Foreign scribe, translator abducted in Iraq
Floods threaten as Tibet lake level rises
Musharraf turns ‘Busharraf’, seeks votes
Bomb scare in three planes
Thousands of Palestinian
prisoners on fast
30 die as bus plunges into river
Foreign scribe, translator abducted in Iraq
Baghdad, August 16
The man was kidnapped along with his Iraqi translator in Nasiriyah on Friday, said Adnan al-Shoraify, Deputy Governor of Dhi Qar province. He said the translator’s family had first reported the two missing.
Mr Al-Shoraify identified the foreigner as a journalist, but said he worked for an organisation that was funding a project to provide security to antiquities near Nasiriyah.
The pan-Arab television station Al-Jazeera also reported the kidnapping today, but provided no details.
The foreigner was reportedly a citizen of both France and the United States, but was not otherwise identified, and no other details were immediately available.
The report could not be independently confirmed.
A spokesman for Italian forces deployed in Nasiriyah, about 320 km southeast of Baghdad, said he was looking into the report.
A spokesman for the US Embassy in Baghdad, Bob Callahan, said he had not heard of the kidnapping and had no information. And in Paris, the French Foreign Ministry also said it had no information but was investigating.
Meanwhile, a South Korean freelance reporter was briefly detained by militants in Iraq late last month, a report said today.
The reporter, who was not identified, was detained for about two hours in a car by militants in the central city of Samarra on July 30 before being released, Foreign Ministry spokesman Shin Bong-kil told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
The reporter works for a monthly magazine in South Korea, Mr Yonhap said. South Korean authorities found out about the latest incident during an interview with Cho Sung-soo, a South Korean photographer who was detained for about 15 hours earlier this month by a Shiite militia in Iraq, Yonhap reported.
Floods threaten as Tibet lake level rises
Beijing, August 16
The lake formed behind a landslide late last month that blocked the Parchu river, a tributary of the Sutlej river that also flows into India, prompting the evacuation of at least 3,000 persons from downstream villages.
China had ruled out a controlled blasting of the landslide to allow the water to drain gradually.
“We can’t use explosives to make an outlet for the water because the landslide has prevented us from reaching the spot,’’ said an official from the Water Resources Bureau in Tibet’s Ali prefecture.
“There’s not much the Chinese side can do at the moment,’’ he said. ‘’We can only wait for the natural burst of the dykes.’’ The water level in the lake was rising between 8 and 9 cm a day as a result of rainfall and a slow water inflow from the upper reaches of the river, the official said.
‘’Rainfall there is mild these days. Should there be more rain, it would very likely trigger a flood,’’ he said.
The Ali government has evacuated 210 farmers near the lake, the official said.
turns ‘Busharraf’, seeks votes for Bush
Washington, August 16
At a time when cooperation between Islamabad and Washington against Al-Qaida is at its peak, Musharraf’s popularity is rapidly on the wane, and that has prompted the Bush Administration to allow Pakistani officials to voice some criticism of the US to bail out the General, the analysts said.
They point to Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan’s recent criticism of the US sting operation which used the country’s UN envoy Munir Khan to arrest two mosque leaders in New York.
Masood Khan had said it was “mind-boggling why they could not use the name of an American functionary” instead.
“Islamabad’s take on FBI techniques notwithstanding, Pakistan’s words will not disrupt the ongoing coordination between the Bush Administration and the government of Musharraf in the war against Al-Qaida,” analysts at Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) said.
Bomb scare in three planes Budapest, August 16 The Hungarian police said they had found nothing after searching a Turkish Airlines plane which landed in Budapest, but had yet to examine luggage from the craft. No explosives had been found on the two earlier aircraft. “The Boeing 737 Turkish Airlines flight requested permission to land in Budapest at 2050 CET/0020 IST, with 162 passengers and four crew members on board,” said a Hungarian official. Istanbul air traffic control informed the pilot of the bomb threat, she said. Earlier a Lufthansa Airbus 321 aircraft, also travelling from Istanbul with 169 passengers on board, landed in Budapest after anonymous threats were made from Turkey. “The aircraft has been searched and nothing was found,” he said. The bomb threats were quite
gauge, he added. A Croatian Airlines flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt was evacuated on arrival in Germany because of a bomb threat but no explosives were found.
