SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

US embassy in Pak on security alert
Islamabad, July 5
A security alert forced the US embassy in Pakistan to postpone an Independence Day reception today and the British High Commission was temporarily closed, according to spokesmen for the missions.

Canadian province to have Shariah law
Toronto, July 5
Even as the Muslim Personal Law Board in India is making moves to introduce reforms in the Shariah law, Ontario is set to take a step backwards in time by becoming the first province in Canada as well as the first Western jurisdiction to accept the 1,400-year-old religious law in its legal system.

Winnie Mandela acquitted of fraud charges
Duban, July 5
Former South African First Lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela today won an appeal for the abrogation of a five-year jail sentence imposed on her in connection with bank loans she obtained from her employees, and was aquitted of all fraud charges.

South African anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela arrives at the Pretoria High Court on Monday.
— Reuters photo

South African anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela arrives at the Pretoria High Court

10 Islamists to face trial over thwarted attack
Paris, July 5
Ten suspected Islamist militants have been ordered to stand trial in France in connection with a failed plot to bomb a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg in 2000, court sources said today.

AIDS threat looms large over India
Hong Kong, July 5
Three Asian countries that are alone home to 40 per cent of humanity are at risk of seeing the HIV/AIDS epidemic jumping from narrow risk groups into the broader population, experts warn.

Asian nations warned of chemical attacks
Kuala Lumpur, July 5
Asian governments were warned today to prepare for the possibility of deadly chemical attacks by terrorist groups such as the Al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah.




South African centurion Philip Rabinowitz runs in his bid to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records
South African centurion Philip Rabinowitz runs in his bid to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest 100-year-old to run 100 metres at the Mandela Park Sport Stadium near Cape Town on Sunday. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

Pak acquires 50 Mirages
Islamabad, July 5
Pakistan has purchased 50 used Mirage fighter aircraft from Libya to cater to the need of spare parts for the planes already flying for its air force.

A bull jumps into the sea as a reveller looks on during festivities in honour of the patron saint of the eastern Spanish coastal town of Denia on Monday. Revellers, coming out from protection barriers, encourage bulls to chase them until both fall into the sea. Bulls are later rescued by small boats who tow them to safety. — Reuters

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US embassy in Pak on security alert

Islamabad, July 5
A security alert forced the US embassy in Pakistan to postpone an Independence Day reception today and the British High Commission was temporarily closed, according to spokesmen for the missions.

Security, already tight after attacks and threats on foreign missions in Pakistan in the recent years, has been beefed up after what the foreign ministry called a "specific credible threat".

Both the missions are in a heavily guarded diplomatic enclave in the capital, Islamabad.

Islamic militants in Pakistan were enraged when President Pervez Musharraf threw the country's support behind the US-led war on terror after the September 11 attacks in the USA.

The policy has involved dropping Pakistan's support for the Afghan Taliban regime, toppled in late 2001, and cracking down on Pakistani militant groups involved in sectarian violence and the Kashmir insurgency against India.

"It was meant to be today," a US spokesman said, referring to a reception to mark yesterday's Independence Day.

"There was a security threat to the diplomatic enclave." He declined to give further details.

A spokesman for the British High Commission said it had been closed temporarily.

Foreign ministry spokesman Masood Khan said the two missions had been given "full protection".

"The security around the missions has been beefed up. There is no cause to worry because all the necessary steps and all the precautionary steps have been taken," he told a regular briefing. — Reuters
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Canadian province to have Shariah law

Toronto, July 5
Even as the Muslim Personal Law Board in India is making moves to introduce reforms in the Shariah law, Ontario is set to take a step backwards in time by becoming the first province in Canada as well as the first Western jurisdiction to accept the 1,400-year-old religious law in its legal system.

Under the 1991 Arbitration Act, Shariah-based marriage, divorce and family tribunals run by the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice are expected to begin later this year in the province of Ontario.

One of the reasons cited by Ontario in allowing Shariah tribunals is that Hasidic Jews have been using the Act for years in domestic arbitrations based on Jewish law and, therefore, Muslims can not be denied access to it.

The Arbitration Act allows religious groups to resolve civil family disputes within their faith, providing that all parties involved consent to the process and the results conform to Canadian law and human rights codes.

The move has created an uproar among progressive Muslims and Muslim women’s organisations who argue that it will lead to injustices.

Women’s groups are vowing to stop the tribunals even before they start to prevent Muslim women from being treated differently from other Canadian women.

The strong protest from the women’s group has forced Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to order a review of the plan. ‘’We’ve received a number of inquiries and concerns expressed on the part of Ontarians and I want to take a close look at this to make sure we’re doing the right thing,’’ Mr McGuinty said when asked about the proposal to allow the use of Shariah law to settle family disputes, including divorce.

‘’When the law in Canada is reasonably good for all women, why introduce a different law here for the Muslim women?’’ said Alia Hogben, president of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, adding that the root cause of the problem was the Arbitration Act, which allowed different communities to have their own laws.

The Ontario Government has now appointed former NDP attorney-general Marion Boyd to review the Arbitration Act itself. — UNI
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Winnie Mandela acquitted of fraud charges

Duban, July 5
Former South African First Lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela today won an appeal for the abrogation of a five-year jail sentence imposed on her in connection with bank loans she obtained from her employees, and was aquitted of all fraud charges.

