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England says, she wasn’t ordered
to abuse

Fort Bragg, (N.C.) August 7
The female U.S. soldier, who outraged the Arab world by being photographed holding an Iraqi prisoner on a leash, admitted she ‘’stepped on’’ inmates and said no one ordered her to abuse prisoners, a criminal investigator testified.

Beheading video, a hoax, says American
Dubai, August 7
A video posted on a website used by Islamic militants purported to show the beheading of an American hostage today but the man shown in the video was quoted as saying it was a hoax. Benjamin Vanderford of San Francisco, California, told the Associated Press he had faked the video at a friend’s house.


Payal Shakya
Payal Shakya with her awards after being announced Miss Nepal 2004 in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on Saturday. — Reuters

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Militants threaten to kill turkish truck driver
Baghdad, August 7
A militant group released a video tape today of a Turkish truck driver kidnapped in Iraq and threatened to behead him in 48 hours unless his company pulled out of the country. A video released to an international news agency showed a nervous truck driver identifying himself surrounded by masked gunmen.

Amateur video image shows Turkish hostage seated with masked captors Amateur video image shows Turkish hostage seated with masked captors at an unknown location and unknown date. — Reuters photo

Jordanian hostage flees from captors
Amman, August 7
A Jordanian hostage has escaped from his Iraqi captors and returned to Jordan safely, government spokeswoman Asma Khader said today.

NRI jailed for 19 years
London, August 7
A non-resident Indian baggage handler at Heathrow airport has been given an exemplary 19-year jail sentence for a plot to smuggle 9 kg of cocaine in the luggage of unwitting passengers from South America.

EARLIER STORIES

 

2 DIE IN KARACHI CAR BLAST

The Pakistani police investigates at the site of a car bomb explosion
The Pakistani police investigates at the site of a car bomb explosion in Karachi on Saturday. A time bomb exploded in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi, killing two persons and wounding three others, the police said. — Reuters
In video (28k, 56k)

Asians most educated in USA
Washington, August 7
Asians who account for nearly 25 per cent of the 33.5 million foreign-born population in the USA, are the most educated among the group, according to the latest US Census Bureau report.

Indian dinner costs $ 45000
London, August 7
It was a record $ 45,000 for an Indian dinner. An American spent that amount for an eight-course dinner, at Tamarind, in London’s Mayfair.

20 million need food in flood-hit Bangladesh
Dhaka, August 7
Twenty million people need food urgently after floods ravaged Bangladesh, the United Nations and other aid agencies said today.


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England says, she wasn’t ordered to abuse

Fort Bragg, (N.C.) August 7
The female U.S. soldier, who outraged the Arab world by being photographed holding an Iraqi prisoner on a leash, admitted she ‘’stepped on’’ inmates and said no one ordered her to abuse prisoners, a criminal investigator testified.

Pfc. Lynndie England, seen in a series of photographs that damaged the U.S. image in Iraq, has said in the past she was following orders in the abuse scandal that prompted an apology from U.S. President George W. Bush.

Sgt. James Stewart, a military investigator, said he interviewed England on May 5, showed her 23 pictures from Abu Ghraib and asked her questions about them.

When he asked her if she abused prisoners, “She said a couple times she had stepped on someone,” Stewart said.

“She said she was never ordered to do that, and she didn’t know if anyone told them to do it,” he added, saying England told him they were trying to humiliate the prisoners.

Later in the interview, England said Military Intelligence agents had told her to “keep it up; we were doing a good job.”

President Bush pinned the blame for the Abu Ghraib abuse on a small group of soldiers, but England has said she was following orders, and her lawyers have sought to link the U.S. military chain of command to the abuse.

The four-day military court hearing was called to determine whether England should stand trial. Stewart’s was the first direct testimony that England physically abused prisoners.

The pregnant, 21-year-old is charged with 19 counts of prisoner abuse, committing indecent acts and disobeying orders. She faces up to 38 years in prison if convicted.

She told Stewart that Spc. Charles Graner, another of the seven soldiers charged in the abuse at Abu Ghraib, is the father of her child, Stewart said. — Reuters

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Beheading video, a hoax, says American

Dubai, August 7
A video posted on a website used by Islamic militants purported to show the beheading of an American hostage today but the man shown in the video was quoted as saying it was a hoax.

Benjamin Vanderford of San Francisco, California, told the Associated Press he had faked the video at a friend’s house.

