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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

US Governor admits to gay affair, resigns
N
ew Jersey Governor James McGreevey announced his resignation on Thursday after revealing he was gay and that he had an adulterous relationship with a man. “My truth is that I am a gay American,” the Democrat and father of two told a packed news conference in the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey.

Over 4,000 gay marriages annuled
San Francisco, August 13
California’s Supreme Court annulled more than 4,000 gay marriages in San Francisco today after finding the city mayor had acted improperly in granting marriage licenses earlier this year in defiance of state law.

Kashmir core issue, says Pakistan
Islamabad, August 13
Ahead of its independence day tomorrow, Pakistan today said Kashmir was the core issue in talks with India and called for the dismantling of the fencing along the LoC and reduction of the presence of the Indian armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian aide of militant leader held in Pak
Lahore, August 13
The security forces arrested a man who they claimed to be an Indian national and believed to be a close aide of a militant leader suspected in an assassination attempt on a top Pakistani army General.s

Filipino Abu Sayyaf militant Bashir Mandangan looks at his relatives after shouting Allah-ho Akbar while the verdict is read inside the courtroom in the war-torn Basilan island, southern Philippines, on Monday Filipino Abu Sayyaf militant Bashir Mandangan looks at his relatives after shouting “Allah-ho Akbar” while the verdict is read inside the courtroom in the war-torn Basilan island, southern Philippines, on Monday. A total of 17 Abu Sayyaf militants were sentenced to death by a court in the south island province of Basilan. — Reuters

British scribe kidnapped, freed
Baghdad, August 13
Militants in the southern city of Basra today released a British journalist they had kidnapped and threatened to kill after aides to militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded he be freed. The journalist, James Brandon, was brought to Al-Sadr’s local office and freed.


Actor Clint Eastwood has dropped a libel lawsuit over an unauthorised biography in exchange for the removal of passages from the book
Actor Clint Eastwood has dropped a libel lawsuit over an unauthorised biography in exchange for the removal of passages from the book, including claims that the Unforgiven star beat his wife, attorneys for both sides said on Thursday. Eastwood, 74, sued author Patrick McGilligan and St. Martin's Press over the book Clint: The Life and Legend, claiming the book contained false and defamatory statements. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

Israeli forces detain 3 BBC journalists
Jerusalem, August 13
Israeli forces yesterday detained three BBC journalists and a Palestinian doctor at gunpoint for three hours in the West Bank city of Nablus, BBC sources said.

Wounded Sadr urges ‘jehad’ to continue
Najaf, Iraq, August 13
Radical Iraqi Shiite militia leader Moqtada Sadr was wounded today as the USA and Iraqi Government forces closed in on his Najaf stronghold, and called on his supporters to continue their “holy war” even if he died a martyr, aides said.

38 outfits on US terror list
Washington, August 13
The USA has said the inclusion of 38 outfits, including militant groups operating in J&K — Harakat ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e Toiba, on its Foreign Terrorist Organisations list is a step forward in its fight against terrorism and is an effective means to curtail support for terrorist activities.

Men try to hold a tricycle upright against powerful winds on a street in the city of Wenzhou Men try to hold a tricycle upright against powerful winds on a street in the city of Wenzhou, southeastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Thursday. Typhoon Rananim, one of the worst typhoons to hit China in several years, killed 63 persons and injured more than 1,800 when it battered Zhejiang province, officials said on Friday. — Reuters

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Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington
US Governor admits to gay affair, resigns

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey announced his resignation on Thursday after revealing he was gay and that he had an adulterous relationship with a man.

“My truth is that I am a gay American,” the Democrat and father of two told a packed news conference in the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey.

With his wife Dina and parents by his side, Mr McGreevey confessed his struggle with his sexuality. “Throughout my life, I have grappled with my own identity, who I am. As a young child, I often felt ambivalent about myself, in fact, confused.”

Admitting to the affair, Mr McGreevey asked for his family’s forgiveness. “It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable,” he said.

While the governor did not disclose the identity of the man he had the affair with, his aides were reported as saying it was with a former aide. Golan Cipel, who Mr McGreevey hired in 2002 as an adviser to the State Office of Homeland Security, resigned eight months later as a special adviser to the Governor, at a salary of $110,000. The aides said Mr Cipel had threatened to file a lawsuit accusing the Governor of sexual harassment. The New York Times reported a federal law enforcement official saying Mr McGreevey’s office had called the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Jersey on Thursday and complained that Mr. Cipel had requested $5 million to quash the suit, which assistants to the Governor saw as extortion.

