SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Pak pitches for SAARC Charter expansion
Islamabad, July 18
Pakistan today strongly pitched for the expansion of the SAARC Charter to allow discussion on bilateral disputes as Foreign Secretaries of the regional grouping held talks here to review progress on SAFTA, poverty alleviation and steps initiated to stop financing of terrorist organisations, ahead of the ministerial conference.
Foreign Secretary Shashank with his Pakistan counterpart Riaz Khokar at the 25th SAARC meeting of Foreign Secretaries in Islamabad on Sunday. Foreign Secretary Shashank with his Pakistan counterpart Riaz Khokar at the 25th SAARC meeting of Foreign Secretaries in Islamabad on Sunday. 
— PTI photo

Natwar leaves for Pak today
New Delhi, July 18
Mr K. Natwar Singh, who leaves for Islamabad after taking over as India’s External Affairs Minister tomorrow afternoon for attending a SAARC ministerial meeting, will meet the top Pakistani leadership but there will be no substantive talks.

More B’desh areas flooded; 12 killed
Dhaka, July 18
Heavy monsoon rains triggered new flooding in northern and central Bangladesh, killing about 12 more persons, while tornados swept through the flooded north-eastern district, injuring dozens and flattening hundreds of houses, officials and news reports said today.
In video (28k, 56k)

11 killed in US air strikes on Fallujah
Fallujah (Iraq), July 18
At least 11 persons were killed following US air strikes on this Iraqi city which is a suspected hide-out for terror suspect Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, hospital officials said today.



A Russian man jumps into a lake
A Russian man jumps into a lake in the Moscow suburb of Dzerzhinsk on Sunday. Muskovites use every opportunity to swim and sunbathe during what has been a relatively cold and damp summer. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 
Palestinian fishing boats are seen in Gaza's port Palestinian fishing boats are seen in Gaza's port after fishermen returned from an early morning fishing run on Sunday. For Palestinian fishermen, Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza next year will not end the occupation that confines them to a meagre catch. — Reuters photo

Palestinian suicide bomber killed
Jerusalem, July 18
 Israel’s security service killed a would-be Palestinian suicide bomber who got cold feet, and arrested three militants accused of plotting an attack in central Jerusalem, the Prime Minister’s office said today. The would-be bomber, Wassim Jalad, was supposed to blow up the Kaffit coffee shop in the German Colony neighbourhood.

Three killed in terrorist attack
Islamabad, July 18
At least three civilians were killed and five wounded in a shootout after suspected terrorists attacked a security post in Pakistan’s tribal region of south Waziristan, local residents said yesterday.

Kanishka witness borrowed bomber’s car: prosecutor
Vancouver, July 18
A prosecutor at the Air India trial has accused a defence witness of lying about borrowing an accused bomber’s car the weekend when the Kanishka bombing plot was being finalised.

Chinese girls wearing Indian dress get ready to perform the Indian classical dance Chinese girls wearing Indian dress get ready to perform the Indian classical dance, "Kathak", at the Indian Mango Festival in Beijing on Saturday. — PTI

Top









 

Pak pitches for SAARC Charter expansion

Islamabad, July 18
Pakistan today strongly pitched for the expansion of the SAARC Charter to allow discussion on bilateral disputes as Foreign Secretaries of the regional grouping held talks here to review progress on SAFTA, poverty alleviation and steps initiated to stop financing of terrorist organisations, ahead of the ministerial conference.

“Later or sooner we will have to move in this direction (allowing discussion on bilateral issues),” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan told reporters at the end of the first day of the session of the two-day standing committee meeting of SAARC Foreign Secretaries.

Asked whether the question of including political disputes in the SAARC Charter was taken up during the meeting, he said the issue was raised by the Pakistani delegation.

He, however, said at this stage it was “premature.”

“Let us move step by step towards this destination,” Mr Khan said, adding that Pakistan strives for confidence building, preventive diplomacy and peaceful settlement of disputes.

“But as of now, the SAARC Charter does not allow, any detailed discussion on political issues. But, I think the potential is there,” he said, observing that the underlined need was to promote and foster greater economic and regional cooperation.

The meeting, presided over by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar, is being attended by his Indian counterpart Shashank and Foreign Secretary-designate Shyam Saran and others from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Mr Khan said Mr Khokhar and Mr Shashank would be having bilateral interaction on the sidelines of the standing committee meeting.

