10 US soldiers
die in Baghdad blasts
9/11 panel grills
UN resolution to
stop arms proliferation
continue with N-programme
Baghdad, April 29
The deaths took to 534 the number of US soldiers killed in action since US-led forces invaded Iraq 13 months ago. About 125 of them have been killed in April, the bloodiest month for US forces in Iraq since the invasion.
The car bomb went off just south of Baghdad near Mahmudia at about 11:30 a.m. the US military said in a statement.
“Initial reports indicate that eight US soldiers were killed and four were wounded,” it said.
The soldiers were all from the 1st Armored Division and the wounded were flown to a Baghdad military hospital by helicopter, it added.
Shortly before dawn, a US soldier was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in eastern Baghdad, a separate statement said.
At around 10 a.m., a roadside bomb killed a US soldier and wounded another in the town of Baquba, 65 km north of Baghdad. Iraqi police said an Iraqi civilian was also killed in the attack.
With just weeks to go before the USA hands over sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30, US-led forces face a growing insurgency.
showed Iraqi civilian deaths combined with heavy US losses this month
have eroded support for U.S. President George W. Bush’s war plan both
among Iraqis and among the Americans who will vote on his re-election in
November. — Reuters
9/11 panel grills Bush, Cheney
Washington, April 29
In a historic session with potential election-year ramifications, Mr Bush and Mr Cheney sat down in the Oval Office with the panel of five Republicans and five Democrats to answer questions for possibly several hours.
Mr Bush and Mr Cheney agreed under pressure from victims’ families and the commission to answer its questions, but only on condition that they appear together and in private, with no tape recording of the session. They were not under oath.
Past testimony has established that elements of the US intelligence apparatus were aware of threats to American targets from the Al-Qaida network, before the attacks.
Mr Bush was
braced for close questioning about his response to an August 6, 2001,
presidential intelligence memo entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike
In US.’’ It said Al-Qaida members were in the United States and that the
FBI had detected suspicious patterns of activity ‘’consistent with
preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks.’’ — Reuters
Pasadena (California), April 29
Spirit drove 87.6 metres, setting a one-day distance record for the rover. A recent software upgrade has allowed the rover to travel three times the daily distance it could previously.
This has sped it along as it traverses toward the hills, which still lie 1,769 metres away.
Spirit has travelled about 1,280 metres since landing in January.
“The vehicle is doing a good job of making progress toward the Columbia Hills,” mission manager Matt Wallace told a press conference at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory yesterday.
Scientists are eager for Spirit to reach the hills since they may contain geological evidence of a wetter past that so far has eluded the rover in exploring its landing site inside Gusev Crater. Scientists believe a lake once may have filled the broad crater.
While on its way, Spirit has made only brief
“whistlestops” to gather measurements that will help scientists
characterise the terrain, science team member Dave Des Marais said. The
stops include brief observations designed to catch in the act the dust
devils known to swirl through the area. So far, the efforts to
photograph one of the swirling vortices have failed. — AP
Washington, April 29
They were among a group of 20 defectors speaking to reporters in Washington to mark “North Korea Freedom Day,” an annual event in the United States highlighting human rights abuses under the repressive Stalinist regime.
Mr Kim Yong Sung (71), said through an interpreter that the train accident could have been a botched attempt to murder the supreme leader.
“There is a possibility that some terrorists or rebellious groups wanted to kill Mr Kim Jong-il,” he said.
“Whether it is accidental or intentional, whatever happens, the regime will try to do everything to secure money from outside,” said the retired Russian-trained architect and engineer who defected to South Korea in 1992.
He and several other defectors were flown to Washington from South Korea by the North Korean Freedom Coalition, a US group fighting for freedom in North Korea.
The train accident, which left at least 161 persons dead and 1,300 injured at Ryongchon near the Chinese border, occurred last Thursday, just hours after the reclusive North Korean leader passed through the station in his armoured train.