Budapest, August 16
The Hungarian police said they had found nothing after searching a Turkish Airlines plane which landed in Budapest, but had yet to examine luggage from the craft. No explosives had been found on the two earlier aircraft.
“The Boeing 737 Turkish Airlines flight requested permission to land in Budapest at 2050 CET/0020 IST, with 162 passengers and four crew members on board,” said a Hungarian official.
Istanbul air traffic control informed the pilot of the bomb threat, she said.
Earlier a Lufthansa Airbus 321 aircraft, also travelling from Istanbul with 169 passengers on board, landed in Budapest after anonymous threats were made from Turkey.
“The aircraft has been searched and nothing was found,” he said. The bomb threats were quite gauge, he added.
A Croatian Airlines flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt was evacuated on arrival in Germany because of a bomb threat but no explosives were found.
Thousands of Palestinian prisoners on fast
Jerusalem, August 16
Prison Service spokesman Ian Domnitz said more than half of the 3,800 Palestinians in Israeli civilian prisons were now on hunger strike, while a similar proportion of inmates in military-run jails were also thought to be refusing their meals.
A total of some 8,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons.
However, disciplinary measures had already been taken as any such declaration was contrary to regulations.
Health care rings crisis bells
For Canada’s Prime Minister, Paul Martin, the testing moment has come too early. The provincial premiers Chief Ministers, representing varied ideologies-Right wing Conservatives to left side National Democratic Party and the centrist Liberals and Block Quebec- have all have thrown a gauntlet. The premiers who met last fortnight at Niagara on Lake desire the federal government to pick up a hefty bill, between 9 and $ 13 billion annually and look after the health.
They are united in telling the Liberal minority government. “ We are offering a visionary programme to improve medicare for future generations. Let the Federal Government take charge of billions of dollars worth of prescription drugs and create a national programme to pay for the drug costs of seniors and welfare recipients and those facing catastrophic drug bills.” Let the Federal Government that controls drug licensing and pricing and enjoys tremendous clout with the pharmaceutical industry also pick up the bill. But this tab for one year is more than what the Federal Government can afford for the next five years. The Federal Government at best could pick up the bill for the catastrophic drugs, some analysists say. Basically, the premiers who had apparently no detailed study of health care to offer were pushing their baby to the federal government’s care.
Nevertheless, there are strong arguments in favour of this demand. A national programme would mean bulk buying as major drug companies; a powerful cartel could no longer pit one province against another when they try to place new drugs on the list, which provinces pay for. The Federal Government could negotiate better as it controlled drug approval, patents and prices. Interestingly the provinces except Newfoundland have so far not agreed to have one list although had promised it three years ago.
Liberal ministers have been cautious in their comments. Federal Health Minister, Ujjal Dosanjh who has already declared not to let privatisation hit the health system and also to end long queues at public hospitals, has been working overtime to set the agenda for health care. Commenting on the demand of the premiers, he said, “Primary concern of the government is to provide affordable health care to all the needy. We have promised $ 9 billion over the next four years besides recruiting 1,000 doctors this year alone. There are qualified people; many from the immigrant communities waiting to join and the government is working on a plan to implement this.” About the demand of the provinces, he had only wry comment. ‘Premiers are premieres. Demands are always high and after negotiations, different results follow.” Dosanjh while talking to The Tribune looked very confident and since he was premier of British Columbia, he knows what is he is talking about. He understands the importance and the sensitiveness of the issue. Much of country’s politics hinges on to that as most of them are known to have funded most political parties in Canada.
Interestingly, provinces have different health care and drug policies in place. If there is a private public participation in Quebec, Ontario has a more helpful policy. In fact, the Liberal Party, which is in power here, chose to increase income tax, much against protests and its own promises than to cut down spending on the old patients or the poor.
burial for 150 victims Four soldiers killed in Pak Panchen Lama visits Lhasa
Four soldiers killed in Pak
Panchen Lama visits Lhasa