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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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US troops battle with Sadr men for second day
Baghdad, August 6
Fighting flared across Iraq today, as the US-led coalition troops battled militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in several cities for a second day in an apparent resurgence of the widespread Shiite rebellion that ended two months ago.

Iraqi Shi'ite militiamen dash across a street during fighting with US Marines and Iraqi security forces Iraqi Shi'ite militiamen dash across a street during fighting with US Marines and Iraqi security forces in the Holy city of Najaf on Friday. — Reuters

China, Pak begin anti-terror drill
Beijing, August 6

More than 200 Chinese and Pakistani troops began joint anti-terrorism exercises in China’s mainly Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang on Friday, the Xinhua news agency said.

Toronto Diary
Crossing lines on Kashmir
A
nyone keen to understand the Kashmir problem and a possible solution to that should see a 45 minute documentary, “Crossing the Lines” by Pervez Hoodbhoy, an eminent professor of nuclear physics at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

Two eleven-week olds snow leopards are pictured in their cage during their presentation Two eleven-week olds snow leopards are pictured in their cage during their presentation at Berlin's Friedrichsfelde zoo on Friday. The rare snow leopards were born on May 19, 2004.
— Reuters





US actress Halle Berry waves during her arrival to German premiere of her new movie
US actress Halle Berry waves during her arrival to German premiere of her new movie "Catwoman," in Hamburg, northern Germany, on Thursday. — AP/PTI


EARLIER STORIES

 

Hafsa Aman pins hopes on new-born
Islamabad, August 6

Unsure of her fate even now, Dr Hafsa Aman, an Indian national who married a Pakistani, hopes that her new-born baby will be her passport to Pakistani citizenship.

Four-year jail for Fiji’s Vice-President
Suva, August 6

Fiji Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli was jailed for four years today after he was convicted of unlawfully swearing in ministers in a rebel government during a coup by armed nationalists four years ago.

Remembering Atom Bomb victims: On August 6, 1945, the US bomber Enola Gay dropped the first Atom bomb on Hiroshima, western Japan, killing and maiming thousands. Remembering Atom Bomb victims: On August 6, 1945, the US bomber Enola Gay dropped the first Atom bomb on Hiroshima, western Japan, killing and maiming thousands. To mark the 59th anniversary of the ghastly act, people prayed at the cenotaph dedicated to the victims at the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, on Friday.

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US troops battle with Sadr men for second day

Baghdad, August 6
Fighting flared across Iraq today, as the US-led coalition troops battled militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in several cities for a second day in an apparent resurgence of the widespread Shiite rebellion that ended two months ago.

The two days of fighting left dozens dead and wounded over 100 others, witnesses and officials said.

In the holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq, helicopter gunships pounded militant positions in fierce fighting that started yesterday and spread to other Shiite areas, including Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood.

Clashes were also reported today between US troops and insurgents north of the capital in Samarra.

Elsewhere, Italian soldiers exchanged gunfire with militants who attacked their positions and a police station in Nasiriyah, south of here, an Italian military spokesman said.

The fighting raised fears of a return of the large-scale uprising launched in April by Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, which had battled the US and coalition troops in several cities in the first major Shiite violence against the Americans. The uprising dragged on for two months, until Iraqi politicians and religious leaders worked out a series of truces, which have been shattered in recent days.

Al-Sadr’s aides called for a return to the truce and asked for the United Nations and Iraq’s interim government to stop the violence.

In Najaf, 160 kms south of here, the US choppers attacked militants hiding in a cemetery near the Imam Ali Shrine in the old city at Najaf’s center, where smoke could be seen rising.

Gunfire and explosions rang out as US soldiers and Iraqi policemen advanced toward the area, witnesses said. The streets were otherwise deserted and shops were closed.

Battles between the two sides in Najaf have killed at least 10 persons and wounded 40 others, according to Hussein Hadi of Najaf General Hospital official.

Ahmed al-Shaibany, an official with Muqtada al-Sadr’s office in Najaf, described the clashes as “fierce.”

The US military has accused the militants of hiding in the shrine compound to avoid retaliation by US forces.
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China, Pak begin anti-terror drill

Beijing, August 6
More than 200 Chinese and Pakistani troops began joint anti-terrorism exercises in China’s mainly Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang on Friday, the Xinhua news agency said.

China has backed the U.S.-led war on terror, calling for international support in its campaign against ethnic Uighur separatists in Xinjiang, a mostly Muslim region that has borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

More than 200 military oficers were taking part in the first such land drills with Pakistan, codenmed “Friendship 2004”, taking place in an area of Xinijang bordering Kashmir, a rugged and volatile territory claimed by India and Pakistan and parts of which are also disputed by China.

