SPECIAL COVERAGE
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LUDHIANA

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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Captives abuse covered up, says
Iraqi jail chief
London, August 3
The US General formerly in charge of Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison said today, abuse of Iraqi captives was hidden from her in a cover-up that may have reached all the way to the Pentagon or the White House.

Lynndie England, the military police officer who became the public face of inmate abuse at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad Lynndie England (left), the military police officer who became the public face of inmate abuse at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, arrives with an unidentified person at a hearing to determine if she will be tried on charges ranging from prisoner abuse to committing indecent acts in Ft Bragg, North Carolina, on Tuesday. England (21) was charged along with six other US military police reservists in a scandal that outraged the Arab world and prompted an apology from U.S. President George W. Bush, who placed the blame on a small group of soldiers. England faces maximum penalties that include a dishonorable discharge and up to 38 years in prison if convicted. — Reuters photo

India, Pak to hold talks on Siachen
Islamabad, August 3
As part of the composite dialogue process between the two countries, officials from India and Pakistan would hold two-day talks on Siachen in New Delhi from Thursday.
In video (28k, 56k)

Iraq troops issue to be put before Pak Parliament
Islamabad, August 3
Pakistan Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said today that a decision on whether to send troops to Iraq would depend on what people wanted, hinting that the deeply divisive issue could be put to Parliament.

2 more Al-Qaida suspects held in Pak
Islamabad, August 3
Pakistan has arrested two more foreigners believed to be members of Al-Qaida in the last 24 hours, local intelligence officials said today.



US Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry rides a bicycle before resuming his campaign trip in Milwaukee
US Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry rides a bicycle before resuming his campaign trip in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Tuesday. 
— Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 
First time mother Jemima nuzzles her five-day-old daughter at the Longleat Safari Park in Warminster
First time mother Jemima nuzzles her five-day-old daughter at the Longleat Safari Park in Warminster, England, on Monday. The baby giraffe does not yet have a name. — AP/PTI

Musharraf sends envoy to Sudan
Islamabad, August 3
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today dispatched a senior envoy with “a special message” for his Sudanese counterpart regarding the UN Security Council resolution on the Darfur crisis, the Foreign Ministry said.

Messenger leaves for Mercury
Cape Canaveral, August 3
NASA launched its first mission to the planet Mercury in a generation early today, one that scientists hope will strip away much of the mystery surrounding the tiny planet closest to the sun.

2 Indians die in Melbourne
Sydney, August 3
Two Indian students died in a Melbourne suburb in southern Australia when their car dashed into an electric pole in the small hours of the day.

3 die in Gaza explosion
Gaza City, August 3
Three militants trying to attack an Israeli armoured bulldozer today, blew themselves up during an operation to destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels from Egypt, according to television footage and the Israeli army.

Tibet holds beauty pageant to promote tourism
Beijing, August 3
Tibet has launched a two-month-long pageant to select Tibetan beauties to serve as “image ambassadors” for tourism promotion, a report said today. In the pageant launched on Sunday, all female Tibetans aged between 18 and 30 and at least 1.65 metres tall are qualified to complete, Xia Huiqiong, in charge of the function said.


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Postman's capture provides breakthrough to Pakistan's intelligence services.
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Captives abuse covered up, says Iraqi jail chief

London, August 3
The US General formerly in charge of Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison said today, abuse of Iraqi captives was hidden from her in a cover-up that may have reached all the way to the Pentagon or the White House.

Speaking on the same day a US soldier at the centre of the prisoner abuse scandal is due to face a military court, Brigadier-Gen Janis Karpinski said she was deliberately kept in the dark about abuse and humiliation of Iraqi Prisoners.

“A very reliable witness has made a statement indicating that, not only was I not included in any of the meetings discussing interrogation operations, but specific measures were taken to ensure I would not have access to those facilities, that information or any of the details of interrogation at Abu Ghraib or anywhere else,” Brigadier-General Karpinski told the Britain’s BBC radio.

Brigadier-General Karpinski, responsible for the military police who ran prisons in Iraq when pictures were taken showing prisoners being abused, has been suspended from her post but not charged with any crime.

