SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

11 die in Baghdad blast
Philippines begins troop withdrawal

Baghdad, July 14
A suicide attacker detonated a massive car bomb today at a checkpoint near the British Embassy and the interim Iraqi government’s headquarters, killing 11 persons and wounding 40, including a US soldier, authorities said.

An Iraqi woman weeps after her house was damaged in a car bomb explosion in central Baghdad on Wednesday An Iraqi woman weeps after her house was damaged in a car bomb explosion in central Baghdad on Wednesday.
— Reuters photo

India asked to give impetus to SAARC process
Dhaka, July 14
Urging India to shed its “dominant” posture, speakers at a conference on SAARC here stressed that New Delhi has an extremely important role to play in the seven-nation regional grouping.

Sikhs seek steps against race crimes
New York, July 14
A large number of Sikhs demonstrated outside a police station here seeking vigorous action by US law enforcement agencies to fight hate crime, following the beating of a driver from their community apparently by drunken white youths. The protest was held at Richmond, Queens, yesterday and the demonstrators sought to emphasise that they were loyal to the country. — PTI

India’s role vital for Lanka peace, says Tamil Tiger
New Delhi, July 14
A rebel Tamil Tiger military commander on Tuesday made it clear that peace would never return to Sri Lanka unless India was involved in the country’s peace process.

‘Peeping Tom’ sparks riot
Beit Sahour, West Bank, July 14
A “Peeping Tom” who photographed a woman in the changing room of a Bethlehem area clothes shop sparked a night of rioting between Palestinian Muslims and Christians, witnesses said today.


The nine Hawk jets of the British Red Arrows aerobatics team trail red, white and blue smoke as they fly over the Arc de Triomphe at the end of France's annual Bastille Day military parade
The nine Hawk jets of the British Red Arrows aerobatics team trail red, white and blue smoke as they fly over the Arc de Triomphe at the end of France's annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysees on Wednesday. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

Journalism becoming dangerous in Bangladesh
Dhaka, July 14
Journalism is becoming an increasingly dangerous profession in Bangladesh. Over the past four years, 13 newsmen have been killed in the country’s crime-ridden southwest, assassinated by crime gangs some the police believe are linked to political groups. Dozens have been harassed.

Indian would-be immigrants sit after being intercepted on their way to Fuerteventura, one of Spain's Canary Islands, on Wednesday Australian children Stephen Nona, 12, and his sisters Noritta, 10, and Ellis, 15, are seen in an undated family handout picture
Indian would-be immigrants sit after being intercepted on their way to Fuerteventura, one of Spain's Canary Islands, on Wednesday. Around 39 persons, 25 of them from India, were intercepted off the coast of Fuerteventura, the closest of the Canary Islands to the African coast. — Reuters Australian children (from left to right) Stephen Nona, 12, and his sisters Noritta, 10, and Ellis, 15, are seen in an undated family handout picture. The three survived for six days after a small dinghy carrying them, their parents and another young relative capsized in the Torres Strait off northern Australia. The children swam through shark-infested waters between two tiny islands in search of food and water, surviving on coconuts and oysters before they were rescued.

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11 die in Baghdad blast
Philippines begins troop withdrawal

Baghdad, July 14
A suicide attacker detonated a massive car bomb today at a checkpoint near the British Embassy and the interim Iraqi government’s headquarters, killing 11 persons and wounding 40, including a US soldier, authorities said.

Hours earlier, the Philippines said it had begun withdrawing its troops from Iraq, an apparent bid to placate militants who threatened to kill a Filipino hostage if the tiny contingent was not out by July 20.

Underscoring the urgency of the Philippines’ predicament, militants in Iraq said they had killed a captive Bulgarian truck driver and threatened to put another Bulgarian hostage to death in 24 hours, Al-Jazeera television reported today.

The explosion shook buildings throughout central Baghdad about 9.15 a.m. when a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with 450 kg of explosives. The bomb killed four Iraqi national guardsmen and seven Iraqi civilians, the US military said. Many of the civilians were waiting in line to apply for jobs, presumably with the new Iraqi government or multinational forces.

Black and gray smoke billowed from the site of the blast, which left a crater two metres wide and one metre deep in the road. The charred remains of five cars stood by a protective blast wall that had been partially destroyed. Two other trucks and a car lay smouldering nearby. Police cars and ambulances raced to the scene, and US helicopters hovered overhead.

The attack was the worst in the Capital since the USA transferred sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government on June 28.

It targeted a checkpoint leading to a parking lot in the area formerly known as the “Green Zone,” the heavily protected Baghdad neighbourhood housing government offices and the US and British embassies, Iraqi police Col. Tawfeeq Sayer said.

Interim Prime Minister Tyad Allawi said the attack was retaliation to the government’s arrest of suspected terrorists, though he offered no details on suspects. The government said Tuesday it had arrested more than 500 suspects in a police sweep of militants in Baghdad.

The blast occurred on a national holiday marking the 46th anniversary of the bloody nationalist coup that killed Iraq’s last king, Faisal II.

One US soldier was slightly wounded, said Col. Mike Murray of the 1st Cavalry Division.

A Reuters driver suffered a shrapnel wound in the leg, agency spokeswoman Susan Allsopp said from London. The driver’s condition was not considered serious.

Kidnappers holding the Filipino, Angelo dela Cruz, said they would treat him like a prisoner of war if Manila made a good-faith move toward withdrawing its 51 troops early and would free him if the pullout was complete by July 20.

