SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Pak to release 449 Indian prisoners
Islamabad, August 11
As a goodwill gesture, Pakistan today announced that it would soon release 449 Indian prisoners, a majority of them being fishermen who were detained for allegedly entering the country’s territorial waters.

Osama calls for attacks in USA, UK, Pak
Islamabad, August 11
Osama bin Laden has called for attacks on targets in the USA and the UK, Pakistani intelligence sources said today, but it was not clear if his appeal was accompanied by more detailed orders.

Pakistani held videotaping buildings in USA
Washington, August 11
A Pakistani has been arrested while videotaping important buildings in Charlotte, North Carolina, after the police suspected him of conducting surveillance for terrorists. A US magistrate yesterday ordered Kamran Akhtar to be held on a charge that he lied to local and federal officers about his immigration status.

Indian Jews hope kin will immigrate into Israel
Jerusalem, August 11
The Indian Jews from the North-East, commonly known as the Bnei Menashe, have expressed the hope that their relatives would be able to immigrate into Israel after a fact-finding team that has returned from India submits its report in about two weeks.

Sikh assault case: accused given bail
New York, August 11
The District Attorney in the New York borough of Queens has announced that five persons have been indicted for assaulting a Sikh last month.

Pakistani women take part in a rally to condemn honour killings and victimisation of women in society in Lahore Pakistani women take part in a rally to condemn honour killings and victimisation of women in society in Lahore on Tuesday. Pakistani human rights groups and other organisations welcomed Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's call for a ban on the honour killings that claim hundreds of women's lives every year, but urged him to move beyond rhetoric and end the bloodshed. — AP/PTI



Three of the four white lion cubs, born recently at the Rhino and Lion Park in Muldersdrift, Johannesburg
Three of the four white lion cubs, born recently at the Rhino and Lion Park in Muldersdrift, Johannesburg, play in their enclosure on Wednesday. The two-week-old cubs will form part of the extensive white lion breeding programme of the park. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

Ensure security to firms: India tells Nepal
Kathmandu, August 11
India has urged Nepal to provide security to Indian companies in the kingdom following Maoists threats to close down two-dozen big companies, including Indian joint ventures, indefinitely from next week.

1 more kidnapped in Iraq
Amman, August 11
A Jordanian has been kidnapped in Iraq, the second in 24 hours, a Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman said today. “We have received information of a kidnapping in Iraq on Tuesday of Jordanian Taha al-Maharmeh,” the spokesman, Mr Ayed, was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency.

A flood victim catches fish beside a busy highway in Taraboo A flood victim catches fish beside a busy highway in Taraboo, near Dhaka, on Wednesday. More than 1,000 people have died due to floods in Bangladesh in the past few weeks.
— Reuters

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Pak to release 449 Indian prisoners

Islamabad, August 11
As a goodwill gesture, Pakistan today announced that it would soon release 449 Indian prisoners, a majority of them being fishermen who were detained for allegedly entering the country’s territorial waters.

Pakistan Government as a goodwill gesture would release 41 Indian prisoners languishing in Pakistani jails for visa violations, an announcement over the state-run PTV said.

Also 408 fishermen held in Karachi on the charges of illegally entering Pakistani waters for fishing would be released after the completion of the formalities, it said.

Pakistan would be releasing all the Indian fishermen currently in its custody.

The announcement came as Indian and Pakistan officials completed the two-day talks on terrorism and drug trafficking.

Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh, who led the Indian delegation at the talks, earlier called on Pakistan Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat and held talks on mutual concerns over issues relating to terrorism. — PTI
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Osama calls for attacks in USA, UK, Pak

Islamabad, August 11
Osama bin Laden has called for attacks on targets in the USA and the UK, Pakistani intelligence sources said today, but it was not clear if his appeal was accompanied by more detailed orders.

“Osama has given the go ahead to target important places and personalities in the US, UK and Pakistan,” one Pakistani intelligence source said.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, played down a report today in the Washington Times that a tape from Bin Laden may surface soon that would act as a signal for planned attacks to be launched.

The newspaper, citing US intelligence officials, said Al Qaida would target an American or foreign leader either within the USA or abroad.

