SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Indians abroad celebrate I-Day
Sydney, August 15
Indians abroad celebrated the country’s Independence Day today by hoisting the Tricolour at diplomatic missions and holding cultural programmes.
In Australia, expatriate Indians gathered at the residence of Indian Consul General in Sydney M. Ganpathi to celebrate the day.

In video: India, Pakistan call for a joint battle against poverty. (28k, 56k)

Indian origin officer complains against
racial slur

Durban, August 15
A South African defence force officer of Indian origin has asked the Human Rights Commission to investigate incidents where he and other Indian-origin soldiers have been referred to as “coolies” and “canecutters.”

Illuminate houses on Sept 1, Vedanti
appeals to Sikhs

Bangkok, August 15
Sikhs all over the world should illuminate their houses on September 1 to mark the quadri-centennial celebrations of the holy Guru Granth Sahib.

Punta Gorda resident Jack Aurelia of the Windmill Mobile Home Park saves some of his belongings after his home was destroyed in Punta Gorda

Punta Gorda resident Jack Aurelia of the Windmill Mobile Home Park saves some of his belongings after his home was destroyed in Punta Gorda, Florida, on Saturday. Across storm-struck southwest Florida, dazed residents emerged from damaged homes or returned from public shelters to find their lives turned inside out by Hurricane Charley, which struck Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda and Fort Myers with ferocious 145 mph winds and a flooding 15-foot storm surge.
— Reuters

Mortar attack on Iraqi political conference
Baghdad, August 15
Insurgents fired mortars at a meeting where Iraqi leaders met to pick an interim national assembly today, killing at least two persons in a grim reminder of the country’s tortured path toward democracy.




A Palestinian prisoner flashes a V sign from a cell inside the Hadarim prison in Tel Aviv
A Palestinian prisoner flashes a V sign from a cell inside the Hadarim prison in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Sunday. About 1,600 Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike on Sunday to protest against poor conditions in Israeli jails, but Israel's Public Security Minister has said they can "starve to death" before he agrees to ease their restrictions. — AP/PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
Syed Salahuddin, supreme commander of militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, talks to Qazi Hussain Ahmed, chief of Pakistani religious party Jamat-i-Islami
Syed Salahuddin (left), supreme commander of militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, talks to Qazi Hussain Ahmed, chief of Pakistani religious party Jamat-i-Islami, at Martyr's Convention on the occasion of Pakistan's 57th Independence Day in Lahore on Saturday. — AP/PTI

A US soldier stops a pick-up truck driven by family members trying to take a critically wounded man to hospital
A US soldier stops a pick-up truck driven by family members trying to take a critically wounded man to hospital from a neighbourhood outside the Baghdad suburb of al Sadr City, on Saturday. The man died at the scene despite the efforts of soldiers to give medical aid.
— Reuters

8 Iraqis killed in Fallujah
Fallujah (Iraq), August 15
Eight Iraqis were killed and 10 others wounded, mostly women and children, after the US troops clashed with insurgents in the flashpoint city west of Baghdad and warplanes struck two homes, hospital sources said.

Muslim clerics warn of revenge attacks in UK
London, August 15
Warning the 1.6 million Muslims in the UK of a likely backlash in the event of a terrorist strike, leading imams of the country have decided to send a guide to every community household in the country advising them how to react in the event of an attack.

Taliban kills 6 Afghan soldiers
Spin Boldak (Afghanistan), August 15
Taliban fighters killed six Afghan soldiers today in the latest attack by the ousted radical regime ahead of October’s presidential elections, officials said. The soldiers were killed in a pre-dawn raid on a military post in Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province.

10 million register for
Afghan poll
Kabul, August 15
Thousands of US troops in Afghanistan may have failed to catch Osama bin Laden but they are credited with encouraging millions of Afghans to register for the country’s historic election.

Global terror summit held in Pak: Pervez
New York, August 15
A ‘global’ terrorist summit, with representatives coming from various countries, including the USA, was held in Pakistan this year, exposing the “second string” leadership of the Al-Qaida network, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said.

Lawrence of Arabia best British film
London, August 15
David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic, Lawrence of Arabia, has emerged as the best British film of all time and Sir Anthony Hopkins the favourite British actor, according to a poll. The 1962-film, which starred Peter O’Toole as the enigmatic T.E Lawrence, was one of four Lean classics to make it to the top 10 in the poll conducted by The Sunday Telegraph.


