European Parliament opposes
13 feared dead in Kenyan plane crash
15 die in China hospital blast
Fire ravages Dickens home
Suspected Tigers kill 4 soldiers
Indian faces jail for having 15 passports
Sewa Award goes to US museum
Nepal parties defy curfew, 15 held
Kathmandu, April 10
The 15 activists, including former Nepali Congress parliament member Jhalaknath Wagley, were arrested as soon as they rallied at Sundhara in Kathmandu just before the curfew started, Nepali Congress sources said.
The government clamped curfew on the capital from 11 am to 6 pm today.
Reports of small pocket demonstrations in different parts of the capital continued to pour despite the curfew orders.
Hundreds of people gathered in the Gongabun area, Chabahil and Kalanki on the outskirt of the capital since early morning.
Nepali Congress central member Arjun Narsingh K.C., meanwhile, dismissed claims by Home Minister Kamal Thapa about infiltration of Maoist cadres in their peaceful movement.
“Our movement is peaceful and will remain peaceful, but the state-sponsored hooligans have been involved to turn it violent to defame the agitators,” he said.
Mr Thapa yesterday claimed they had arrested four Maoist cadres while they were participating in rallies.
“Our four-day general strike from April 6 has become a historic success and we are further intensifying the movement,” Arjun said.
The Nepali Congress leader said the strike and the protest programmes would continue until further notice.
“There is no truth in the government’s allegation that the seven-party movement has turned violent. We have signed 12-point agreement with the Maoists to transform them into peaceful politics but we will not lend any support or cooperate with their violent activities”, he said.
He said: “The government is worried and is in a state of defeated mentality so it is adopting every means to suppress the movement.” — PTI
Brussels/Islamabad, April 10
In their petition, EU Parliament Vice-President Janusz Onyszkiewiez and 66 other members have accused Islamabad of perpetrating an armed onslaught on the people of Baluchistan for the latter's temerity in asking for their grievances to be addressed.
Describing the military action in Baluchistan as completely unwarranted and shameful, the petition further goes on to say that the situation in Baluchistan "has been exacerbated by the attempts of the military government of General Pervez Musharraf to tarnish the image of Baluch leaders," while at the same time following a policy of "manipulating tribe against tribe".
Demanding that the economic and political rights of the Baluch people be respected, the 67 EU Parliament members said the Baluchis have "long professed that while the rest of Pakistan has prospered through the expiration of their province's resources, Baluchistan itself remains the most backward province in Pakistan, devoid of development or adequate employment opportunities." So dismal is the situation in Pakistan's largest province, that the media and various non-government organisations (NGOs) have not been able to have unfettered access to areas targeted by the Pakistan armed forces, said the EU members. This, they said, has prevented the international community to acquaint itself with the real picture.
In view of the present scenario in Baluchistan, the EU parliament members have called for the appointment of a Special Rappoteur on Baluchistan, the closing down of irregular detention camps, free access to the media and representatives of civil society, access to jails in Baluchistan and providing the Red Cross guaranteed freedom to operate in the province.
The EU Parliament's appeal on Monday came even as Pakistan's Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad announced that the time to negotiate with senior Baluch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, who has been spearheading the agitation against Islamabad, has passed.
Exhibiting the hard line approach of the Government, Rashid firmly said that Islamabad would bring the Baluchistan situation under control within two months.
Talking to newsmen at Parliament House here, Rashid said that some of the members of Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) had surrendered and confessed to their crimes. They have admitted that they were involved in targeting important national installations and bomb blasts for which they were being paid.
According to Rashid, the detainees had also admitted that they were working on a specific agenda under Bugti's directives.
"The Government would restore the writ of law in Baluchistan and nobody would be allowed to disrupt law and order in the province," Rashid warned.
On Sunday, the Government banned the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) after declaring it as a terrorist organisation for its alleged involvement in terrorist activities. It said that some tribal leaders of the province headed the BLA.
Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah told reporters that anyone associated with the BLA or supporting its terrorist activities would be tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
He said the investigation into several past terrorist acts found that majority of the incidents had been planned, engineered and executed by BLA operatives to create a situation of anarchy in Baluchistan.— ANI
Nairobi, April 10
“We have retrieved bodies that have been burnt beyond recognition,” Marsabit district commissioner Mutea Iringu told Reuters. Four persons survived the crash.
