SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

India sincere on Kashmir issue,
says Pervez
Pervez Musharraf Islamabad, August 17
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said both India and his country were pursuing the ongoing dialogue process with all sincerity and reiterated his call for a fast movement on Kashmir which he described as a nuclear flashpoint in the region.

Republicans woo Indian-Americans with ad
Washington, August 17
In an advertisement, the Republican Party has re-counted the strides made in the India-US relationship urging Indian-Americans to help re-elect President George W. Bush.

India, China discuss police ties
Beijing, August 17
India and China have for the first time explored the possibilities of bilateral cooperation between their police forces to safeguard internal security, including counter-terrorist activities, a senior official said here today.

Annan ready to play ‘facilitator’ in Najaf
United Nations, August 17
Kofi AnnanWith anger in the Arab world rising over fighting between the US-led forces and Shiite militia in Iraqi holy city of Najaf, Iran and Saudi Arabia have sought UN intervention to which Secretary-General Kofi Annan has agreed to play “a facilitating role” to help end the violence.

Mortar attack kills four in Iraq
Baghdad, August 17
A mortar attack that hit a busy street in central Baghdad today killed four persons and injured 24 others, the Interior Ministry said.

US Army soldiers fight in the streets of Najaf US Army soldiers fight in the streets of Najaf, Iraq, on Monday. Sporadic but heavy fighting continued through the day and into the evening, with insurgents firing, rockets, mortars and small arms. — AP/PTI photo


The Cassini spacecraft took this image of the Saturn
The Cassini spacecraft took this image of the Saturn on August 15, 2004, and it was received on the Earth on August 16. The camera was pointing towards the Saturn from approximately 5,442,609 miles away. Two new moons were spotted around the Saturn by the Cassini space probe, raising the total to 33 moons for the ringed planet, NASA announced on August 16. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 
Well-known film director Mira Nair and ‘Vanity Fair’ cast Reese Witherspoon arrive for a special screening of the film in New York on Monday.
Well-known film director Mira Nair (left) and ‘Vanity Fair’ cast Reese Witherspoon arrive for a special screening of the film in New York on Monday. — PTI

WPO offers ‘langar’ to 400 Thai mentally retarded children
Bangkok, August 17
Following the traditions set by Guru Nanak of feeding the starving holy men of different faiths, the World Punjabi Organisation (WPO) today organised a ‘langar’ (the community kitchen) for 400 mentally-retarded Thai children in the ‘Baan Nontapum,’ a home for children with disabilities , as part of quadri-centennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib.

Bagri never confessed, witness tells court
Vancouver, August 17
A former roommate of a key witness in the Air-India trial has said he had never heard of accused bomber Ajaib Singh Bagri or the confession made by him that he was involved in the bombing of the Kanishka flight.

Video
Pakistan arrests more than 100 allegedly involved in obscene activities.
(28k, 56k)

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India sincere on Kashmir issue, says Pervez

Islamabad, August 17
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said both India and his country were pursuing the ongoing dialogue process with all sincerity and reiterated his call for a fast movement on Kashmir which he described as a nuclear flashpoint in the region.

“Pakistan is pursuing the dialogue process with all sincerity. Feelers coming from India also indicate that the Indians want to address the issues sincerely,” General Musharraf said in a programme telecast on state-run PTV yesterday.

The President said the dialogue between the two countries was taking place in a changed environment. There was an increased interest of the international community as both India and Pakistan were nuclear states and Kashmir was being seen as a nuclear flashpoint in the region, he added.

Besides, General Musharraf said, the conventional and unconventional military balance and the public pressure from both sides to live at peace with each other also added to the changed environment in the region.

However, the President said there had to be a move forward on Kashmir, otherwise the CBMs would not move with pace. The dialogue and the CBMs should move in harmony,” he added.

General Musharraf said he favoured opening the Khokharapar-Monabao route and said it was being discussed by the two sides.