The government statement today did not clarify when the pullout would be finished but appeared directed toward that demand. — AP
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India asked to give impetus to SAARC process

Dhaka, July 14
Urging India to shed its “dominant” posture, speakers at a conference on SAARC here stressed that New Delhi has an extremely important role to play in the seven-nation regional grouping.

Speakers, including ministers, politicians, academicians and bureaucrats, at the two-day conference titled “The 12th SAARC Summit: Sustaining the momentum for regional cooperation and development in South Asia” asked India to change its attitude towards SAARC.

The conference, which began yesterday, heard speakers calling upon India to change its “mindset of dominant psyche” towards small neighbours and give new impetus to the SAARC process.

“In a friendly way, I will blame India for being dominant and not playing a leading role in developing a growth model for itself or its neighbours,” Bangladesh Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Moudud Ahmed said, alleging that India’s “failure” prevented SAARC from tapping its potential.

He also suggested that bilateral issues should not be brought to the SAARC for discussion as, he said, it might throw the future of the grouping’s ideals in serious doubt. — PTI
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India’s role vital for Lanka peace, says Tamil Tiger
M.R. Narayan Swamy

New Delhi, July 14
A rebel Tamil Tiger military commander on Tuesday made it clear that peace would never return to Sri Lanka unless India was involved in the country’s peace process.

“India has to be involved,” Vinayagamurthy Muraleedharan alias Karuna told IANS in a telephonic interview from an undisclosed location in Sri Lanka.

“We need India’s support. We strongly believe that without India’s support, nothing is possible; peace won’t come in Sri Lanka,” he said.

“We want to have good relations with India, this is the desire of our people. India should support the Tamil people,” Karuna added, in his first interaction with an Indian media organisation.

Karuna, who broke away from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in March-April, said LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran had committed a blunder by ordering the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“The killing of Rajiv Gandhi killed the Tamil Eelam struggle,” he said. “It has ensured that an independent Tamil state will never be possible”.

India has been kept informed of the developments related to the Norway-brokered peace process that led to a truce between Colombo and LTTE in February 2002.

But New Delhi has avoided taking any active role in Sri Lankan affairs since an LTTE suicide bomber blew up Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. — IANS
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‘Peeping Tom’ sparks riot

Beit Sahour, West Bank, July 14
A “Peeping Tom” who photographed a woman in the changing room of a Bethlehem area clothes shop sparked a night of rioting between Palestinian Muslims and Christians, witnesses said today.

At the height of the hours-long riot, hundreds of Muslims and Christians fought each other with metal rods and stones overnight in the streets of the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, adjacent to Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus.

The Palestinian police tried to quell the fighting by firing volleys in the air with automatic rifles, but the fighting only died down when the Bethlehem district Governor imposed a curfew on the predominantly Christian town. “It was like a war,” said Nahle, a Beit Sahour resident.

It was the first time in years that tension between Muslims and Christians in the Bethlehem area had exploded into a large-scale violence, residents said. — Reuters

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Journalism becoming dangerous in Bangladesh

Dhaka, July 14
Journalism is becoming an increasingly dangerous profession in Bangladesh.

Over the past four years, 13 newsmen have been killed in the country’s crime-ridden southwest, assassinated by crime gangs some the police believe are linked to political groups. Dozens have been harassed.

In the latest attack, newspaper Editor Humayun Kabir Balu was murdered in late June in the southern city of Khulna.

Balu was killed in a bomb attack by a group of unidentified men outside his office in the city, 350 km from Dhaka. His son, a journalism student, and another man were wounded in the attack.

Six months previously another senior Khulna journalist, Manik Saha, was killed in a bomb blast. “Journalists become the targets because they write against lawlessness and crime, especially in the southwest while the police seem to be helpless,’’ Hasan Shahriar, president of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, said.

The police say they have had little success in capturing the killers of the 13 newsmen. Privately, they blame the murders and subsequent protection of the killers on rival political groups.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a recent report: ‘’Bangladesh is one of the most violent countries in Asia for journalists’’.

Bangladeshi journalists face harassment for reporting on issues that expose corruption or other misdeeds, said another senior newsmen. — Reuters
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BRIEFLY


Actor and AIDS activist Richard Gere holds the hands of orphans while visiting the Mercy Centre in Bangkok
Actor and AIDS activist Richard Gere holds the hands of orphans while visiting the Mercy Centre in Bangkok on Wednesday. Gere is participating in the 15th International AIDS Conference which is hosted by Bangkok until July 16. — Reuters

Hotel sells beds of celebrities
ZURICH:
Years after Sophia Loren graced the Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich with her presence, the bed the Italian actress slept in was snapped up by a fan at the renowned Swiss hotel’s closing sale for 1,000 euros. The bed used by Elton John went for a few hundred euros more as furniture, silver teaspoons, plush tablecloths, and even the last few bottles the rich and famous left at the bar were snapped up before the venerable hotel shut down on Monday for a facelift . — AFP


Indian students meet Rice
WASHINGTON:
A group of schoolchildren from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who are in the USA as part of a programme to understand each others culture to reduce hatred, met National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and members of the Congress on Wednesday. The group comprising high school students from Mumbai, Lahore and Kabul, brought here under the Seeds of Peace Programme sponsored by the State Department, met the officials and exchanged ideas on various topics.
— PTI

J.K. Rowling Rowling’s protest
PRAGUE:
Reacting to criticism from “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling and human rights groups, the Czech government ordered the removal of caged beds from psychiatric facilities. “The minister ordered that all caged beds be removed immediately, and beds with nets by the end of the year,” said Aneta Kupkova, a Health Ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday. — AP
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