SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Blasts at Awami League rally, Hasina escapes unhurt
Dhaka, August 21
At least 14 persons were killed and 300 injured in Bangladesh today in a series of powerful bomb blasts at a rally here addressed by Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, who escaped unhurt.

Duped by fake agents, they languish in Bangkok jail
Bangkok, August 21
Many Indians, including Punjabis, who were duped by fake travel agents have been languishing in the Immigration Detention Centre here for a long period. A visit to the IDC revealed that the most of the detainees had neither passports nor enough money with them to fight the legal battle.

Briton wanted on sex abuse charges traced in Tanzania
London, August 21
A Briton wanted in India on charges of sexual abuse against young boys has been traced to Tanzania where he was running a charity backed by British fund raisers for street children. Duncan Grant, 61, a former Royal Navy reservist, is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by the Indian authorities two years ago.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Deuba offers to hold ‘secret talks’
Kathmandu, August 21
Maoists today shot dead a policeman here as their blockade of the Nepalese Capital entered the fourth day with more vehicles defying the shut down and government expressing commitment to help operate the 12 multinational companies.
In video (28k, 56k)

Committee to probe Nepalese hostage issue
Kathmandu, August 21
The Nepalese government has formed a committee to investigate reports that 12 Nepalese nationals had been abducted in Iraq, officials today said. Reports emerged yesterday that an Iraqi insurgent group calling itself “the Ansar al-Sunna Army” had posted statements on an Islamist website claiming to have taken 12 Nepalese hostage on Thursday night.

Indians among 200 inmates of US detention centre
New York, August 21
More than 200 immigrants, including Indians, arrested in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, are languishing in Wackenhut Detention Center here without being charged and many without access even to lawyers.

I will continue peace talks with India: Aziz
Islamabad, August 21
Pakistan’s Prime Minister designate wants the dispute over Kashmir to be resolved according to the wishes of the people living in Jammu and Kashmir. Shaukat Aziz, however, said today that he intended to pursue peace talks with India, which began last year.

Vanity parade in Brazil prison
Rio De Janeiro, August 21
If not for poor-quality tattoos on the ankles of some contestants, lack of air conditioning and the presence of uniformed female guards around the doors, it would seem like a normal beauty pageant.

Thousands of visitors from all over China line up to pay their respects to the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping at his statue in a park Thousands of visitors from all over China line up to pay their respects to the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping at his statue in a park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Saturday. A series of events will be held across the country to mark his 100th birth anniversary on August 22. China considers the late leader as the overall architect of its open policy and economic reform. — Reuters

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Blasts at Awami League rally, Hasina escapes unhurt

Dhaka, August 21
At least 14 persons were killed and 300 injured in Bangladesh today in a series of powerful bomb blasts at a rally here addressed by Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, who escaped unhurt.

Witnesses said about seven powerful bombs exploded outside the Awami League central office at 5:25 pm local time when Ms Hasina was delivering a speech against recent incidents of bomb blasts at different places, including in Sylhet, and the killing of party workers.

Witnesses said Ms Hasina escaped unhurt, but one of her personal security men was killed.

Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil said grenades were hurled at Ms Hasina. She, however, escaped unhurt. She was delivering the speech from an open truck, and bombs exploded around the truck. Ms Hasina’s bullet-proof jeep was badly damaged in the blasts. According to the police, it was suspected that these were grenades.

Senior Awami League leaders, including Amir Hossain Amu, Suranjit Sengupta, Prof Abu Syeed, Ivy Rahman and Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin, were injured in the blasts.

UNB news agency and private TV channels said the death toll of 14 could go up. At least 11 persons died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and three at the Central Hospital. Many of the injured were sent to different hospitals and clinics.

Immediate government version on the incident was not available.

As soon as the news of bomb explosions spread, Awami League workers staged violent demonstrations in different cities and towns. The angry activists burned down dozens of cars and buses at different places in Dhaka city and fought a pitched battle with the riot police, which used tear gas to disperse the activists. The paramilitary force BDR has been deployed. — UNI

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Duped by fake agents, they languish in Bangkok jail
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Bangkok, August 21
Many Indians, including Punjabis, who were duped by fake travel agents have been languishing in the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) here for a long period. A visit to the IDC revealed that the most of the detainees had neither passports nor enough money with them to fight the legal battle.