North Korea responded to the disaster with unusual
speed by its standards, issuing an official announcement within two days
and accepting aid from the international community. Foreign diplomats
and aid workers were taken to the site. — AFP
Seoul, April 29
Seoul will respond to a North Korean
request to provide 25 million dollars worth of heavy construction
equipment and materials to its communist neighbour beginning next week,
Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said. — DPA
UN resolution to stop arms proliferation
United Nations, April 29
The resolution, drafted by the United States, comes in the wake of nuclear proliferation by top Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, but gives Islamabad a reprieve by not making it retroactive.
The resolution asks all states to refrain from providing any form of support to non-state actors that attempts to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery in particular for terrorist purposes.
It also demands that states enforce an effective law to prevent proliferation of such weapons, maintain account for and secure such items in production, use, storage or transport and prevent illicit trafficking in them.
However, several changes were made in the original draft to take into account India’s concerns on various counts.
For several days, Indian diplomats held extensive discussions with their counterparts from the permanent members of the council and officials worked in capitals to ensure that the resolution took into account the Indian perspective.
India has firmly told the UN Security Council that it will not accept any norm or standard which is not in its national interests, infringes on its sovereignty or is within jurisdiction of its Parliament.
In a letter to the council shortly before it adopted a resolution yesterday to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-state entities and terrorists, Indian UN Ambassador Vijay Nambiar expressed full support and “unwavering” commitment to global efforts for preventing the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery.
questioned the tendency of the 15-member Council to assume legislative
and treaty-making powers on behalf of the international community,
binding on all states, “a function not envisaged in the United Nations
Charter.” — PTI
Pakistan would “continue to develop its nuclear missiles and related strategic capability to maintain the minimum credible deterrence viz-a-viz our eastern neighbour which has embarked on major programmes for nuclear weapons, missiles, anti-missiles and conventional arms acquisition and development,” its Ambassador to UN, Mr Munir Akram, said without naming India.
Addressing the Security Council meeting yesterday after it had adopted a resolution to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into hands of terrorists, he said Pakistan had “proposed creation of a strategic restraint regime in South Asia encompassing nuclear-weapons and confidence building measures; a conventional balance of arms and resolution of underlying disputes.”
“We hope to promote such a regime under the composite dialogue by the two states,” he said in an obvious reference to the Indo-Pak composite dialogue process scheduled to begin in May-June.
Akram said the expert-level meeting between the two countries on nuclear
CBMs would be held next month. He made it clear that Pakistan would not
accept any demand for access, much less inspections, of its nuclear and
strategic assets, materials and facilities. — PTI
Kandahar, (Afghanistan) April 29
The school in Landai village of Dand district, south of Kandahar city, a former Taliban stronghold, was torched yesterday by Taliban and their allies, deputy military commander Hajji Grani told AFP.
“Taliban introduced themselves to the school children of the village by burning their school in the darkness of night,” he said.
A senior Muslim cleric was shot dead yesterday as he answered the door to his Kandahar home after he had spoken out against the Taliban and Al-Qaida and urged people to support the US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
MAIMANA: Tension in the northern Afghan province of Faryab ran high on Thursday after an official narrowly escaped a bomb blast. Young supporters of a renegade commander vowed violence if the Governor was reinstated.
Followers of ethnic Uzbek commander and presidential adviser Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose forces overran the provincial capital three weeks ago forcing the Governor to flee, rode around town on motorbikes and Dostum propaganda played over loudspeakers.
“If the Governor returns we will make this another Palestine,” said Najibullah Salimi, an organiser of the youth wing of Dostum’s Junbish party.
Kabul-backed Governor Anayatullah
Anayat has yet to return to the residence he fled in Maimana, and
Dostum’s continued control of the town underlines the weakness of the
US-backed central government over outlying areas. — AFP, Reuters
Copenhagen, April 29
In one scene of the film “Manderley”, currently being shot in Trollhaettan in south-western Sweden, a donkey is to be killed on camera, a prospect which caused Reilly to resign from the crew, it told AFP late last night.
Zentropa head Peter Aalbaek Jensen said the donkey was to be put down anyway, and Von Trier’s team got permission to keep it alive a little longer, for the purposes of the film, he said.
It would die with “dignity”, according to Swedish regulations, he said.
Postcard from Nazi camp 60 years
23 dead in bus crash
Two hanged publicly in Iran
2 dead in
23 dead in bus crash
Two hanged publicly in Iran
2 dead in