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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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Police takes control of Najaf
Najaf, Iraq, August 27
Iraqi police took control of the area around Najaf’s Imam Ali mosque today after militiamen loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr left the shrine, a correspondent at the scene said. Under the terms of a deal reached yesterday to end three weeks of fighting in Najaf, armed militants were to leave the shrine and Iraqi police take over responsibility for security.

I miscalculated Iraq post-war conditions: Bush
George W. Bush
Washington, August 27
US President George W. Bush, in an interview published today with The New York Times, said he miscalculated post-war conditions in Iraq and that the long insurgency was the product of a “swift victory.”

CIA ‘directed’ prisoners’ abuse
Washington, August 27
A high-level Army investigation report has found that the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq led to “abuse” and “unhealthy mystique” that “poisoned” the atmosphere at the detention facility.

Indian deported, recalled
London, August 27
A Sikh asylum seeker in the UK, who was mistakenly deported back to India by the British Home Office was ordered to return even before he could clear immigration at Delhi Airport, a media report said today.


Silvia Fernandez, a relative of dissidents who disappeared, cries in front of the Supreme Court building in Santiago, Chile, on Thursday

Silvia Fernandez (right), a relative of dissidents who disappeared, cries in front of the Supreme Court building in Santiago, Chile, on Thursday. Chile's Supreme Court stripped Gen. Augusto Pincochet of immunity from prosecution, paving the way for a possible trial for the former Chilean dictator on charges of human rights abuses.
— AP/PTI


A stuffed toy bear is perched on the gun barrel of a US Army Bradley vehicle near Najaf's Imam Ali shrine on Friday after a peace deal was reached overnight to end a three-week uprising
A stuffed toy bear is perched on the gun barrel of a US Army Bradley vehicle near Najaf's Imam Ali shrine on Friday after a peace deal was reached overnight to end a three-week uprising. Many pilgrims, supporters of revered cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who brokered the peace agreement, were overcome with emotion outside the rebel-held Imam Ali mosque. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

Aziz elected Pak PM
Islamabad, August 27
President Pervez Musharraf’s loyalist Shaukat Aziz was today elected as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in a National Assembly vote boycotted by the Opposition in protest of the Speaker’s decision not to permit their jailed candidate Javed Hashmi to take part in the proceedings.

Bandh against mega-projects in Baluchistan
Islamabad, August 27
Pakistan’s Baluchistan province today observed a one-day strike following a bandh call given by local Baluch nationalist parties opposing the construction of mega-projects in the province.

Two Maoists shot dead in southern Nepal
Kathmandu, August 27
Nepalese troops yesterday shot dead two Maoist rebels when the guerrillas fighting to overthrow the monarchy blocked vehicles in the south of the country, an official said. The incident occurred a day after the rebels lifted a week-long blockade of Kathmandu that aimed to stop traffic from entering or leaving the ancient capital.
— AFP

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Police takes control of Najaf

Najaf, Iraq, August 27
Iraqi police took control of the area around Najaf’s Imam Ali mosque today after militiamen loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr left the shrine, a correspondent at the scene said.

Under the terms of a deal reached yesterday to end three weeks of fighting in Najaf, armed militants were to leave the shrine and Iraqi police take over responsibility for security.

Meanwhile, car bomb exploded near a US military convoy in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul today, injuring at least 10 Iraqi civilians, police and hospital officials said.

The US military said it had no reports of American casualties. One US military vehicle had been damaged.

The hospital officials said 10 injured civilians had been brought in for treatment. US soldiers had cordoned off the area. — Reuters
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I miscalculated Iraq post-war conditions: Bush

Washington, August 27
US President George W. Bush, in an interview published today with The New York Times, said he miscalculated post-war conditions in Iraq and that the long insurgency was the product of a “swift victory.”

In what the daily said was the US president’s first acknowledgement on the issue. He said the miscalculation was an unintended byproduct of a “swift victory,” adding that Saddam Hussein’s forces quickly went into hiding in Iraqi cities where they mounted a rebellion far faster than the Americans had anticipated.

The daily said Bush refused to go into detail on what went wrong, saying that it was a task best left to historians.

Bush said his policies on Iraq, where he fought a war despite strong international opposition, were “flexible enough” to respond to the insurgency. Even now “we’re adjusting to our conditions,” in places like the holy city of Najaf, where US and Iraqi forces have been battling the militias of Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr for weeks, he added.

On North Korea and its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions, the daily said Bush took issue with his Democratic rival in the November 2 presidential election John Kerry, who argued that the US-led war in Iraq gave Pyongyang the opportunity to expand its nuclear capability.

“Showing none of the alarm about the North Korea’s growing arsenal that he once voiced regularly about Iraq,” said the daily, Bush “opened his palms and shrugged” when asked about intelligence reports indicating that North Korea may now have the fuel to produce six or eight nuclear weapons. — AFP
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CIA ‘directed’ prisoners’ abuse

Washington, August 27
A high-level Army investigation report has found that the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq led to “abuse” and “unhealthy mystique” that “poisoned” the atmosphere at the detention facility.

The probe by Maj-Gen George R. Fay and Lieut-Gen Anthony R. Jones has found that the agency was involved in abuse and improper detention.

CIA’s detention and interrogation practices in Iraq “led to a loss of accountability, abuse, reduced interagency cooperation and unhealthy mystique that poisoned the atmosphere” at the prison in which detainees were maltreated, General Fay told reporters here.