IDC officials, on the condition of anonymity, said the travel agents, who had brought innocent job seekers on the pretext of greener pastures, had taken away their passports with them. The visit also revealed that Burmese top the list of detainees, followed by citizens of Laos, Combodia and Nepal.

So many as 37 Indians are lodged in the IDC. Officials said the IDC was strict about allowing visitors to meet the detainees. Only relatives were allowed to meet them.

While the Indian Embassy has yet to do anything for the innocent Indians lodged in the IDC, certain social and religious organisations, including the local Gurdwara Singh Sabha and Arya Samaj, have taken up some welfare measures for them. Besides organising ‘langar’ for them, they also managed to organise their deportation on the basis of “temporary visas”.

Mr Gurmeet Singh Sachdev, a local resident, said many Indian arrived here with a hope to sneak into some other countries as promised by the travel agents. He said one Paramjit Singh, a resident of New Delhi, was recently sent back to India on the basis of the temporary passport. He alleged that some travel agents even sell Indian passports to Pakistani nationals.

In yet another development, the marriages of “black listed” Sikh youths, who had taken the political asylum in the USA, Canada and other countries, are also arranged in Bangkok with Indian girls. Such marriages have become easy since one can get a visa on arrival here. Majority of them were declared, “black listed” in the post-Bluestar period for their alleged involvement in terrorist activities.

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Briton wanted on sex abuse charges traced in Tanzania

London, August 21
A Briton wanted in India on charges of sexual abuse against young boys has been traced to Tanzania where he was running a charity backed by British fund raisers for street children.

Duncan Grant, 61, a former Royal Navy reservist, is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by the Indian authorities two years ago.

India wants to put him on trial over allegations that he beat and sexually abused street children at similar shelters he ran in Mumbai, the Daily Telegraph reported.

As the Indian authorities search unsuccessfully for him, he was living in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam and had set up three shelters identical to his operations in India.

As Grant was traced to Tanzania this week, British Jesuits, who had sent volunteers from some of their schools, had suspended dealings with him, the newspaper reported.

Actress Felicity Kendal, who was formerly a patron of Grant’s Mumbai shelters, said yesterday she went to India to investigate when she heard of the allegations which were made in 2001.

She described them as “appalling and horrifying” and withdrew her patronage.

However, Grant denied the allegations and claimed that they had been “invented by the Mumbai police, a lawyer and a rival volunteer”.

He said yesterday that at first he was determined to go back and clear his name “but my solicitor advised me not to because she thought I would be arrested and locked for years without a proper trial”. He also claimed that the boys had since withdrawn the allegations.

The Mumbai shelters received money through British schools and churches where Grant gave illustrated talks and from the British charity Rescue-a-Child.

The report said the shelters was never formally registered with the state authorities and by 1999 they had a full complement of some 50-60 boys.

An official Indian report found the homes to be “ramshackle and filthy and the children were being beaten indiscriminately”.

In 2001, when some of the children alleged that Grant and another Briton, Allan Waters, had beaten and sexually abused them, the Mumbai police began an investigation. By then both men had left India and an international arrest warrant was issued in April 2002.

Waters was arrested in New York last year when he triggered an Interpol alert at JFK airport on his way to Bermuda.

Indian police are expected to travel to US next week to take custody of him after a New York judge confirmed his extradition this week, the report added. — PTI

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Deuba offers to hold ‘secret talks’
Shirish B. Pradhan

Kathmandu, August 21
Maoists today shot dead a policeman here as their blockade of the Nepalese Capital entered the fourth day with more vehicles defying the shut down and government expressing commitment to help operate the 12 multinational companies, including Indian firms, which had closed due to the rebels’ threat.

Two armed Maoists entered the Gopi Krishna cinema hall here and indiscriminately opened fire at an ASI, who died minutes after the attack, the police said.

The death was the first since the Maoist-imposed blockade started in Kathmandu earlier this week to press rebel demands for the release of their detained cadres.

Defying the Maoist blockade, many passenger buses, cars and trucks loaded with goods entered Kathmandu through three major highways — Tribhuvan, Araniko and Kathmandu-Trishuli — Home Ministry Spokesman Gopendra Bahadur Pandey said.

Meanwhile, Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba today offered to hold “secret talks” with Maoist rebels, and said efforts would be made to hold the dialogue before general elections in April. — PTI

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Committee to probe Nepalese hostage issue

Kathmandu, August 21
The Nepalese government has formed a committee to investigate reports that 12 Nepalese nationals had been abducted in Iraq, officials today said.

