SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Musharraf vows to crush militancy
Islamabad, August 14
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf today vowed to crush Islamic militancy, saying there would be no let up in the Muslim nation’s biggest ever crackdown on Al-Qaida operatives and other radicals.
In video: Pakistan PM promises development on I-Day. (28k, 56k)

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf watches the model of the Heritage Museum on the 58th Independence Day of Pakistan in Islamabad Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf watches the model of the Heritage Museum on the 58th Independence Day of Pakistan in Islamabad on Saturday.
— Reuters photo

Major revolt in western Afghanistan, 2 Generals killed
Islamabad, August 14
Two Generals were among eight reportedly killed in a major army revolt against the Governor of western Herat province today, Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said.

Ex-secy ‘offers’ Netaji’s pistols to India
Bangkok, August 14
The family members of Seth Tarlok Singh Chawla, former personal secretary to Subhas Chandra Bose, today made a pre- condition to the Government of India to hand over Netaji’s two pistols — which are considered to be great relics of the freedom struggle, launched from foreign shores here in early forties.

Calls to honour Saund with a stamp
New York, August 14
An Indian-American organisation has urged the US Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp in honour of the first Asian-origin Congressman Dalip Singh Saund.

Foam flaw brought down Columbia, says NASA
New Orleans, August 14
The foam that struck space shuttle Columbia after lift-off and led to the death of all seven astronauts on board was defective, NASA said. An official investigation into the accident, conducted by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, had left the matter open, since none of the foam or the fuel tank could be recovered for study.



Children perform at a function organised by the New York City Council Chambers
Children perform at a function organised by the New York City Council Chambers to celebrate India's 57th Independence Day, at the New York City Hall in Manhattan on Friday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
US Secretary of State Colin Powell poses with the Cat Fanciers' Association cat of the year
US Secretary of State Colin Powell poses with the Cat Fanciers' Association cat of the year, 'Colin Powell', in Washington on Friday. The prize-winning cat, a copper-eyed Bombay, was born in the Brookfield, Conn., home of Sharyn and Sig Hauck. — AP/PTI

Split likely in Taliban leadership: US
Kabul, August 14
The US military said today there have been reports about a split in the Taliban leadership, between fugitive leader Mullah Omar and one of his senior lieutenants. “We do have reports... there is a fissure developing in the Taliban senior leadership,” US military spokesman, Maj Scott Nelson told a regular news briefing in Kabul.

UN ready to help end Iraq crisis: Annan
United Nations, August 14
Asking all parties in Iraq to show restraint, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has offered the world body’s help to end the current fighting in that country, particularly in the holy city of Najaf.

50 insurgents killed in Iraq
Samarra (Iraq), August 14
The US military said today its warplanes killed some 50 insurgents when they dropped a series of 250-kg bombs on hideouts in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad.

1 more dead due to bird flu
Hanoi, August 14
Vietnam stepped up culling poultry today in a southern province where a woman was confirmed to have died of H5N1 bird flu, the same strain that killed 24 persons in Asia earlier this year.

The three generations of Pakistani Muslims who live in Britain From left: The three generations of Pakistani Muslims who live in Britain, Arafat Shaikh, his eight-month-old daughter Momina and her grandfather Nasir Shaikh, join other Muslims who are protesting against the policies of Pakistan's President Musharraf, near the Pakistan High Commission in central London, on Saturday. — AP/PTI

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Musharraf vows to crush militancy

Islamabad, August 14
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf today vowed to crush Islamic militancy, saying there would be no let up in the Muslim nation’s biggest ever crackdown on Al-Qaida operatives and other radicals.

Mr Musharraf, a key ally in the US-led war on terror, said foreign militants linked to Osama bin Laden’s network and their local allies posed the biggest challenge to Pakistan, which was celebrating its 57th anniversary of independence today.

“We will crush them and not allow them to move forward,” he said, speaking at a musical show held to mark the anniversary.

Mr Musharraf made no direct reference to a spate of recent arrests across the country, including top Al-Qaida operatives, which had raised hopes that security forces might get closer to Bin Laden or his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

Officials have played down such hopes, saying the whereabouts of the world’s two top wanted men are still a mystery. They are believed to be holed up in the mountainous region on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

In its massive sweep since July, Pakistan has caught about 30 foreign and local militants, revealing growing evidence of links between Al-Qaida and local militant groups.

