Wednesday, December 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

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2,000 tribesmen set to chase Osama out of hiding
Tora Bora likely hideout
Kabul, December 4
About 2,000 Afghan tribesmen set out today to chase Taliban forces from eastern mountains where Osama bin Laden may be hiding, a spokesman said.

Taliban defectors ‘flee’ to Pak
London, December 4
In the first major split, senior Taliban officials have fled Afghanistan to set up a moderate splinter group in Pakistan, a British daily reported today.

‘Dirt bomb’ blueprint worries USA
Washington, December 4
The USA is concerned over the seizure of a radiological bomb diagram from an installation belonging to the Taliban and the Al-Qaida group in Afghanistan in recent weeks.

UNP win predicted in Lanka
Colombo, December 4
The army and police in Sri Lanka have been put on the maximum alert a ahead of tomorrow’s polling in parliamentary elections after a bloody campaign that claimed 38 lives.


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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Inventor Dean Kamen leans to initiate a turn as he demonstrates his Segway Human Transporter, a one-person, battery-powered scooter, unveiled on Monday in New York. The device, which travels at a top speed of about 12 miles per hour, uses gyroscopes to keep it upright and discern where the rider wants to go. — AP/PTI
Awami League men baton-charged
Dhaka, December 4
With the withdrawal of protection to former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by the Special Security Forces (SSF), the main Opposition, Awami League, stated that the two daughters of the founding father and slain national leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were now exposed to the threat to their lives by the nine convicts in the Mujib murder case, who were on the run.

Beatle leaves £ 20m for Hare Krishnas
London, December 4
Beatle George Harrison’s estimated £ 214-million estate will be divided between his nearest family and the Hare Krishna faith he embraced in the late 1960s, the British press said today.

Video: George Harrison fans have gathered in Liverpool and at Strawberry Fields, New York, to pay tribute the former Beatle.
(28k, 56k)

 

 


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2,000 tribesmen set to chase Osama out of hiding
Tora Bora likely hideout

Kabul, December 4
About 2,000 Afghan tribesmen set out today to chase Taliban forces from eastern mountains where Osama bin Laden may be hiding, a spokesman said.

“The Jalalabad shura (council) has mobilised around 2,000 locals to kick the Taliban and their supporters out of Tora Bora,” Amin, spokesman for Jalalabad military chief Hazrat Ali, told newsmen by satellite telephone from the eastern city.

“They are on their way to the area, but fighting has not yet begun. We expect it to start tomorrow morning,” he said.

Amin, who like many Afghans uses only one name, said the anti-Taliban force had left Jalalabad in four-wheel drive vehicles for Tora Bora, about 50 km to the south.

U.S. warplanes have frequently bombed the Tora Bora area, where Bin Laden, chief suspect for the September 11 attacks, is reputed to have built an underground lair.

Rajeev Sharma adds from Delhi: Hundreds of American commandos have landed at the Jalalabad airport in what is being billed as the “final offensive” to flush out Osama bin Laden who may be hiding in the nearby Bora Tora mountain range, well-placed sources disclosed here today.

The commandos would also be fanned out in Kandahar province to smoke out Taliban supremo Mulla Mohammad Omar who was believed to be hiding in this province, they said.

The American commandos landed at Jalalabad airport on December 2 on a specific tip-off from Hazrat Ali, commander of the Eastern Shoora. According to his tip-off, Bin Laden was very much present in the mountains of Tora Bora along with hundreds of his Arab supporters, they said.

The commandos were waiting for the final word.

ISLAMABAD: Last week’s massacre of Taliban fighters, many of whom were Pakistanis, in a Mazar-e-Sharif prison is likely to result in a bloody backlash from local tribesmen, a U.N. official has said.

U.N. Commission on Human Rights spokeswoman Maki Shinohara said the body had information that some slain fighters belonged to tribal areas, SADA reported. “There are rumours of a planned revenge,” she said.

Since Pakistan has allowed setting up of refugee camps in tribal areas, UNCHR seems alarmed about the rising tension there.

The UNCHR monitoring team in NWFP estimated that over 70,000 people from Afghanistan entered Pakistan in November. “About 55,000 may be seeking asylum,” Shinohara said. The agency urged parties in Pakistan and Afghanistan to respect the rights and human dignity of all refugees.

UNCHR said an increasing number of Afghans had gathered at Pakistan’s border town of Chaman. “Over 6,000 people camped out Sunday in the no-man’s land between Afghanistan and Pakistan.” She said most of the refugees belonged to Kandahar. Reuters, IANS
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Taliban defectors ‘flee’ to Pak

London, December 4
In the first major split, senior Taliban officials have fled Afghanistan to set up a moderate splinter group in Pakistan, a British daily reported today.

The dissident members believe that hardliners such as Mullah Muhammad Omar, should give up the Taliban’s spiritual home of Kandahar and sue for peace, The Times said.

Ten of the 12 defectors escaped to Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province where, The Times said, they are believed to be holding talks with Pakistani Pashtun leaders.

They will be hoping to strengthen the Pashtun bloc in postwar Afghanistan and prevent the Tajik and Uzbek-dominated Northern Alliance from seizing too much power.

The three most important dissidents are Mullar Abdul Kadir, a former governor of Nangarhar province — considered to be the number 3 in the Taliban hierarchy — Mullar Amir Khan Muttaqi, a former education minister, and Abdul Rehman Zahid, the former deputy foreign minister.