US pop diva Madonna begins the UK leg of her re-invention world tour at the MEN Arena US pop diva Madonna begins the UK leg of her re-invention world tour at the MEN Arena, Manchester, on Saturday. — AP/PTI

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Indians abroad celebrate I-Day

Sydney, August 15
Indians abroad celebrated the country’s Independence Day today by hoisting the Tricolour at diplomatic missions and holding cultural programmes.

In Australia, expatriate Indians gathered at the residence of Indian Consul General in Sydney M. Ganpathi to celebrate the day.

At the chime of 9 am local time, Mr Ganapathi unfurled the Tricolour in the garden of his suburban Killara residence and read out President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s address to the nation.

Independence Day was also celebrated at the Sydney branch of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

In Canberra, Indian High Commissioner Prabhat Prakash Shukla unfurled the national flag.

In China, the Indian community celebrated the day at a solemn function organised in Beijing.

Indian Ambassador to China, Nalin Surie unfurled the Tricolour and read out the President’s address.

The Indian High Commission in Pakistan celebrated Independence Day by hoisting the flag and singing the National Anthem.

Departing from tradition, the National Flag was hoisted by Rahul, son of one of the officials of Indian High Commission, instead of the High Commissioner Shivshankar Menon.

The boy was chosen to hoist the flag from the lots drawn among the children of the staff of the High Commission.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy High Commissioner, T.C.A. Raghanvan, senior diplomats, staff and their families.

In Nepal, Charge d’ Affairs V.P. Haran hoisted the flag at the embassy ground in Kathmandu in the presence of over 3,000 Indians.

To mark the occasion, India donated 15 ambulances to various non-profit organisations devoted to community welfare in different parts of Nepal. He also handed over a school bus to Babu Vidya Mandir Higher Secondary School at Polchowk in Lalitpur district of Kathmandu. The total cost of these vehicles was Rs 5.34 million.

The Embassy of India also donated various books to 12 different educational institutions and libraries from different parts of the country.

Hundreds of Indians gathered at the Indian embassy in Moscow to participate in the flag hoisting ceremony.

India’s outgoing Ambassador to Russia Krishnan Raghunath unfurled the National Flag on the rainy morning amid the chords of National Anthem.

Flag hoisting ceremonies were also organised at Indian diplomatic missions in St. Petersburg, Valdivostok and capitals of the CIS countries, including Almaty, Baku, Dushanbe, Tashkent, Kiev and Minsk. — PTI
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Indian origin officer complains against racial slur

Durban, August 15
A South African defence force officer of Indian origin has asked the Human Rights Commission to investigate incidents where he and other Indian-origin soldiers have been referred to as “coolies” and “canecutters.”

Sergeant-Major Samuel Chengan, who is based in Durban, has drawn up a nine-page affidavit in which he claims that a white officer had used derogatory language when referring to people of Indian origin.

Chengan has asked his union, the South African National Defence Union, and the state-funded Human Rights Commission to investigate the allegations.

The term “coolie” was first used by the British to describe Indians brought from India to work on the sugar plantations of Natal.

Later the term was used in a derogatory manner by the white Afrikaners when referring to Indians.

In his affidavit, Chengan said he and another Indian-origin officer had taken offence when the white officer once remarked that Indians came from India to cut cane.

“This was not the first time the officer referred to Indians in a derogatory fashion,” said Chengan in the affidavit.

“He seems to have a perception of Indians being canecutters. The last straw was when the officer referred to us as coolies.”

Reacting to the allegations, the Department of Defence said the matter was being “thoroughly investigated”.

“The defence department will not tolerate, condone, justify or conceal racist behaviour in any form whatsoever,” said Colonel John Rolt, a spokesperson.

“Furthermore, the Minister of Defence has made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that members making themselves guilty of such conduct will be dealt with severely,” he said.

All derogatory references to the different race groups are now outlawed and the government takes a hard line against anyone using such terms.

However, some Indian dramatists use the term “coolie” occasionally in comedy sequences. They believe it’s good to “laugh at ourselves” sometimes. — PTI
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Illuminate houses on Sept 1, Vedanti appeals to Sikhs
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Bangkok, August 15
Sikhs all over the world should illuminate their houses on September 1 to mark the quadri-centennial celebrations of the holy Guru Granth Sahib .

