SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Natwar Singh meets Musharraf today
Islamabad, July 22
K. Natwar Singh and Pervez Musharraf Having finished his meetings with top Pakistani leaders, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh will call on President Pervez Musharraf tomorrow for free and frank discussions on Indo-Pak relations.

Shaukat Aziz may visit India soon
Shaukat AzizIslamabad, July 22

External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh today invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Shaukat Aziz to visit India as early as possible. Mr Natwar Singh, who had an about hour-long meeting with Mr Aziz, said he could visit India by September or October this year.

Floods swamp half of Bangladesh; 20 million hit
Dhaka, July 22
A woman boards a boat from her flooded doorstep at Ali Nagar in Dhaka
Floods have swamped more than half of Bangladesh killing more than a 100 persons amid fears it could worsen further, officials said here today. The government was contemplating declaring the floods a national disaster, the local media reported, adding that the decision might come after a meeting of the National Disaster Management Council later.


A woman boards a boat from her flooded doorstep at Ali Nagar in Dhaka on Thursday.
— Reuters photo

US Marines kill 25 Iraqis
Baghdad, July 22
US Marines have killed 25 insurgents and detained 25 others in fierce fighting in Ramadi that also injured 13 Marines and one soldier, the military said today.

9/11 probe panel points at govt failures
Washington, July 22
A national commission probing the September 11 attacks today found "failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management" by the US government and recommended a sweeping overhaul of intelligence services.




A boy models a knife-resistant coat
A boy models a knife-resistant coat in this handout photo released in Fukuoka, Japan, on Thursday. The coat, made from the same fibers used in police and military knife-proof and bullet-proof vests, is the latest product aimed at providing parental peace of mind in Japanese society, horrified by a series of gruesome attacks on children. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES

  US enacts law to fight bio-terror
Washington, July 22
In an effort to defend the US from chemical and biological attack, President George W Bush has signed a law aimed at building up vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox and other potential agents of bio-terror. "Project BioShield will transform America's ability to defend itself," Bush said after signing it into law at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden yesterday.

Ujjal DosanjhCanadian medicare to test Dosanjh’s mettle
F
or a struggling community of Indo-Canadians, it was a day of honour when one of them, Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, was sworn in as Canada’s Health Minister. Prime Minister Paul Martin whose Liberal Party Mr Dosanjh joined just before the elections, chose an immigrant to head a key federal ministry.


Swedish radars for Pak
Islamabad, July 22
Sweden has declined to sell its advanced Gripen fighter planes to Pakistan until a positive movement forward in the Indo-Pak peace process but agreed to sell Erie-eye Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWS) aimed at countering balancing India's acquisition of the Israeli Phalcon airborne surveillance system. Wilkens, Sweden’s envoy to Pak, said Erie-Eye AEWCS radar deal had been cleared by Swedish Parliament and officials of both countries were currently discussing the finalisation of a deal. — PTI


The southwestern city of Liuzhou is partially submerged in flood waters from the swollen Liuzhou river in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region The southwestern city of Liuzhou is partially submerged in flood waters from the swollen Liuzhou river in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on Wednesday. Floods destroyed about 197,000 houses and submerged 3.066 million hectares of cropland, the flood control headquarters said today. — Reuters

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Natwar Singh meets Musharraf today
Ashok Tuteja

Islamabad, July 22
Having finished his meetings with top Pakistani leaders, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh will call on President Pervez Musharraf tomorrow for free and frank discussions on Indo-Pak relations.

This will be the first high-level contact that the Manmohan Singh government will be establishing with General Musharraf after assuming office in May.

Official sources said the meeting would take place at Aiwan-e-Sadr (presidential palace) just before Mr Natwar Singh returns to New Delhi at the end of his five-day visit to Islamabad.

Mr Natwar Singh yesterday held intense discussions on the composite dialogue process with his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. He called on Prime Minister Choudhary Shujaat Hussain yesterday and Prime Minister-in-waiting Shaukat Aziz this evening.

Ahead of his meeting with Mr Natwar Singh, General Musharraf last night discussed the Indo-Pak peace process with Prime Minister Hussain and said he expected success in the composite dialogue so that there was peace in the region.

General Musharraf, who is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September on the margins of the UN General Assembly session, emphasised that India and Pakistan could live as good friends.

He said Pakistan’s foreign policy was based on openness and desire to hold dialogue with all countries.

