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Iran resumes work on N-fuel research
Tehran, January 10
Officials of the UN nuclear agency removed seals on Iran’s nuclear facilities today and research work resumed, said the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

Journalist kidnapped in Baghdad
The Christian Science Monitor on Monday confirmed that Jill Carroll, a freelance writer on assignment for the newspaper, was kidnapped in Baghdad on Saturday.

Efforts on to bring Sharon out of coma
Jerusalem, January 10
In an attempt to stimulate the senses of ailing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, well-wishers brought the
self-confessed foodloving premier’s favourite dishes to his hospital bedroom, Army Radio reported.

Nawaz, Benazir likely to meet in London
Lahore, January 10
A rare opportunity offered by the simultaneous presence of former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Ms Benazir Bhutto in the UAE to meet each other at lunch on Monday and hammer out a strategy to fight their “common enemy” was deferred by mutual consent in view of the death of the Dubai ruler.






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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Pilgrims start devil-stoning rite at climax of Haj
A young Muslim pilgrim has his head shaved symbolising the completion of his Haj in Mena outside Mecca on Tuesday Mena, January 10
More than two million Muslim pilgrims began the ritual stoning of the devil today, the climax of the annual Haj pilgrimage and an occasion that has led to deadly stampedes in the past. Some pilgrims rushed to the site early in the morning to cast their first set of stones before the crowds arrived.

A young Muslim pilgrim has his head shaved symbolising the completion of his Haj in Mena outside Mecca on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Hwang’s stem cell claims fake: university
Seoul, January 10
Disgraced researcher Hwang Woo-suk did create the world’s first cloned dog but he faked all of his landmark claims to have cloned human embryonic stem cells in a scam that deserves punishment, his university said today.

Beijing to check ‘boorish behaviour’
Beijing, January 10
Chinese capital Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympics, has vowed to eradicate five examples of ‘boorish behaviour’ among its citizens this year, including spitting and littering the streets.

Two Indians commit suicide
Dubai, January 10
Mounting financial problems forced two Indian workers to commit suicide, taking the total number of Indians who killed themselves in the past three months to 20.
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Iran resumes work on N-fuel research

Tehran, January 10
Officials of the UN nuclear agency removed seals on Iran’s nuclear facilities today and research work resumed, said the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

The move is likely to increase pressure on Iran from western nations which have called for it to cease nuclear activities until an agreement has been reached on the scope of its nuclear programme.

Mohammad Saeedi told reporters at a Press conference that officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency had authorised the seals’ removal last night.

“Today, with the powers delegated to IAEA inspectors in Iran, some of the seals that are in the field of only research were removed, and research facilities resume their work,” Saeedi said.

IAEA inspectors had arrived in Tehran on Saturday to remove the seals put on the nuclear research sites more than two years ago.

They had been expected to complete their task yesterday, when Tehran-based journalists expected an announcement as Iran had vowed it would immediately resume work.

Saeedi stressed that Iran was not resuming the production of nuclear fuel, a process that would involve uranium enrichment.

“What we resume is merely in the field of research, not more than that,” he said. “We make a difference between research on nuclear fuel technology and production of nuclear fuel. Production of nuclear fuel remains suspended.” — AP

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Journalist kidnapped in Baghdad
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

The Christian Science Monitor on Monday confirmed that Jill Carroll, a freelance writer on assignment for the newspaper, was kidnapped in Baghdad on Saturday. Miss Carroll’s Iraqi interpreter was found shot dead.

Calling for Ms Carroll’s “immediate and safe release,” the Boston-based Monitor’s editor Richard Bergenheim said: “Jill’s ability to help others understand the issues facing all groups in Iraq has been invaluable. We are urgently seeking information about Ms Carroll and are pursuing every avenue to secure her release.”

Ms Carroll, 28, has been reporting from the Middle East for Jordanian, Italian, and other news organisations over the past three years. In recent months, the Monitor has “tapped into her professionalism, energy, and fair reporting on the Iraqi scene,” the paper said. It was her drive to interview political leaders that took her into western Baghdad’s Adil neighbourhood on Saturday morning from where she was abducted.