This fervent appeal was made by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takhat while addressing the sangat of Thai Sikhs, here today. While releasing the Thai translation of the brief introduction of Sikhism, Jathedar Vedanti said the essence of the holy Guru Granth Sahib needed to be translated into different languages of the world.

In his message, the Jathedar emphasised on the need to launch a worldwide movement against drugs as per the tenets of Sikhism. He said terrorism had no place in Sikhism which should be vehemently condemned by one and all .Lauding the role of Sikhs in freedom struggle, he said they (the Sikhs) had made supreme sacrifices in this movement too . The Sikh community being selfless had been fighting against all types of tyrannies/terrorism. They had fought valiantly when foreign invaders had attacked India.

Earlier, bhog of the holy Guru Granth Sahib was organised at the bedecked Sardar House in the densely populated Tha-phra locality. This is the first ever function, to be organised in a foreign country at behest of Akal Takht and the SGPC. Mr Narotam Singh Narang of Thailand was appointed international convener by the SGPC. He would be responsible for organising series of functions in different countries to mark the quadri-centennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib.

To strengthen ties with Thai Sikhs, the Jathedar also gave his nod to form ‘Thai Sikh Religious Centre’ with Mr Narang as its convener. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, SGPC member, said the centre would be instrumental in spreading the message of universal brotherhood, enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib in Thailand but in other countries of the world as well. Baba Daljit singh Chicago, Chairman, Guru Nanak Mission of the USA said the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib was being celebrated in different parts of the USA in a big way. He said Guru Granth sahib preached the message of universal brotherhood and communal harmony which had more relevance these days when terrorism had assumed alarming proportions.

There were more than 12 musical presentation of the Sikh holy hymns by famous Sikh cantors, including Bhai Nirmal Singh, Hazoori Raagi, Bhai Harbans Singh Jagadhariwale and local kirtani jatha. There was continuous stream of devotees in the ‘Sardar House’ who paid their obeisance to Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Congress MLA from Punjab announced that his party would celebrate the 400 years of the holy Guru Granth Sahib in the most befitting manner. He said he would undertake world tour in this regard .

Mr Calcutta announced that the SGPC had planned to extend the quadri-centennial celebrations of the completion till 2008 as Guru Granth Sahib was bestowed ‘gur-gaddi’ in this year.
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Mortar attack on Iraqi political conference

Baghdad, August 15
Insurgents fired mortars at a meeting where Iraqi leaders met to pick an interim national assembly today, killing at least two persons in a grim reminder of the country’s tortured path toward democracy.

Casting a further shadow over the gathering, Shi’ite militiamen fought fierce battles with US and Iraqi forces in the holy city of Najaf after the collapse of peace talks aimed at ending fighting that has killed hundreds.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry said three mortar bombs hit a taxi and bus station on the edge of the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, a few hundred metres away from the conference centre, also wounding 17 others.

At least two more blasts later echoed from the area, although the cause was unknown.

The three-day conference, attended by 1,300 delegates, was not affected, although delegates were startled as the explosions rattled windows.

Officials said one person was killed and 17 hurt.

In Najaf, numerous blasts hit militia positions near the city’s holy sites. One shell landed near the outer wall of the sacred Imam Ali Mosque, killing one man, a witness said. — Reuters
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8 Iraqis killed in Fallujah

Fallujah (Iraq), August 15
Eight Iraqis were killed and 10 others wounded, mostly women and children, after the US troops clashed with insurgents in the flashpoint city west of Baghdad and warplanes struck two homes, hospital sources said.

“We have received eight killed and 10 injured,” said doctor Ali Khamis at Fallujah’s general hospital, adding that the dead included two women and two children.

The US military said earlier it struck positions suspected of being used by insurgents after they attacked a US Marine position on the outskirts of the city at about 2 p.m. (1530 IST) with rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun and small arms fire.

A pick-up truck filled with masked fighters was seen escorting the funeral processions as people shouted slogans against the USA and the interim Iraqi Government. — AFP
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Muslim clerics warn of revenge attacks in UK

London, August 15
Warning the 1.6 million Muslims in the UK of a likely backlash in the event of a terrorist strike, leading imams of the country have decided to send a guide to every community household in the country advising them how to react in the event of an attack.