Mr Natwar Singh had yesterday raised the issue of cross-border terrorism and infiltration with his Pakistani counterpart.

Mr Kasuri assured the Indian Minister that Pakistan would do everything possible to combat cross-border terrorism.

The two Ministers gave firm indications that the peace process was on the right track. They are scheduled to formally meet in New Delhi on September 5-6 to review the progress on all outstanding issues.

That both India and Pakistan were finally realising the futility of their continued confrontation was quite evident as the two Ministers avoided scoring points or embarrassing each other when they addressed a joint press conference after their meeting.

Pakistan has told India that there were limits about the most it could do to tackle cross-border terrorism and asked New Delhi to be “patient” with Islamabad on this score.

On Kashmir, India feels there can be “no simplistic” or “overnight” solution to the vexed issue hanging fire for 57 years and both sides have virtually reached an understanding to avoid rhetoric on the issue.

Meanwhile, India today unilaterally announced one-year multiple entry visa facility for the members of the executive committee of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).

The announcement was made by External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh when a SAFMA delegation called on him here this morning.

SAFMA brings together journalists from the SAARC countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives. — UNI
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Shaukat Aziz may visit India soon

Islamabad, July 22
External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh today invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Shaukat Aziz to visit India as early as possible.

Mr Natwar Singh, who had an about hour-long meeting with Mr Aziz, said he could visit India by September or October this year.

Mr Aziz, also Pakistan’s Finance Minister, responded by saying “most certainly”.

Mr Natwar Singh said Aziz had to visit SAARC countries before the end of this year and he would start with India.

The Pakistani leader said it was very necessary for the two countries to get together.

He hoped for a positive outcome of the ongoing peace process.

Mr Natwar Singh said earlier there were apprehensions and doubts whether the UPA government would carry on with the dialogue process “but now Pakistan is reassured that India will not only continue the dialogue process, but carry it forward”. — PTI

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Floods swamp half of Bangladesh; 20 million hit

Dhaka, July 22
Floods have swamped more than half of Bangladesh killing more than a 100 persons amid fears it could worsen further, officials said here today.

The government was contemplating declaring the floods, the worst since 1988, a national disaster, the local media reported, adding that the decision might come after a meeting of the National Disaster Management Council later.

The floods have worsened in Dhaka along with surrounding districts of Manikganj, Narayanganj and Munshiganj with up to chest-deep water in some places, a spokesman for the Disaster Management and Relief Control Room said.

"The way things are going, the floods might be worse than the one in 1998 or 1988 as rains continued with a slow intake of water by the Bay of Bengal."

He said nearly 20 million of Bangladesh's 130 million people were hit by the deluge in at least 40 out of the 64 districts.

"Central and southern areas will be flooded by the end of Thursday," the spokesman said.

The Flood Warning Centre said the Buriganga river, which passes through Dhaka, crossed the danger mark late yesterday endangering the lives of 12 million inhabitants of the capital.

The official death toll has so far been put at more than 100, but newspapers put the toll at nearly 150, mostly from drowning and snake bites. — PTI
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US Marines kill 25 Iraqis

Baghdad, July 22
US Marines have killed 25 insurgents and detained 25 others in fierce fighting in Ramadi that also injured 13 Marines and one soldier, the military said today. The marines said in a statement that the daylong clashes began after insurgents detonated a roadside bomb near a marine convoy at about 3 pm (4.30 pm IST) yesterday in an ambush attempt.

Between eight and 10 Iraqi fighters then attacked the marines with small arms and rocket propelled grenades, causing the US forces to respond.

"This initial skirmish led to ensuing engagements that pitted elements of the (US Marines) 1st Brigade Combat team ... against what is being estimated as at least 75-100 AIF," the statement said. — AP
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9/11 probe panel points at govt failures

Washington, July 22
A national commission probing the September 11 attacks today found "failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management" by the US government and recommended a sweeping overhaul of intelligence services.

In a 567-page report concluding two years of investigation the 10-member bipartisan commission called for establishment of a "national counter-terrorism centre" to unify intelligence and operational planning under a new "national intelligence director."

The panel issued a broad indictment of US intelligence and air defence in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that left nearly 3,000 persons dead and sent the superpower reeling.

"What we can say with confidence is that none of the measures adopted by the US government from 1998 to 2001 disturbed or even delayed the progress of the al-Qaida plot," an executive summary said.