Reports emerged yesterday that an Iraqi insurgent group calling itself “the Ansar al-Sunna Army” had posted statements on an Islamist website claiming to have taken 12 Nepalese hostage on Thursday night.

The group was reported to have been employed by a Jordanian company based in Iraq. No further details were available.

A statement broadcast by the state-owned media Saturday said the three-member investigation team was headed by the secretary of the Labour Ministry and included the secretaries of the Home and Foreign Ministries.

While Nepal does not officially permit its citizens to work in Iraq, thousands are understood to be in the country, mostly employed as drivers, security guards and construction workers with Kuwaiti companies.

Observers said the Nepalese, most of whom faced poor employment prospects and the constant threat of being forced to join the Maoist “People’s Army”, would seek work anywhere. Many might not even be aware of the political situation in Iraq. — DPA

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Indians among 200 inmates of US detention centre

New York, August 21
More than 200 immigrants, including Indians, arrested in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, are languishing in Wackenhut Detention Center here without being charged and many without access even to lawyers.

So desperate they became that at least 175 of them resorted to hunger strike on Monday last seeking better condition and an early conclusion of their cases.

The New York Daily News quoted an Indian immigrant Makhan Singh as saying in a telephone interview that no one is eating.

The Wackenhut prison, the report said, is a converted warehouse building with no windows in the middle of a warehouse district in Springfield Gardens, Queens.

The report said the strikers’ demands are “nothing if not fair.” They are asking for the right to be treated humanely, the right to due process and appropriate medical care, the review of their cases and the immediate release of all non-criminal prisoners so they can be reunited with their families. — PTI

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I will continue peace talks with India: Aziz

Islamabad, August 21
Pakistan’s Prime Minister designate wants the dispute over Kashmir to be resolved according to the wishes of the people living in Jammu and Kashmir.

Shaukat Aziz, however, said today that he intended to pursue peace talks with India, which began last year.

“I think the Kashmir issue should be resolved keeping in view the wishes and priorities of Kashmiris,” Mr Aziz told Pakistan’s independent Geo TV in an interview today.

But he added, “After taking over as the Prime Minister, I will continue peace talks with India.”

Mr Aziz is expected to be sworn-in as Pakistan’s premier next week, after winning a by-election for a National Assembly seat on Wednesday. — AP

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Vanity parade in Brazil prison

Rio De Janeiro, August 21
If not for poor-quality tattoos on the ankles of some contestants, lack of air conditioning and the presence of uniformed female guards around the doors, it would seem like a normal beauty pageant.

But the Miss Prisoner contest in Rio de Janeiro’s Talavera Bruce prison is one of a kind, as is the penitentiary itself in a country notorious for inhuman conditions in its prisons.

“Rescuing woman’s self-esteem” was the slogan that hung above the walkway where 17 women out of 310 Talavera Bruce prisoners paraded yesterday.

And at the very least, it helped to boost self-esteem momentarily. The women looked radiant wearing evening frocks while those who watched cheered them. The contestants cat walked in denim shorts, then in beach skirts and in long dresses.

The beauty contest is the fruit of efforts by the prison’s two-year old administration that started creating jobs for prisoners and bringing a sort of cultural life behind bars.

Although Brazilians dominated the beauty contest and two slim local girls that could easily be mistaken for professional models took the second and third spots, a buxom 25-year-old from Portugal, Elisabeth Sardinha, won the Miss Prisoner tiara. — Reuters

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BRIEFLY

Harvard, Princeton lead US varsities
WASHINGTON:
Harvard and Princeton were tied for the top ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of best colleges for the second consecutive year. Harvard, located in Boston, and Princeton, in New Jersey, are also among the most costly universities in the country, at more than $ 30,000 a year for the tuition. — DPA

Soya milk reduces calcium loss
COPENHAGEN:
Daily intake of soya milk appears to reduce calcium loss that is common among women after the menopause, a Danish study said. The study, published in the latest issue of the European Journal of Nutrition on Friday, indicated that vegetable proteins, or isoflavenoids, in soya offered protection against the loss of bone material. — DPA

Genesis holds clue to solar system mystery
WASHINGTON:
The ‘Genesis’ spacecraft will enter the earth’s atmosphere next month and jettison a capsule that is carrying samples of particles of the sun that may help explain the beginnings of the solar system. The capsule will return hexagonal wafers of pure silicon, gold, sapphire, diamond and other materials that have captured samples of solar wind particles. — PTI
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