The video appeared in the Web format used by Al-Qaida ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and was introduced by a headline that said it showed Zarqawi killing an American.

The American then identifies himself as Benjamin Vanderford and urges US forces to leave Iraq.

“If we don’t, everyone is gonna be killed in this way ... I have been offered for exchange for prisoners here in Iraq,” the terrified-looking man said, rocking back and forth in his chair, his hands tied behind his back.

The video then showed a hand with a large knife apparently slicing through the neck of a limp body.

Vanderford told the AP he staged the beheading using fake blood and began distributing the videotape on the Internet months ago.

“It was part of a stunt, but no one noticed until now,” he said.

Vanderford’s Website identifies him as a 22-year-old independent candidate for district supervisor in San Francisco. He is also a musician and video-game programmer.

His political manifesto on the Website addresses local issues such as tenants’ rights, the homeless and government transparency, with no mention of Iraq.

The video on the Website looked like previous tapes released by Zarqawi’s Tawhid and Jihad Group, but did not show the group’s flag, or masked militants. The American was wearing trousers and a T-shirt, not an orange jumpsuit as worn by previous hostages of Zarqawi’s group.

But the statement, signed by the Tawhid and Jihad Group, bore the same logo that had appeared in previous statements including most recently today’s threat to kill Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Zarqawi’s group has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings and other attacks on Iraqi and US officials in recent months. It has also previously killed an American, a South Korean and a Bulgarian hostage in Iraq. — Reuters

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Militants threaten to kill turkish truck driver

Baghdad, August 7
A militant group released a video tape today of a Turkish truck driver kidnapped in Iraq and threatened to behead him in 48 hours unless his company pulled out of the country. A video released to an international news agency showed a nervous truck driver identifying himself surrounded by masked gunmen.

To protect the people of Iraq, the interim government ordered Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television network to close its Baghdad office for one month today. The government felt it had “encouraged criminals and gangsters”, in Iraq.

So far four Iranian intelligence officers have been arrested by Iraqi authorities on suspicion of spying and carrying out acts of sabotage in the country, a spokesman for the interior ministry confirmed today.

Assailants in Iraq killed three US servicemen, one in the capital and two in the south of the troubled country, the US command said today.

In the wake of situation a militant group linked to al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi threatened in a statement today to kill Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and other Iraqi officials.

Here, Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi today signed a long-awaited amnesty law that would pardon Iraqis who had committed minor crimes. The amnesty had been expected to be a key element in the government’s efforts to end a 15-month-old insurgency. — Agencies

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Jordanian hostage flees from captors

Amman, August 7
A Jordanian hostage has escaped from his Iraqi captors and returned to Jordan safely, government spokeswoman Asma Khader said today.

Businessman Adel Obeid-Allah is the fifth Jordanian to be freed from captivity in Iraq this week. Two other Jordanians - truck drivers Fayez Saad al-Udwan and Mohammad Ahmed Salama al-Manaya’a - remain captive in Iraq, but the Jordanian government has received “assurances” that he would soon be released, Khader said.

She said Obeid-Allah flew home on Thursday aboard a Royal Jordanian flight from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. — AP

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NRI jailed for 19 years
H.S. Rao

London, August 7
A non-resident Indian baggage handler at Heathrow airport has been given an exemplary 19-year jail sentence for a plot to smuggle 9 kg of cocaine in the luggage of unwitting passengers from South America.

Kamaljit Bassi of Hayes, Middlesex, was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to import controlled drugs worth about £ 650,000 on Wednesday after a three-month trial at Guildford crown court.

Sentencing Bassi yesterday, Judge Peter Testar told him, “What you did was extremely serious because you were prepared to commit the most appalling breach of trust.”

His co-defendants, Junior Royes, 39, of Kensal Green, west London, and Brian Emile, 49, of Greenford, west London were both jailed for 17 years each.

Bassi, 40, who wore a jacket and shirt and spectacles, showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.

The judge told the three that a civilised society must do everything possible to stamp out the trade in Class A drugs.

“Each of you made the deliberate decision to make a profit for yourself out of this obscene traffic and now you must pay the price,” he said.

The passengers in whose luggage the drugs were found — Carlton Joseph, 54, of Harringay, north London, and Rachelle Chapman, 19, a child-minder from Balham, south London — were cleared of conspiracy. — PTI 

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Asians most educated in USA

Washington, August 7
Asians who account for nearly 25 per cent of the 33.5 million foreign-born population in the USA, are the most educated among the group, according to the latest US Census Bureau report.

