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Setback to Indo-US N-deal
Washington, March 27
The efforts of the Bush Administration to get Congress pass legislation that would allow the United States to sell nuclear technology to India and accept it as a full-time partner in the international nuclear community appear to have received a setback, following a meeting of Nuclear Suppliers Group nations.

Yasin Malik for plebiscite on both sides of LoC
Karachi, March 27
Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik has set the cat among the pigeons in Pakistan by demanding a referendum in Indian Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir to decide who should represent Kashmiris in a tripartite dialogue with India and Pakistan.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Yasin Malik addresses a seminar on the Kashmir issue at the World Social Forum conference in Karachi on Monday Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Yasin Malik addresses a seminar on the Kashmir issue at the World Social Forum conference in Karachi on Monday.
— PTI photo






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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

6 schoolchildren hurt in Pak blast
Islamabad, March 27
At least six schoolchildren were injured today when their bus hit a landmine in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region, officials said. The bus, carrying the children, was on its way to the private ‘Suffa Public School’ when it was hit by a landmine in the Shakai area, 35 km from Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan, they said.

Mosul blast leaves 30 dead
Mosul (Iraq), March 27
At least 30 persons were killed in a bomb blast inside a joint US-Iraq base in Mosul today, the police said. An Interior Ministry source said the explosion targeted Iraqi army recruits and may have been carried out by a suicide bomber strapped with explosives but it was not immediately possible to verify this.

One killed in Addis Ababa blast
Addis Ababa, March 27
A blast on a minibus killed one person and injured three others in Addis Ababa today in the latest of a series of mysterious explosions in the Ethiopian capital. A second blast occurred outside the gate of an abattoir in the city but no one was hurt, police said.

BJP leaders sabotaged Ram temple efforts: Uma
London, March 27
Two or three senior BJP leaders, including former party president Venkaiah Naidu, had sabotaged serious efforts to construct a Ram temple at Ayodhya during the NDA regime, expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti has claimed.

US, British hostages freed in Nigeria
Warri, Nigeria, March 27
Three foreign oil workers, two Americans and a Briton, were freed today by Nigerian militants who had held them hostage for five weeks, officials said.

Elderly need to exercise more to keep fit
New York, March 27
People in their 60s and 70s may need to perform more physical activities or exercise to keep themselves fit, says a study. It is common knowledge that as people age, there is a decline in the exercise or work a person can do before becoming exhausted.

Genetically bred pigs for human heart
New York, March 27
US scientists have used gene technology to breed pigs that can produce omega-3 fats, widely touted as good for the human heart.
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Setback to Indo-US N-deal

Washington, March 27
The efforts of the Bush Administration to get Congress pass legislation that would allow the United States to sell nuclear technology to India and accept it as a full-time partner in the international nuclear community appear to have received a setback, following a meeting of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) nations.

According to a Financial Times report today, the diplomats and analysts, who had been briefed on the outcome of last week’s discussions of 45-nation NSG in Vienna, said concerns raised by a number of countries, including China, would complicate the Bush Administration’s parallel initiative to have Congress pass the legislation.

The NSG was established as a result of India’s first nuclear test in 1974. The group and its guidelines governing the supply of sensitive nuclear materials have been a major impediment to the development of India’s civilian nuclear programme.

Under a bilateral agreement reached earlier this month between the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush in New Delhi, India would receive support for its civilian reactors in exchange for placing eight more facilities under international safeguards and separating its civil and military nuclear facilities.

Besides the US, several major nuclear powers, including the UK, France and Russia, argue that the proposed deal, making an exception for India, which has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), would strengthen global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

However, some other nations express concern that it sets a precedent that will lead to a further unravelling of the treaty, which has already been tested by North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT in 2003, the impasse over Iran’s nuclear development, and covert nuclear sales by Pakistani nuclear scientists.

The US had hoped that a plenary meeting of the NSG to be held in Rio de Janeiro in May would admit India into the nuclear club following approval on the domestic side by Congress. — UNI

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Yasin Malik for plebiscite on both sides of LoC

Karachi, March 27
Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik has set the cat among the pigeons in Pakistan by demanding a referendum in Indian Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) to decide who should represent Kashmiris in a tripartite dialogue with India and Pakistan.

“I suggest holding a referendum of both parts of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan and India and the party or group that gets peoples’ mandate should be given representation in the tripartite dialogue to resolve the dispute once and for all,” Malik, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), said at an ongoing World Social Forum conference.

“A full-scale and fair referendum would finally bring the true leadership of the Kashmiris, who will be accepted by the rest to represent our people in the dialogue,” he said.

