SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

90 perish in twin plane crash in Russia
Suspicions of terrorist attack rife

Moscow, August 25
Two Russian passenger planes crashed almost simultaneously late yesterday killing all 90 on board, and security officials said they were investigating a possible terrorist attack.

Bangladesh simmers
Hikmatul Jihad behind attack? Probe ordered
Dhaka, August 25
Life in Bangladesh was paralysed for the second day today following the opposition-sponsored general strike, even as the government announced an investigation into the death threat against Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed allegedly issued by an Islamist outfit.

Editorial: Gun culture

Aziz poised to become Pak PM as Hussain resigns
Islamabad, August 25
Pakistan’s interim Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain resigned today after a short stint of nearly two months, paving the way for President Pervez Musharraf’s choice Shaukat Aziz to take over the top post on Saturday.
In video: Pakistan's outgoing PM says chances of war with India have reduced. (28k, 56k)

Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain signs his resignation witnessed by Prime Minister-designate Shaukat Aziz

Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain (left) signs his resignation witnessed by Prime Minister-designate Shaukat Aziz (right) and outgoing Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in Islamabad on Wednesday. Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz will take over as head of the government on Saturday. — Reuters photo


Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington
Prisoners’ abuse a snapshot of brutality and sadism: report
P
hotographs of Iraqi prisoners being abused by their American jailers presented a snapshot of “deviant behaviour and a failure of military leadership and discipline,” an independent panel reported on Tuesday. Abu Ghraib prison, located on the outskirts of Baghdad, was “chaos,” panel members said.




Members of a theatre group participate in celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris from German occupation
Members of a theatre group participate in celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris from German occupation, on Wednesday. Two military columns retraced the paths through central Paris that French and US forces took to seize the control of the city on August 25, 1944. — Reuters



EARLIER STORIES

 

 

Police and Emergency Task Force officers surround a man holding a woman at gunpoint in front of Toronto's Union Station during morning rush hour on Wednesday Police and Emergency Task Force officers surround a man holding a woman at gunpoint in front of Toronto's Union Station during morning rush hour on Wednesday. A police marksman later shot and killed the man, leaving the hostage shaken but unharmed. — AP/PTI

Top


 

 

 


 

90 perish in twin plane crash in Russia
Suspicions of terrorist attack rife


An unidentified relative of a plane crash victim waits for information at Domodedovo airport outside Moscow
An unidentified relative of a plane crash victim waits for information at Domodedovo airport outside Moscow on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

Moscow, August 25
Two Russian passenger planes crashed almost simultaneously late yesterday killing all 90 on board, and security officials said they were investigating a possible terrorist attack. The planes disappeared from air traffic controllers’ radar screens within minutes of each other and one, carrying 46 passengers and crew, sent a hijack alarm before crashing near the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. President Vladimir Putin ordered the FSB security service to investigate the crashes, which came before Sunday’s presidential election in Chechnya where rebel separatists have threatened to disrupt the poll with violence.

‘’The fact that both planes took off from one airport and disappeared from radars around the same time can show it was a planned action,’’ the Interfax news agency quoted an aviation source as saying. ‘’In such a situation one could not exclude a terrorist act.’’ Witnesses on the ground heard an explosion on board the second plane, a Tu-134 carrying 44 passengers and crew, just before it crashed near Tula, 150 km south of Moscow. There were no foreigners on board the planes, which both took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. News agencies quoted security officials as saying they could not rule out a terrorist act, while Rostov prosecutors opened a criminal probe into the crash of the Sibir Airlines Tu-154 en route to the Black Sea resort of Sochi. ‘’A minute before the plane disappeared from the radar screens the interior ministry received a report from an air traffic controller that there had been an attack on the crew,’’ Interfax quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying.

A Sibir spokesman said, ‘’We are considering an act of terror as one possibility, especially after we received an automatically generated telegram from the Sochi air control centre that the plane had been hijacked.’’ The incidents came against a backdrop of mounting violence in Chechnya, where Moscow has been battling separatists for a decade. — Reuters
Top

 

Bangladesh simmers
Hikmatul Jihad behind attack? Probe ordered
Nadeem Qadir

Dhaka, August 25
Life in Bangladesh was paralysed for the second day today following the opposition-sponsored general strike, even as the government announced an investigation into the death threat against Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed allegedly issued by an Islamist outfit.

A hitherto unknown Islamist outfit calling itself the “Hikmatul Jihad”, in an e-mail to a Bengali-language daily Prothom Alo yesterday, claimed responsibility for the weekend attack on the Awami League rally in which 20 persons were killed and warned that it would hit again within seven days.

Bangladesh’s State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar said the source of e-mail would be investigated.

“Two experts will check the computer to track down the sender of e-mail and I hope we will succeed,” he told the Daily Star newspaper.

Mr Saber Hossain Chowdhury, political advisor to the Awami League chief, said the party would take up the issue of Ms Sheikh Hasina’s security with the government.

The attack has triggered a wave of activity in the opposition camp which has launched fresh attempts to forge a united front.

The Awami League along with the Left wing 11-party alliance, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, has agreed to launch an “all-party action committee” to fight the government and the religious fundamentalists in the wake of the attack.

Security personnel patrolled the deserted streets of Dhaka and other major cities today, a day after violent demonstrations rocked the country injuring at least 70 persons.