He said this would be followed by similar meetings between Foreign Ministers K. Natwar Singh, who arrives here tomorrow, and Mr Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri. The SAARC Foreign Ministers will have a two-day meeting from July 20.

The discussions centre around bilateral agenda and the issues of the mutual interest, Mr Khan said, adding that the two sides will review the progress made so far and the general direction for the composite dialogue process.

The substantive discussion will take place when Mr Natwar Singh and Mr Kasuri meet in New Delhi on August 25 to review the progress in talks on all eight subjects of the composite dialogue, including Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

The Foreign Secretaries reviewed progress on SAFTA, which is to come into force on January 1, 2006. They also reviewed a report presented on SAFTA.

The standing committee also discussed issues related to “sensitive list” i.e. items which the member countries would like to be excluded from free trade, and rules of origin, which relates to the quantum of local content to be added to goods imported from outside the region so as to qualify for trading within SAARC.

Mr Khokhar underlined the commitment of South Asian nations to strengthen and deepen regional cooperation.

Mr Khan said the Foreign Secretaries discussed the need for fostering regional connectivity in the energy sector. Pakistan has proposed the establishment of the ministerial forum on energy and SAARC energy centre, both of which it has offered to host, he said.

A proposal was also mooted that SAARC should create a business leaders forum along the lines of the World Economic Forum. The Foreign Secretaries also focused on the problems of the migrants from South Asia and the need to evolve a labour trade policy. — PTI 
Top

 

Natwar leaves for Pak today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Mr K. Natwar Singh, who leaves for Islamabad after taking over as India’s External Affairs Minister tomorrow afternoon for attending a SAARC ministerial meeting, will meet the top Pakistani leadership but there will be no substantive talks.

He will meet President Pervez Musharraf, interim Prime Minister Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain, Prime Minister-Designate Shaukat Aziz, apart from his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri.

An informal meeting of SAARC Foreign Ministers will be held in Islamabad tomorrow ahead of the July 20-21 conference to thrash out the agenda at the meet. Mr Natwar Singh will participatein these informal discussions.
Top

 

More B’desh areas flooded; 12 killed

Dhaka, July 18
Heavy monsoon rains triggered new flooding in northern and central Bangladesh, killing about 12 more persons, while tornados swept through the flooded north-eastern district, injuring dozens and flattening hundreds of houses, officials and news reports said today.

With the latest deaths reported on Friday and yesterday, the death toll from the monsoon flooding in Bangladesh, since June, rose to 105, according to media tallies. The toll could not be officially confirmed.

Floods, since the start of the monsoon in late June, have inundated nearly half of Bangladesh, leaving more than 5 million persons marooned in their houses. Many have taken shelter on embankments or in school buildings.

Six persons were drowned in central Jamalpur district, while six others, including a woman and a child, drowned in northern Kurigram, the Ittefaq newspaper said.

The flooding was likely to worsen in central areas over the next few days, as floodwaters drained into the Bay of Bengal to the country’s south, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said.

A tornado, meanwhile, lashed four villages in flood-hit Sunamganj district, flattening nearly 250 mud and tin houses and injuring nearly 50 persons with the flying debris, a local administrator said. Another twister hit six villages in the same district yesterday, levelling 300 houses and injuring about 50. — AP
Top

 

11 killed in US air strikes on Fallujah

Fallujah (Iraq), July 18
At least 11 persons were killed following US air strikes on this Iraqi city which is a suspected hide-out for terror suspect Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, hospital officials said today.

“A total of 11 persons were killed and seven were injured,” said Adnan Mohammadi, a doctor at the main hospital in Fallujah, 50 km west of Baghdad. Another official at the hospital said one of the deceased was a woman.

The US military confirmed that it had carried out air strikes on the Sunni Muslim rebel bastion overnight but had no immediate word on the number of casualties. It said Iraq's Defence Ministry will issue a statement later on the attack.

The US military has conducted several airborne attacks on Fallujah in pursuit of the Al-Qaida linked -Zarqawi, who has reportedly claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing against the motorcade of Iraqi Justice Minister Malek Dohan al-Hassan.

The minister escaped unhurt but three of his guards, including a nephew, were killed along with two civilians.

Jordanian-born Zarqawi has a 25-million-dollar US bounty on his head and the US military is working with the new Iraqi government to catch or kill him.