She said that those with “full knowledge” of what was going on in Abu Ghraib worked to keep her from discovering the truth.

Asked if a cover-up meant involvement of the White House or the Pentagon, she said: “I have not seen the statement but the indication is it may have”.

Photographs of US military police abusing hooded prisoners in Abu Ghraib and accusations of abuse by the British and other troops have fuelled Arab and international anger, shaking US President George W. Bush’s efforts to stabilise Iraq.

In Britain, an Iraqi witness alleged at a court hearing last week that UK soldiers had tortured detainees by beating and kicking them and pouring freezing water over them.

US Private First Class Lynndie England, the 21-year-old military police officer who became the public face of inmate abuse at Abu Ghraib, faces a hearing today to determine whether she will be tried on charges of abuse and committing indecent acts.

Brigadier-General Karpinski told the BBC she never personally witnessed abuse at Abu Ghraib or at any of the prisons she commanded.

She has also said she was told by a military intelligence commander that detainees should be “treated like dogs”. — Reuters
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India, Pak to hold talks on Siachen
K. J. M. Varma

Islamabad, August 3
As part of the composite dialogue process between the two countries, officials from India and Pakistan would hold two-day talks on Siachen in New Delhi from Thursday.

Pakistan Defence Secretary, Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz Khan, would leave for New Delhi along with an eight-member delegation tomorrow to take part in the talks with Indian officials.

This round of talks, being held for the second time under the composite dialogue between the Defence Secretaries of both the countries, may focus on de-militarisation of the glacier taking advantage of the present ceasefire, if not resolving their differences over de-marcation of LoC on the glacier, Pakistani officials said ahead of the parleys.

The Siachen issue was discussed six times by both the countries before it was formally placed on the composite dialogue agenda in 1998, along with Kashmir and other issues.

Technically, the August 5-6 talks will be the second round of parleys under the composite dialogue process on Siachen.

The two countries came close to an agreement during the talks in 1989 and 1992 on package of measures, including a ceasefire, establishment of a de-militarised zone and withdrawal of forces.

According to the Indian officials, the talks failed because of Pakistan’s reluctance to authenticate the ground positions held by both the countries.

The current round of talks on Siachen were being held in the backdrop of both the countries implementing a ceasefire throughout the LoC, including Siachen, in November last year.

Since then the two countries initiated a series of confidence building measures (CBMs) and later began talks under the composite dialogue.

The Foreign Secretaries of the two countries held talks on Kashmir, peace and security and CBMs followed by official-level talks on Wullar Barrage.

Talks on the promotion of friendly exchanges were currently going on in New Delhi.

Another Pakistani delegation, headed by Rear Admiral Ahsan Ul Haq Chaudhry, Additional Secretary in the Defence Division, would reach New Delhi on Thursday to hold discussions on Sir Creek on August 6-7.

Talks on the remaining issues of the composite dialogue like terrorism and drug trafficking will be held in Islamabad between the Home Secretaries of both the countries on August 10-11 followed by parleys at the level of Commerce Secretaries on Economic and Commercial Cooperation on August 11-12.

The composite dialogue process on all the eight issues will be reviewed by the Foreign Ministers of both the countries in New Delhi on September 5 and 6. — PTI
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Iraq troops issue to be put before Pak Parliament

Islamabad, August 3
Pakistan Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said today that a decision on whether to send troops to Iraq would depend on what people wanted, hinting that the deeply divisive issue could be put to Parliament.

The government has so far remained undecided on sending troops to Iraq, an explosive issue in the Islamic nation where right-wing religious groups strongly oppose President General Pervez Musharraf’s support of the US-led war on terror.

‘’Nobody is going to take a decision in this regard against the aspirations of the people of Pakistan,’’ the official APP news agency quoted Mr Hussain as saying in Lahore.

He did not specify what he meant, but many commentators expect the proposal to be put before the Parliament, where it would face a fierce challenge from the Islamic Opposition bloc.

The issue has become more sensitive since the execution of two Pakistani migrant workers in Iraq last week.

Critics have blamed the government for failing to make a categorical statement that it was not sending troops to Iraq that could have saved the men’s lives. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry attempted to deflect that criticism yesterday.

