Islamist group claims it attacked
Osama urges Muslims to continue jihad
Philippines blast toll 14 Letter bomb explodes at EU Parliament
Letter bomb explodes at EU Parliament
Rover beams back more photos
Observing that people in India and Pakistan want peace, veteran actor and MP Sunil Dutt has urged leaders of the two countries to “trust” each other and “grab” the current “big” opportunity to bring about lasting peace in the subcontinent.
The French Navy deployed a robot submarine as France and Egypt launched a major push today to find the fuselage and flight data recorders of the aircraft that crashed into the Red Sea, killing 148 persons.
Britney files annulment papers hours after wedding
Islamist group claims it attacked Flash Airways
Cairo, January 5
It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the claim by the caller who spoke Arabic with an Egyptian accent.
The man, who said he was an Egyptian calling from Cairo, said he represented a group called Ansar el-Haq (Apostles of Truth), which he said carried out an attack that brought down the plane.
Ansar el-Haq is based in Yemen, he said, although nothing is known of the group.
A Boeing 737 operated by a Cairo-based charter firm, Flash Airways, plunged into the Red Sea on Saturday shortly after taking off from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all 148 persons on aboard, mainly French holidaymakers.
Egypt has ruled out terrorism as a cause of the crash and pointed to an unspecified technical fault. While French officials declined to rule out any cause, they said it appeared to have been a classic accident on take-off.
The caller also warned that his group would stage an attack "soon" against Air France "if France does not go back on its decision to ban the Islamic headscarf" in state schools.
Meanwhile, the French Navy deployed a robot submarine to find the fuselage and flight data recorders of the aircraft.
Cairo, January 5
The speaker, who referred to recent events, called on the Muslims to “continue the jihad to check the conspiracies that are hatched against the Islamic nation.”
Ibrahim Hilal, Al-Jazeera’s Editor-in-Chief, told AP that the network received the message yesterday. He declined to reveal how it was delivered.
Hilal said the original message was 47-minute long, of which the network aired only 14, showing a still photo of Bin Laden against a dark blue background.
“My message is to incite you against the conspiracies, especially those uncovered by the occupation of the crusaders in Baghdad under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction, and also the situation in (Jerusalem) under the deceptions of the road map and the Geneva initiative,” the speaker said.
Bin Laden criticised the leaders of the Muslim nations for refusing to stand against the USA for a fair settlement of the Palestinian issue and for not supporting the Palestinian resistance. He also criticised Gulf countries for receiving members of the Iraqi Governing Council.
Manila, January 5
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast in Parang town yesterday. But investigators believe the bomb was intended for Mayor Vivencio Bataga, a tough-talking former army officer who has survived three attempts on his life.
The military’s Vice-Chief of Staff, Lieut-Gen Rodolfo Garcia, said the death toll rose from 11 to 14 on Monday after some victims died of wounds.
The mayor was talking to someone outside the gym when the explosion occurred. His teeth were knocked out and he suffered shrapnel injuries in the ribs, but he was reported in stable condition. He said from his hospital bed that he believed the attack was aimed at him.
Following the blast, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the police and the military to come up with “a comprehensive operational plan” to prevent “election-related violence” as the Philippines prepares for the May 10 poll.
Earlier, Mr Bataga blamed political rivals or drug syndicates for a September bombing in front of a church where he was attending Mass with his family. One of his bodyguards was wounded in that blast.
Letter bomb explodes at EU Parliament Brussels, January 5 The letter was sent to German Christian Democrat Hans-Gert Poettering and opened by an employee. “It caught fire, there was a bang. Nobody was hurt,” Mr Robert Fitzhenry said. A series of letterbombs have been sent to European officials in recent days. Investigators are looking at the possibility of Italian anarchists being behind the mailings.
Brussels, January 5
The letter was sent to German Christian Democrat Hans-Gert Poettering and opened by an employee.
“It caught fire, there was a bang. Nobody was hurt,” Mr Robert Fitzhenry said.
A series of letterbombs have been sent to European officials in recent days. Investigators are looking at the possibility of Italian anarchists being behind the mailings.
Beijing, January 5
Meanwhile, China is to slaughter 10,000 civet cats and ban wild animal markets in the southern Guangdong province in bid to stamp out SARS, state media reported today.
“A decision has been made from today to close down all wild animal markets in Guangdong,” Guangdong Health Bureau official Feng Liuxiang said at a press conference, the Xinhua news agency reported on its website.
“We will seek to seal and block all civet cats from other provinces and take action to kill civet cats in the Guangdong province,” he said.
“It has been approved by the Guangdong provincial government,” he said.
He estimated that around 10,000 civet cats would be killed.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged the Chinese authorities to take precautions while slaughtering thousands of civet cats which are believed to be the source of SARS.
“The WHO has long maintained that animals could be the source of the SARS infection and that more research is needed into which animal is the source and how the virus was transmitted from the animal to humans,” Roy Wadia, WHO’s Beijing spokesman, said.
— AFP, Reuters
Pasadena, California, January 5
The successful deployment of its lollipop-shaped main antenna cuts the delay in communications between the rover and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena to about nine minutes from the hours needed to relay signals through two Mars orbiters, flight director Jason Willis said.
At 9.20 pm local time yesterday, the control room at JPL erupted in cheers as test signals showed that the rover had correctly located Earth in the Martian sky and positioned the main, “high gain” antenna correctly.