The sketch of a plot to target US President George W. Bush surfaced on an online magazine of Al Qaida’s organisation in Saudi Arabia today.

A one-line answer to a Saut al-Jihad reader’s query said: “The plan you have drawn up to assassinate Bush is good but would need a lot of preparation.”

“Perhaps you can take part in it, if possible, and thanks,” the magazine told the reader—named only as Madad—without giving further details. The reader’s question was not published.

A West Asia security expert who reviewed the site said it would be rare for a known Al Qaida figure to discuss a detailed plan over a website. He said, however, the message may have some “operational value”, but using Bush’s name indicated if a plot were afoot; it was in an early stage.

“When it comes to impending operations, Al Qaida either restricts itself to heavily encrypted correspondence or already has a localised word-of-mouth system in place with the terrorist cell in question, isolating it from outside communication,” said the expert, who asked not to be named.

He said the specific reference could also be a red herring.

“The incautiousness of the Bush mention, on a site that contains the caveat not to divulge ‘operational secrets’, raises another possibility: that Al Qaida is trying to distract from an impending attack far from the White House—in Europe, say,” he added. — Reuters
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Pakistani held videotaping buildings in USA

Washington, August 11
A Pakistani has been arrested while videotaping important buildings in Charlotte, North Carolina, after the police suspected him of conducting surveillance for terrorists.

A US magistrate yesterday ordered Kamran Akhtar to be held on a charge that he lied to local and federal officers about his immigration status.

Akhtar was arrested on July 20 while videotaping buildings in Charlotte. But his video camera contained footage of not only the Bank of America and Wachovia Bank buildings in downtown area, but also an earlier tape of buildings in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Dallas and New Orleans, according to a court document.

Officials said the arrest came amidst heightened alert in several US cities after intelligence reports indicated that Al-Qaida was targeting key financial institutions in the country. “We felt that this type of video was a type of surveillance video based on the way these video shots were taken of these locations,” the Austin Police Department chief said. — PTI
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Indian Jews hope kin will immigrate into Israel

Jerusalem, August 11
The Indian Jews from the North-East, commonly known as the Bnei Menashe, have expressed the hope that their relatives would be able to immigrate into Israel after a fact-finding team that has returned from India submits its report in about two weeks.

A team was sent to north-eastern India by Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to examine claims of Jewish descent by the Bnei Menashe (literally sons of Menashe) last week at the request of a non-governmental organisation, Amishav, that had assisted the group’s immigration to Israel, said Shlomi Parvar, a spokesperson for Rabbi Amar.

The Bnei Menashe Council’s general secretary, Zvi Khaute, who immigrated to Israel six years ago said, “We are hopeful that the team’s report would establish beyond doubt our Jewish identity and will force the Interior Minister to lift the freeze on our immigration to Israel.”

Amishav, which means “my people come back” has charged the interior ministry of “racist attitude” in immigration norms. Some 800 members of the community had immigrated to Israel over the last decade. However, a freeze put by Interior Minister Avraham Poraz on their entry last year has prevented the rest of the 6,000 members of the community. — PTI
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Sikh assault case: accused given bail

New York, August 11
The District Attorney in the New York borough of Queens has announced that five persons have been indicted for assaulting a Sikh last month.

District Attorney Richard Brown said Rajinder Singh Khalsa was attacked on July 11 at a restaurant in the Richmond Hill neighbourhood of Queens when he refused to remove his turban as demanded by the quintet who described it as ‘’dirty curtains’’.

Khalsa’s associate Gurcharan Singh, however, managed to escape. Khalsa was hospitalised immediately after the incident and had since been convalescing.

‘’Crimes motivated by bias, particularly those involving violence, can never be tolerated,’’ Mr Brown said.

However, the five - charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime - were given bail ranging from $ 35,000 to $ 50,000. They will be arraigned on the indictment later this month.

If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison. — UNI
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Ensure security to firms: India tells Nepal

Kathmandu, August 11
India has urged Nepal to provide security to Indian companies in the kingdom following Maoists threats to close down two-dozen big companies, including Indian joint ventures, indefinitely from next week.