Baghdad: Two car bombs targeting the police exploded in the city of Tikrit on Sunday, killing two police officers and wounding five others, the Iraqi authorities said. Tikrit was deposed dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown and a hotbed of resistance against the US forces over the past 15 months. —AFP, PTI
Top

 

Palestinian suicide bomber killed

Jerusalem, July 18
Israel’s security service killed a would-be Palestinian suicide bomber who got cold feet, and arrested three militants accused of plotting an attack in central Jerusalem, the Prime Minister’s office said today. The would-be bomber, Wassim Jalad, was supposed to blow up the Kaffit coffee shop in the German Colony neighbourhood on July 11, the statement said.

For an unknown reason, Jalad , armed with a rifle and an explosives belt turned back and went home to the West Bank city of Hebron, it said. Suspected accomplices, arrested three days later, told interrogators of the Shin Bet security services that Jalad was supposed to shoot the cafe’s security guard, then blow himself up among the diners, according to the statement.

The accomplices, all from the Hamas militant group, gave investigators Jalad’s name. On Thursday, a Shin Bet force found Jalad in a relative’s house and killed him in a gun battle. — AP
Top

 

Three killed in terrorist attack

Islamabad, July 18
At least three civilians were killed and five wounded in a shootout after suspected terrorists attacked a security post in Pakistan’s tribal region of south Waziristan, local residents said yesterday.

Military spokesman Major-Gen Shaukat Sultan confirmed the overnight attack, saying government troops had not suffered casualties, however, he was unable to confirm or deny the reports of civilian casualties.

Witnesses said unidentified attackers fired rockets and mortar shells at a security position in Tiarzai, some 28 km north of the regional headquarters in Wana, drawing retaliatory fire from the forces.

A local resident told the media that three persons were killed and five wounded in the incident. — DPA 
Top

 

Kanishka witness borrowed bomber’s car: prosecutor

Vancouver, July 18
A prosecutor at the Air India trial has accused a defence witness of lying about borrowing an accused bomber’s car the weekend when the Kanishka bombing plot was being finalised.

Mr Richard Cairns, the prosecutor, challenged Jagdish Kaur Johal, during a cross examination, about the people who travelled with her to Vancouver, two days before the June 23, 1985, Air India bombing which killed 329 persons off the coast of Ireland.

Mr Cairns alleged Bagri, a Babbar Khalsa member along with Parmar, drove Johal and her mother to Vancouver on June 21, 1985, and dropped them off to do their shopping while he took care of his work.

Bagri even drove Johal to her parents’ residence in Vancouver and asked her to tie up with Parmar to shop around.

Johal, however, denied this and said her mother accompanied her during the shopping and she did not remember if Parmar’s wife was with her. — PTI
Top

 
BRIEFLY

US fighters of terror appear in court
KABUL:
Three Americans accused of detaining and abusing Afghans on an independent hunt for terrorists appeared in court on Sunday, insisting they had contacts with the US Defence Department, while acknowledging that they ran an illegal jail, a judge said. US and Afghan authorities deny any links to the men, describing them as free-lance vigilantes on a personal quest to
fight terrorism. — AP

Nagasaki bomber dies
MILTON (MASSACHUSETTS):
Charles W. Sweeney, a retired Air Force general who piloted the plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki in the final days of World War II, has died at the age of 84. Sweeney died on Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, hospital spokeswoman Christine 
Johanson said. — AP

Ariane-5 finally launched
Paris:
The launch of an Ariane-5 rocket carrying the world’s largest telecommunications satellite, postponed three times, finally went ahead at the Kourou site in French Guiana, Arianespace said. The launch of the Ariane-5, carrying nearly six-tonne Anik-2F satellite, took place at 10.44 pm yesterday, Arianespace said at its headquarters at Evry near Paris. The launch was initially scheduled for Monday. — AFP

Roshans honoured
London:
Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan, his father actor-turned-director Rakesh Roshan and grandfather movie legend J Om Prakash created history here winning laurels at the Asian Guild Awards 2004. Hrithik Roshan was adjudged as Bollywood’s Best Actor in 2004 for his role in “Koi Mil Gaya” while his father Rakesh Roshan won the Best Director trophy for the same film which was also chosen as the Best film at a function last night. J Om Prakash bagged the Life-Time Achievement Award. Actress Priety Zinta received the Best Actress Award for her performance in the film “Koi Mil Gaya”. — PTI
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |