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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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W O R L D

Aziz poised to become Pak PM
Shaukat AzizIslamabad, August 19
Decks were today cleared for Pakistan's Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz to become the Prime Minister after he registered easy victories in two by-elections that gave him the Parliament seat needed to assume the post.

Arafat refuses to sign reform legislation
Jerusalem, August 19
Mr Yasser Arafat held a "stormy and tense meeting" with reformers in his parliament, refusing to sign anti-corruption legislation and follow through on a speech in which he pledged to carry out comprehensive reforms, a lawmaker said today.

24 may face charge of Iraqi prisoners’ abuse
Washington, August 19
An army investigation into the abuse of inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison will blame 24 people, a senior defence official said. The official, who spoke yesterday on condition of anonymity, provided no details of the report.

A peace activist shouts in front of an Israeli border policeman during a protest at the Qalandiya check point at the entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah A peace activist shouts in front of an Israeli border policeman during a protest at the Qalandiya check point at the entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday. — Reuters

Britain’s religious map may change in next decade: survey
London, August 19
Although the vast majority of white Britons describe themselves as Christian, most admit religion plays little part in their everyday lives, a government research has revealed. But a strikingly different picture emerges among black and Asian communities, who report that their faith is a crucial part of their identity.


South African President Thabo Mbeki shakes hand with Indian Union Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjeet Singh
South African President Thabo Mbeki (left) shakes hand with Indian Union Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjeet Singh at the 14th NAM Ministerial Conference in Durban on Thursday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

Oprah Winfrey, jurors convict man for murder
Chicago, August 19
A jury that included TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey convicted a man for murder after a trial that turned into media frenzy because of the billionaire in the jury box. Jurors deliberated for more than two hours yesterday before convicting 27-year-old Dion Coleman for first-degree murder in the February 2002, by shooting of 23-year-old, Walter Holley.

Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein dead
Los Angeles, August 19
Elmer Bernstein, the versatile Oscar-winning composer who scored such movie classics as “The Ten Commandments,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Great Escape” and “True Grit,” has died. He was 82.

A building explodes as the first bomb drops during a US aerial assault on insurgent targets in Najaf A building explodes as the first bomb drops during a US aerial assault on insurgent targets in Najaf, Iraq, on Thursday. High-altitude jet fighters dropped four bombs in the area. — AP/PTI

Video
Pakistan law enforcement agencies raid Islamic seminary in Islamabad.
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Aziz poised to become Pak PM
K J M Varma

Islamabad, August 19
Decks were today cleared for Pakistan's Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz to become the Prime Minister after he registered easy victories in two by-elections that gave him the Parliament seat needed to assume the post.

Mr Aziz, a former Citibank executive, won from Attock in Punjab and Tharparker in southern Sindh province defeating the opposition Pakistan People's Party candidates by a huge margin, official APP news agency reported.

Mr Aziz, 55, defeated his PPP rival Sikandar Hayat in Attock by 46,718 and Mahesh Kumar Malani by 141,370 votes in Tharparkar.

The PPP, headed by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto fielded Mr Malani, a Hindu leader as Tharparkar has a large concentration of minority Hindu voters.

President Pervez Musharraf's government had made Mr Aziz the Prime Minister-designate after Mr Zafarullah Khan Jamali stepped down in June. However, Mr Aziz needed to win a seat in the lower house of Parliament to take over as Prime Minister.

"I am grateful to those who voted for me, and I will do whatever is possible to improve economy and law and order situation in the country," Mr Aziz said.

The opposition alleged vote-rigging in yesterday's election.

The PPP deputy general secretary Mia Raza Rabbani accused the government of harassing voters of his party's candidate in Tharparkar and putting the party's local legislator under detention for several hours while she was trying to "spot bogus voting". — PTI

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Arafat refuses to sign reform legislation

Jerusalem, August 19
Mr Yasser Arafat held a "stormy and tense meeting" with reformers in his parliament, refusing to sign anti-corruption legislation and follow through on a speech in which he pledged to carry out comprehensive reforms, a lawmaker said today.

The 14-member parliamentary committee met Mr Arafat yesterday, hoping the veteran Palestinian leader would agree to sign reform legislation. Hours earlier, Mr Arafat had made a speech admitting he had made "mistakes" and that he and others were guilty of "unacceptable practices."

But Mr Arafat's speech offered no details on how he plans to repair the corruption-plagued Palestinian Authority and fight growing lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Mr Azmi Shouabi, who attended the meeting with Mr Arafat, described the atmosphere as "stormy and tense." "President Arafat refused to sign the presidential decrees that we had asked him to sign and considered that his speech to the council yesterday was enough and that there is no need for any signatures," Mr Shouabi said.

Mr Arafat has been under intense local and international pressure to reform his government, but has repeatedly balked. Growing lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza and discontent with the Palestinian Authority pushed him to make yesterday's speech.

Mr Shouabi said Mr Arafat's continued obstinacy could lead to Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia's resignation. Mr Qureia briefly resigned last month in frustration over his lack of authority. — AP

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24 may face charge of Iraqi prisoners’ abuse

Washington, August 19
An army investigation into the abuse of inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison will blame 24 people, a senior defence official said. The official, who spoke yesterday on condition of anonymity, provided no details of the report. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, would say only that the report was nearing completion.

However, The New York Times said the inquiry found no evidence of direct blame above the rank of the Colonel who commanded the military intelligence unit at the prison.

Senior officers in Baghdad and in Washington were not found to have played a role in ordering or allowing the abuse. — AP

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Britain’s religious map may change in next decade: survey
Nigel Morris

London, August 19
Although the vast majority of white Britons describe themselves as Christian, most admit religion plays little part in their everyday lives, a government research has revealed. But a strikingly different picture emerges among black and Asian communities, who report that their faith is a crucial part of their identity.

And in a pointer that Britain's religious map is likely to change dramatically over the next decade, the number of young Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus who stress the importance of their religion far outstrips the young Christians who profess the same strength of faith.

The findings emerged in the first detailed Home Office survey into the nation's patterns of belief. It discovered almost four out of five persons expressed a religious affiliation, a result that some officials regarded as surprisingly high in an increasingly secular society.

By far the highest number-74 per cent described themselves as Christian, with Muslims (2 per cent) and Hindus (0.8 per cent), the largest of other faith groups. Almost 22 per cent, virtually all of whom were white, said they had no faith. Despite the predictable dominance of Christianity there are signs that the religious affiliation made little difference to the lives of its white adherents.

When they were asked what factors they considered important to their identity, religion was only cited by 17 per cent of white Christians, placed behind family, work, age, interests, education, nationality, gender, income and social class.

For black people, 70 per cent of whom say they are Christian, religion is placed third, while Asians placed it second only behind their family. People of mixed race ranked their religion seventh.

Nearly all people who called themselves as Christian -98 per cent were white and 2 per cent were black. The majority of respondents who were Muslim were Asian (76 per cent), while most Hindus (83 per cent) and Sikhs (88 per cent) also described themselves as Asian.

Signs of a rapid demographic change in Britain's religious make-up emerged, with Christians aged over 50 most likely to emphasise the strength of their faith. By contrast, while just 18 per cent of Christians aged 16 to 24 viewed their religion as important, 74 per cent of young Muslims, 63 per cent of young Sikhs and 62 per cent of young Hindus said they did.

A gender gap between the religions was also apparent, with women numbering 54 per cent of Christians and Sikhs, but only 46 per cent of Britain's Muslim community.

Followers of Islam, the country's fastest growing religion, tended to live in more deprived neighbourhoods than other faiths. Muslim respondents were more likely than any other group to report never having had a job.

Fewer Christians and Muslims had degree-level qualifications than practitioners of other religions; Hindus and Jews had higher qualifications than the national average.