Ms Carroll’s Iraqi driver escaped the abduction unharmed. He described the kidnapping in an article the newspaper sent to CNN and said it would publish on Tuesday. “I saw a group of people coming as if they had come from the sky,” the driver said. “One guy attracted my attention. He jumped in front of me screaming, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ with his left hand up and a pistol in his right hand.”

The driver, who did not want to be identified, said one of the kidnappers pulled him from the car, and then drove off with it. “They didn’t give me any time to even put the car in neutral,” he said. The interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, 32, was found dead nearby with two bullet wounds to the head.

The kidnapping occurred after Ms Carroll was leaving the office of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a prominent Sunni politician, the Monitor reported. She had intended to interview Mr al-Dulaimi who was not available.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Ms Carroll is one of 31 journalists kidnapped in Iraq since the beginning of the war, according to Reporters Sans Frontieres, an advocacy group based in Paris. The group said 63 journalists and five media assistants were killed in Iraq in 2005.

In New York, Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said her organisation was “deeply concerned” for Ms Carroll’s safety and called on “whoever is holding Carroll to release her at once.”

“We are appalled by the senseless killing of Allan Enwiyah and offer our condolences to his family,” she said.

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Efforts on to bring Sharon out of coma

Jerusalem, January 10
In an attempt to stimulate the senses of ailing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, well-wishers brought the self-confessed foodloving premier’s favourite dishes to his hospital bedroom, Army Radio reported.

An order of shawarma, roasted meat with salads wrapped in a loaf of bread, was among the things brought in front of the Prime Minister, the radio reported.

Sharon’s sons, Omri and Gilad, are playing Mozart tapes for their ailing father in the hope that his favourite composer would help in the healing process, Israeli daily ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’ reported today.

The music has been playing non-stop in Sharon’s room. However, doctors have no idea if Sharon is actually able to hear the music, as he did not appear to react to it in any way, the report said.

Meanwhile, Omri and Gilad also spoke to their father for hours and expressed their love for him, it said.

All visitors to the Prime Minister’s room called his name and spoke in the hope he would hear them even if he does not react.

Sharon reacted to stimulations yesterday by moving his right hand and legs but reports said that it may take a few days before he regains full consciousness provided everything went well. — PTI

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Pilgrims start devil-stoning rite at climax of Haj

Mena, January 10
More than two million Muslim pilgrims began the ritual stoning of the devil today, the climax of the annual Haj pilgrimage and an occasion that has led to deadly stampedes in the past.

Some pilgrims rushed to the site early in the morning to cast their first set of stones before the crowds arrived. ‘’We’re in a hurry to get there, I want to get there quickly,’’ said one man, pulling his wife along.

Some 250 pilgrims were crushed to death in 2004 at Mena’s Jamarat Bridge, where the millions of pilgrims must stand to stone three thick walls in a symbolic casting out of the devil and rejection of temptation.

King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan, in a message marking Tuesday’s Eid-ul-Adha holiday, said, ‘’We ask God to make this Eid one of peace and stability for Muslims and the whole world and unite Muslims in goodness and inspire them to do what is right.’’

Saudi Arabia has deployed a record 60,000 security men to control the huge crowd and avert attacks by Islamist militants fighting the U S-allied Saudi royal family. — Reuters

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Nawaz, Benazir likely to meet in London
Ashraf Mumtaz
By arrangement with The Dawn

Lahore, January 10
A rare opportunity offered by the simultaneous presence of former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Ms Benazir Bhutto in the UAE to meet each other at lunch on Monday and hammer out a strategy to fight their “common enemy” was deferred by mutual consent in view of the death of the Dubai ruler.

However, a three-member PPP delegation comprising Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Dr Safdar Abbasi and Qasim Zia paid a courtesy call on Mr Sharif at the Dubai residence of former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The two sides renewed their resolve to continue their struggle for democracy from the ARD’s platform.

Sources say the two former Prime Ministers would now meet in London, where Mr Sharif would shift immediately after getting British visa.