His proposal did not appear to win the approval of sections of leadership of the PoK.

Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, son of former Pakistani Kashmir president Sardar Ibrahim, said he reckoned he was a Pakistani first and a Kashmiri later.

This prompted boos from JKLF supporters and he traded angry words with them, reports said.

Aiming at New Delhi, Malik reiterated what he had said after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January: “If the Indians are engaged in talks with a single party of Nagaland then why is this not the case for Kashmir?”

Malik, who has blamed Muslims across the world for impeding democracy and democratic institutions at this conference, declared that 85 per cent of the people of the valley wanted total freedom, while only 15 per cent of them wanted to be part of Pakistan.

“Both countries should engage our representatives as equal stakeholders in the process and this, I assure you, will be in the larger national interest of the two countries,” said Malik.

“The peace process should be spread to the grassroots so that no young man like Yasin Malik of 15 years ago should see the gun as his only option for the rights of his people,” he said.

“I abandoned the violent option after (journalist) Kuldip Nayar promised me the support of Indian civil society. I threw away the gun at a time when 30,000 armed fighters were present in Kashmir. Since then, I have lost 600 colleagues.

“The Indian authorities persistently tried to make me go for my gun but I maintained my patience and now a large number of Indians are behind me and for the cause of Kashmir,” he said.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, a grouping of separatist parties in Indian Kashmir, said Kashmir was not just a political dispute but a matter of life and death for Kashmiris.

“It is a huge human tragedy.” “We should raise our voice jointly and achieve the goal according to the aspirations of the people. Without this, a permanent peace cannot be achieved,” said Farooq.

He said the enlightened people of India were now listening to the Kashmiri leadership and it was time for India and Pakistan to engage the Kashmiris in the peace process.

“This dispute can only be resolved by a tripartite dialogue involving Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris,” he said.

Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, former president and prime minister of the PoK, who was in India for the first time last year to participate in talks among various Kashmiri groups, confined himself to asserting that the destruction of civil society was due to continuous unrest in the disputed Himalayan state.

He said demilitarisation and self-rule was also part of a permanent solution to the conflict. — IANS

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6 schoolchildren hurt in Pak blast

Islamabad, March 27
At least six schoolchildren were injured today when their bus hit a landmine in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region, officials said.

The bus, carrying the children, was on its way to the private ‘Suffa Public School’ when it was hit by a landmine in the Shakai area, 35 km from Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan, they said.

The injured were shifted to local hospitals and three of them are stated to be in a critical condition, the officials said adding no one had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Unidentified men blew up a telephone exchange and the antenna of a local radio in the same area last week.

The army is hunting suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban members as well as their local supporters in the Waziristan tribal region.

Pakistan says it has deployed 80,000 troops in the tribal region close to the Afghan border to check the cross-border movement of suspected militants. — PTI

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Mosul blast leaves 30 dead

Mosul (Iraq), March 27
At least 30 persons were killed in a
bomb blast inside a joint US-Iraq base in Mosul today, the police said.

An Interior Ministry source said the explosion targeted Iraqi army recruits and may have been carried out by a suicide bomber strapped with explosives but it was not immediately possible to verify this. No further details were available.

In December 2004, a suicide bomber wearing Iraqi uniform blew himself up at the US armed forces mess tent in Mosul, killing 21 persons, among them 14 US troops and four other Americans.

The blast occurred one day after 20 persons were shot dead in the Mustafa mosque near Sadr City in Baghdad in what some Shi'ite leaders said was a massacre of worshippers by the US troops.

Meanwhile, aides to a radical Shiite cleric have reported that 18 people were killed by US and Iraqi forces at a mosque in eastern Baghdad. The police said 22 died, while the American military said 16 “insurgents” were killed by Iraqi special forces with US troops on the scene as backup.

“No mosques were entered or damaged during this operation,” the military said in a statement at least five hours after the incident.

“As elements of the 1st Iraqi Special Operations Forces Brigade entered their objective, they came under fire. In the ensuing exchange of fire...(Iraqi troops) killed 16 insurgents. As they secured their objective, they detained 15 more individuals,” the military statement said.

Lt Hassan Hmoud put the death toll at 22 with eight wounded. He said some of the casualties were at the Islamic Dawa Party-Iraq Organisation office near the mosque.

The incident started when US forces came under fire from an unknown source in the direction of the mosque and the party office, he said.