At the emergency ‘mashwarahs’ (consultations) here recently, the 13 imams concluded that some sections of the Muslim community in the UK had become more sympathetic to terrorism because of the continuing war in Iraq, The Sunday Times reported today.

Abdul Jalil Sajid, the imam of the Brighton mosque and one of the country’s most senior clerics, said the imams were responding to warnings from the police and the recent arrests of terror suspects. “It is the police and the government that have been telling us that an attack is on the way,” he said.

The imams warn in the guide that Muslims should be ready for revenge attacks from non-Muslims in the wake of a terrorist incident. The guide advises Muslim households to “remain calm and follow the global safety rule: go in, stay in and tune in.” — PTI

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Taliban kills 6 Afghan soldiers

Spin Boldak (Afghanistan), August 15
Taliban fighters killed six Afghan soldiers today in the latest attack by the ousted radical regime ahead of October’s presidential elections, officials said.

The soldiers were killed in a pre-dawn raid on a military post in Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province.

Abdul Latif Hakimi, a spokesman for the Taliban, confirmed Khan’s report. He said Taliban warriors also managed to seize some ammunition from the post.

The latest attack is part of the rising violence by Taliban and their Islamic militant allies ahead of the presidential elections for October 9. — Reuters
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10 million register for Afghan poll

Kabul, August 15
Thousands of US troops in Afghanistan may have failed to catch Osama bin Laden but they are credited with encouraging millions of Afghans to register for the country’s historic election in October.

Almost 10 million Afghans had put down their names and thumbprints when registration drew to a close today. There are some 18,000 US troops in Operation Enduring Freedom, hunting Bin Laden and his ally Mullah Mohammad Omar, whose Taliban militia was driven out of the power in 2001 by a USA-led offensive.

UN officials said 9.9 million people had registered to vote in the presidential election and parliamentary polls six months later, and registration was being held open for a few remote areas.
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Global terror summit held in Pak: Pervez

New York, August 15
A ‘global’ terrorist summit, with representatives coming from various countries, including the USA, was held in Pakistan this year, exposing the “second string” leadership of the Al-Qaida network, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said.

“The personalities involved, the operations, the fact that a major explosives expert came here and went back... all this was extremely significant,” Time magazine quoted General Musharraf as saying in its latest issue to be out tomorrow.

The summit was held in the lawless province of Waziristan in March and was attended by terrorism’s elite, including Abu Issa al-Hindi, an Indian convert to radical Islam who specialises in surveillance, the magazine said.

Others participants were Adnan el Shukrijumah, a commercial pilot and bombmaker of the Arab-Guyanese origin and Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-American who arrived at the summit with cash, sleeping bags and ponchos, it said. — PTI
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Lawrence of Arabia best British film

London, August 15
David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic, Lawrence of Arabia, has emerged as the best British film of all time and Sir Anthony Hopkins the favourite British actor, according to a poll.

The 1962-film, which starred Peter O’Toole as the enigmatic T.E Lawrence, was one of four Lean classics to make it to the top 10 in the poll conducted by The Sunday Telegraph.

Brief Encounter, the director’s bitter-sweet tale of a doomed romance that starred Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, was named runner-up ahead of his adaptation of Great Expectations, which came fourth and his war-time epic, The Bridge On The River Kwai, which tied in seventh place.

Lady Lean, the director’s widow, said her late husband, as a dreamer knew how to put his dreams on screen.

Carol Reed’s 1949 thriller The Third Man’, made it to third place.

Just over 230 actors, technicians, writers and directors took part in the poll which was organised by the newspaper to celebrate British film and British film talent.
— PTI
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BRIEFLY

Ship fire leaves 12 dead
Jakarta:
Twelve persons were drowned after a boat carrying 45 persons caught fire at sea off the coast of northern Indonesia, the police said on Sunday. The vessel left Bitung port in North Sulawesi province on Friday and was bound for the coastal village of Posingon about 173 km southwest, when a blaze broke out mid way, police sergeant Master Muginte said. The accident happened after crew attempted to repair a broken engine. — AFP

UK minister mum on affair
London:
Britain’s Home Secretary David Blunkett has flatly refused to discuss a claim in a top-selling Sunday newspaper that he is having an affair with a married women. Mr Blunkett (57) on Saturday said his private life had no bearing on his role Britain’s Interior Minister and a key member of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Cabinet.
— AFP
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