‘’Right now, the President of Pakistan has said this categorically, and we have been saying very categorically, that we are not sending any troops under the present circumstances,’’ spokesman Masood Khan told a news conference.

“The situation in Iraq is volatile and unstable,’’ he added. Pakistan says it is still waiting to see the reaction of other Muslim countries to a Saudi Arabian proposal to send troops from Muslim countries to Iraq.

Pakistan has said in the past it would only send troops to Iraq in a peacekeeping role, under the United Nations umbrella, and if the Iraqis would welcome them.
— Reuters
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2 more Al-Qaida suspects held in Pak

Islamabad, August 3
Pakistan has arrested two more foreigners believed to be members of Al-Qaida in the last 24 hours, local intelligence officials said today.

They were the latest in a series of arrests of members of the radical Islamic network in Pakistan, which US officials have said had led to information about a plot to bomb buildings in Washington and in the New York area.

In the latest arrests, one of the men was apprehended at a bus stop in the Hafizabad town in the Punjab province but the officials were unsure of his nationality.

“He first said he was from Yemen but later changed his statement to say he was Egyptian,” one of the officials who asked not to be named told Reuters. “We are still checking his nationality. He does not have a passport.”

In another swoop, authorities arrested a foreign Al-Qaida suspect along with two Pakistanis who were travelling to the eastern city of Lahore, also in Punjab, from the nearby town of Sheikupura last night.

No other details were immediately available about the arrests, which follow the capture of at least two important Al-Qaida members last month.

The US media reports said information gleaned from a computer expert named by the New York Times as Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, also known as Abu Talha, and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani prompted a high level alert against a possible attack by Al-Qaida on financial institutions in the United States.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said yesterday the capture of Tanzanian-born Ghailani, wanted for his role in the bombings of two US Embassies in East Africa in 1998 that killed 224 persons, had given intelligence officers more material to work on.

Ghailani, who had a $ 5 million bounty on his head, was captured last weekend along with 13 others, including three women and five children, after a shootout in the city of Gujarat, 175 km south-east of Islamabad. — Reuters
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Musharraf sends envoy to Sudan

Islamabad, August 3
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today dispatched a senior envoy with “a special message” for his Sudanese counterpart regarding the UN Security Council resolution on the Darfur crisis, the Foreign Ministry said.

The message for President Omar Hasan Ahmad Al-Bashir concerned last week’s Security Council resolution on the crisis in the western Sudan’s Darfur region, the ministry said in a statement.

The resolution warned Sudan to rein in its Janjaweed militia blamed for atrocities in Darfur, lift restrictions on humanitarian aid and facilitate access within 30 days or face “international measures.”

A 17-month conflict in Darfur between ethnic minority rebels and the Sudanese army with its Arab militia allies has left 50,000 people dead and displaced about 1.2 million, in what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Pakistan, a non-permanent member of the 15-member Security Council, was one of two members which did not back the resolution, despite the urging of council members.

Musharraf had urged UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell in telephone calls last week to find a diplomatic solution rather than threaten sanctions, the Pakistani statement said. — AFP
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Messenger leaves for Mercury

NASA's Messenger spacecraft aboard a Boeing Delta II Heavy launch vehicle is being launched from Space Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
NASA's Messenger (Mercury Surface, Space, Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft aboard a Boeing Delta II Heavy launch vehicle is being launched from Space Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Cape Canaveral, August 3
NASA launched its first mission to the planet Mercury in a generation early today, one that scientists hope will strip away much of the mystery surrounding the tiny planet closest to the sun.

The Messenger (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft, riding a Boeing Co Delta 2 rocket, blazed across the night sky above Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as the $ 427 million mission got underway with lift off at 11:46 IST today.

Among the questions scientists hope to answer is whether Mercury, just slightly larger than earth’s moon, was once earth-sized itself, but lost its rocky exterior either to some cataclysmic collision or to slow ablation by the solar winds.

Scientists also believe there may be frozen water there, trapped in shadowy craters at the planet’s poles, never exposed to the sunlight that creates a 1,100 degree Fahrenheit difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures on the planet.