A PPP leader said: “Had it taken place, it would have been a high-profile meeting. And there is ban on political activities in the UAE. The atmosphere of grief and sorrow because of the death of the Dubai ruler was yet another reason for the cancellation of the Sharif-Benazir meeting.”

PML-N leader Ishaq Dar said the two parties had excellent cooperation on the ARD’s platform and were working according to instructions from their respective leaders.

He said Mr Sharif was busy during the first two days of his visit while on Monday Ms Bhutto was scheduled to leave for the USA along with her children to celebrate Eid with her husband Asif Zardari.

“Mr Sharif fully appreciates the situation,” he said.

According to a statement issued by the PML-N, Mr Sharif said while talking to the PPP delegation that deviation from the constitution was the root cause of all political, economic and social problems of the country. He said adherence to the constitution in letter and spirit was imperative to make Pakistan a sovereign, respectable and prosperous country.

“Restoration of the constitution and an end to dictatorship was problem number one,” said the exiled former Prime Minister.

He warned that any compromise on the constitution —as it stood on October 12, 1999 — would make the future of the country bleak.

However, he said, the ARD could consider any proposal for the establishment of an interim government, formation of an independent election commission for fresh elections, transfer of power and the restoration of the constitution.

Mr Sharif hoped that the MMA leadership would also play its role to steer the country out of the prevailing situation.

According to the statement, Mr Sharif said had he given preference to his personal interests than to those of the country he would not have had to face jails or banishment.

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Hwang’s stem cell claims fake: university

Seoul, January 10
Disgraced researcher Hwang Woo-suk did create the world’s first cloned dog but he faked all of his landmark claims to have cloned human embryonic stem cells in a scam that deserves punishment, his university said today.

The latest revelations doomed the South Korean veterinarian’s reputation as a pioneer in the human cloning field, already tainted by the finding that his claim in 2005 to have efficiently developed 11 patient-specific stem cell lines was false.

Hwang “did not have any proof to show that cloned embryonic stem cells were ever created,” an investigating panel at Seoul National University said in a report today, disputing claims in Hwang’s 2004 paper in the journal Science purporting that he cloned a human embryo and extracted stem cells from it.

However, the panel found that Hwang’s claims last year to have created the world’s first cloned dog were genuine.

Scientists hope to someday use human stem cells - master cells that can grow into any body tissue - to cure diseases such as alzheimer’s and diabetes.

Creating stem cells genetically matched to a specific patient would be a breakthrough because they would not be rejected by the patient’s immune systems. But despite years of research, Hwang was the only person to claim success in extracting the cells from an embryo.

“The 2004 paper was written on fabricated data to show that the stem cells match the DNA of the provider although they didn’t,” the report said. — AP

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Beijing to check ‘boorish behaviour’

Beijing, January 10
Chinese capital Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympics, has vowed to eradicate five examples of ‘boorish behaviour’ among its citizens this year, including spitting and littering the streets.

For the convenience of citizens, Beijing will set up trash boxes at every 100 metres in the city’s major streets and other public areas and provide handy sanitary bags for people to spit into on buses, taxis and public facilities.

Most Beijingers said hawking phlegm and throwing waste onto the pavement were among the five most disgusting habits in a survey among 10,000 citizens last November, officials with the city office for the promotion of social ethics said.

It was also considered rude for pedestrians to run about the road amid heavy traffic, for passengers to create a rowdy scrum while getting on buses and for pet owners to allow their animals to relieve themselves on the streets, officials said. — PTI

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Two Indians commit suicide

Dubai, January 10
Mounting financial problems forced two Indian workers to commit suicide, taking the total number of Indians who killed themselves in the past three months to 20.

In two separate incidents, Vijayan Alwyn, an employee of DNATA, hailing from Thriuvanathapuram, Kerala, and Zulfikar Qurani from West Bengal committed suicide owing to financial problems, according to consulate sources.

Qurani took his life at the Arabtech labour camp and had been in the Emirates for the past six months, they added.

Several Indian associations expressed concern over the increasing incidence of suicide among workers and urged the Indian missions to start counselling centres in labour camps for the benefit of the workers. — UNI

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