Bus and train services came to a halt today, while domestic air services were also affected, officials said, but there were no immediate reports of violence.

Business establishments, schools, private offices and shops were also closed.

Ivy Rahman, who lost both her legs in the grenade attack, was the wife of veteran leader and former minister Zillur Rahman and was a close confidante of Ms Hasina.

Awami League Chief and former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed survived the attack, but her hearing has been impaired. — PTI
Top

 

Aziz poised to become Pak PM as Hussain resigns
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, August 25
Pakistan’s interim Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain resigned today after a short stint of nearly two months, paving the way for President Pervez Musharraf’s choice Shaukat Aziz to take over the top post on Saturday.

Hussain announced his resignation in the 342-member National Assembly after which the federal cabinet was dissolved, outgoing Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said. He said election for the leader of the Assembly will be held on Friday in which the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) and its allies enjoying comfortable majority would field Aziz. The nomination for the post will be filed tomorrow.

The new Prime Minister would take oath of office on Saturday and seek a vote of confidence of the House on the same day, Rashid said.

Aziz (55) was inducted as Finance Minister by Musharraf after the 1999 military coup and held the post ever since. — PTI
Top

 

Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington
Prisoners’ abuse a snapshot of brutality and sadism: report

Photographs of Iraqi prisoners being abused by their American jailers presented a snapshot of “deviant behaviour and a failure of military leadership and discipline,” an independent panel reported on Tuesday. Abu Ghraib prison, located on the outskirts of Baghdad, was “chaos,” panel members said. But, they added, commanders on the ground and up the chain of command should have recognised the problems and corrected them. Former Defence Secretary James R. Schlesinger, chairman of the panel, said there were direct responsibilities up to the brigade level “because they did not adequately supervise what was going on at Abu Ghraib.”

“In addition,” he said, “there was indirect responsibility at higher levels in that the weaknesses at Abu Ghraib were well-known and that corrective action could have been taken and should have been taken.”

The panel noted that the events of October through December 2003 “on the night shift of Tier 1 at Abu Ghraib prison were acts of brutality and purposeless sadism.” “There was sadism that was certainly not authorised,” Mr Schlesinger said. “It was kind of like ‘animal house’ on the night shift.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch acknowledged the panel’s criticism of top officials, but pointed out its failure to address government policy that may have led to the mistreatment and torture of detainees.

Reed Brody, special counsel with Human Rights Watch, said: “The report seems to go out of its way not to find any relationship between Secretary Rumsfeld’s approval of interrogation techniques designed to inflict pain and humiliation and the widespread mistreatment and torture of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.”

However, Mr Schlesinger noted that there was “no policy of abuse.” The panel’s report pointed out that senior officials repeatedly said that in Iraq the Geneva Convention would apply.

The report focuses on the actions of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade and the 800th Military Police Brigade, which operated in Abu Ghraib. It fails, however, to examine in detail other detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though most deaths of detainees in US custody and many reported abuses occurred outside Abu Ghraib.

Five detainees died from abuse during interrogations, the report said. None of the prisoners depicted in the photographs that were first published in April was being held for their intelligence value, Mr Schlesinger acknowledged.

Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had offered to step down following the revelation of prisoner abuse in Iraq earlier this year. On Tuesday, Mr Schlesingersaid, “His resignation would be a boon to all of America’s enemies and, consequently, I think it would be a misfortune if it were to take place.”

The ratio of US MPs to detainees was all out of proportion too, Mr. Schlesinger said. The report noted that the ratio of prisoners to military police officers was 75-to-1, versus 1-to-1 at Guantanamo Bay. The MPs at Abu Ghraib “were undertrained for detention operations and they had arrived not in units and with equipment missing,” Mr Schlesinger said.

The panel said 300 abuse cases had come under investigation, a number about three times greater than previous US military estimates. Of 155 completed investigations, the report added, 66 have resulted in determinations of abuse - 55 of them in Iraq, three in Afghanistan and eight at Guantanamo Bay.

“What is needed is real accountability for these crimes,” said Mr Brody.
Top

 
BRIEFLY

Mark Thatcher held for coup plot
DURBAN:
The millionaire businessman son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Mark, was today arrested in Cape Town over his alleged involvement in a coup plot in the central African country of Equatorial Guinea. Mark Thatcher, who lives in Cape Town, was arrested on Wednesday. Although no details have been disclosed it is understood that Thatcher had allegedly provided support and funding for the mercenaries involved in the coup plot against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. — PTI

Charles’ double gets reprieve
LONDON:
A British man who faced a driving ban after being caught speeding was allowed to keep his licence so he could keep his job - impersonating heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles. Appearing in court wearing a dark double-breasted suit - a look often sported by the prince -and mimicking Charles’ habit of fiddling with his cufflinks, Charles Haslett (48) persuaded magistrates not to give him an expected driving ban. Haslett has spent 10 years impersonating the prince and was an official double at his 50th birthday party in 1998. — Reuters

Charles’ ex-secy alleges harassment
LONDON:
Prince Charles’ former secretary who was dismissed earlier this year has filed a legal complaint alleging sexual harassment, the prince’s office said on Tuesday. Elaine Day, who worked for five years as a personal assistant at Clarence House, the official residence of the Prince of Wales, alleged she was unfairly dismissed and complained of sexual discrimination and victimisation on the grounds of sex. — AFP
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |