Wednesday, December 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

2 Palestinians shot dead
Jerusalem, December 11
Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers today while travelling in their car near the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem, Israeli public radio reported quoting military officials. The report said the two refused to slow down their vehicle as they approached a roadblock and ignored warning shots, so Israeli soldiers fired on the car.
Palestinians carry the bodies of slain Palestinian teenager
Palestinians carry the bodies of slain Palestinian teenager Shadi Arafi and three-year-old Buran Al-Himuni during their funeral in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday.
— Reuters photo


US President George W. Bush said that a videotape showing Osama bin Laden talking about the September 11 attacks reminded him of what a 'murderer' the leader of al Qaida was.
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USA likely to release Osama videotape
Washington, December 11

US President George W. Bush may release a videotape found in Afghanistan that officials here say leaves no doubt that Osama bin Laden was behind the September 11 terror strikes, the White House said today.

Britain to lead multinational force
United Nations, December 11

Britain will lead a multinational force providing security in and around Afghan capital Kabul. Diplomats and officials here said the force was likely to number 5,000.





EARLIER STORIES
 

600 prisoners freed in Kandahar
Kandahar, December 11

About 600 prisoners have been released from jail under one of the first orders by Gul Agha Sherzai, the new Governor of the south-eastern Kandahar province, official sources said.



Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, centre, shakes hands with Indarjit Singh, 3rd left, head of the group of Sikh organisation leaders before their meeting in London's Downing Street on Monday. — AP/PTI

Pak arrests 20 Laden men
Islamabad, December 11

The much-feared influx of Osama bin Laden’s foreign fighters fleeing from Afghanistan into Pakistan has begun with Pakistan troops having arrested 20 Arab militants trying to cross over the borders.

USA may sell advanced computers to India
Washington, December 11
India, China and Pakistan will be among 40 “Tier 3 countries” allowed to import advanced computers if the Bush Administration’s proposal to remove export-related restrictions goes through early next year.

Myanmar ignores calls for Suu Kyi’s release
Bangkok, December 11

Myanmar’s military junta said it was committed to creating a “functioning democracy” in the country but ignored an international plea to free Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who marks the 10th anniversary of her Nobel Peace Prize in house arrest.




A one-metre-tall mummy, presumed to be a boy buried about 350 years ago, is seen in this picture taken on the day it was discovered on November 15, 2001. A South Korean research team of Dankook University on Monday unveiled a mummy discovered by road workers while they were widening a road in Yangju, west of Seoul, on November 15. The mummy was well preserved with its teeth, fingernails and hair clearly recognisable. 

Slobodan Milosevic is escorted into the courtroom to appear for the fourth time before the court of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague on Tuesday. Milosevic is charged on the basis of his individual and superior criminal responsibility with genocide and crimes against humanity involving persecution, extermination and murder. — Reuters photos

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2 Palestinians shot dead

Jerusalem, December 11
Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers today while travelling in their car near the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem, Israeli public radio reported quoting military officials.

The report said the two refused to slow down their vehicle as they approached a roadblock and ignored warning shots, so Israeli soldiers fired on the car.

A military doctor confirmed the men were dead and they were taken to Tulkarem by ambulance, the radio said, adding that no weapons or explosives were found in their vehicle.

Israeli helicopters raided Palestinian security positions in the northern Gaza Strip overnight, firing at least four missiles near Beit Jala, Palestinian officials said. The target of the raid appeared to be a base of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s elite Force-17 guard. The building hit was destroyed in the attack, but there were no reports of any casualties.

Yesterday, two Palestinian children were killed in an Israeli helicopter raid on the West Bank town of Hebron aimed at a militant of the radical movement Islamic Jehad.

US peace envoy Anthony Zinni met Mr Yasser Arafat in a fresh attempt to broker a ceasefire with Israel, a Palestinian official said.

The meeting in the west bank town of Ramallah followed talks between Zinni and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a day after the US envoy threatened to quit if the two sides failed to agree on a truce.

Mr Zinni met Mr Arafat at the West Bank headquarters of the Palestinian preventive security forces in the presence of its chief, Col Jibril Rajub, said the official who declined to be named.

A top adviser to Mr Arafat told AFP the Palestinian leader asked Mr Zinni to put pressure on Israel to halt its military escalation in the Palestinian territories.

WASHINGTON: Both Houses of the US Congress have passed a concurrent resolution calling upon the PLO to “take action immediately” to destroy the infrastructure of terrorist organisations in its territory.

The resolution, which got 384 votes in favour to 11 against in the House of Representatives and unanimous consent in the Senate, called upon President George W. Bush to “suspend all relations” with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat if he failed to reign in the extremists. AFP, PTI
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USA likely to release Osama videotape

Washington, December 11
US President George W. Bush may release a videotape found in Afghanistan that officials here say leaves no doubt that Osama bin Laden was behind the September 11 terror strikes, the White House said today.

The tape reportedly shows bin Laden saying that he was happily surprised by the extent of the damage at the World Trade Center — destroyed when two hijacked passenger planes slammed into the twin towers — and using words that show he knew of the attack before it happened.

Mr Bush’s spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters that the National Security Council was wrestling with the matter.

The President himself is torn between the belief that it is “important for people to know what Osama bin Laden has said in that regard” and concerns about giving the Saudi-born militant more publicity, said Mr Fleischer. AFP
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Britain to lead multinational force

United Nations, December 11
Britain will lead a multinational force providing security in and around Afghan capital Kabul. Diplomats and officials here said the force was likely to number 5,000.

The Security Council is expected to approve the establishment of the force by Friday and troop contributors, including Germany and France, would sort out the details.

One of the major issues yet to resolved is the relationship between the US forces prosecuting war against terrorism and the multinational force which would mainly provide security so as to avoid any conflict in their functioning.

