likely for Putin
Blast kills two
Canada bans human
Gay group sues
California for right to marry
vehicles carrying essential commodities
minister of Indian origin dead
Moscow, March 13
According to the surveys, Mr Putin is set to garner up to 85 per cent of the votes in the absence of serious challengers.
As the campaign came to a close at midnight, the government further strengthened security at sensitive points, including nuke installations, railway stations, metro stations, airports, seaports and riverports across the country, by deploying special security units.
Russian security forces are taking extra measures in view of the recent terrorist attacks in Madrid although the head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Main Transport Police Department Gen, Vyacheslav Zakharenkov, denied that security measures were related to the terrorist train bombings in Spain.
‘’We are always on the alert,’’ Mr Zakharenkov told Itar-Tass news agency. Mr Putin has five opponents in the presidential race, which the Russian media has described as the most lacklustre in the country.
They include an
economist and ex-Communist Sergei Glazyev, Communist-backed Nikolai
Khatitonov, Oleg Malyshkin of Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR),
the Federation Council chairman Sergei Mironov and Irina Khakamada, the
only female candidate, who is not supported by her party Union of Right
Forces (SPS). — UNI
Baghdad, March 13
Separately, an Iraqi died and three others were injured in a road accident in central Iraq after their lorry was hit by a US army vehicle, the local police said.
Away from the violence, Washington doled out more coveted reconstruction contracts in Iraq to US companies.
In an early morning ambush, a US convoy on patrol in Tikrit, 180 km north of Baghdad, was hit by a roadside bomb and shot at by unknown attackers, a senior US military official said.
“We had two coalition soldiers killed and five
coalition soldiers wounded,” the official said. — AFP
Ottawa, March 13
The landmark legislation on reproduction also prohibits the sale of sperm, and payments to egg donors and surrogate mothers, the Canadian Health Ministry said yesterday.
“The first objective of the law is to prohibit reproductive practices which are unacceptable for health or security reasons, or ethical ones like human cloning,” said Francine Manseau, spokeswoman for Health Canada.
“The law will regulate the practice of extracting stem cells from embryos for research and will require official authorisation to do so”, she said.
Kabul, March 13
The operation, codenamed “Mountain Storm’’, was launched on March 7 and involved troops from the 13,500-strong US-led force backed by air support, military spokesperson Lieut Col Bryan Hilferty told a news briefing.
“We believe that this will help bring the heads of the terrorist organisations to justice by continuing to place pressure on them,’’ he said.
Asked whether the operation could lead to the arrest of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Hilferty replied: “This operation is aimed like the rest at rebuilding and providing enduring security in Afghanistan, so it’s certainly about more than one person.
“We do have confidence though, and the leaders of the Al-Qaida and the leaders of the Taliban need to be brought to justice and they will be.’’
Hilferty said “Mountain Storm’’ was a continuation of previous operations which had involved patrols, searches and small-scale air assaults, but declined to provide details.
US defence officials in Washington on Friday described “Mountain Storm’’ as a broad spring offensive to hunt down Al-Qaida fugitives, including bin Laden.
The officials, speaking
on condition of anonymity, said it was timed to exploit improving
weather conditions in the remote, mountainous border region between
Afghanistan and Pakistan, where bin Laden is thought to be hiding. —
Francisco, March 13
The couples, five of which had been due to marry on Thursday, filed a suit against California Attorney-General Bill Lockyer, with the backing of two gay rights groups, demanding full marriage rights for same-sex partners across the state, despite the state Supreme Court’s crackdown. “As long as gay couples cannot marry, they are not treated equally under the law,” said Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal, which filed the suit on behalf of the couples.
“We’re seeking marriage beyond San Francisco
City Hall, so gay couples all across the state can be treated equally
under the law,” she said. — AFP
Kathmandu, March 13
The rebels, who have imposed economic blockades in 13 districts depriving people of essential commodities like rice, wheat, vegetables and medicine, halted transport services and burnt vehicles yesterday.
The government has tightened security along the major highways, and elaborate preparations have been made to normalise the public life, Home Ministry Spokesman Gopendra Bahadur Pandey said.
A group of Maoists torched a truck bearing an Indian number plate in the Pudsari area in Rupandehi district yesterday, government-run ‘The Rising Nepal’ daily reported.
The Maoists also set ablaze a passenger bus on the Bhairahawa-Lumbini sector the same day after forcing the passengers to get out of the bus, which was heading towards Bhairahawa from Lumbini at Semari, the daily said.
They also torched a passenger bus heading towards Kathmandu from Taulihawa at Kamaria village, the report said. However, no one was injured in these incidents.
Maoists kidnapped 42 teachers from various schools in the Jogbudha area in Dadeldhura district to make them participate in a district conference of the Maoist-affiliated teachers’ organisation tomorrow.
The rebels also charged Rs 125 from each of the kidnapped teachers to get the organisation’s membership.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal has expressed serious concern over the deteriorating human rights situations in the country.
Omar, whose parents arrived in Cape Town from Gujarat in the early 1930s, took seriously ill last week and was rushed to hospital in Cape Town, family sources said.
“A patriot has gone to rest forever,” a government statement said adding, “a stalwart has breathed his last at his post.”
Omar would be accorded a full state funeral, South African
government spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said. — PTI
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