In one example of the CIA methods cited by General Fay, a CIA officer deliberately drew his pistol and prepared to fire it in the presence of a detainee under interrogation, a clear violation of Army rules that barred weapons in interrogation rooms, the Washington Post reported.

The report said CIA officers were able to convince two key military intelligence officers — Lieut-Col Stephen L. Jordan, the head of Abu Ghraib’s interrogation centre, and Colonel Thomas M. Pappas, commander of the 205th Military Intellience Brigade at the prison—that the CIA could “operate outside the established local rules and procedures.”

The CIA’s relative impunity contributed to “a loss of accountability” and “encourged soldiers to deviate from prescribed interrogational techniques,” according to a report written separately by Lieut-Gen Jones and the executive summary he released yesterday with General Fay.

In addition to detailing the presence of multiple CIA field officers at Abu Ghraib when an Iraqi detainee was found dead in a shower stall, an event that was previously reported and photographed, the report alleges that the CIA was involved in the improper detention of three Saudi medical workers aiding the US-led coalition in Iraq.

For reasons not explained by General Fay’s report or by the CIA, the three men were imprisoned by the CIA at Abu Ghraib under false names.

In this way, they became part of a pool of “ghost detainees” sometimes dropped off at Abu Ghraib by the CIA—their presence never properly recorded in jail house records and their detention kept secret from visiting delegations of the International Red Cross.

After a Saudi general was unable to learn the whereabouts of the three people, efforts to locate them were made by L. Paul Bremer, the top US civilian official in Iraq, officials of the US Embassy in Riyadh and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

But they were not told the men were in custody. Only when a soldier at Abu Ghraib recalled seeing three men arrive together were they finally tracked down and released, Fay’s report states.

The episode, the Post noted, is presented as an example of the swaggering style that CIA field officers adopted at Abu Ghraib, a US army-run prison where officers came and went without revealing their identities. — PTI
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Indian deported, recalled

London, August 27
A Sikh asylum seeker in the UK, who was mistakenly deported back to India by the British Home Office was ordered to return even before he could clear immigration at Delhi Airport, a media report said today.

Having flown thousands of miles, Jorowar Singh Dhillon (34) was told to retrace his journey as soon as his plane landed in India.

“The immigration service are investigating the circumstances and his removal from the UK,” a Home Office spokesperson said.

Mr Dhillon, arrived in the UK in July 1996 and was refused asylum, in September 1996 and again in September 1998, which he applied for on grounds that he would face prosecution in India.

His lawyer said having applied for asylum under the new human rights legislation meant he could not be deported.

But when he went for his routine visit to immigration officials on Wednesday, he was detained.

Hours later his legal team secured an injunction from high court forbidding his removal from the UK, but despite the order his deportation went ahead.

As he was on the plane a second injunction was passed, ruling that he could not pass through immigration at Delhi but return to the UK immediately, the paper claimed. — PTI
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Aziz elected Pak PM
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, August 27
President Pervez Musharraf’s loyalist Shaukat Aziz was today elected as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in a National Assembly vote boycotted by the Opposition in protest of the Speaker’s decision not to permit their jailed candidate Javed Hashmi to take part in the proceedings.

Aziz (55), who won 191-0 in the 342-member National Assembly, would be sworn in by Musharraf tomorrow along with his cabinet. He would seek the vote of confidence in parliament tomorrow itself.
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Bandh against mega-projects in Baluchistan

Islamabad, August 27
Pakistan’s Baluchistan province today observed a one-day strike following a bandh call given by local Baluch nationalist parties opposing the construction of mega-projects in the province.

The party felt that the projects, including the Gwadar port being built with Chinese aid, would result in mass migration from neighbouring Punjab province and other parts of Pakistan and exploitation of its natural resources.

Baluchistan’s provincial capital Quetta and other major towns wore a deserted look as shops and business establishments downed shutters in response to the strike call.

Over 4,000 police personnel were deployed in Quetta to prevent any untoward incident and a large number of protesters were arrested.

Baluch nationalist parties and groups had been agitating for several years, complaining that the province bordering Iran and Afghanistan was getting a raw deal as its rich natural resources like minerals and natural gas were extensively used by other provinces and the benefits were not passing on to the locals. — PTI
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BRIEFLY

New planet discovered
WASHINGTON:
European astronomers have discovered a new planet outside the solar system that is 50 light years away and about 14 times the size of Earth, the Internet website space.com has reported. The planet completes an orbit in 10 days around the star mu Arae, which is visible under dark skies from the Southern Hemisphere. About 120 planets have been identified beyond the solar system to date. — DPA

Cannibal teen arrested
BANGKOK:
A teenager was arrested for killing and eating the heart and liver of his younger brother in central Thailand, the police said on Friday. Eighteen-year-old Suriya Pholsaeng, with a history of drug addiction and mental illness, is accused of murdering his 8-year-old brother, whose body was found in a rice field with his stomach cut open and internal organs missing. — AP

Fire kills nine
Jakarta:
Fires ravaged dozens of houses in three different cities in Indonesia, killing at least nine persons and forcing hundreds of others from their homes, news reports said on Friday. In the Central Java capital of Semarang, six persons, comprising a family of three and their three maids, were burned to death when fire gutted three shop houses early on Thursday. — DPA
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