Shiite legislator and party spokesman, Khudayer Al-Khuzai said 15 members of the party were holding a “cultural meeting” in an office near the Shiite mosque. “They have nothing to do with the acts of violence,” he said. — Agencies

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One killed in Addis Ababa blast

Addis Ababa, March 27
A blast on a minibus killed one person and injured three others in Addis Ababa today in the latest of a series of mysterious explosions in the Ethiopian capital.

A second blast occurred outside the gate of an abattoir in the city but no one was hurt, police said.

A Reuters reporter at the scene of the bus explosion in southern Addis Ababa said the rear of the 11-passenger vehicle was torn apart by the blast.

“One person was killed in the explosion. Three others were injured slightly,” bus owner Gebremichael said. — Reuters

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BJP leaders sabotaged Ram temple efforts: Uma

London, March 27
Two or three senior BJP leaders, including former party president Venkaiah Naidu, had sabotaged serious efforts to construct a Ram temple at Ayodhya during the NDA regime, expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti has claimed.

“During the last days of the NDA government, we had made serious efforts for the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya and had held talks with Atalji (then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee).

“He had entrusted the responsibility of this work to me and Mr Arun Jaitley, but some officials of the PMO, who wanted a way out of the temple construction, did not favour a role for the VHP in this,” Ms Bharti told a BBC Hindi programme last night.

She said: “Such an attitude of these officials complicated the issue which led to delays. The efforts were to hand over the undisputed site of Lord Ram’s birthplace to Ram Janam Bhoomi Nyas, and there was no problem as this land was under the control of the Central Government”.

“However, the BJP victory in the Assembly elections in three states in November, 2003, gave a false impression to the then party president Venkaiah Naidu that it was because of him that the party emerged victorious”.

He, along with two-three other leaders, floated the idea that the BJP-led NDA alliance would be able to win the third consecutive term at the Centre, and at a later time the temple construction could be brought on agenda.

“They floated the idea that if the temple issue was raked up, it might lead to disintegration of the NDA and feared that it could lead to losing the general elections.

“Therefore in the greed of forming a government third time consecutively at the Centre, these leaders gave up the temple issue, despite best efforts from people like me. They sacrificed our basic aim,” the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said. — PTI

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US, British hostages freed in Nigeria

Warri, Nigeria, March 27
Three foreign oil workers, two Americans and a Briton, were freed today by Nigerian militants who had held them hostage for five weeks, officials said.

The release of the three, employees of U S oil services company Willbros, raised hopes for an end to three months of sabotage and kidnapping in the world’s eighth largest oil exporting country that has cut shipments by a quarter.

The three men were handed to the governor of Nigeria’s southern Delta state by an ethnic Ijaw leader, who had been negotiating with the militants on behalf of the government. U S and British diplomatic staff took the men for medical checks.

“(The three) are in very good health and high spirits,’’ said Abel Oshevire, a spokesman for Delta state. “Of course, they are a bit agitated after a month in captivity.’’

“The rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had demanded a greater share of the region’s huge oil wealth, the release of two jailed Ijaw leaders and compensation for oil pollution as conditions for freeing the hostages. — Reuters

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Elderly need to exercise more to keep fit

New York, March 27
People in their 60s and 70s may need to perform more physical activities or exercise to keep themselves fit, says a study.

It is common knowledge that as people age, there is a decline in the exercise or work a person can do before becoming exhausted.

Researchers led by Wayne C. Levy at the University of Washington in Seattle suggest that this is not just a product of the aging cardiovascular system being less able to send oxygen to working muscles, but that the older body also needs more oxygen to perform the same work as a younger one i.e. the exercise efficiency declines.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggests that the older we get the harder we have to work to keep fit, health portal News-Medical.net reported.

Seniors it seems may have to work harder than young people to perform the same physical activity, but regular exercise may close that age gap, they said.

According to Levy it is unclear as yet how intensely people need to exercise to retain their efficiency as they age, but he suspects that any activity done regularly, including walking, would have benefits. — IANS

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Genetically bred pigs for human heart

New York, March 27
US scientists have used gene technology to breed pigs that can produce omega-3 fats, widely touted as good for the human heart.

Currently, the only way for humans to realise the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is by taking dietary supplements or eating certain types of oily fish that may also contain high levels of mercury.

But, the new study by the University of Pittsburgh-led team raises the prospect of a new source for the fats — that is from pigs, reported the online edition of BBC News.

Jing Kang, who also worked on the study, said: “Livestock with a health ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids may be a promising way to rebalance the modern diet without relying solely on diminishing fish supplies or supplements”. — IANS

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