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UN Assembly asks Israel to tear down barrier
United Nations, July 21
The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to demand that Israel comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice and tear down the security barrier it is constructing on the Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

A general view of Israel's controversial security barrier which separates the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem from the West Bank town of Abu Dis A general view of Israel's controversial security barrier which separates the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem from the West Bank town of Abu Dis.
— Reuters photo

Hawking throws new light on black holes
Stephen Hawking Dublin, July 21
Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said today that black holes, the mysterious massive vortexes formed from collapsed stars, did not destroy everything they consumed but instead eventually fired out matter and energy “in a mangled form.”

Counter-terror missionaries refuse to testify
Kabul, July 21
Three Americans accused of torturing Afghans in a private jail during a freelance counterterror mission went on trial today, with their ringleader denying any wrongdoing and claiming US government support.

Foreign nurses in UK underpaid
London, July 21
Foreign nurses working in UK, especially from India and South Africa are underpaid and do not get their due promotions on time, the Independent reported.

People wade through a flooded street in Dhaka

People wade through a flooded street in Dhaka on Wednesday. Officials said water levels were rising alarmingly and the flood toll had climbed to 171 since the beginning of July. — Reuters





A frame grab taken from the video footage given to Arabic satellite channel Al Arabiya on Wednesday shows a hostage holding a document at an undisclosed location in Iraq
A frame grab taken from the video footage given to Arabic satellite channel Al Arabiya on Wednesday shows a hostage holding a document at an undisclosed location in Iraq. A guerrilla group, calling itself the Black Flags, said on Wednesday it had seized three Indians, two Kenyans and an Egyptian and threatened to behead the captives unless the Kuwaiti company they worked for pulled out of Iraq. — AP/PTI



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US assessment about the militant training camps based on faulty intelligence: Pakistan.
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UN Assembly asks Israel to tear down barrier
Dharam Shourie

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat attends a meeting at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat attends a meeting at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie on Wednesday condemned the shooting of a long-time critic of Yasser Arafat in what appeared to be part of a chaotic power struggle in the Palestinian authority.
— Reuters photo

United Nations, July 21
The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to demand that Israel comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice and tear down the security barrier it is constructing on the Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

India joined 149 other member states in voting for the resolution that was opposed by six nations, including the US, which had earlier asserted that it was one sided and could adversely affect the peace process. There were 10 abstentions in the 191-member Assembly.

A major boost for the Palestinians was that all 25 members of the European Union voted for the resolution after Arabs accepted amendments suggested by it during negotiations lasting several days.

As a result, the resolution adopted last night also calls on both Israel and Palestinians to immediately implement their obligations under the road map proposed by the international Quartet. The court, as well as the resolution, demands that the barrier be dismantled and reparations be paid to Palestinians harmed by its construction.

The road map, proposed by Quartet comprising the US, European Union, Russia and the United Nations Secretary-General, lists a number of reciprocal steps that the two sides must take to achieve the aim of two states of Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace. But the continuing conflict has derailed the proposals.

Voting against the resolution, Israel denounced it as “one-sided and totally counterproductive.”

“Thank God, that the fate of Israel and Jewish people is not decided in this hall. The resolution cannot but embolden those who are the enemies of the Israel and the Palestinian people,” Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman said.

Palestinian representative Nasser al-Kidwa said it “could be the most important resolution of the General Assembly since the adoption of Resolution 181 of 1947,” which split Palestine into Jewish and Arab lands.

The court, in its advisory opinion, given on July 9, had ruled that the barrier, which cuts deep into the occupied Palestinian lands, is illegal and must be dismantled and Tel Aviv should pay reparations to the Palestinians who suffered as result of building the wall.

Tel Aviv says it is building a wall to prevent suicide bombers being sent by the Palestinian militant group from entering Israel, but Palestinians charge that the Israel is trying to grab their lands.

The resolutions of the General Assembly, like the opinion of the court, are not enforceable. Only the Security Council resolutions are enforceable, but any attempt to get such a measure through is bound to be vetoed by the US.

The resolution also called on all UN member states to comply with the court’s ruling asking them “not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around east Jerusalem” and “not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.” — PTI
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Hawking throws new light on black holes

Dublin, July 21
Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said today that black holes, the mysterious massive vortexes formed from collapsed stars, did not destroy everything they consumed but instead eventually fired out matter and energy “in a mangled form.”

Hawking’s radical new thinking, presented in a paper to the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation in Dublin, capped his three-decade struggle to explain an elemental paradox in scientific thinking: How can black holes destroy all traces of consumed matter and energy, as Hawking long believed, when subatomic theory says such elements must survive in some form?

