September 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India
Afghan refugees will suffer from hunger, cold: UN
6 held in
Spain for links with Osama
bring out ad for Americans
passes $ 344 b defence Bill
can’t be fought with guns: Gunter
Peres hold truce talks
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat shake hands after talks in Rafah on Wednesday.
— Reuters photo
prize to Bush ‘if he averts war’
seek to carry firearms
Bush defers Asia visit
7.5 m Afghan refugees will suffer
Islamabad, September 26
The number of those displaced internally — by conflict or drought — was expected to double to 2.2 million from a 1.1 million now, said Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office of Humanitarian Assistance for Afghanistan.
“Originally, we had 5.5 or 6.0 million people who would need assistance of various kinds, but our latest (projection) is 7.5 million people,” she said.
If urgent help is not made available, “their grip on survival is definitely slipping,” she said.
She said the Afghan donor group would meet on Thursday in Berlin and a donor alert draft would be discussed.
Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency called for $252 million in emergency funding for a campaign to aid Afghan refugees fleeing the threat of U.S.-led military retaliation against the ruling Taliban.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said that it was gearing up to deal with up to 1.5 million new refugees to add to the some 3.5 million already housed in camps in Pakistan and Iran.
“These figures are based on the worst-case scenario, but then we simply must be prepared for the worst,” said High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers in a statement.
The UNHCR said the aid package would be part of a larger international humanitarian appeal set to be launched by the U.N.’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The UNHCR operation being mounted for Afghanistan is the biggest since the 1999 refugee crisis in Kosovo when hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians were driven from their homes by Serb forces.
Peshawar: The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that it was preparing for an exodus of over 1.5 million Afghans to neighbouring countries.
UNHCR spokesman Yousuf Hassan said nearly one million refugees could arrive in Pakistan and nearly half a million in Iran. Plans were underway in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to accommodate a further 1,50,000.
“The UNHCR is planning for an expected 1.5 million Afghans fleeing into neighbouring countries,” he said.
6 held in Spain for links with Osama
Madrid, September 26
The Spanish police carried out the latest arrests last night and this morning in several locations around Spain, a spokesman said.
Interior Minister Mariano Rajoy said the six Algerians specialised in falsifying documents for other members of the Bin Laden network and carrying out credit card fraud.
He told reporters the six had links with two other presumed members of the group arrested in the Netherlands and Belgium earlier this month who had planned suicide bomb attacks in Europe.
Mr Rajoy said the two arrested on September 13 belonged to a group which planned to carry out terrorist suicide attacks against North American targets in Europe.
He said it appeared there was no specific target in Spain.
Bin Laden is the prime suspect behind the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
The state radio said the police believed the six had been trained in camps in Afghanistan where the USA is hunting for Bin Laden.
The radio said the arrests, carried out in cooperation with other European police forces, were made in the provinces of Almeria, Huelva, Valencia and Murcia in the south and southeast of Spain plus Navarre in the north.
Spanish officials said previously that Mohammed Atta, one of the suspected hijackers in the attacks, travelled extensively in Spain in July, possibly meeting others linked to the Bin Laden network.
Atta, 33, is believed by the authorities to have been at the controls of one of two hijacked jets that slammed into the world trade center towers in New York on September 11. A third hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon in Washington.
London: Eleven of the 19 hijackers involved in the September 11 attacks in the USA stayed in the UK earlier this year before embarking on their suicide mission, reports here said today.
Five left London in June to fly to the USA after what intelligence chiefs believe was a vital planning meeting.
The FBI has asked Scotland Yard to discover who was sheltering and funding the team in the hope of uncovering a cell of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda organisation, suspected of masterminding the attacks, The Times daily reported.
The FBI has sent details to Scotland Yard of bank accounts, telephone numbers and forged credit cards believed to have been used by the 11 during their time in the UK.
Another report in the same daily said the two suicide bombers who assassinated Ahmed Shah Masood, the Northern Alliance’s commander two days before the US attacks, had also lived in the UK, using it as a secure base in which to research and prepare for their final operation.
New York: Saudi mastermind Osama bin Laden’s network had threatened to kill US President George W. Bush and other leaders of the industrialised world when they met in Italy last July, The New York Times quoting Egyptian President and Italin Deputy Prime Minister reported today.
“On June 13 of this year, was learned of a communique from Bin Laden saying he wanted to assassinate Bush and other G-8 heads of state during their summit in Italy this July,” it quoted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as saying in an interview with a French Television on Monday.
He also told a major French daily, Le Figaro, that Egyptian intelligence services had conveyed to the USA about the threat which included a reference to an airplane stuffed with explosives.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister, Gianfranco Fini, in an appearance on Italian TV several days ago, also discussed parallels between the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon and warnings his government had received before the G-8 meeting in Genoa in July, the Times said.
Many people had laughed off the Italian Intelligence Force, Mr Fini said, but they had information that in Genoa there could be an attack on the US President with the use of an airplane. That is why we closed the airspace above Geona and installed anti-aircraft missiles, he said.
Sikhs bring out ad for Americans
Washington, September 26
The mistaken identity would have been laughable but for the tragic consequences, which have included murder.
The daily Washington Post quoted some Sikhs as saying that for the duration of the crisis, they would not carry the token kirpan.
One Sikh said he would not wear turban while going out on his usual evening walk. He expressed the hope that his co-religionists would understand and that religious leaders would not excommunicate him.
Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities said they were mistaken in thinking that two immigrants from Hyderabad (India), who were arrested, had any links with terrorists.
The advertisement, titled "Sikhs for America," expressed deep sorrow and outrage at the terrorist attacks in the USA. "Sikh Americans," it says, "strongly condemn the senseless violence and aggression that has taken so many lives and shaken so many more".