The local militants developed links to Al-Qaida guerrillas in the 1980s when they jointly fought in the US-backed Afghan war against Soviet occupation with the active support of Pakistan’s powerful military.

But Islamic militants turned against Mr Musharraf’s government after he joined the US-led war on terror in the wake of September 11 attacks on the United States in 200.

Today, six hand-made bombs exploded in the southwestern city of Quetta but caused no casualities. — Reuters
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Major revolt in western Afghanistan, 2 Generals killed

Islamabad, August 14
Two Generals were among eight reportedly killed in a major army revolt against the Governor of western Herat province today, Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said.

General Fazal Muhammad launched a major offensive early in the day against forces loyal to Herat governor Ismail Khan in Shin Dand district.

Ismail Khan’s rival Pushtoon commander Amanullah Khan is said to have spearheaded the mutiny.

Commander Amanullah Khan claimed to have captured the district and said the area’s garrison commander General Gulla Jan and Border Forces chief commander General Karim Khan and six others had been killed in the attack.

Khan said they had released five army officers of the rival forces but claimed they were still holding up to 20 of them.

The Pushtoon commander said it took them just five days to plan the revolt which was supported by General Fazal and other army officers loyal to the Herat governor.

Resistance by rival forces in Shin Dand has almost ended but fighting was still continuing outside the district with troops loyal to Ismail Khan, he added.

Factional fighting in war-ravaged Afghanistan is one of the major concerns of the central government in Kabul which enjoys little influence beyond the capital.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has termed the fighting between private militias a greater danger to the country than the Taliban. — DPA
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Ex-secy ‘offers’ Netaji’s pistols to India
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Bangkok, August 14
The family members of Seth Tarlok Singh Chawla, former personal secretary to Subhas Chandra Bose, today made a pre- condition to the Government of India to hand over Netaji’s two pistols — which are considered to be great relics of the freedom struggle, launched from foreign shores here in early forties.

Earlier, the Chawlas had refused to part with the pistols which were personally given by Netajis to Tarlok Singh Chawla before leaving for Singapore where he intended to surrender.

Displaying the pistols at ‘sardar house’, owned by Mr Narotam Singh Narang, to the visiting dignitaries, including Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Congress MLA from Punjab, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, SGPC member, Mr Santokh Singh Chawla, executive president of the Indo-Thai Friendship Association, alleged that the Government of India had failed to give due recognition to Netaji and soldiers of the Indian National Army (INA).

He said though the Government of Thailand had honoured his father Seth Tarlok Singh with ‘White Elefant Award’, the highest civilian award of the country, and Golden Crown, yet the Government of India did not come forward to present award to the person who remained with Netaji during his last days.

Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, is a family friend of the Chawlas. While Seth Tarlok Singh Chawla was away to America, his son Mr Santokh Singh held a meeting with the Prime Minister during his recent visit to Thailand.

The Chawlas are likely to be honoured by the SGPC in the coming days even as Jathedar Vedanti and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta appreciated their role in the freedom struggle .

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said he would take up the matter of honouring the Chawlas with Ms Sonia Gandhi, president of the Congress, during his forthcoming meeting with her.
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Calls to honour Saund with a stamp

New York, August 14
An Indian-American organisation has urged the US Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp in honour of the first Asian-origin Congressman Dalip Singh Saund.

The Indian-American Foundation said it had begun an “active campaign” to seek support of Asian-American organisations and individuals for the release of a postage stamp on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Mr Saund’s victory in the 1956 elections.

Congressman Joe Wilson, co-chair of India Caucus, has thrown his full weight behind he campaign and has already written to the Stamp Advisory Committee on the issue.

“But community support is very essential to convince the postal service,” said President of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin Inder Singh, who is among the community leaders spearheading the campaign.

Mr Wilson has introduced a resolution in the US Congress for a portrait of the late Saund to be placed in the US Capitol building or inside a House office building.

Inder Singh said Asian-Americans seeking political office often invoker Mr Saund’s name in their poll campaigns.

Mr Saund, who came to the USA to pursue higher education, earned a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California, Berkley. At that time, natives of India were not permitted to become US citizens.

His first campaign was to get US citizenship. He joined a group of Indians in California and New York to begin struggle to attain citizenship for people of Indian origin.

After becoming a naturalised US citizen, Mr Saund started to take more interest in mainstream politics of his new homeland. In 1950, he won the election to the Imperial County Democratic Central Committee and went on to become an elected judge in Westmoreland. But the judgeship was denied to him on the basis that he was not a citizen for one full year prior to his election.