Taliban sources quoted in Pakistani English-language paper ‘The News’ and also in The Times accused the dissidents of betrayal and treachery.

“They have deserted at a time when Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders are fighting in Kandahar despite the difficulties,” said one senior Taliban leader.

The other defectors according to the paper included: Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a former Taliban representative in New York, and Maulvi Hadi, the former governor of the eastern province of Kunar. AFP
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‘Dirt bomb’ blueprint worries USA

Washington, December 4
The USA is concerned over the seizure of a radiological bomb diagram from an installation belonging to the Taliban and the Al-Qaida group in Afghanistan in recent weeks.

The radiological bomb, also known as a “dirt bomb” was found after the coalition forces raided the hideout of the Taliban and the Al-Qaida group in the war-ravaged country, the Washington Post today said quoting sources.

US officials were concerned that any nuclear detonation by the Al-Qaida at this juncture would be a “calamitous psychological setback” to the war on terrorism, the newspaper said.

A radiological bomb could be made by taking highly radioactive material such as spent reactor fuel rods and wrapping it around readily available conventional high explosives.

The Post said Osama bin Laden, may be closer than first thought to developing a crude nuclear weapon, The Washington Post reported today.

Fear that Bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network might be close to developing a “dirty bomb” was a factor in the US’ decision yesterday to issue a new warning on possible attacks.

The newspaper said recent intelligence reports had also described a meeting last year when one of his men produced a canister that contained radioactive material. UNI, Reuters
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UNP win predicted in Lanka

Colombo, December 4
The army and police in Sri Lanka have been put on the maximum alert a ahead of tomorrow’s polling in parliamentary elections after a bloody campaign that claimed 38 lives.

Some 40,000 policemen, backed by the armed forces, would be deployed all over the country to ensure peaceful polling at nearly 10,000 booths for about 12 million eligible voters. The 225-member House will comprise 196 directly elected candidates and 29 members allocated to the parties based on their overall performance.

Poll pundits predict victory for the United National Party (UNP), the Right-wing opposition, that has promised to revive the economy, restore law and order and end the protracted ethnic conflict by opening negotiations with the Liberation Tigers.

However, President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s People’s Alliance is in no mood to be written off and has launched an aggressive propaganda in a bid to shore up its image and retain control of parliament.

Kumaratunga, who called the election to prevent an opposition-led government from being formed in July, has said she may refuse to appoint Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister even if his UNP front wins the elections. The constitution allows her to suspend Parliament or call new elections if she is thwarted.

Meanwhile, a disgraced sailor who had attacked former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi with the butt of a rifle, will be one of several notable absentees from tomorrow’s parliamentary elections, officials said today.

Vijithamuni Rohana de Silva, who hit the headlines in July, 1987, had failed to enter Parliament by contesting under a radical Sinhalese group last year. He had announced in November that he was now supporting Kumaratunga’s party.

Another star at tomorrow’s election is Sri Lanka’s world cup winning cricket skipper, Arjuna Ranatunga. PTI, AFP
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Awami League men baton-charged
Tribune News Service

Dhaka, December 4
With the withdrawal of protection to former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by the Special Security Forces (SSF), the main Opposition, Awami League, stated that the two daughters of the founding father and slain national leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were now exposed to the threat to their lives by the nine convicts in the Mujib murder case, who were on the run.

High profile SSF officers and Presidents Guards Regiment troops were withdrawn from her private residence on Monday evening. On Sunday the Bill repealing the Act with provision of life-long protection by the SSF to Ms Hasina and her younger sister was adopted in the Bangladesh parliament, President A.Q.M. Badruddoza Chowdhury gave assent to the Bill the same evening. The Act to provide protection was adopted by the Awami League (AL) on June 20 while the BNP and its main coalition partner Jamat-e-Islami abstained.

Moreover, legislators have not attended the 19-day first session of the parliament constituted through the poll on October 1.

However, The Bangladesh Observer reported that as part of a new security arrangement, the government had placed on duty 19 uniformed policemen of the special branch.

Meanwhile, the Dhaka Metropolitan police foiled the public rally organised yesterday by the Awami League in front of the party’s central office in Dhaka to protest against the withdrawal of SSF protection. The police resorted to baton charge, lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse the huge crowd. The police snatched the public address system when party’s presidium member and former Commerce and Industries Minister Tofael Ahmed was addressing the rally. The police cordoned off the area, and pushed the AL leaders inside the office.

The police has filed three cases under the Public Safety Act (PSA), criticised by the BNP when in opposition as a weapon to silence the Opposition, against 20 persons arrested on Sunday.
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Beatle leaves £ 20m for Hare Krishnas

London, December 4
Beatle George Harrison’s estimated £ 214-million estate will be divided between his nearest family and the Hare Krishna faith he embraced in the late 1960s, the British press said today.

According to reports from New York, quoted in the Daily Telegraph, Harrison’s will called for the bulk of his estate to be left to his wife Olivia and their 24-year-old son Dhani, who were on their way to Varanasi to scatter his ashes over the Ganges.

The Times said Harrison left instructions for 10 per cent of his wealth, some £ 20 million to be distributed to the Hare Krishnas, whom he supported spiritually for more than 30 years. AFP
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