiers and firemen battled the flames but the blaze at the army base in Chita, 5,000 km east of Moscow, was still out of control. Continuing explosions forced authorities to evacuate 10,000 residents from around the base, the Interior Ministry, quoted by the news agency Itar-Tass, said. One officer was injured by exploding anti-tank shells. Shells were hitting places up to 8 km away from the burning army base witnesses said. DPA

Putin’s warning
Moscow, June 23
Russian President Vladimir Putin today renewed his warning that Russia would strengthen its nuclear weapons if the USA went ahead with plans for a new missile defence system. He warned the USA to stand by the 1972-Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, saying a breach of it could have serious repercussions. “This (breach) would mean that all nations, including Russia, get the right to equip their missiles with multiple warheads,’’ Mr Putin was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency in Moscow. DPA


Mission to moon
New Delhi, June 23
A top space scientist has defended the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) decision to send a mission to the Moon, saying that even fundamental questions regarding the Moon’s origin have not yet been answered and such mysteries should be explained. Delivering a lecture on “The space challenge and the Moon mission,” here yesterday, the Chairman of ISRO, Mr K. Kasturirangan, said there were three hypotheses regarding the origin of the Moon but none could present a satisfactory explanation. PTI

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