However, he said, it was part of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and needed to go hand-in-hand with the composite dialogue process of which Kashmir was the core issue. — UNITop

 

Republicans woo Indian-Americans with ad

Washington, August 17
In an advertisement, the Republican Party has re-counted the strides made in the India-US relationship urging Indian-Americans to help re-elect President George W. Bush.

Marc Raciot, chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, said, “Bush understands India’s potential to become one of the great democratic powers of the 21st century and has worked to transform the US-India relationship.”

“Throughout his first term in office, President Bush has honoured the many contributions of Indian-Americans in our country by advancing policies that reflect their priorities.

We are grateful for the support the President’s campaign has obtained from Indian-Americans and we look forward to working together to re-elect President Bush.”

Meanwhile, at least 10 Indian-American delegates will participate in the Republican National Convention in New York. — PTITop

 

India, China discuss police ties
Anil K Joseph

Beijing, August 17
India and China have for the first time explored the possibilities of bilateral cooperation between their police forces to safeguard internal security, including counter-terrorist activities, a senior official said here today.

Both the countries have viewed terrorism as a global phenomena and decided to fight the menace together and explore the possibilities for future cooperation at a meeting between officials from the Indian Home Ministry and the Chinese People’s Armed Police (PAP) here.

There was unanimity of opinion on both sides that terrorism has become a global phenomena and the need for both India and China to cooperate to face the menace, Joint Secretary (Police), Ministry of Home Affairs, A K Jain said.

Jain, who is currently leading the first-ever Indian police delegation to China, said he had “excellent” meetings with senior officials of China’s police agencies and the two sides have decided to explore opportunities to cooperate and chart out a structured programme for future cooperation.

Jain called on the Commander of the Chinese People’s Armed Police, General Wu Shuang Zhan, and also held in-depth discussions with the PAP deputy commander, Lt-Gen Liang Hong here yesterday. — PTITop

 

Annan ready to play ‘facilitator’ in Najaf

United Nations, August 17
With anger in the Arab world rising over fighting between the US-led forces and Shiite militia in Iraqi holy city of Najaf, Iran and Saudi Arabia have sought UN intervention to which Secretary-General Kofi Annan has agreed to play “a facilitating role” to help end the violence.

Annan spoke to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and his new Iraq envoy Ashraf Jehangir Qazi over the weekend, Chief UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said, adding the Secretary- General was prepared to “played a facilitating role” provided it helped and all sides agreed to it.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, Eckhard and officials in Tehran confirmed that Kharrazi had sought intervention and to do whatever Annan could to defuse the situation, particularly in Najaf.

Kharrazi appealed for intervention to stop the bloodshed during the telephonic conversation with Annan and expressed “deep pain and sorrow” over the situation.

The Saudi cabinet also called for a greater role for the United Nations to end the bloodshed, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

In an interview with BBC, Annan’s special envoy in Iraq Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said the UN did not “wish to impose” itself, Eckhard said. — PTITop

 

Mortar attack kills four in Iraq

Baghdad, August 17
A mortar attack that hit a busy street in central Baghdad today killed four persons and injured 24 others, the Interior Ministry said.

The blast on Al-Rasheed Street, a commercial district in Baghdad, set one building on fire and damaged seven cars.

The attack occurred on the final day of the country’s National Conference, a gathering of delegates from across Iraq that was considered a major target for insurgents. — APTop

 

 

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WPO offers ‘langar’ to 400 Thai mentally retarded children
Varinder Walia
Tribune news service

Bangkok, August 17
Following the traditions set by Guru Nanak of feeding the starving holy men of different faiths, the World Punjabi Organisation (WPO) today organised a ‘langar’ (the community kitchen) for 400 mentally-retarded Thai children in the ‘Baan Nontapum’ , a home for children with disabilities , as part of quadri-centennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib.