‘’The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) all formed from the disk of gas and dust, the solar nebula, that surrounded our young sun. They formed by the same processes, they formed at the same time, (but) their outcomes were extremely different. And Mercury is the most extreme of those four planets,’’ said Sean Solomon, principle scientist for the mission.

Messenger will reach Mercury after a seven-year sojourn through the solar system that will take it 15 times around the sun, making near passes of earth once, Venus twice, and Mercury itself three times.

Each planetary pass will act as a gravitational tug to slow Messenger’s speed so that it can eventually slip into Mercury’s orbit for a year-long study.

The only other up-close look planetologists have had of Mercury came in the mid-1970s when NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft made three fly-bys, photographing about 45 per cent of the planet and discovering that it had a strong magnetic field, an indication, scientists say, that Mercury is about two-thirds iron. — Reuters
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2 Indians die in Melbourne

Sydney, August 3
Two Indian students died in a Melbourne suburb in southern Australia when their car dashed into an electric pole in the small hours of the day.

“The two men occupants of a Hyundai Sedan died when their car lost control and collided with an electric pole on the Sherbourne Road in Montmorency in suburban Melbourne at around 1:30 am, Victoria Police sources said.

They have been identified as Pradeep Singh (29) of Delhi and Prashant Segan (24) of Andhra Pradesh, the sources said. — PTI
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3 die in Gaza explosion

Gaza City, August 3
Three militants trying to attack an Israeli armoured bulldozer today, blew themselves up during an operation to destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels from Egypt, according to television footage and the Israeli army.

The roadside bomb in the Rafah refugee camp went off a few metres from where the bulldozer was piling up mounds of dirt in a crowded residential area, according to Associated Press Television footage.

The violence came a day after vigilantes killed three Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israel — two of them in their hospital beds — in an incident that highlighted the progressive breakdown of law and order in Gaza.

The Hamas militant organisation said two of the causalities in Rafah were its members and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed one of the dead men. The explosion blow off half of one man’s skull.

Ten persons were wounded, including a Reuters TV cameraman, who suffered a shrapnel wound in his hand, according to witnesses and hospital officials. — AP
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Tibet holds beauty pageant to promote tourism

Beijing, August 3
Tibet has launched a two-month-long pageant to select Tibetan beauties to serve as “image ambassadors” for tourism promotion, a report said today.

In the pageant launched on Sunday, all female Tibetans aged between 18 and 30 and at least 1.65 metres tall are qualified to complete, Xia Huiqiong, in charge of the function said.

The regional winner will be chosen via three rounds of contests.

Special prizes will also be given to ten contestants who will move on to promote tourism at the prefectural level.

The latest statistics show that Tibet hosted 505,000 tourists in the first six months of the year, 3.1 times more than the same period last year. Of the total, overseas tourist arrivals made up 37,000. — PTI
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BRIEFLY

Grenade attack in Lanka
COLOMBO:
At least five persons, including a police personnel, were injured when the anti-LTTE Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) office, located next to the Sri Lankan army camp in Valaichchenai in the Eastern Batticaloa district, was attacked on Tuesday morning. The attack comes barely a couple of weeks after an attempt on EPDP leader Douglas Devananda. — UNI

Blast bursts Iraq oil pipeline
KIRKUK (IRAQ):
A major attack Tuesday on the main pipeline connecting the oil fields of Kirkuk with the Turkish port of Ceyhan have halted limited exports through northern Iraq, a Northern Oil company official said. “An improvised explosive device was placed close to a network of pipelines at the level of Al-Fateha, west of Kirkuk, causing a big explosion”, a security official with the company, said. — AFP

SA lawmaker gets jail for rape
DURBAN:
A leading opposition member of the South African parliament has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for raping his girlfriend. Albert Mncwango, national organiser and MP of the mainly-Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party, was found guilty of luring his girlfriend to a flat and raping her at gun point. — PTI

Plea against death penalty
Birmingham (Alabama)
:
A 74-year-old convicted murderer who is within days of becoming the oldest US prisoner executed in decades asked an appeals court to block his execution, arguing he is too old and sick to be put to death. — AP
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