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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

India seeks extradition of hijackers
Islamabad, August 10
India today raised the issues of terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan and the extradition of hijackers of Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 1999 as the two countries discussed the twin issues of terrorism and drug trafficking.


Pakistan’s Interior Secretary Tariq Mohammad receives his Indian counterpart Dhirendera Singh for talks in Islamabad In video (28k, 56k)

Pakistan’s Interior Secretary Tariq Mohammad (left) receives his Indian counterpart Dhirendera Singh for talks in Islamabad on Tuesday.
— AP/PTI photo

India giving negative signals on Kashmir, says MusharrafPervez Musharraf
Islamabad, August 10
Suggesting that India was giving contradictory signals on resolving the Kashmir issue, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said this had left him “confused”.

African immigrants storm Spanish border
Madrid, August 10
Spanish police have repelled about 500 African illegal immigrants who stormed a three-metre-high fence surrounding the enclave of Melilla on the Moroccan coast, attempting to climb over it on self-made ladders, press reports said today.

Two Lebanese, 2 Jordanians freed in Iraq
Beirut (Lebanon), August 10
Two Lebanese hostages have been released in Iraq, the wife of one of them said. Nada Sayour told she had received a call from her husband, Kassem Murqbawi, a short time ago, saying he would be home in three days.

In this August 7, 2004, file photo, Nada Sayour, wife of Lebanese truck driver Kassem Murqbawi, 50, holds a photo of her husband who was being held hostage in Iraq . Murqbawi and one other Lebanese hostage have been released in Iraq, Sayour reported to The Associated Press Monday night. — AP/PTI photo
Nada Sayour, wife of Lebanese truck driver Kassem Murqbawi



Surfer Bethany Hamilton accepts the award for "Choice Courage" at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards
Surfer Bethany Hamilton, 13, accepts the award for "Choice Courage" at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards in Universal City, Calif., on Sunday. Hamilton's arm was bitten off when she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing in Hawaii. — AP/PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

Thai troops pulling out of Iraq
Bangkok, August 10
Thailand’s 451 medical and engineering troops in Iraq have started their planned pull-out to Kuwait. They all will arrive in Bangkok by September 20, the military said today.

USA denies German access to Qaida prisoners
Hamburg, August 10
The United States will not allow German judges to question Al-Qaida prisoners in the retrial of a September 11 suspect, a Hamburg court was told today.

Cuddle parties latest craze in New York
New York, August 10
The grab fests are called ‘cuddle parties’, and since they started in New York in February, hundreds of persons have paid $ 30 each to touch and embrace others in intimate gatherings.

Sanjay Dutt hurt by Canadian media
Vancouver, August 10
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who is in Canada for filming his latest film, today said he was hurt by reports, which appeared here, linking him to terrorist activities in India and vowed never to return to the North American country.

His holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj releasing a dove to mark the inauguration of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir His holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj releasing a dove to mark the inauguration of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir in Chicago, USA, on Sunday.
— PTI

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India seeks extradition of hijackers
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, August 10
India today raised the issues of terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan and the extradition of hijackers of Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 1999 as the two countries discussed the twin issues of terrorism and drug trafficking.

During the two-and-half hour “candid” discussions between the Indian Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Tariq Mahmood, the issues of terrorism and drug trafficking were discussed in a comprehensive manner, a brief official statement said.

“The talks were held in a frank and candid atmosphere. Both sides shared their respective perceptions on the issues,” said the statement.

Singh, leading an eight-member delegation of officials from Home and External Affairs Ministry and Narcotics Department, declined to comment on the course of the talks, being held under the current round of Composite Dialogue process. A joint statement was expected at the end of the talks tomorrow.

The two sides held a substantive dialogue on their respective positions on key issues relating to terrorism and shared their perceptions, the official sources said.

India talked about terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan, extradition of hijackers of Indian Airlines plane in 1999 and the accused wanted in connection with Bombay blasts as well as continued functioning of jehadi groups like Lashkar-e-Toyaba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, they said.

Pakistan’s response on these issues was not immediately known. It was also not clear whether the two sides managed to narrow down their differences on these issues.

Pakistan, which considers militancy in Kashmir as “freedom struggle,” said yesterday that issues like definition of terrorism would not figure in talks.

On the eve of the talks, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan had told reporters that efforts would be to explore all possibilities of removing irritants and understanding each other’s point of view and come to an understanding on all issues including the question of terrorism.

Talks on terrorism and drug trafficking are being held as part of the composite dialogue process on Kashmir and seven other issues announced earlier this year. Both sides were expected to work out modalities of cooperation to curb drug trafficking.

Already officials of the two sides made significant progress in their talks on June 16 here to share intelligence and to adopt a co-ordinated strategy to prevent drug trafficking, specially the smuggling of large quantity of heroin being produced in Afghanistan through the well established networks in both the countries. — PTI
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India giving negative signals on Kashmir, says Musharraf

Islamabad, August 10
Suggesting that India was giving contradictory signals on resolving the Kashmir issue, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said this had left him “confused”.