The sprawling Baan Nontapum , established in the year 1970 in over 100 acres, by the government of Thailand, is perhaps Asia’s biggest institution for physically impaired and abandoned young orphans. The home provides excellent accommodation and acts as a foster parent. The King of Thailand loves the institution and pays personal attention to help the needy children .

The WPO (Thailand chapter) was launched on December 25,1999 in the presence of former Prime Minister of India I.K. Gujral and the then Prime Minister of Thailand Mr Kom Dabbaaaransri. Mr Narotam Singh Narang of Bangkok was appointed its president.

Mr Ujjall Singh Narula, Secretary WPO and Mr Kirpal Singh visited the Baan Nontapum and organised a ‘langar’ for the children. Children were elated when WPO members helped some disabled children to eat unable to take the food themselves.

Baba Daljit Singh Chicago of Guru Nanak Mission America, who was here in connection with the 400th-anniversary celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib, said ‘langar’ should be served all over the world to propagate the great institution established by the Sikh Gurus. He, however, asked Mr Narang to be instrumental in propagating ‘Gurmukhi’ (the Punjabi script) through the newly-formed Thai Sikh Religious Centre, inaugurated by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht.

The ‘langar’ is also served by the local Gurdwara Singh Sabha everyday where hundreds of devotees including Thai nationals partake of the community kitchen.

The Thai sikhs have carved out a niche for themselves by participating in the social activities in a big way. Since its inception, the Thailand chapter of WPO made donations to Dr Ard Ong Chumsai Na Ayuthya Foundation (DAOCNAF) and other social organisations .A sum of one lakh Baht (Thailand currency) was donated to the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund.

Significantly, the WPO came forward to provide foodstuffs, blankets and clothing worth Baht 50,000 to the flood victims at Petchaboon.

It also helped a Thai national, Mr Noo who was suffering from an eye ailment apart from providing medical and financial help to the needy.Top

 

Bagri never confessed, witness tells court

Vancouver, August 17
A former roommate of a key witness in the Air-India trial has said he had never heard of accused bomber Ajaib Singh Bagri or the confession made by him that he was involved in the bombing of the Kanishka flight.

Balbir Singh Gharala told the Canadian Supreme Court yesterday he shared an apartment in New York with five other Sikh men in the 20s, including John, who could not be identified by a court order. All of them were living as illegal aliens.

The FBI informant, John, had earlier testified that a grinning Bagri told him “we did this” a few weeks after the June 23, 1985, bombings that killed 331 persons. He had also said the meeting took place outside New Jersey.

But Gharala testified in British Colombia Court yesterday that John never came back to the apartment with news about the alleged confession, a media report said today. — PTITop

 
BRIEFLY

Flash floods in England
LONDON:
Flash floods struck south-west England, sweeping cars out to sea and forcing people to cling to rooftops and trees in the north Cornwall coast around Boscastle, 320 km from London. Michael Mulford, spokesman for the Royal Air Force’s rescue coordination centre said more than 1,000 people were affected in the area, which is popular with tourists. — Reuters

Blast ruptures Pak gas pipeline
ISLAMABAD:
A powerful bomb explosion ripped open a gas pipeline in eastern Pakistan, disrupting gas supplies, the police said. No injuries were reported. It wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the blast at Kala Shah Kaku, an industrial town about 250 km south-east of the capital, Islamabad. — AP

Cave of John, the Baptist, found
KIBBUTZ TZUBA (Israel):
Archaeologists said they had found a cave where John, the Baptist, baptised many of his disciples - a huge cistern with 28 steps leading to an underground pool of water. The archaeologists presented ancient wall carvings and a stone was used for ceremonial foot washing. They also pulled about 2,50,000 pottery shards. — AP

2 more DEAD FroM bird flu
HANOI:
Two children who died of bird flu this month had tested positive for the H5N1 strain, bringing to three the number of fatalities from the latest outbreak of a virus that killed 24 people across Asia earlier this year. — Reuters
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