Mr McGreevey said his affair and sexuality, “If kept a secret” would leave the Governor’s office “vulnerable to rumours, false allegations and threats of disclosure.”

Noting that it “makes little difference that as a Governor I am gay,” he said: “Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign,” he said.

Twice married, Mr McGreevey said he married his first wife, Kari, “out of respect and love.” She left him and returned to British Columbia, Canada.

He then married Dina, “whose love and joy for life has been an incredible source of strength for me. And together, we have the most beautiful daughter.”

His resignation will take effect on November 15, and State Senate President Richard Codey, who is also a Democrat, will serve the remainder of his term, which ends in January 2006.
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Over 4,000 gay marriages annuled

San Francisco, August 13
California’s Supreme Court annulled more than 4,000 gay marriages in San Francisco today after finding the city mayor had acted improperly in granting marriage licenses earlier this year in defiance of state law.

Mayor of the liberal city Gavin Newsom ignited a passionate nationwide debate in February by allowing 4,037 same-sex couples to wed over a four-week period before the California high court halted them.

A state law backed by a voter referendum defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and polls show most Californians oppose gay marriage.
— Reuters 
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Kashmir core issue, says Pakistan

Islamabad, August 13
Ahead of its independence day tomorrow, Pakistan today said Kashmir was the core issue in talks with India and called for the dismantling of the fencing along the LoC and reduction of the presence of the Indian armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

A meeting of Pakistan's parliamentary committee on Kashmir attended, among others, by Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain and Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri adopted a resolution endorsing its stated position that Kashmir was a core issue and its resolution would "resolve all other minor issues".

"The committee endorses the stand taken by the government of Pakistan that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is the core issue between India and Pakistan and its lasting and just resolution will pave the way for the resolution of other minor issues and removal of irritants," it said.

"We also call upon the Government of India to take urgent steps to stop forthwith human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, eliminate repression, release political prisoners, drastically reduce the Indian forces in the state, repeal Kashmir-specific draconian laws and permit genuine political activities," it said. — PTI
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Indian aide of militant leader held in Pak

Lahore, August 13
The security forces arrested a man who they claimed to be an Indian national and believed to be a close aide of a militant leader suspected in an assassination attempt on a top Pakistani army General.

The man, identified as Maqsood Ansari, was picked up yesterday in the eastern city of Lahore, an intelligence official, who asked not to be named, said today.

Ansari was arrested on information from Rao Khalid, a senior figure in Jundallah, a militant group believed to be linked with Al-Qaida. Khalid was arrested yesterday in the southern city of Karachi.

Khalid is suspected of taking part in an ambush against the top general in Karachi, Lt-Gen Ahsan Saleem Hayat. The army officer escaped unharmed but 10 other persons were killed in the shooting and bombing attack on June 10.

The police described Khalid, alias Haris, as the No. 3 leader in Jundallah, or Allah’s Brigade. The intelligence official said Ansari was arrested in a raid on his home in Ghaziabad, an eastern residential suburb of Lahore.

Ansari came to Pakistan nine years ago and later married a Pakistani woman and had been living in Lahore and Karachi, working closely with Khalid.

Ansari had allegedly trained in Afghanistan and had been a member of the Tableeghi Jamaat, a non-political group of Islamic missionaries.

Ansari was not believed to have a direct role in any terrorist attack but he acted as a facilitator in Jundallah, relaying messages and money among members of the group, the intelligence official said. — AP
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British scribe kidnapped, freed

British journalist James Brandon, who was kidnapped and later released by militants in southern Basra
British journalist James Brandon, who was kidnapped and later released by militants in southern Basra, is shown in this video grab taken from television footage on Friday.
— Reuters photo

Baghdad, August 13
Militants in the southern city of Basra today released a British journalist they had kidnapped and threatened to kill after aides to militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded he be freed.

The journalist, James Brandon, was brought to Al-Sadr’s local office and freed.

“I’m OK, I’m recovering,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I’ve been released thanks to (Al-Sadr’s) Mahdi Army, because they intervened and negotiated with the kidnappers.”