He contested the election to judgeship again in 1952 and won it against an incumbent. After serving four years as a judge, he ran for Congress in 1956 and won against a highly celebrated Republican, becoming the first person of Asian-origin elected to the Congress.

Mr Saund served three terms in the House of Representatives before he was stricken with stroke. — PTI
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Foam flaw brought down Columbia, says NASA

New Orleans, August 14
The foam that struck space shuttle Columbia after lift-off and led to the death of all seven astronauts on board was defective, NASA said.

An official investigation into the accident, conducted by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, had left the matter open, since none of the foam or the fuel tank could be recovered for study.

But the space agency said yesterday that testing had since confirmed the defect and found the foam broke off the shuttle’s external fuel tank because NASA did not know its procedures for applying foam insulation were flawed.

A suitcase-sized chunk of foam from an area of the tank known as the left bipod, one of three areas where struts secure the orbiter to the fuel tank during liftoff, broke off 61 seconds into the flight on January 16, 2003. It gouged a large hole in Columbia’s left wing.

The damage went undetected during the shuttle’s 16-day mission, but caused the nation’s oldest spacecraft to break apart under the stress of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere on February 1, killing the astronauts. — Reuters
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Split likely in Taliban leadership: US

Kabul, August 14
The US military said today there have been reports about a split in the Taliban leadership, between fugitive leader Mullah Omar and one of his senior lieutenants.

“We do have reports... there is a fissure developing in the Taliban senior leadership,” US military spokesman, Maj Scott Nelson told a regular news briefing in Kabul.

Pakistan’s media has reported in recent days that Mullah Abdul Razaq, a senior Taliban commander, had split from Mullah Omar, the one-eyed spiritual leader of militants wanted by the USA and Afghanistan.

“That is a significant development which certainly demonstrates that the Taliban are sort of falling apart a little bit on the leadership,” Major Nelson said.

However, Mullah Abdul Latif Hakimi, who claims to speak for the ousted Taliban militants, phoned and denied reports that Razaq had formed a separate faction.

“That’s not true, there is no split in the Taliban leadership,” Hakimi said from an unknown location by satellite phone. — AFP
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UN ready to help end Iraq crisis: Annan

United Nations, August 14
Asking all parties in Iraq to show restraint, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has offered the world body’s help to end the current fighting in that country, particularly in the holy city of Najaf.

In a statement, he reaffirmed that the force should be used as a last resort, pointing out that the UN stood for the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Mr Annan, his spokesman said, attached great importance to the establishment of the widest possible consensus among Iraqis in support of a peaceful political transition.

“The United Nations remains committed to doing everything possible to assist the Iraqi people to that end, and stands ready to extend its facilitating role in helping to resolve the current crisis, if this would be helpful,” the statement said. — PTI
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50 insurgents killed in Iraq

Samarra (Iraq), August 14
The US military said today its warplanes killed some 50 insurgents when they dropped a series of 250-kg bombs on hideouts in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad.

“There were a series of 500-pound (250-kg) bombs dropped on known enemy locations early this morning near Samarra,” Captain Bill Coppernoll of the 1st Infantry Division said.

“This was part of an operation called Cajun Mousetrap III. Initial reports indicate that approximately 50 anti-Iraqi forces were killed.” — AFP
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1 more dead due to bird flu

Hanoi, August 14
Vietnam stepped up culling poultry today in a southern province where a woman was confirmed to have died of H5N1 bird flu, the same strain that killed 24 persons in Asia earlier this year.

Vietnam’s Health Ministry said two other persons had also died of bird flu and it had more suspected cases in hospital. — Reuters
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BRIEFLY

2 US soldiers killed in Anbar
BAGHDAD:
One US soldier and one Marine were killed in separate attacks in Iraq’s western al-Anbar province, the US military said on Saturday. “One Marine was killed in action and one soldier assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died of wounds received in action on Friday in the al-Anbar province while conducting security and stability operations,” military statement said. — AFP

Iraq shuts oil export pipeline
BAGHDAD:
Authorities in southern Iraq have shut down the main pipeline carrying oil for export after intelligence showed a rebel militia could strike infrastructure, an oil official said on Saturday. ‘’The situation in Basra is bad. The management ordered the pipeline shut late on Friday,’’ an official said. — Reuters
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