"Across the government, there were failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management," it said. — AFP
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US enacts law to fight bio-terror

Washington, July 22
In an effort to defend the US from chemical and biological attack, President George W Bush has signed a law aimed at building up vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox and other potential agents of bio-terror.

"Project BioShield will transform America's ability to defend itself," Bush said after signing it into law at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden yesterday.

The project earmarks $ 5.6 billion over 10 years to enable the government to purchase and stockpile vaccines and drugs to fight the agents of bio-terror. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was purchasing 75 million doses of an improved anthrax vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile, he said.

The HHS is moving forward with plans to acquire a safer, second-generation smallpox vaccine, an antidote to botulinum toxin and better treatments for chemical and radiological weapons, he added. — PTI
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Canadian medicare to test Dosanjh’s mettle
Gobind Thukral writes from Toronto

For a struggling community of Indo-Canadians, it was a day of honour when one of them, Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, was sworn in as Canada’s Health Minister. Prime Minister Paul Martin whose Liberal Party Mr Dosanjh joined just before the elections, chose an immigrant to head a key federal ministry.

There is a large growing pharmaceutical industry that funds both ruling Liberals and the opposition Conservatives, seeking a large pie from the health care system. It is clear that Mr Dosanjh, a Left-leaning politician, whose commitments are obvious as far as providing a caring, affordable health delivery system is concerned, shall be seeking a greater role for the federal government vis a vis the provinces.

Yet, how he handles the growing influence of those who wish to pattern the country’s health care system on the US lines is important. Insurance companies, too, are eager to have their way.

The Prime Minister would be relying on Mr Dosanjh and his proven negotiating skills. That is precisely why he persuaded him to leave the National Democratic Party and join his chosen circle.

Mr Dosanjh is one of the five ministers from British Columbia where he had earlier been Premier and Attorney-General. The Liberal Party is termed as a jack-of-all-trades and a real danger for leaders like Mr Dosanjh is to get subsumed.

Newspapers here have repeatedly recalled two incidents to show that Mr Dosanjh does not waver. One was when he opposed Khalistanis who nearly killed him in an attack. “In 1985, Mr Dosanjh was attacked and hit on the head with an iron bar for speaking out against militant Sikhs in Vancouver’s Indo-Canadian community. The assault nearly killed him, but didn’t persuade him to change his position,” recalled a local daily.

But it was not the first time. His courage had been tested earlier too. As the newly appointed Attorney-General of British Columbia in 1995, he handled a stand-off between the police and a group of armed natives at Gustafson Lake. His tough stand on law and order led to the eventual surrender and conviction of 13 persons and won him praise.

Mr Dosanjh, 56, who came to Canada from Punjab in 1968 struggled hard as a teenager in a lumber factory. He became a law graduate in 1978 and played a significant role in British Columbia’s public life.

He shall have to further hone his tough negotiating instincts. The relationship with provinces largely hinges on health care reforms. Mr Martin has been repeatedly asserting that he would let everybody have his say. His promise, too, has been to spend more on childhood care and health services. In his new deal policy for the cities that got him a lot of votes, health again figures prominently. A long time human rights activist, Mr Dosanjh believes in freedom and equality.

Education at the university level is becoming out of reach for many Canadians and the danger in case of health is real. Mr Dosanjh shall have to stand up and stop any budgetary cuts and dilution of basic responsibility of the state to take care of citizen’s health.
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BRIEFLY

Monkey apes man
JERUSALEM:
A young monkey at an Israeli zoo has started walking like a human following a near death experience, said the zoo's veterinarian. Natasha, a small five-year-old black macaque monkey, began walking exclusively upright on two legs after a stomach ailment nearly killed her. — AP

Church opposes gay marriage
MADRID:
Spain's Roman Catholic Church has launched a campaign against the Socialist government's plans to legalise gay marriage, calling on Catholics to do ''whatever they legally can'' to oppose it in remarks reported in Spanish newspapers. Marriage must be based on the complementarity of the sexes and the capacity to procreate, the bishops added. — DPA

Bird-flu strikes Indonesia
JAKARTA:
Indonesian health authorities have admitted that cases of bird flu have recurred in the country, but claimed to have taken preventive measures to thwart the virus's spread, media reports said on Thursday. ''A week ago we launched a massive campaign to vaccinate chickens to prevent an event similar to what happened in Thailand and Vietnam,'' said the Director of Animal Health. — DPA

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