3 convicted of
plot to wage war against USA
US Senate bars
outsourcing of jobs
Bush’s ad campaign
US knew of Khan’s
President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali met in Rawalpindi today to review national security and ongoing anti-terrorism operations in the rugged regions of the Pakistan-Afghan border.
Russian Parliament today overwhelmingly approved Mikhail Fradkov, an old India hand, as Prime Minister of the country, ahead of the March 14 presidential elections. Fradkov’s nomination was backed by 352-58 votes with 24 abstentions in the 450-strong state Duma or the Lower House.
Mikhail Fradkov, Russia's former Chief Tax Policeman, addresses the State Duma Lower House of Parliament in Moscow on Friday. Russian parliamentary deputies on Friday rubber-stamped President Vladimir Putin's surprise choice of Fradkov as Prime Minister. — Reuters photo
Three members of a family of Indian-origin, including a seven-month-old child, were shot dead by a gunman known to them in South Africa, the police said today.
Washington, March 5
The government obtained convictions yesterday on all of the most serious charges it filed against the three American Muslims— Masoud Khan, 32, of Gaithersburg, Mohammad Seifullah Chapman, 31, of Alexandria, and Hammad Abdur-Raheem, 35, of Falls Church. All three face a potential maximum of life in prison.
All three were acquitted on some lesser firearm charges and those of commencing an expedition against a friendly nation, namely India.
Khan and Abdur-Raheem were to be sentenced on June 4 and Chapman on June 11.
“The defendants convicted were associates of a violent extremist group known as Lashkar-e-Toiba, which operates in Pakistan and Kashmir and which has ties to the Al-Qaida terrorist network,” US Attorney-General John Ashcroft said.
Khan, who faced the most serious charges, was convicted of conspiracy to wage a war against the US and conspiracy to contribute services to the Taliban. He faces a maximum of life plus 50 years, and related firearm convictions require mandatory minimum sentences of 90 years.
Chapman and Abdur-Raheem were convicted of providing material support to LeT and firearm charges. Chapman faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years; Abdur-Raheem does not face a mandatory minimum.
Prosecutors said the three men were part of a “Virginia jihad network” that used paintball games in 2000 and 2001 to train for holy war around the globe.
Two defendants —Chapman and Abdur-Raheem — testified in their own defence and said the paintball games were innocent fun and fellowship among a group of Muslim friends.
Chapman admitted attending the Lashkar camp in August, 2001, but said he did so not to train for holy war but for a gruelling physical challenge in the rugged Pakistani mountains. Khan did not testify, but his lawyers denied any hostile intent.
Six members of the alleged conspiracy have already pleaded
guilty to various charges and are receiving prison sentences ranging
from four years to about 11 years. Five of those who struck pleas
testified for the prosecution. — PTI
US Senate bars outsourcing of jobs
Washington, March 5
The bill, approved yesterday by a strong majority of 70 to 26, if signed into law, would bar contractors from moving work offshore in cases where the government privatises work once done by federal employees, when the federal government contracts for goods and services and when the state governments contract work using federal funds.
Several Republicans criticised the move as a step away from friendly world trade and warned that the ban might result in a backlash.
Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, who sponsored the bill said: “You may be able to do that (outsource) with your own money. The question is, should you be able to do that with taxpayers’ money?”
Opponents of the measure, however, won their demand for a change which prevents the policy from taking effect until the Commerce Department proves that the ban would not hurt the economy or lead to more job losses.
Meanwhile, the outburst against outsourcing of jobs to
countries like India has taken an ugly turn with an Indian-American
candidate for the Congressional poll in California getting phone calls
threatening to “eliminate” him. — PTI
Outcry over Bush’s ad campaign
New York, March 5
The controversy erupted as Bush’s $ 100-million re-election campaign began airing the commercials in the media with visuals of charred smoldering remains of the World Trade Center and firefighters emerging with a flag-draped stretcher apparently carrying the body of a victim.
The ads referring to the terrorist attacks and to the recent recession are designed to project Bush as a candidate determined to fight terrorism and offering “steady leadership in times of change”.
The Republicans began running the ad after battle lines were clearly drawn with Senator John Kerry certain to take on President Bush in the November elections.
Relatives of several victims
flayed the Bush campaign for using the tragedy for making a political
statement but others equally defended it, arguing the tragedy occurred
during Bush Presidency. — PTI
Washington, March 5
US, British and UN investigators found that a company in Pakistan was prepared to sell everything needed to make a nuclear bomb - plans, equipment and fuel for $ 50 million with no questions asked about how it might be used, it said.
The one-stop nuclear package was even advertised at a Pakistani arms show in 2000, where the company handed out brochures to visitors, including a reporter for a defence weekly.
“The company gave out two very glossy brochures, inside of which they promised to provide all of the components needed for a uranium-enrichment facility,” reporter Andrew Koch was quoted by the ABC News as saying.
Behind the programme was the now-disgraced
Abdul Qadeer Khan, who confessed last month to selling nuclear secrets
to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Investigators said he made millions
running the operation. — PTI
Islamabad, March 5
“The two leaders have vowed to rid the country of the scourge of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism,” said an official statement.
The meeting took place in the backdrop of Tuesday’s massacre in Quetta, where 44 Shiite Muslims were killed and over 150 injured in a suicide attack on a religious procession by three armed men.
Both leaders condemned the incident and have directed authorities to take all possible measures to find the perpetrators of the crime and award them with “exemplary” punishments, said the statement.
The meeting also focused on recent operations carried out in the South Waziristan region to track down Al-Qaida and Taliban fugitives.
Pakistan’s private Geo television reported that the
President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue operations against
“foreign terrorists” in the South Waziristan region, which borders
Afghanistan’s Paktia province. — DPA
Duma approves Fradkov as PM
(53), who would be the ninth Prime Minister of the post-Soviet Russia,
required the minimum 226 votes for his approval. He was named
prime-ministerial candidate by President Valdimir Putin on Monday in the
wake of surprise dismissal of Mikhail Kasyanov on February 24. — PTI
Durban, March 5
The gunman shot dead 50-year-old Anand Sukkan, his 28-year-old daughter Anitha Sukkan and her seven-month-old daughter Zil Hyder in the suburb of Reservoir Hills last night.
The three died on
the spot while four other members of the family escaped unhurt, police
spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said. The gunman, who was known to the
family, escaped in the family’s BMW, he said. — PTI
Needles removed from man after 29