The Indian Embassy has written a letter to the Nepalese Foreign Ministry asking it to ensure that security cover be provided to the Indian joint ventures operating in the country, Sanjay Verma, First Secretary, Information at the Embassy said.

“We have taken a very serious note of the Maoist threats to Indian joint venture companies, including Surya Nepal, a tobacco manufacturing company,” the Indian Embassy official said.

A trade union affiliated to the underground Maoist outfit had issued a statement threatening to close down indefinitely big companies, including Indian joint venture Surya Nepal, Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Bottlers Nepal, Pashupati Spinning Mills and Sangai Plastic, from August 17.

Currently there are about 85 Indian joint ventures in Nepal.

The Maoists have accused these companies of exploiting their employees and spying on Maoists.

“We have decided to increase the number of security personnel and introduced frisking the clients after receiving the Maoist threats through the local media,” the General Manager of one of the oldest hotels in Nepal, said. He also countered the Maoist allegation that the hotel exploited the employees and spied on the Maoist outfit. — PTI
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1 more kidnapped in Iraq

Amman, August 11
A Jordanian has been kidnapped in Iraq, the second in 24 hours, a Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman said today. “We have received information of a kidnapping in Iraq on Tuesday of Jordanian Taha al-Maharmeh,” the spokesman, Mr Ayed, was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency.

Another Jordanian had alerted Amman Embassy in Iraq of the kidnapping, he added, without giving details.

On Monday, a Jordanian businessman was lifted from his Baghdad home by an unknown group demanding US $ 250,000 ransom for his release, his son said yesterday.

Sameh, a son of Jamal Sadek al-Salaymeh (63), said he had no other details on Monday’s kidnapping. — AFP
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UK nod to human cloning

London, August 11
British scientists said today that they had been granted permission to clone human embryos for medical research, thought to be the first such licence given in Europe.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle in northern England will be allowed to create embryos as a source of stem cells to cure diseases after being given permission by the government’s regulator, a spokeswoman for the university said. — Reuters
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Swaminarayan Temple in Chicago

New York, August 11
A Swaminarayan Temple, costing $ 15 million, has opened in Bartlett in Illinois near Chicago. According to news reports, the suburban structure encompassing about 10 hectares is more impressive than Swaminarayan Temple in London. — UNI
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BRIEFLY


An undated hand out photograph of Iorworth Hoare
An undated hand out photograph of Iorworth Hoare, a convicted rapist who is serving a lengthy jail sentence and has won seven million pounds ($13 million) on Britain's national lottery, a newspaper reported on Wednesday. Iorworth Hoare was on weekend release from a low-security prison when he bought his winning ticket for last Saturday's Lotto Extra draw.
— Reuters

Israeli award for Indian actor
JERUSALEM:
Indian actor Parmeet Sethi is a surprise entrant in the best actor category for the Israeli Film Academy awards, as committee members gear up to shortlist the nominations, a media report said. Parmeet plays the lead role in the Israeli film, “Sof Ha’olam Shmola” which deals with interactions between new immigrants from India and Morocco, placed in a development township. — PTI

HK no longer most expensive
HONG KONG:
Hong Kong has crashed out of the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in for the first time in seven years, according to an authoritative survey published on Wednesday. Hong Kong has occupied a top-five place in the bi-yearly survey by the Economic Intelligence Unit.
However, it has now dropped to the 12th place. — DPA

Blind man kills blind foe
MANILA:
Enraged by an old grudge, a blind man fatally stabbed his blind friend whom he found by feeling his way through a residence for the disabled and identifying the victim by voice, the police said on Tuesday. The police said they would charge Edmundo Geraldiso (55) with murder for the attack on Monday in the southern city of Zamboanga. Geraldiso was identified by a witness, who is also blind, through his voice, investigator Tirso Cruz said. — AP

Blast leaves 6 Iraqis dead
Baghdad:
A roadside bomb exploded in a market north of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least six Iraqis and injuring nine others, a hospital official said. The explosion shook the market in Khan Ban Sad, 10 km south of Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, leaving a half-metre crater in the side of the road. — AP
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