Acting on an appeal by the former wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, the Pretoria High Court reduced the sentence handed down in April 2003 from five years to three years and six months, and declared it suspended.

However, her co-accused, Addy Moolman, who had also appealed against his conviction and sentence, was sentenced by Judge Eberhardt Bertelsmann to four years in prison for fraud.

After the decision, Madikizela-Mandela said the judgement regarding her fraud charges was “completely wrong”.

She said she would appeal against the three years and six month’s imprisonment on the fraud charges that was suspended for five years.

Mr Mandela was accompanied by her daughter Zinzi, and some of her supporters.

A group of members of the Congress of South Africa Students also turned up at the court to support the former ANC Women’s League President. Mr Mandela was found guilty in the Pretoria Regional Court in 2003 on 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft. She had argued that her conviction had been based on an unfair trial. — PTI
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10 Islamists to face trial over thwarted attack

Paris, July 5
Ten suspected Islamist militants have been ordered to stand trial in France in connection with a failed plot to bomb a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg in 2000, court sources said today.

The trial of so-called “Frankfurt group”, who were accused of criminal association with a terrorist group, was expected to begin in a Paris criminal court in October.

The suspects were to face a maximum of 10 years punishment in prison.

French investigators believed that they thwarted what could have been a massive attack with just a few days to spare.

The 10 suspects are accused of helping to plan the attack on the Strasbourg market in December 2000, a crowded venue throughout the Christmas holiday period.

Among those due to stand trial is the suspected mastermind of the attack, Algerian national Mohammed Bensakhria, who was arrested in Spain in June 2001 and later extradited to France.

Investigators said Bensakhria travelled to Strasbourg on December 10, 2000, as the market was being set up to research the location for the alleged bomb attack.

The French police began investigating the matter after the German police arrested several suspects.

Four members of the “Frankfurt group” were convicted in a Frankfurt court in March 2003 in connection with the plot, and sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in prison. — AFP
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AIDS threat looms large over India

Hong Kong, July 5
Three Asian countries that are alone home to 40 per cent of humanity are at risk of seeing the HIV/AIDS epidemic jumping from narrow risk groups into the broader population, experts warn.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have warned that India, China and Indonesia are in danger of seeing serious HIV outbreaks among their more than 250 crore population. The warning will be among the issues to be discussed when some 20,000 top researchers, policymakers and activists gather in Bangkok this week.

They will be taking part in one of the biggest conferences in the 23-year history of AIDS, to assess the pandemic that is poised to ravage eastern Europe as well as Asia's most populous countries.

"There are increasing warning signals that serious HIV outbreaks threaten in several countries (in Asia)," the two UN agencies said in their annual report, "AIDS Epidemic Update", released in November, 2003.

"Injecting drug use and sex work are so pervasive in some areas that even countries with currently low infection levels could see epidemics surge suddenly," the report said. — AFP
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Asian nations warned of chemical attacks

Kuala Lumpur, July 5
Asian governments were warned today to prepare for the possibility of deadly chemical attacks by terrorist groups such as the Al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

The warning came at a conference here attended by more than 70 chemical weapons experts, security officials and policy makers from 12 countries, including Japan, China, Canada, the United States, Singapore and Thailand.

“There is a growing concern of the potential threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (CBRN) in the hands of terrorists,” said Zainal Abidin Zain, Director-General of the South-East Asia Regional Centre for Counter-terrorism.

Among all of the CBRN weapons, chemical weapons are potentially the easiest to be manufactured. — AFP
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Pak acquires 50 Mirages

Islamabad, July 5
Pakistan has purchased 50 used Mirage fighter aircraft from Libya to cater to the need of spare parts for the planes already flying for its air force.

While most of the planes brought from Libya will be scrapped for spare parts for its fleet of Mirage, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will also assess the air worthiness of the planes. Mirage-III and V are already being used by the PAF and the Mirages purchased from Libya are in both variations. The supply of the 50 Mirage planes along with 150 sealed pack engines and huge quantity of spares has begun from Tripoli to the PAF bases, Pakistani daily The News reported. — PTI
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BRIEFLY


A hawker sells copies of Bill Clinton's autobiography My Life in Dhaka
A hawker sells copies of Bill Clinton's autobiography 'My Life' in Dhaka on Monday. The book is being sold for 2,200 taka ($35). — Reuters

US HINDU VARSITY AWARDS DEGREE
NEW YORK:
For the first time, the Hindu University of America has awarded two degrees at its Orlando campus in Florida. Jessica Sayles, who earned her master’s degree in Hinduism and Vedic Astrology, was honoured with a shawl and awarded a certificate. However, Uma Balu, the other student, was not present to receive the degree. — UNI

13 KILLED IN MAOIST ATTACKS
KATHMANDU:
At least 12 police personnel and a civilian were killed in an ambush set by Maoists on Monday morning in Parsa district in southern Terai, bordering Raxaul in India. The vehicle of security personnel was ambushed at Bahurwa village, 17 km west of Birgunj, the district headquarters of Pasra district, a district police officer said. — UNI

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ELVIS
MEMPHIS:
Memphis celebrates an important musical anniversary on Monday when it marks 50 years since Elvis Presley recorded the song ‘’That’s all right, mama’’, ushering in what some say was the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. It was Elvis’ first single and the beginning of an incomparable music and acting career. — DPA
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