The goal of the exercises was to “improve the capacity of jointly combating terrorism, and contain and crack down on the forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism”, Xinhua quoted unidentified Chinese military sources as saying. — Reuters
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Toronto Diary
Crossing lines on Kashmir
Gobind Thukral

Anyone keen to understand the Kashmir problem and a possible solution to that should see a 45 minute documentary, “Crossing the Lines” by Pervez Hoodbhoy, an eminent professor of nuclear physics at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. A heart-rending film by a sensitive human rights activist makes no pretensions when it declares that after four wars, Kashmiris and their land is divided between Pakistan and India and is the source of recurring crises. The next war may be a nuclear war. “In this tragedy each side tells the story of the injustices and violence of the other, and feels the suffering of their own. People of Kashmir are forgotten somewhere, as is their pain and misery,” bemoans the professor in the introduction. The film certainly offers a human vision of shared future for South Asia built on common concerns for life, dignity and freedom.

The Innis Town Hall in the sprawling tree-lined campus of Toronto University is full of more Pakistanis than Indians and there is a fair sprinkling of Canadian scholars and human rights activists. Poet, writer and psychiatrist Khalid Sohail, the man behind the organisation, ‘The Family of the Heart’ is as eloquent as the short film and insists on looking at the issue from a human angle as life is precious. Far away in Canada, people seem to be deeply concerned with the anguish back in their homes.

The film documents the suffering on the two sides and unimaginable misery and desolation of the people; men, women and children and denial of basic human rights. It depicts the horror and certainly evokes two strong emotions, revulsion at the wily rulers and pure sympathy for the misery of the people. The question- answer session that follows brings this reaction out. No one is thinking from any narrow chauvinist view and each is eager to know from the learned professor who spoke on ‘War as an Institution’ and what solution could he suggest. “It is clear that peace is neither in the interests of the military juntas in Pakistan who have been successfully subverting democracy and the ultra nationalists in India who hinge everything on Kashmir to retain their power base, Hoodbhoy admits at the outset.” But then the solution has to come from the rulers who could no doubt be persuaded or pressured by awakened people on both sides of the border. “There is no quick fix solution. But one idea is that let us put these problems for sometime in a cold store as being done now. And, open the borders as wide as can be managed by the two warring sides. Let there be more trade, exchange of writers, filmmakers, journalists and other professionals. Let there be more cultural and people-to-people exchange. Let the people on the two sides of the fence feel more secure and confident about each other. We have so much in common, yet the hatred sown over the years looks a permanent feature.” Hoodbhoy is at his persuasive best.

Pervez Hoodbhoy is a leader of the human rights movement in Pakistan and is a dauntless fighter for the oppressed peasants and his revulsion is at the use of science for destructive purposes. “I feel disturbed when one of bright students who heads the missile programmes in Pakistan comes and tells me about the successes in building nuclear missiles. This is not the purpose of science. It must not help destroy. It should help create.” 
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Hafsa Aman pins hopes on new-born

Islamabad, August 6
Unsure of her fate even now, Dr Hafsa Aman, an Indian national who married a Pakistani, hopes that her new-born baby will be her passport to Pakistani citizenship.

“My son is a Pakistani. Would it really help my case and persuade the Pakistani authorities to allow me to stay here with my son and husband?’’ she wonders.

Dr Hafsa gave birth to a baby boy in a private hospital on Tuesday in Mardan.

Her case comes up for hearing in the Peshawar High Court on September 9 when the two-month extension granted to her expires.
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Four-year jail for Fiji’s Vice-President

Suva, August 6
Fiji Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli was jailed for four years today after he was convicted of unlawfully swearing in ministers in a rebel government during a coup by armed nationalists four years ago.

Seniloli and four others were convicted by the Fiji’s High Court yesterday for their role in the May 2000 coup, which toppled the government of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry. High Court Judge Nazhad Shameem told Seniloli she had originally decided to sentence him to six years in jail, but reduced the sentence.

Seniloli’s lawyer Maqbool Raza said he was “appalled” by the sentence and planned to appeal. Raza said he would also apply for Seniloli to be freed on bail while the appeal was heard. — Reuters
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BRIEFLY

4 Lebanese taken hostage in Iraq
BEIRUT:
Four Lebanese truck drivers have been taken hostage in Iraq, a source in Beirut’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday. The source said the four were captured yesterday on a road outside the capital Baghdad. He had no information about who had taken them hostage or who they worked for. — Reuters

Water diseases hit Bangladesh
DHAKA:
Bangladesh was battling with a spate of water-borne diseases, especially diarrhoea, as flood waters receded across the country leaving more than 35 million people affected and over 600 dead. Nearly 1,000 flood victims were falling prey to diarrhoea daily as government and other agencies rushed medical teams to treat those taken ill. The Dhaka-based International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease and Research said 600 patients were reporting to it daily. — PTI
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