Top UN officials sent on
Explosions inside US compound in
Indian pleads not guilty to murder of
US airline apologises to American Sikh
More could have died in AI bombing, says
Top UN officials sent on leave
United Nations, November 5
Though a UN spokesman maintained that they had sought to be relieved of their duties for the duration of investigations, diplomats and officials said that they had no other choice. The investigation team, appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is charged with determining “accountability at all managerial levels at headquarters (in New York) and in field.”
Sent on leave till at least mid-January are Security Coordinator Tun Myat of Myanmar and acting head of the UN mission in Iraq Lopes da Silva of Portugal, who was responsible for security at the time of bombing. The August 19 bombing of the Baghdad headquarters killed 22 persons, including head of the mission Sergio Vieira de Mello who was with the mission for a short duration.
The bombing shook the United Nations into reevaluating security of its operations across the world as Mr Annan and his top advisers realised that the UN flag did not automatically provide security to its staff. The two officials stepped down as Mr Annan ordered a “strategic reorganisation” of security management under the leadership of Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette.
Mr Anann’s actions to improve security comes in the wake of highly damaging report by an independent panel headed by Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari who described the UN security system as “dysfunctional” and “sloppy” and questioned judgment of the UN top officials in refusing offer of security from the US-led coalition, the “only credible” force in the country. —
Explosions inside US compound in Baghdad
Baghdad, November 5
There was no word on casualties.
“There were a lot of soldiers running around, there was a lot of panic. I haven’t seen any injured people,” said Mohammad Shikri, an Iraqi guard at the complex. Journalists were prevented from entering the area, inside one of Saddam Hussein’s former palace complexes.
In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel James Cassella, said preliminary reports were unclear on the location of the blasts.
“There are no initial reports of casualties regarding what appear to be explosions in the city and it is not clear whether they were inside or outside the (coalition-controlled) Green Zone,” he said.
He said initial reports suggested these might have been caused by projectiles such as a missile or mortar fire and not a car or truck bomb.
A plume of smoke rose from the central Baghdad area for some minutes straight after the blasts, although it later disappeared.
A judge investigating members of Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime was shot dead in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
“Judge Ismail Yussef Saddek was gunned down on Tuesday around 7:30 am (1000 IST) in front of his house ... by men in a car,” a senior police official said in Mosul, 370 km north of Baghdad.
Indian pleads not guilty to murder of woman
London, November 5
At the Old Bailey in London on Monday Palwinder Singh Dhillon pleaded not guilty to murdering eight-month-pregnant Anita Ralh Gindha.
The victim’s husband Kashmir Ralh found her body at their family home in Manor Park, east London on February 19 when he returned from work. Their 18-month-old son was by the dead woman’s side. A post-mortem examination had revealed that she had been strangled to death.
The accused, who is believed to have been in the UK for up to two years and worked as a labourer on building sites, was arrested from West Midlands in August.
The police said the neighbours saw an elderly man wearing turban in the vicinity of Gindha’s London home on the day of the murder. The police suspects it to be an honour killing. However, the relationship of the accused with the victim is not yet disclosed.
Born in the West Midlands, Ms Gindha lived with her parents in Glasgow. On her visit to India, she met Mr Ralh, a builder from Punjab, and fell in love with him.
When she returned to Glasgow, her family disapproved of the relationship. The victim moved south where once again she met Mr Ralh who had moved to England in 1999.
US airline apologises to American Sikh Washington, November 5 Entertainment producer Satnam Dhillon received a letter of apology from airlines last week that said the incident of October 16, 2001, is sincerely regretted. “National Airlines sincerely regrets the incident of October 16, 2001, when you were denied boarding on one of our flights to Las Vegas, Nevada, as the result of an apparent misunderstanding,” the letter said. Producer for Rangeela TV, an Indian channel, Mr Dhillon, who wears a long beard and turban, reacted to the letter, saying: “That’s all I wanted.” He has dropped the case against the airline. —
Washington, November 5
Entertainment producer Satnam Dhillon received a letter of apology from airlines last week that said the incident of October 16, 2001, is sincerely regretted. “National Airlines sincerely regrets the incident of October 16, 2001, when you were denied boarding on one of our flights to Las Vegas, Nevada, as the result of an apparent misunderstanding,” the letter said.
Producer for Rangeela TV, an Indian channel, Mr Dhillon, who wears a long beard and turban, reacted to the letter, saying: “That’s all I wanted.”
He has dropped the case against the airline. —
More could have died in AI bombing, says witness
Vancouver, November 5
He had also told her that any evidence of his involvement in the bombing went down with the aircraft that crashed off the Irish Coast, killing all 329 passengers on board on June 23, 1985.
The woman who shared a relationship with Vancouver-based business Ripudaman Singh Malik, one of the chief accused in the Kanishka bombing, testified yesterday that Malik had listed a series of problems which came in the way of his plans to destroy Air-India planes in the campaign for a separate Sikh homeland.
“There would have been far more deaths. People would have known what we are all about. People would have known what we were fighting for (the Khalistan cause),” Malik had told the woman during one of their conversations.
She said Malik confessed his part in Canada’s biggest mass murder in late March or April, 1997, to her when she confronted him about a Punjabi newspaper article that implicated him without naming him, media reports here said.
The woman, who is under police protection and cannot be identified and is the star prosecution witness at the trial of Malik, said when she pointed out to Malik that there were Sikhs aboard the flight, “he said there were’nt any Sikhs.”
The 43-year-old woman said Malik also assured her that any evidence linking him to the bombings went down with the airplane. “There is nothing to worry about. If there is anything about me its down in the ocean,” she quoted him as saying, CBC News reported.
The woman testified that several persons were involved in the Kanishka bombing plot, took suitcases filled with bombs to the Vancouver airport but one of them, Hardial Singh Johal, tried to warn passengers not to board the plane.
Johal was picked up twice in the investigation but was never charged with any offence. He died last year.
She testified that Malik was the financier of the project, paying for the airplane tickets.
On being asked by Canadian Prosecutor Joe Bellows about Malik’s role in a group of Sikhs involved in making the bombs, buying tickets for the flights and then checking the suitcases on to the planes, the woman, who worked in a Sikh school between 1992 and 1997 said: “everyone had their own task to do and Malik was mostly overseeing them.”
The woman’s testimony marks for the first time in the 18-year-old international terrorism case that the inner circle allegedly involved in the scheme have been publicly identified, The Globe and Mail daily said. —
$ 500 M CHINESE LOAN TO PAKISTAN BENAZIR'S APPEAL UPHELD BRITISH SPIES IN PAK EMBASSY
BENAZIR'S APPEAL UPHELD
BRITISH SPIES IN PAK EMBASSY