“This is just fantastic. We got the high gain antenna to work on the very first try,” Mark Adler, Spirit mission manager, said.
Spirit began transmitting science and telemetry data, as well as the mission’s first color images of the Martian landscape, from the rover’s high-resolution panoramic cameras.
“I expect to see a lot of good stuff on this pass,” Adler said.
The mission fell behind yesterday as scientists ran out of time to cut cables that tied the folded-up rover to battery and electronics systems on its landing pad, an omission that may delay its three-stage “stand-up” by one Martian day, or “sol,” about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day, Adler said.
The team also may try to retract airbags that cushioned the rover’s landing but now block its path to the planet’s surface, adding another sol to the time needed to prepare the robotic rover for its three-month trek across Mars’ surface to look for ancient evidence of life-giving water in the rocks and soil.
London, January 5
“I feel that when you sit across the table, without trusting each other, do not expect any result. Please trust each other, this is a big opportunity,” Dutt said while participating in a BBC Hindi programme “Aapki Baat BBC Ke Saath” broadcast last night.
Emphasising that he was directly referring to India and Pakistan, the actor-turned-politician who is known for his “padayatras” (long marches in pursuit of peace), said “people in both the countries want peace. Let the atmosphere of calm be there. Guns would themselves fall by the wayside”.
Asked whether India could trust Pakistan in view of the Kargil episode, Dutt said “had our neighbour not been sincere, I think Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would not have travelled to Islamabad. There was a cloud of uncertainty on his visit. But he decided to go as the relations between the two neighbours were steadily improving over the year.
Dutt said “when you visit a country and talk to its leaders, you break the ice, which would help in saving our children, wives and young people’s lives.”
Recalling the horrors of partition, Dutt said “I have lived the horrific time of partition. More than 10 lakh people were killed and there were countless atrocities. I used to think at that time I would never forget those days”.
Sharm El-Sheik, January 5
The parts of bodies recovered from the sea so far bore no burns, suggesting there was no explosion on the Egyptian chartered Boeing 737 that plunged into the sea minutes after takeoff on Saturday, French Deputy Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier said today.
The crash came amid worldwide fears that terrorists would use an aircraft to stage an atrocity. But Mr Muselier told France-Info Radio, “there is no reason to believe there was an attack.’’ He thought the crash, which killed 133 French citizens, was an accident.
Egyptian officials say the crash appears to have been caused by a mechanical problem.
Swiss aviation authorities had banned the airline, Flash Airlines, after it failed an inspection at Zurich airport in October 2002. The same month, one of Flash’s two Boeings was forced to make an emergency landing in Athens after an engine caught fire.
Chairman of Flash Airlines Mohamed Nour said the company made the necessary improvements and passed a second Swiss inspection _ but the Swiss denied this. Mr Nour said the aircraft that suffered the fire was overhauled and subsequently maintained to international standards.
Los Angeles, January 5
George Maloof Jr, owner of the Palms Casino and Hotel, where Britney was staying over the New Year’s Eve holiday and weekend, confirmed Spears and Alexander, both 22, were wed on Saturday at a Las Vegas wedding chapel. He declined further comment.
However, a friend of Spears who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said by late Saturday afternoon all annulment papers had been signed by Britney and Alexander in the presence of an attorney, a notary public, her brother Brian, her manager Larry Rudolph and Maloof.
The annulment papers were expected to be filed when the courts open today morning, the friend said.
Alexander’s grandmother, Betty Alexander, also confirmed the marriage and annulment. “Yes, they got married and they are in the process of getting it annulled,’’ she said.
There were apparently no hard feelings. Shortly after the annulment papers were signed, the couple on Saturday night had dinner at the N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms Casino and Hotel.
On Saturday morning, Britney was escorted down the aisle at the Little White Wedding Chapel in the city known for quickie marriages and divorces, by a Palms Casino Hotel bellman, who doubled as the couple’s limousine driver for their impromptu nuptials, her friend said.
The only people who witnessed the wedding were the chapel’s minister, a photographer and the bellman. The wedding ceremony was videotaped, but no video has so far been released.
Landslide victory for Saakashvili Moscow, January 5 RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting the Chairman of the Georgian Election Commission Zurab Chiaberashvili that Mr Saakashvili had received 95 per cent votes. The results were expected to be officially announced later today. Mr Saakashvili (36) led the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia last November, which ousted President Eduard Shevardnadzde. Educated in the United States, Mr Saakashvili is a lawyer by profession and was backed by Washington to oust Shevardnadze. He said at a press conference that restoring relations with Russia would be his top priority.
Moscow, January 5
RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting the Chairman of the Georgian Election Commission Zurab Chiaberashvili that Mr Saakashvili had received 95 per cent votes. The results were expected to be officially announced later today.
Mr Saakashvili (36) led the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia last November, which ousted President Eduard Shevardnadzde.
Educated in the United States, Mr Saakashvili is a lawyer by profession and was backed by Washington to oust Shevardnadze.
He said at a press conference that restoring relations with Russia would be his top priority.
TAIWAN PRESIDENT FILES
LAWSUIT ‘SEXY’ CLOTHES BANNED EXHAUSTION SIGNALS MIGRAINE GENES SEPARATED MAN FROM
MONKEY SENIOR CITIZENS FALL IN LOVE
‘SEXY’ CLOTHES BANNED
EXHAUSTION SIGNALS MIGRAINE
GENES SEPARATED MAN FROM
SENIOR CITIZENS FALL IN LOVE