“On one side I am hopeful, while on the other Indians are giving negative signals. I am confused,” he said in a wide-ranging interview to English daily The News.

In talks, he said, Indians looked serious in solving the Kashmir problem, but in public, “they do not speak with the same mind.” The President said he expressed this to External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh when he called on him recently.

Mr Musharraf went on to add: “Then I have my doubts they are playing tricks. I think they are moulding their public opinion gradually. There is a new government in India, and one should give it a chance.”

Describing Kashmir as a “flashpoint”, he said the public in India was for peace and once the issue was resolved “rest will fall in line.”

He also said he would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September. “There are some feelers from there (India) and I would meet him, certainly,” he said. Both leaders are expected to be in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

Mr Musharraf said although no result was achieved in the Pak-India talks on Siachen and Sir Creek, there was no breakdown as the two sides had met for the first time.

“...The Sir Creek issue has an impact on our economic zone. There is no end of dialogue... talks are going on,” he said.

On Siachen, the world’s highest glacier, he claimed: “Tt is India which is suffering the most as its soldiers were perched on the icy heights,” and “If they want to continue to sit there let them sit there licking their wounds.”

During the course of the lengthy interview, Mr Musharraf also said militant groups in Pakistan would be “packed up” after the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

“God blessing, if we find a solution on Kashmir with India, all jehadi organisations have to pack up,” he said, while elaborating on his government’s crackdown on terrorist groups.

Mr Musharraf said deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent comments on Kargil, in which he is reported to have said that military operation was held without his knowledge, were “shameful.”

“It is sad that an ex-PM said that Pakistan suffered a lot. Nawaz Sharif knows he is spitting lies... it is so sad. It is quite the opposite, as everything is documented,” Mr Musharraf said.

The Pakistani President also referred to the example of Indian army court marshalling its personnel involved in fake encounters, while referring to his attempts to crackdown on the Pakistan military personnel with links to the terrorist groups. — PTI
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African immigrants storm Spanish border

Madrid, August 10
Spanish police have repelled about 500 African illegal immigrants who stormed a three-metre-high fence surrounding the enclave of Melilla on the Moroccan coast, attempting to climb over it on self-made ladders, press reports said today.

Around 50 Spanish police clashed with the immigrants while the Moroccan police did the same on the other side of the fence yesterday.

At least seven persons sustained slight injuries. Several immigrants reportedly managed to enter the enclave.

The migrants from Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and Niger were living in nearby mountains, waiting for an opportunity to enter Melilla in the hope of travelling to mainland Spain.

The daily El Mundo said many of the immigrants had stayed in the mountains for years. Those who died of diseases and malnutrition were buried by their comrades in a mass grave.

Melilla reinforced the frontier with more police patrols and asked the central government to provide it with more means to fight illegal immigration.

The numbers of Africans attempting to enter Spain usually soars in the summer months, when the weather favours clandestine sea crossings. Hundreds of illegal immigrants have been detained in Spain over the past few weeks. — DPA
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Two Lebanese, 2 Jordanians freed in Iraq

Beirut (Lebanon), August 10
Two Lebanese hostages have been released in Iraq, the wife of one of them said.

Nada Sayour told she had received a call from her husband, Kassem Murqbawi, a short time ago, saying he would be home in three days.

Murqbawi told her a fellow truck driver who was kidnapped this month was also released. Sayour said he was one of the al-Jundi brothers, but she did not know which one.

Speaking from her home in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli last night, Sayour said her husband told her he was in good condition.

Four Lebanese truck drivers were abducted some time after August 1: Murqbawi, Taha al-Jundi and his brother Nasser, and Khaldoun Othman.

The al-Jundi brothers left Lebanon for Iraq on August 1 and were seized some time after entering the country. Murqbawi and Othman, who were driving trucks loaded with Lebanese-produced juice to Iraq, were abducted about the same time.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry announced on August 6 that the four had been kidnapped and that the Lebanese charge affaires in Baghdad was trying to secure their release.

Hundreds of Lebanese, mainly construction workers and industrialists, have gone to Iraq to look for opportunities in the postwar reconstruction.

Meanwhile, two Jordanian truck drivers kidnapped in Iraq last month were freed and being looked after by embassy officials in Baghdad, officials and family said.

“They were freed thanks to mediators,” said a Jordanian official yesterday, without elaborating.

The drivers, previously identified as Fayez Saad al-Adwan and Ahmad Salameh Hussein, were seized on July 26.

Their company, Daoud and Partners, later announced it was acceding to the kidnappers’ demand that it halt its activities in Iraq.

Adwan’s brother, Omar, said he had spoken to him on the telephone and he was in good health.

“I just had my brother on the phone and he told me he and his colleague were in the embassy in Baghdad after a checkup at the Jordanian hospital in Fallujah,” Omar Adwan said.

“They are in good health and will return to Jordan tomorrow or the day after.”

The brother denied any ransom had been paid to the kidnappers.

“It was the mediation efforts of the honourable people in Iraq and Jordan that led to their release,” he said, without elaborating. — AFP, AP
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Thai troops pulling out of Iraq

Bangkok, August 10
Thailand’s 451 medical and engineering troops in Iraq have started their planned pull-out to Kuwait. They all will arrive in Bangkok by September 20, the military said today.

The troops have completed their year-long deployment, which has been marred by the deaths of two soldiers in a truck bomb attack in Kerbala in December.

That attack shocked many Thais and had sparked of criticism that the government had failed to explain to the public the risks of deploying troops to Iraq, even on a humanitarian mission. — Reuters
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USA denies German access to Qaida prisoners

Hamburg, August 10
The United States will not allow German judges to question Al-Qaida prisoners in the retrial of a September 11 suspect, a Hamburg court was told today.

The decision casts doubt on the prospects for the new proceedings against Mounir El Motassadeq, 30, who is charged with plotting the 2001 attacks alongside Mohamed Atta and others, and with membership of a terrorist organisation.

In a letter to the German embassy in Washington, read out in the court, the US authorities said they had to protect the sources and methods of the security services.

The letter said that “interactive access” to such prisoners could hamper their interrogation and lead to critical secret information, including about terrorist threats, being divulged.

In February 2003, Motassadeq became the first person anywhere to be convicted in connection with the September 11 attacks and was sentenced to 15 years in jail. — Reuters
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Cuddle parties latest craze in New York

New York, August 10
The grab fests are called ‘cuddle parties’, and since they started in New York in February, hundreds of persons have paid $ 30 each to touch and embrace others in intimate gatherings.

Everyone needs to be cuddled, especially in lonely New York, say creators Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski, who add that it’s a good way to meet new and interesting persons.

But the rules are clear. The PJs stay on the whole time and participants are reminded of Rule No. 7: “No dry humping!”

In case things get too steamy, a small chime is kept on hand. Before the cuddling begins, it is struck several times so everyone gets the message.

The idea for cuddle parties loosely came about after Mihalko, a masseur, began giving massages to other masseurs who never got the chance to receive them.

“It started out as a joke,” said Baczynski. “Now we talk about cuddling all the time. It’s just been amazing.”

Curiosity is a big driver for people who attend cuddle parties, and it is a better way to meet people than going to a bar, getting drunk and spending the night with someone just because of the need for some affection, she said.

A cuddle party is really about communication and not therapy, say the organisers.

Before any touching begins, participants gather in a circle to hear the rules and voice any questions or concerns. The first rule is that the event is not clothing optional, pyjamas must stay on and sex is not permitted.

Participants team up into pairs and to ensure the boundaries of what is permissible are clear.

An introduction to cuddling ensues, first by hugging three persons. People then get in a circle on their hands and knees, rub shoulders and moo like cows. After a bit of swaying, everyone falls to their side, which puts them into an easy cuddling position. — Reuters
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Sanjay Dutt hurt by Canadian media

Vancouver, August 10
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who is in Canada for filming his latest film, today said he was hurt by reports, which appeared here, linking him to terrorist activities in India and vowed never to return to the North American country.

Dutt, who is shooting for his latest movie “Dus” in the western Canadian city of Calgary, was caught in the eye of a storm after the media here reported that he had real-life links to terrorism in connection with the Mumbai serial bomb blasts.

The actor, who had spent 18 months in jail for allegedly possessing an automatic weapon, said he and his family had been hurt and upset by the reports.

“I never will come back to Canada ever in my life,” Dutt was quoted as saying by the CBS television. He said he and his family had been fighting the allegations for years. — PTI
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BRIEFLY

Donald Duck honoured
LOS ANGELES:
Cantankerous cartoon character Donald Duck was joined by his rival Mickey Mouse as the fiery fowl received his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremony also marked the irascible animated duck’s 70th birthday-although belatedly, since he was born June 9, 1934. Donald Duck made his debut in 1934, in a Disney Silly Symphony cartoon, “The Wise Little Hen.” — AFP

Passports for fighting cocks
BANGKOK:
Thai livestock authorities have ordered owners of fighting cocks in Khon Kaen province to register their pugilist fowls for bird-flu-free passports before attending out-of-state contests, media reports said on Tuesday. The new rule mandates that fighting cocks must be checked for the bird-flu virus, vaccinated and photographed and issued a passport if their owners want them to travel to other provinces. — DPA

Singapore PM resigns
SINGAPORE:
Singapore’s delicately choreographed transfer of power moved into high gear on Tuesday, as outgoing Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong handed his resignation to the President and his successor was invited to form the next government. Lee Hsien Loong, the oldest son of modern Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, is set on Thursday to be sworn in as the city-state’s third Prime Minister since independence in 1965. — AP

Bernard Levin dead
LONDON:
Star British columnist and broadcaster Bernard Levin, who entertained millions for decades with his witty and controversial ideas, died aged 75, The Times newspaper said on its website. Levin died on Saturday after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. — AFP

Money-laundering in China
Beijing:
China said on Tuesday that it has unearthed over $ 20 million worth of money laundering activities recently and suspected another $ 400 million worth illegal foreign exchange transactions by individuals and companies who have been placed on a “black list”. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), the communist nation’s forex watchdog, ordered its regional branches to check the forex transactions of more than 18,000 companies and individuals from March to December last year. — PTI
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