NATO countries would be the major troop contributors for the force in the first stage. But diplomats are expressing doubts whether it would be ready to take over by December 22 when the new interim government, brokered by the UN, is due to take office.

The world body’s officials would like the multinational force, which would not be under the UN command, to be in Kabul on that date so that security in the city is not dependent on the fighters of any particular group, including Northern Alliance. PTI
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600 prisoners freed in Kandahar

Kandahar, December 11
About 600 prisoners have been released from jail under one of the first orders by Gul Agha Sherzai, the new Governor of the south-eastern Kandahar province, official sources said.

As per the Governor’s order, the prisoners were released from Kandahar jail after dusk, SADA reported. Those released included Northern Alliance men held by the Taliban on espionage charges.

The captives who were released included those imprisoned by the Taliban Ministry of Vice and Virtue for indulgence in activities banned by the militia like playing music, and watching films among other things, a spokesman for the Governor said.

He added that the general amnesty was not meant for prisoners held for heinous offences like murder, adultery or robbery.

Also released were 18 Kandahar jail officials who had helped Ismail Khan, Governor of Herat, escape from jail, the spokesman said. IANS
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Pak arrests 20 Laden men

Islamabad, December 11
The much-feared influx of Osama bin Laden’s foreign fighters fleeing from Afghanistan into Pakistan has begun with Pakistan troops having arrested 20 Arab militants trying to cross over the borders.

Five of the Arabs arrested over the weekend, believed to have fled from Kandahar, were being treated for injuries, Pakistan Interior Ministry officials said. PTI
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USA may sell advanced computers to India
Vasantha Arora

Washington, December 11
India, China and Pakistan will be among 40 “Tier 3 countries” allowed to import advanced computers if the Bush Administration’s proposal to remove export-related restrictions goes through early next year.

The USA intends to raise the threshold for exports of advanced computers to Tier 3 nations, a senior administration official said.

The official who did not want to be identified said the threshold for export without licence to Tier 3 countries would rise to cover computers capable of 190,000 million theoretical operations per second (MTOPs), from 85,000 MTOPs.

He expected the change to take effect in January or February. The Bush administration has not relaxed computer export controls until now.

The last relaxation was announced by former President Bill Clinton in January, 2001, and took effect in March. Clinton’s decision eliminated export licence requirements for Tier 1 countries (close U.S. allies) and Tier 2 countries (those presenting a slightly higher risk).

Clinton at that time also raised the Tier 3 threshold to 85,000 MTOPs from 28,000 MTOPs. Many Tier 3 countries are in unstable regions and are subject to strict controls. They encompass regions of proliferation concerns like India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia and West Asian nations.

The official said he expected President George W. Bush to announce within a few days the next change in the Tier 3 threshold. He predicted no change of countries from one tier to another.

The administration is also continuing to seek a more effective measure to control computer exports than MTOPs. Leaders in the government and industry view MTOPs as an obsolete tool because linking lesser computers together to perform computations has become relatively easy, he said. IANS
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Myanmar ignores calls for Suu Kyi’s release

Bangkok, December 11
Myanmar’s military junta said it was committed to creating a “functioning democracy” in the country but ignored an international plea to free Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who marks the 10th anniversary of her Nobel Peace Prize in house arrest.

In a statement a spokesman for the military regime said the government “warmly appreciates the opinions, concerns and interests of its partners in the international community” about democracy in Myanmar.

In any case, the government “believes that all of us are on the winning side already since we all have the common objective of creating Myanmar (into) a functioning democracy,” said the statement faxed to the Associated Press in Bangkok.

The statement was in response to a request for the regime’s reaction to a petition signed by former Nobel Peace laureates urging the junta to free Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 prize for her non-violent struggle to bring democracy in her country.

However, the Myanmar statement made no mention of Suu Kyi for her house arrest.

Instead, it noted that while there was no cooperation in the past between the government and Suu Kyi’s National League Party due to “misunderstanding,” that is not the case now.

“Today, we are all in process of joining hands, walking on the same path towards our common objective,” the statement said, referring to closed-door national reconciliation talks between the NLD and the junta going on since September 2000. AP
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WORLD BRIEFS

SYRIAN GOVT RESIGNS
DAMASCUS:
Syria’s Cabinet has resigned and President Bashar Assad has asked the outgoing Prime Minister to form a new government, the official Syrian Arab news agency has reported today. The terse agency report did not say why the 36 ministers had resigned or give any other details about the reshuffle, the first since Mr Assad took office 17 months ago. AP

INDIAN DOCTOR GETS KELLOGG’S AWARD
NEW YORK:
Four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sharadkumar Dicksheet has been awarded the $ 100,000 Kellogg’s Hannah Neil World of Children Award. Dr Dicksheet - who is himself partially disabled - has been awarded in recognition of his dedication to providing free corrective surgery to 57,000 poor children in India. PTI

USA MOUNTS SPY MISSION IN SOMALIA
LONDON:
US army officers have secretly entered Somalia in the first indication of President George W. Bush’s determination to extend the war against terrorism, a British daily said on Monday. Five military personnel reached the heart of the country and met a rebel movement in Baidoa, 240 km west of Mogadishu, in search for suspected terrorist camps, the Daily Telegraph said. AFP

WEIMAR PRIZE FOR PAK WOMAN
WEIMAR (GERMANY):
A Pakistani psychologist and publisher, Ms Shahnaz Bokhari, was awarded the German city of Weimar’s Human Rights prize on Monday for her work helping women in her country, organisers said. Ms Bokhari, (45), shelters victims of forms of domestic violence, including women burnt by fire or with acid in her family home in Pakistan and provides them with medical and legal aid. She has also been working to overturn a tradition by some husbands to kill their wives if they suspect them of adultery. AFP
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