Earlier, militants had kidnapped the British journalist and threatened to kill him if the US forces did not leave the holy city of Najaf within 24 hours, according to the police and a video released today.

In the video, the journalist, bare-chested and with a bandage on his head, identified himself as James Brandon (23), a reporter for The Sunday Telegraph.

The militants said they had taken Brandon hostage in protest of the US military presence in Najaf, one of the holiest cities for Shiite Muslims. The US military and Iraqi forces began a major offensive in the city yesterday designed to rout a rebel militia they had been battling there for more than a week.

Brandon was kidnapped yesterday when about 30 gunmen, some dressed as the police, stormed into the Diafa Hotel in Basra, said police Capt Hashem Abdullah.
— AP, AFP
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Israeli forces detain 3 BBC journalists

Jerusalem, August 13
Israeli forces yesterday detained three BBC journalists and a Palestinian doctor at gunpoint for three hours in the West Bank city of Nablus, BBC sources said.

The journalists, a television crew from the BBC, were accompanying the doctor, Ghassan Hamdan, as he visited an 80-year-old woman living in an apartment that had been commandeered by the army, they said. An army spokesperson said the military is investigating the incident expressing “regret at the incident”. The journalists were not aware that troops were in the apartment until they entered, said Nick Springate, the BBC’s acting bureau chief in Jerusalem.

“The BBC condemns the detention of journalists,” he said. — PTI
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Wounded Sadr urges ‘jehad’ to continue

Najaf, Iraq, August 13
Radical Iraqi Shiite militia leader Moqtada Sadr was wounded today as the USA and Iraqi Government forces closed in on his Najaf stronghold, and called on his supporters to continue their “holy war” even if he died a martyr, aides said.

Yet despite his call to arms, the militia leader also said talks to defuse a standoff between his militia and the joint Iraq-US force would continue, although they have “achieved no solution” till date, said Sheikh Ahmed al-Shaibani at the Imam Ali shrine, a stronghold of the militia since its spring uprising against the US-led occupation of Iraq. — AFP
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38 outfits on US terror list

Washington, August 13
The USA has said the inclusion of 38 outfits, including militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir — Harakat ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e Toiba, on its Foreign Terrorist Organisations list is a step forward in its fight against terrorism and is an effective means to curtail support for terrorist activities.

“The FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business,” the office of the coordinator for Counterrorism in the State Department noted in a fact sheet yesterday.

The division continually monitors the activities of terrorist groups active across the world to identify potential targets for designations.

The 38 organisations on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations include, HUM, JEM, LET, Lashkar-i Jhangvi, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Al-Qaida, Abu Sayyaf Group, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Ansar al-Islam, Hamas, Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), among others.

It is illegal for anyone in the USA to provide material support to the designated FTOs. The designation also means that the USA financial institutions must freeze the groups’ assets. — PTI
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BRIEFLY

Arun Gandhi to lead Palestinian movement
Jerusalem
:
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, is to kick off an unarmed Palestinian movement against Israeli occupation which is being launched by a group of social and political activists in Ramallah. Mr Gandhi, head of the M K Gandhi Institute for Non-violence in the USA, will be the star attraction at three mass rallies planned in Ramallah, Abu Dis and Bethlehem on August 26. The campaign is being organised by a group of social and political activists in Ramallah, who have joined hands with anti-fence activists, NGOs and Fatah activists headed by Fatah member Kadura Fares in the wake of the International Court of Justice’s ruling condemning the construction of the West Bank barrier by Israel. — PTI

7 drown in ferry mishap
Dhaka:
Navy divers and fire service rescuers located a river ferry on Friday after it capsized with about 100 flood-hit persons on board near the Bangladesh capital Dhaka three days ago, officials said. Some 50 persons remained missing since Tuesday’s accident which happened at a riverside flood relief distribution centre.
— DPA

Leading Bangla writer dead
Dhaka:
Leading Bangladeshi author Humayun Azad, who survived an assassination attempt in February this year, died of an heart attack in Germany. He was 56. Azad, who went to Germany just over a week ago on a one-year fellowship, was found dead in his flat in Munich on Thursday, a media report said. — PTI

Arab drivers kidnapped
Baghdad:
A militant group in Iraq said it has seized a group of Arab truck drivers transporting electrical supplies and other equipment to the US forces here, according to video shown early today on the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV station. The group, “The Master of Martyrs,” did not make any demands or threats. — AP
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