Highest levels of home ownership were recorded among Sikhs (88 per cent), Hindus (76 per cent), Jews (74 per cent) and Christians (74 per cent), with the lowest among Muslims (52 per cent), nearly one quarter of whom were renting local authority accommodation.

But in a sign of growing discontent among ethnic minority youths, a sizeable minority of young Muslims and Sikhs complained that the government was doing too little. The finding will reinforce the desire of ministers to tackle social exclusion among significant number of ethnic minority men in their teens and 20s.A Home Office spokesman said the research, based on nearly 15,500 interviews, was aimed at ensuring government policy reflected social change and tapped into the talents of the ethnic minorities. — By special arrangement with The Independent

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Oprah Winfrey, jurors convict man for murder

Chicago, August 19
A jury that included TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey convicted a man for murder after a trial that turned into media frenzy because of the billionaire in the jury box.

Jurors deliberated for more than two hours yesterday before convicting 27-year-old Dion Coleman for first-degree murder in the February 2002, by shooting of 23-year-old, Walter Holley. Coleman is scheduled to be sentenced in September and he could face 45 years to life in prison.

"It's a huge reality check, there's a whole other world going on out there. When your life intersects with others in this way, it is forever changed," Winfrey said outside the courtroom, flanked by other jurors.

Winfrey, who was paid $17.20 a day for her civic duty, said she planned to do a show about the trial next week with other jurors.

Winfrey's selection as a juror on Monday drew a lot of attention to the trial. Television cameras chronicled her moves outside and inside the bustling lobby of the Cook County Criminal Courts building because cameras weren't allowed in the courtroom. Filling many of the seats in the cramped courtroom were more than 12 reporters and sketch artists.

Even her lunches were the subject of coverage, from her failed quest to find a breadless turkey sandwich at the courthouse cafeteria to yesterday’s court provided meal of jerk chicken and scalloped potatoes. Winfrey called all the attention distracting. — AP

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Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein dead

Los Angeles, August 19
Elmer Bernstein, the versatile Oscar-winning composer who scored such movie classics as “The Ten Commandments,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Great Escape” and “True Grit,” has died. He was 82.

Bernstein died in his sleep yesterday at his Ojai home, said his publicist, Cathy Mouton. She said Bernstein had been ailing for some time. Bernstein was nominated for the Academy Award 14 times, most recently in 2002 for “Far From Heaven.” Considered a revolutionary by many in the business, Bernstein began film composing in 1950.

For “The Man with the Golden Arm,” in which Frank Sinatra played a heroin-addicted jazz musician, he discarded the studio orchestra for a jazz ensemble. — AP

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BRIEFLY

Jail riot leaves 31 dead
SAN SALVADOR:
Prisoners clashed with knives, sticks and rocks at a San Salvador jail, leaving at least 31 dead and more than 24 injured, the police said. The riot began when a group of jailed gang members clashed with other prisoners on Wednesday, Deputy Police Commissioner Pedro Gonzalez said. More than 3,000 prisoners were being held at the facility, which was designed to jail 800 persons. — AP

Hillary heading to Antarctica
AUCKLAND:
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest, is to make a return trip to Antarctica later this year half a century after he led the New Zealand expedition to create Scott Base. The 85-year-old explorer will take part in a documentary on the Scott Base and he will also mark the 25th anniversary of the November 29, 1979 crash of an Air New Zealand DC10 which hit Mount Erebus, near the Scott Base, killing all aboard. — AFP

8 dead as typhoon hits Japan
TOKYO:
Heavy rain ahead of an approaching storm lashed southern Japan, leaving eight persons dead and causing landslides and blackouts, officials said on Thursday. Two persons were missing. — AP

Activists condemn FBI interviews
KANSAS CITY:
FBI agents interviewed at least 12 political activists in Kansas and Missouri about potential attacks on news vehicles at the Democratic National Convention, the FBI and activists said. Spokesmen for the bureau said the interviews were routine, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, which is representing three activists, contends the FBI was trying to intimidate political protesters under the cloak of counter-
terrorism. — AP
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