The report said foreign-born people make up nearly 12 per cent of the total 288.4 million US population.

Asked what the Indian-born proportion is, a Census Bureau spokesman told PTI that they do not have updated figures. In 2002, it was estimated that the Indian-born population in 2002 in the USA was 1,228,604 but it might as well be 1,779.736 or 1,279,472.

He said that this did not include people of Indian origin born in the USA or people of Indian origin born to American parents abroad.

“The Asian population is doing well in terms of socio-economic characteristics in the USA,” Kevin Deardorff of the Census Bureau told reporters.

Neraly 87.4 per cent of Asians in the USA had a “high school or more” qualification compared with 84.9 per cent among those from Europe and 49.1 per cent from Latin America. Nearly 50 per cent Asians had attained a bachelor’s degree or more compared to 35.4 per cent for those from Europe and 11.6 per cent from Latin America.

Foreign-born households are larger than those of natives. As many as 28 per cent of them contain five or more people compared with only 13 per cent of native households.

The report also showed that the proportion of foreign-born workers in management and professional occupations was the highest among those from Asia — 47 per cent. — PTI

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Indian dinner costs $ 45000

London, August 7
It was a record $ 45,000 for an Indian dinner. An American spent that amount for an eight-course dinner, at Tamarind, in London’s Mayfair.

Tamarind is one of the two Indian restaurants in the UK which has won the prestigious Michelin award for excellent cuisine, service and decor.

The American spent the sum on a lavish meal for 90 friends.

The bill equalled the record for a meal in London at Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus three years ago. — UNI

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20 million need food in flood-hit Bangladesh

Dhaka, August 7
Twenty million people need food urgently after floods ravaged Bangladesh, the United Nations and other aid agencies said today.

The Disaster Emergency Response Group, made up of the United Nations, international aid agencies and donors, said that half of the 20 million would need food aid for the next three months and another five million would be unable to feed themselves for six months or longer.

Floods submerged two-thirds of Bangladesh over the past month killing at least 663 persons and destroying vast crop areas. — AFP

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BRIEFLY


Iranian journalists, wearing black armbands, attend a mourning ceremony
Iranian journalists, wearing black armbands, attend a mourning ceremony for reformist newspapers closed in a Press crackdown by the hardline judiciary in Tehran on Saturday. Some 150 Iranian journalists, some wearing black armbands, attended the mourning ceremony. — Reuters

Carroll’s scrapbook goes online
WASHINGTON:
Admirers of Lewis Carroll’s fantasies for children can surf into a rare 21st-century wonderland, an online version of the author’s unpublished personal scrapbook. An Internet version has been made available by the Library of Congress, which acquired the original soon after Carroll’s death in 1898. Online features include an introduction by a Carroll expert, timelines, a portrait gallery and a system for searching the text for a word or a phrase, all at http://international.loc.gov/intldl/carrollhtml. — AP

Mountaineer loses toes, keeps climbing
Madrid
: A Spanish mountaineer who has scaled sixteen 8,000-metre peaks will have almost all his toes amputated because of frostbite, but has sworn to keep climbing. “Almost all my toes on both feet are going to have to go, except the big toes,” Juanito Oiarzabal said on his website yesterday. The amputations follow a gruelling expedition last month to scale K2, the world’s second-highest peak which is part of the remote Karakoram range on the border between China and Pakistan. “I’m used to the idea ... I have talked to other climbers, even some with amputations, and I know that I am going to be fine and keep climbing,” he told sports daily Marca. - Reuters

Actress Virginia Grey dies at 87
LOS ANGELES:
Actress Virginia Grey, whose film career began in 1927 with “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and stretched through the 1970s with “Airport” and television roles, has died. She was 87. Grey died recently at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s home and hospital facility in suburban Woodland Hills, a fund spokeswoman said on Friday. — AP

Maid attacked for eating banana
KUALA LUMPUR:
The police is investigating allegations that a Malaysian woman slashed an Indonesian maid with a knife because she ate fruit at home without her permission, a news report said. Saeni Salikan claimed her employer’s mother scolded her for eating a banana and slashed her in the neck at a home east of Kuala Lumpur, the Bernama national news agency reported on Friday. — AP
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