USA passes $ 344 b defence Bill
Washington, September 26
The measure authorising fiscal 2002 defence spending, pours more than $6 billon into anti-terrorism programmes and focuses on improving pay, health care, housing and other quality of life issues. It was passed 398-17 yesterday.
Like the Senate, House members backed away from a battle over President George W. Bush’s missile defence plan and made a show of unity following the attacks in New York and Washington, which left nearly 7,000 persons dead or missing.
The House agreed to shift $400 million from the $8 billion missile defence budget and use it on programmes to battle terrorism and wage an offensive on those behind the suicide attacks.
“Terrorists have declared war on the USA,” said. Bob Stump, an Arizona republican who heads the House Armed Services Committee.
He described the funds, which will pay for initiatives to bolster intelligence, homeland defence and crisis response programmes, as a “downpayment” on the struggle against terrorism.
House Democrats, who wanted to cut nearly $1 billion from missile defence prior to the attacks, agreed to the compromise with Republicans to avoid a confrontation over the Bill and to speed up its approval ahead of the military’s expected counter-strike.
The Senate also agreed last week to sidestep an expected battle over Bush’s missile defence plan by dropping a democratic-backed provision requiring congressional approval for testing that violated the ABM treaty.
Terrorism can’t be fought with guns: Gunter
Luebeck, September 26 International terrorism can only be battled through economic equality, the politically oriented writer said last night at an event in the northern German city of Luebeck organised by the Tobacco Forum interest group. “When you reduce hate and the cause of hatred, terrorism will also abate,” said the author of “The Tin Drum” and other works that helped the post-war German society confront its wartime past. Grass also criticised German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for pledging “unlimited solidarity” with the USA on September 11, the day of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. “Friendship with the USA also means you take a friend into your arms when he has the notion of doing something wrong,” said Grass, whom the Tobacco Forum had named its Pipe Smoker of the Year in 2000.
International terrorism can only be battled through economic equality, the politically oriented writer said last night at an event in the northern German city of Luebeck organised by the Tobacco Forum interest group.
“When you reduce hate and the cause of hatred, terrorism will also abate,” said the author of “The Tin Drum” and other works that helped the post-war German society confront its wartime past.
Grass also criticised German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for pledging “unlimited solidarity” with the USA on September 11, the day of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
“Friendship with the USA also means you take a friend into your arms when he has the notion of doing something wrong,” said Grass, whom the Tobacco Forum had named its Pipe Smoker of the Year in 2000.
Arafat, Peres hold truce talks
Gaza Strip, September 26
Arafat greeted Peres outside the VIP hall at Gaza International Airport. The two leaders shook hands, then walked along a red carpet into the building.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell had called Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon repeatedly in recent days, urging them to go ahead with the talks. Sharon had called off two previous sessions, arguing Arafat was not trying hard enough to contain violence.
The USA hopes to calm the Mideast conflict, which threatens to get in the way of coalition-building efforts for the US-led fight against international terrorism.
The Peres-Arafat meeting went ahead despite an explosion Palestinians set off this morning at an army post on the Israeli-Egyptian border in southern Gaza, a few kms from the Gaza airport. The army said three soldiers were wounded by a bomb placed in a tunnel dug next to the post. Army Radio said two of the injured were in moderate condition and the third was hurt lightly.
Following the attack, Israeli tanks entered the nearby Rafah refugee camp firing machine guns and causing damage to houses, but no injuries, Palestinian security sources said. The fresh violence underscored how fragile any truce agreement would be. Previous truce deals reached in the past year including one brokered by CIA chief George Tenet in June, collapsed with in days.
Nobel prize to Bush ‘if he averts war’
Oslo, September 26
The 12 university professors and other intellectuals, nominating Mr Bush in the Norwegian daily Dagbladet, said their pacifist proposal aimed to make the world think about ways of solving conflicts without a tit-for-tat escalation of violence.
They said Mr Bush should win the prize if he avoids further loss of innocent lives in trying to bring those guilty of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington to court. Almost 7,000 persons are dead or missing.
“We are trying to take a step that helps prevent war from breaking out, but that also means the terrorists are caught and brought to court,” said magnus haavelsrud, a professor at the Norwegian university of Science and Technology.
The secretive Norwegian Nobel Committee will meet in Oslo on Friday for what may be a final meeting to decide the winner of the prize on the 100th anniversary of the first award in 1901. The deadline for nominations for 2001 was in February.
Pilots seek to carry firearms
Washington, September 26
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) formally told Congress yesterday that pilots should be authorised to bear arms to prevent terrorists from using jetliners as "guided missiles" as happened on September 11 when hijackers slammed airplanes in to the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.
ALPA President Duane Woerth testifying before the House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee argued for a new programme to train volunteer airliner pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit to secure the nerve centre of aircraft and to get the aircraft on the ground safely if faced with a terrorist threat.
The strategy under the old model was to accommodate and negotiate and not escalate. "But that was before. Now, the cockpit has to be defended at all costs," ALPA spokesman John Mazor said.
The federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits pilots from being armed. An AFP report from Washington quoted FAA
Administrator Jane Garvey saying a thorough review of security rules was needed following the September 11 terrorist onslaught.
Bush defers Asia visit Beijing, September 26 White House Press Secretary Ari Fleishcer yesterday said that President Bush had cut short his visit to China in October to travel to Shanghai only for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum meeting, postponing planned “stops” in Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul.
Beijing, September 26
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleishcer yesterday said that President Bush had cut short his visit to China in October to travel to Shanghai only for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum meeting, postponing planned “stops” in Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul.
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