Hawking’s answer is that the black holes hold their contents for eons but themselves eventually deteriorate and die. As the black hole disintegrates, they send their transformed contents back out into the infinite universal horizons from whence they came.

Previously, Hawking, 62, had held out the possibility that disappearing matter travels through the black hole to a new parallel universe, the very stuff of science fiction.

“There is no baby universe branching off, as I once thought. The information remains firmly in our universe,” Hawking said in a speech distributed ahead of his arrival.

“I’m sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but if information is preserved, there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes,” he said. “If you jump into a black hole, your mass energy will be returned to our universe, but in a mangled form, which contains the information about what you were like, but in an unrecognisable state.” — AP
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Counter-terror missionaries refuse to testify

Kabul, July 21
Three Americans accused of torturing Afghans in a private jail during a freelance counterterror mission went on trial today, with their ringleader denying any wrongdoing and claiming US government support.

Jonathan K. Idema, Brett Bennett and Edward Caraballo were arrested when Afghan security forces raided their makeshift jail in a house in Kabul on July 5. The American and Afghan authorities say they were posing as US special forces and had no official backing.

Appearing before a three-judge panel in a heavily guarded national security court, the trio listened quietly to the charges, including hostage-taking and torture, and as three of their ex-detainees described how they were beaten, doused with boiling water and deprived of food.

The Americans didn’t testify. But Idema said afterward that the abuse allegations were invented. He also said he was in regular phone and e-mail contact with Pentagon officials “at the highest level.”

Idema named a Pentagon official who allegedly asked the group to go “under contract” — an offer they refused. — AP
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Foreign nurses in UK underpaid

London, July 21
Foreign nurses working in UK, especially from India and South Africa are underpaid and do not get their due promotions on time, the Independent reported.

A research by “King’s Fund”, the health policy think-tank has found that internationally recruited nurses were being denied full careers.

Another study by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has found that black and ethnic minority nurses from Britain and abroad are less likely to be promoted than their white colleagues, but are twice as likely to be given extra responsibilities for which they never get paid.

The research findings said one in five black and ethnic minority nurses was doing the job a grade above the one he or she was being paid for, compared with the one in 10 of white nurses.

Pippa Gough, the head of the research study said: “These nurses are finding it very difficult to progress up the career ladder. If we do not do something about this, they are going to be lured by other countries, such as America, and that could be disastrous for the NHS’’. — UNI
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Iraqi men walk down the stairs of their house which was destroyed in an overnight air strike in the northern city of Samarra
Iraqi men walk down the stairs of their house which was destroyed in an overnight air strike in the northern city of Samarra, 120-km north of Baghdad, on Wednesday. — Reuters

Shakuntala Devi awes Nairobi
NAIROBI:
India’s mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi enthralled audiences here by solving a 200-digit formulation faster than any computer. Ms Devi performed at the Indian High Commission before 250 specially-invited guests, including diplomats, educationists, foreign and local media, and beat the speed of a computer in solving complex mathematical problems. — PTI


Russia scraps 101 submarines
MOSCOW:
Russia has scrapped 101 of its nuclear submarines and is planning to scrap another 17 this year. According to the Federal Atomic Energy Agency’s (FAEA) data for December 2003, the navy has decommissioned 193 submarines. “Currently, 24 atomic submarines are being worked on,” Interfax reported quoting FAEA sources. It takes approximately two-and-a-half years to scrap a nuclear submarine’s hull and three months to unload the fuel. — PTI

China executes 4 criminals
BEIJING:
Four ring leaders of a 60-member organised crime ring were executed and the rest were sentenced to varying jail terms in Shaoyang city in central-south China’s Hunan Province, media reports said on Wednesday. The four executed on Tuesday, were Yao Zhihong, also known as ‘Little Hongbao’, who masterminded the ring, He Jianbiao, Li Zhibing and Zhou Limin. The men were convicted of crimes ranging from organising prostitution or aiding murder and assault. — PTI

Vietnam censors hair styling
HANOI:
Vietnam has banned skinheads and actors with uncombed or coloured hair from performing on stage to preserve ‘’traditional aesthetic values’’, the cultural ministry has announced. Regulation 47, issued last week, said the ministry had banned ‘’all hairdos that inflict horrors, colourfully painted or dyed hair, uncombed hair, shaved heads, racy and revealing dresses and make-up that goes against traditional aesthetic values’’ from the stage. — Reuters

Vietnam culls 5100 birds
HANOI:
Vietnam culled 5,100 chickens suspected of being infected with bird flu in the south of the country on Monday, officials said. The chickens, which were from two farms in separate areas of Ben Luc and Tan An district, began dying last Thursday, said Nguyen Duy Long, an official from the veterinary unit with the Long An provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. — DPA
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