Tuesday, December 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

UN, Annan collect Nobel Peace Prize

Oslo, December 10
The United Nations and its Secretary-General Kofi Annan collected the centenary Nobel Peace Prize today for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world.

Mr Annan and South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo, president of the UN General Assembly, who accepted the award on behalf of the UN, held up their gold Nobel medals and diplomas as a gala audience applauded in Oslo City Hall.

The UN and Mr Annan also share a cheque for $ 953,500. Mr Annan said yesterday that it felt “almost indecent” to be receiving the peace prize amid conflicts from Afghanistan to the west Asia. Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (left) and Korean Foreign Minister and President of the General Assembly Han Seung Soo show their medals and certificate during the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Monday.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (left) and Korean Foreign Minister and President of the General Assembly Han Seung Soo show their medals and certificate during the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Monday.

Nobel laureate for literature Sir V. S. Naipaul cries after receiving the Nobel Prize from HM King Carl Gustaf of Sweden at the Prize Award Ceremony at the Concert Hall in Stockholm on Monday. — Reuters photos


Set up world criminal court: Nobel laureates

Oslo, December 10
At least 16 Nobel Peace Prize laureates called for disarmament and non-violent pursuit of peace in the 21st century in a joint appeal on Monday marking the 100th anniversary of the first Nobel award.

The declaration, agreed in Oslo at the biggest gathering of Nobel Peace Prize winners in history, also called for the establishment of an international criminal court.

“We offer support for the unrelenting, patient and non-violent pursuit of peace wherever conflicts may rage today or tomorrow, such as the Middle East, Colombia or the Great lakes of Africa,” the statement said.

“Virtually everyone who is present and able to sign has signed,” Cora Weiss, president of the International Peace Bureau, which won the prize in 1910, told Reuters.

Others including Northern Ireland Protestant First Minister David Trimble and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung had not signed, nor had U.N. agencies. Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader, who won in 1989, was expected to sign. It took the laureates five days to come out with a joint statement after a meeting of about 30 laureates in Oslo. Reuters


Passport (Amendment) Bill passage deferred
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
Opposition parties’ forceful argument, especially from legal luminaries, today forced the government to defer the passage of the Passport (Amendment) Bill, 2001, in the Rajya Sabha.

With Congress Member Kapil Sibal and nominated Member Fali S. Nariman, both legal experts, emphasising that there was confusion over a clause relating to the time period of proceedings on the impounding of a passport and travel document, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan suggested that a select group of members including Law and Justice Minister Arun Jaitley and these two Members, could sort out the issue before its passage.

Raising objections, Congress Member Kapil Sibal told External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh that though he had clarified that the period of proceedings relating to the impounding or revocation of a passport or travel document will not exceed eight weeks, the same is not mentioned in the statements of objects and reasons of the Bill.

Mr Sibal argued that the Minister’s assurance of completing the proceedings within eight weeks cannot be a part of law and it has to be brought in as an amendment.

The Members, cutting across party lines, then endorsed the view of Mr Mahajan with Leader of Opposition Manmohan Singh saying, “I support formation of a select group to sort out the matter.”

Earlier, Mr Jaswant Singh explained that a court hearing would have to be done within eight weeks of impounding the passport.

He said the government had to issue an ordinance only to regularise something which was already in vogue informally. In the past, all successive governments were following the system of issuing “Look Out Circulars” to prevent criminals or anti-national people from leaving the country.

The NDA government was converting the system into a legislation on the direction of the Delhi High Court.

During the debate, Congress leader Suresh Pachouri said, “While the policy behind bring the Bill was justified, the intention of the government was doubtful.”

“It would have been apt if the government instead of promulgating an ordinance, brought the Bill in Parliament for deliberation and got it approved by the House,” he said.

He complained that several passports had been issued from the Bhopal Passport Office without verification to persons whose identity was suspect. He wanted to know under whose recommendations Abu Salem, a close confidant of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, was issued passport from Bhopal office and why no action was taken against the in charge of the police station concerned in this connection, though three lower ranked policemen were suspended.

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