Seven killed in
Iraq car blast
trapped on Afghan border
allow gas pipeline to India
Baghdad, June 13
However, the US military put the death count at 12 with 13 wounded.
The blast occurred near a petrol station at 9.15 am (1045 IST) in Baghdad’s Rustumya district, where people had been waiting in queues to get their vehicles refueled. It left smoldering debris strewn across the street.
“It was a suicide bomb,” said Abu Omar, a policeman present at the scene of occurrence. “The suicide bomber stopped close to a police car and blew off himself,” Abu Omar said. “Four policemen inside the car were completely burnt,” he added.
An official at Iraq’s Interior Ministry said the bomb destroyed two police cars and eight civilian vehicles.
Meanwhile, insurgents here today assassinated a senior Iraqi official and scored a direct hit on the US-led coalition’s headquarters in Iraq, damaging Saddam Hussein’s former main palace.
Kamal Jarrah, Director of Cultural Relations at Iraq’s Culture Ministry, was gunned down in front of his home in the west of Baghdad as he left for work, an official said.
“Unidentified attackers opened fire on Kamal Jarrah in front of his house in the Ghazalia quarter, killing him on the spot,” he said.
The attack bore marked similarities to the killing of Iraq’s deputy Foreign Minister, Bassam Kubba, who was shot while leaving for the office yesterday.
Kubba had just returned from New York where he was part of an Iraqi delegation to the UN. He was the first national official to be assassinated since the country’s new caretaker government was unveiled less than two weeks ago.
Another high-profile figure, General Hussein Mustapha, who heads Iraq’s border guards, narrowly escaped an ambush yesterday as his two-car convoy was sprayed with bullets on a Baghdad highway.
In another incident, an Iraqi geography professor, Sabri al-Bayati, was shot dead today. He had just came out of a Baghdad university campus, said a witness and a medical official.
“It was 12.15 pm (1345 IST), I heard three shots and saw a man collapsing in the street,” said Sabah Shukur, whose shop stands directly opposite Baghdad University’s College of Literature in the western district of Bab al-Muawdam.
Pak commandoes trapped on
Afghan border Islamabad, June 13 Reports from the Waziristan agency said the fighting died down yesterday mainly due to the fact that the authorities had started negotiations with the militants through the local tribal elders. While the details of the army operation, which continued into its fourth day today, were sketchy due to restrictions imposed by the Pakistani authorities on media, local tribesmen, who got out of Mandata and Shakai areas, told the ‘News’ that several army commandos were trapped in the area and efforts were on to rescue them. They said elders from local tribes have been approached to negotiate with militants. However, there was no official reaction to the report so far.
Islamabad, June 13
Reports from the Waziristan agency said the fighting died down yesterday mainly due to the fact that the authorities had started negotiations with the militants through the local tribal elders.
While the details of the army operation, which continued into its fourth day today, were sketchy due to restrictions imposed by the Pakistani authorities on media, local tribesmen, who got out of Mandata and Shakai areas, told the ‘News’ that several army commandos were trapped in the area and efforts were on to rescue them.
They said elders from local tribes have been approached to negotiate with militants. However, there was no official reaction to the report so far.
Auckland, June 13
It hit Mr Phil and Ms Brenda Archer’s suburban Ellerslie home yesterday morning and while they now had a large hole in their roof, they had been told the book-sized rock could be worth around 10,000 NZ $ (6,000 US) to collectors.
“I was in the kitchen doing breakfast and there was this almighty explosion,” Ms Brenda said. “It was like a bomb had gone off. I couldn’t see anything, there was just dust.”
She thought something had exploded in the ceiling but her husband saw a stone under the computer and it was hot to touch.
The rock hit her leather couch and bounced back up to the ceiling before rolling under the computer.
External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh’s avoidable remarks on the issue of India sending troops to Iraq may well be interpreted as a case of ‘saying a bit too much too early’.
But the Opposition and the UPA government allies like the Left have not earned any glory for themselves either. They showed unseemly hurry in pronouncing judgement on Mr Natwar Singh’s remarks and jumping to the conclusion that the Manmohan Singh government has already decided to send troops to Iraq.
May be one can condone Mr Natwar Singh for getting carried away by the extra-special treatment meted out to him in Washington — he was driven to President Ronald Reagan’s funeral in a car, while other foreign ministers had to travel by bus. His remarks were music to American ears and cacophony to Indian Opposition leaders. In fact, the minister said nothing that should have upset the Opposition.
Mr Natwar Singh has said: “Now the situation is changed. There is a resolution unanimously passed in United Nations and there are Arab members in it.” This is a remark which is couched in diplomacy and should be read or interpreted that way only.
Former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha has rightly pointed out that there was no change in the Iraq situation and the United Nations Security Council had passed resolutions earlier also. Arab members were party to those resolutions also. But Mr Sinha has chosen to take out only politically correct (from his point of view) extracts from Mr Natwar Singh’s quotes.
The following remarks of Mr Natwar Singh made in the same breath during his joint press conference with Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington should put things in complete perspective: “We are a coalition government, so the matter will have to be discussed by the government and the Cabinet Committee on Security. There is a resolution of the last Parliament on this issue in which we had given our opinion that we were against sending troops to Iraq.... We’ll look at it very carefully. But I must emphasise that this matter will have to be placed before the government at the highest levels so it would be premature for me to say yea or nay.”
A couple of minutes earlier, Mr Natwar Singh had responded to a question on the Iraq issue thus: “We have always been in favour of the United Nations being involved in a central responsibility along with their friends and other members of the Security Council. With regard to the question you asked about the Indian troops, nobody has asked us. We’ll look at the resolution very minutely. We are not in the Security Council. And we’ll take a decision when the time comes.”
After reading this quote any dispassionate, apolitical observer would wonder what sins of omission and commission Mr Natwar Singh has committed to earn the Opposition’s sobriquets like “a national liability” and “a foot-in-mouth minister”?
Two important developments took place on the eve of Mr Natwar Singh’s maiden visit to the USA: press reports of an American official asking India to place its nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards and the United Nations Security Council unanimously passing a resolution on the future of Iraq. The twin developments could well be playing on his sub-conscious.
US State Department Director of Policy Planning Mitchell B. Reiss was quoted as saying at a conference on ‘South Asia and the nuclear future’ on June 4 in Washington that: “We would like to see India place all of its civilian facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.”
The subject is anathema not only to the leadership in India, but also to that in Pakistan. Both New Delhi and Islamabad feel such talk smacks of “nuclear apartheid”.
Dhaka, June 13
The control over the laying of pipeline would, however, remain with Bangladesh, State Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources A.K.M. Mosharaff Hossain said.
Bangladesh would gain over $ 100 million per annum from the project, sources said. The same pipeline could also be used to carry gas to northern parts of the country, they added.
Maoists ban Indian films ‘S. Asians prone to kidney failure’ 4 killed in mine explosion
‘S. Asians prone to kidney failure’
4 killed in mine explosion