Congo asks UN to
get Rwandan troops off its soil
space travellers returns
Blast victims get
aid from Seoul
Babbar Khalsa on US
terrorism exclusion list
Court rules in
favour of Sikh policeman
held in Indonesia
Pope calls for
release of hostages
victims seek UN help
United Nations, April 30
The 15-nation council has tentatively scheduled a closed-door meeting for next Tuesday to hear from both sides on the charge, council diplomats said yesterday.
The continuing presence of Rwandan troops on Congo’s soil, after Rwanda formally withdrew its forces in 2002, was “in flagrant violation of all agreements and commitments signed between the government of my country and that of Rwanda,” Congo’s U.N. Ambassador Atoki Ileka told the council in a letter made public yesterday.
Congo’s government said in Kinshasa this week that it saw the incident as “an act of extreme gravity, likely to upset the normalisation process under way between our two countries.”
Mr Ileka said Rwandan military forays into Congo were regularly reported by residents of the sprawling central African nation’s North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, which border Rwanda.
Rwanda initially invaded Congo in 1996, saying it was defending itself from attacks by Hutu rebels involved in Rwanda’s genocide who later fled across the border to Congo.
Rwandan forces then became embroiled in Congo’s long civil war that has now largely fizzled out.
As part of a U.N.-monitored peace process, Rwanda withdrew its troops two years ago, but said it would send them back if it felt threatened by the thousands of Hutu rebels still living in Congo’s forests.
The United Nations, which has a 10,800-strong force in the former Zaire, reported an encounter with hundreds of Rwandan soldiers in eastern Congo last week.
The U.N. mission came under criticism when it was later learned that the peacekeepers were told by the commander of the Rwandan troops to return to their base in the eastern town of Goma and they did as told.
But a U.N. spokesman defended the U.N. soldiers
saying in Kinshasa on Wednesday that their task had simply been to
observe the troop movements and report back. — Reuters
The Soyuz TMA-3 capsule carried American astronaut Michael Foale and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri, who spent some six months on the ISS, and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers of the Netherlands, who was returning after a nine-day mission on the station.
“We landed amazingly softly,” Kaleri said as he sat in a chair outside the capsule, along side his two crew mates, wrapped in blankets and sipping hot tea to stave off the early morning chill.
Sean O’Keefe, administrator of the US space agency NASA, monitored the landing with other US, Russian and European space officials at mission control outside Moscow. He said it was “flawless.”
“It was a testimonial to the depth of the partnership of the International Space Station,” he said.
Seoul, April 30
The Korean Air Boeing 747-400F left Incheon Airport outside Seoul today. Flying across the western sea border in an hour long flight, it landed in the airport in Pyongyang, the North’s capital, carrying US$470,000 worth of aid, said the South’s Unification Ministry.
Today’s relief flight is in addition to US$25 million in building materials, food and other goods Seoul plans to start shipping next week to Ryongchon.
South Korea has been quick to respond to the North’s request for help after the April 22 disaster, although Pyongyang has rejected Seoul’s offer to truck supplies across their heavily fortified border, seriously slowing the transport of emergency supplies.
Announcing this here, State Department Deputy Spokesman Adem Ereli said 10 groups figured in the list, which also included the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) alias United Revolutionary People’s Council, alias People’s Libertion Army of Nepal.
All these organisations previously had been designated by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of State under the executive order on terrorist financing.
The intention of the new designation is to
complement with travel restrictions the assets freeze imposed on these
organisations. — PTI
Court rules in favour of Sikh policeman
New York, April 30
“Jasjit Singh Jaggi, a traffic officer, was discriminated against based on his religious beliefs and should be reinstated, as well as allowed to wear a turban and grow his beard,” Administrative Law Judge Donna Merris ruled yesterday.
The judgement, which could be the first step in allowing Sikhs and employees of other religions to wear their religious articles while at work, came in a case filed by Mr Jaggi last year with the city Commission of Human Rights, accusing the NYPD of religious discrimination.
Mr Jaggi filed the complaint on June 19, 2002, after he was told by the department that he had to remove his turban and trim his beard or face severe consequences, including removal from job.
His efforts to convince the department by offering to wear a white turban, the same colour as the hat the city’s traffic officers wear, with a badge on it was turned down.
Reacting to the judgement, the New York Police Department said it hoped to convince the human rights commission that every employee should wear an eight-point hat.
The Police Department in its argument had said that sporting a
religious headgear would hamper work. “He would not be recognised as a
traffic agent and he could not put on a gas mask or an escape hood in an
emergency,” it had said. — PTI
Jakarta, April 30
As soon he stepped out of the jail after serving a sentence for lesser offences, a detective showed Bashir (65), a warrant for his arrest under an anti-terrorism law.
“Yes, sir,” Bashir told the detective. “There is no problem.” He was taken into an armoured vehicle, escorted by plainclothes and uniformed police, and driven to national police headquarters.
The police says it has fresh evidence that Bashir leads the Al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, which is blamed for the Bali bombings and other deadly blasts.
“We will challenge this in court. This is not an arrest, this is kidnapping,” said one of Bashir’s lawyers.
“We were not notified. This is not law. There is no more law in this country.”
Another lawyer said Bashir had been accused of violating the anti-terrorism law and could be detained for six months without trial.
“What the police claims as new evidence is nonsense.
All of it was reviewed during the previous trial and was not proven.”
The families of the hostages led the demonstration, stressing they were sending a message of peace and refused to allow the march to become politicised.
The police estimated the turnout at about 3,000. The crowd carried a huge rainbow colored flag, the international symbol of the anti-Iraq war movement, but remained silent throughout the march.
The three security guards should be freed “in the name of the one God who will judge us all”, the Pope said in a message read out by his Foreign Minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, in Saint Peter’s Square.
At the end of the march, the Vatican allowed a small number of people onto the square to express their views, though the police stopped a group carrying a banner demanding immediate withdrawal of the 3,000 Italian troops from Iraq.
The families had earlier said they hoped the Pope would express
his support and had appealed for a huge turnout. — AFP
United Nations, April
Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla said the world body goes to aid of victims of every disaster whether natural or man-made but it was discriminating against Bhopal victims.
Talking to the media yesterday, they spoke about the toxic effects of the leak being passed on to the new generation and urged the international community to force Dow Chemicals, which took over Union Carbide from whose pesticide plant the gas had leaked, to take responsibility and compensate victims.
They also sought
help to clean the factory site and nearby areas where, they said, Union
Carbide’s plant had dumped toxic material. — PTI
BBC Arabic news Indo-Pak dialogue
Dual citizenship for NRIs
Dual citizenship for NRIs