under US pressure, says Pak oppn
Hunt for Laden
network criminal enterprise, says US
Mistrust led to
N-talk failure, says China
Haiti President resigns, flees
Gay marriage big
issue for US poll
Ms Clare Short, former British Cabinet Minister, is set to intensify her criticism of the war on Iraq through a memoir, even as she denied mounting a personal campaign to bring down Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Citing the Bush Administration’s foreign policy success in developing better relations with Asian countries, the US has described its ties with India as “good” and its engagement with Pakistan as “constructive”.
Opinions page: Looking at West Asia
The over Rs 50 lakh bid at the auction of a gold trophy at the Zee Cine Awards has come unstuck after the bidder, a 26-year-old Dubai-based Indian jeweller, failed to cough up the amount.
Military working under US pressure, says Pak oppn
Islamabad, February 29
Pakistan Minister for Kashmir Affairs, Northern Areas and Frontier Regions, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao told the Senate today that a high-powered committee had been formed by the provincial governor to investigate the yesterday’s incident at Wana.
“The operation is being conducted to eliminate those foreigners who are involved in terrorist activities as the government is committed to eliminate terrorism from the country,” he said. The minister said compensation was being paid to the kith and kin of those killed and injured.
The opposition parties sharply criticised the firing and the operations which they said was being held at the behest of United States and staged a walkout in the Senate as a mark of protest.
Refuting the criticism, Mr Sherpao said “the government took into confidence the elders of the Tribal Areas before launching operation in the South Waziristan Agency against terrorists”.
The issue was raise in the Senate today by Prof Khurshid of Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, (MMA).
Accusing the government of serving US interests, he said “this
policy can lead to dangerous consequences.” Another MMA Senator, Ghafoor
Ahmed said the government’s irresponsible attitude has deteriorated the
Washington, February 29
So far, the information received is unconfirmed and does not mean the terrorist leader’s location has been pinned down or his capture is imminent. US officials caution that rumours of significant progress are overstated.
Pentagon and Pakistani officials yesterday denied an Iranian state radio report that Bin Laden had been captured “a long time ago” in Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan.
But some US officials do say they have been able to extract useful information from Afghan and Pakistani relatives and friends of Al-Qaida fugitives, providing hints on the possible whereabouts of the organisation’s leaders.
With the weather improving in Afghanistan, the US military has sent troops and technology to the country to aid the search and to give forces on the ground more opportunity to track down Bin Laden.
Rounding up relatives for questioning helped bring about the December 13 capture of Saddam, the former Iraqi leader. US officials hope the tactic could lead to information on the whereabouts of bin Laden and his top deputies, especially when combined with information from spy satellites, communication intercepts and prisoner interrogations.
Washington, February 29
Khan’s network which sold nuclear equipment and materials to North Korea, Libya and Iran was a “criminal enterprise” motivated by “greed or fanaticism or perhaps both,” National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice said at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Sun Valley, California.
“We must strengthen the world’s ability to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous regimes,” she emphasised.
Ms Rice said the world “recently learned of the network headed by A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. For years, Khan and his associates had sold nuclear technology and know-how to some of the world’s most dangerous regimes, including North Korea and Iran”.
Although President Pervez Musharraf has pardoned Khan, Ms Rice insisted that those who traffic in deadly weapons will be brought to justice.
“Working with intelligence officials from the United Kingdom and other nations,” she said, “We unravelled the Khan network and we are putting an end to its criminal enterprise. Its key leaders, including Khan, are no longer in business, and we are working to dismantle the entire network.
Beijing, February 29
“The main reason for these differences is the extreme lack of trust,” the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily quoted a Chinese envoy, Wang Yi as saying.
“The parties did not have consensus on this proposal or the scope of North Korea’s giving up nuclear weapons,” said Wang Yi, a Vice Foreign Minister and Chairman of the six-way talks.
Wang confirmed that North Korea made an 11th-hour rejection of language in a proposed agreement, prolonging the talks for hours yesterday and finally prevented the parties from signing a joint declaration.
The six nations also failed to agree on the US demand that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear programme completely and in a verifiable, irreversible manner.
Washington, February 29
It was Aristide’s second such escape from his country since fleeing a 1991 military coup to the US.
He arrived in a plane at Barahona airport in Santo Domingo, the capital city of Dominican Republic, reports said.
He signed a resignation letter at 6.00 a.m., before leaving the country, according to reports. “The constitution should not drown in the blood of the Haitian people ... If my resignation is to prevent bloodshed I accept to leave,” Prime Minister Yvon Neptune quoted Aristide as having stated in the letter.
Administration officials and a spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry confirmed the departure. In Paris, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed that Aristide had left power.
Violence erupted in the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince with armed supporters going on the rampage after news emerged of the President’s exit.
Both US and France had earlier agreed that if a political settlement is reached, an international security force will be sent to Haiti to maintain order, with contributions from the US, France, the Caribbean states and possibly some African states, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Gay marriage big issue for US poll
Houston, February 29
So far gay marriage has surpassed other major social issues like abortion and gun control in its influence on voters.
Four in 10 voters say they would not vote for a candidate who disagrees with them on gay marriage, even if they agree with the candidate on most other issues, according to a poll released by the ‘Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.’
Only a third in the poll, 34 per cent, felt they would not vote for a candidate who disagrees with them on abortion even if they agree on other issues and 32 per cent felt that way about a candidate who disagrees with them on gun control.
Yet, while gay marriage has a greater overall impact on voters than either abortion or gun control, the nature of its influence is quite different.
For the most, gay marriage is a make-or-break voting issue only to the opponents of that idea; supporters of gay marriage generally say a candidate’s stance would not affect their vote.
Moreover, even among gay marriage opponents, the issue has a disproportionate impact on some groups — notably conservative Republicans, evangelical Christians and voters aged 65 and older.
The latest Pew Research Center national survey shows that
voters oppose gay marriage by more than two-to-one (65 per cent-28 per
cent), a margin that has remained generally steady since October. —
“I haven’t got any personal vendetta against Mr Tony Blair. I haven’t got any personal bitterness, but I think what he did in the series of deceits and the rush to war was inexcusable,” Ms Short told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
“The best way to correct what has gone wrong and clean up the government and go forward to the next election will be to persuade him that he has done some good, made some mistakes, but it is time to go, and time to replace him,” she said.
In a development that will horrify Downing Street, Ms Short, according to the report, disclosed that she would step up her criticism in her memoirs. “I am about to start on a book,” she said. Meanwhile, the storm over Ms Short’s claim that British intelligence bugged Mr Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General, shows no signs of abating.
As more doubt was
cast on her claims, senior government officials said Ms Short had been
denied sensitive intelligence reports, although she was a member of the
war cabinet, because she was regarded as a potential security risk. —
Washington, February 29
Dubai, February 29
Rajesh hogged the limelight on successfully bidding for the 24-carat 50-cm-high Zee Cine trophy designed by Australian Gold Mine’s Citigold Corp for a whopping Dirhams 4,50,000 (Rs 54 lakh approx) and receiving the same from Bollywood actor Salman Khan.
The organisers of the Zee awards, who were caught in a bind, did not want to comment, the Gulf News reported. The proceeds were to go to St Anthony’s Home for the Aged in Mumbai.
The report said quoting relatives of Rajesh that as
soon as it dawned on the young businessman that he would have to pay
nearly half a million dirhams for the trophy, he acknowledged it was a
mistake and returned the trophy. — PTI
Writer jailed for smuggling own book
doesn’t like labels Blair slept on park bench
doesn’t like labels
Blair slept on park bench