It was Kenya’s worst air disaster since a light aircraft slammed into Mount Kenya in July 2003, killing 14 persons, including 12 members of a US family.
Officials said the Y-12 plane carrying 17 persons crashed into the hill as it approached the airstrip in the remote, northeastern town of Marsabit before catching fire. — Reuters
Beijing, April 10
The source of the blast was a garage in the Xuangang Coal and Power Company Hospital in the small city of Yuanping, the agency said. Buildings within a 1-km radius suffered damage.
An official with the Yuanping Health Bureau told Reuters the cause of the explosion was unknown.
A resident who lives about 2-km from the blast told Reuters that windows in her neighbourhood were broken when the blast shook the city in the early hours of the morning.
The Xinhua report said a five-storeyed apartment building close to the explosion suffered ''severe damage''. It said China's armed militia had been mobilised to help rescue efforts. — Reuters
London, April 10
Flames were leaping from the first-floor windows of the imposing hilltop house in seaside Broadstairs, Kent, when the alarm was sounded last evening, Kent Fire and Rescue Service said.
Kent Fire spokesman Greg Theothanides said: “We have no idea of the cause but our investigating officer is looking into that.”
Bleak House, named for one of Dicken’s novels, once housed a museum dedicated to the writer, but is now privately owned.
The family that lives there was not at home when the fire erupted. It was built in 1801 for the captain of a military fort which stood in front of it. — AFP
Suspected Tigers kill 4 soldiers
Colombo, April 10
“It’s a claymore attack,’’ said army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, adding that the army suspected the rebels. “Four soldiers are dead, two are wounded. They were patrolling in a vehicle.’’
International Catholic aid agency Caritas’ Human Development Centre in Jaffna said one of its vehicles had also been caught in the blast.
An army spokesman confirmed two aid workers had died, but said he had no details. — Reuters
Indian faces jail for having 15 passports
Kuala Lumpur, April 10 Varusai Mohamad alias, Mohd Salleh, (42) who holds a permanent resident status here, was detained by the police last month at a fast food outlet here with the passports in his possession. Salleh, a trader by profession, could be either put in jail for five years or fined 10,000 ringgit (approx Rs 1.2 lakh) or both for each offence, Malaysian news agency Bernama said. The Magistrate today fixed Salleh's bail at 35,000 ringgit (approx Rs 4.2 lakh) for
Kuala Lumpur, April 10
Varusai Mohamad alias, Mohd Salleh, (42) who holds a permanent resident status here, was detained by the police last month at a fast food outlet here with the passports in his possession.
Salleh, a trader by profession, could be either put in jail for five years or fined 10,000 ringgit (approx Rs 1.2 lakh) or both for each offence, Malaysian news agency Bernama said.
The Magistrate today fixed Salleh's bail at 35,000 ringgit (approx Rs 4.2 lakh) for
Washington, April 10
The awards were given in recognition of the ''tireless work'' in projecting a positive image of the Sikhs and having contributed for the betterment of the community, sources said.
One more award in recognition of the entire American Sikh movement for its contribution in spreading Guru Nanak's message through various projects such as SikhNet.com and Miri-Piri Academy, was given to Bibi Inderjit Kaur, wife of late Harbhajan Singh Yogi, a respected leader of the American Sikh community.
Smithsonian Institution is funded by the US government and is one of the largest museums in the world. It created the Sikh Exhibit in collaboration with the Sikh Heritage Foundation which was inaugurated in 2004.
Millions of Americans and tourists from other parts of the world have been visiting the Smithsonian museums.
Harbhajan Singh Yogi founded the American Sikh movement known as the ''Sikh Dharma'' in 1973 and it currently has numerous centers all over the world. Various educational institutions were also established by the movement, which are serving the community worldwide.
Amrit Kaur, secretary, Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, said ''Kirat, Simran and Sewa, are corner stones of the Sikh faith and conferring Sewa Award, GGSF tends to highlight the endeavors of those great individuals or institutions who have made Sewa their top priority.'' Director, Smithsonian Institution Lawrence Small and Amrik Singh Chatha of the Sikh Heritage Foundation were also honored during the celebrations.
''It is important to highlight the work of individuals and organisations who contribute immensely for the betterment of humanity and and the Sikh community,'' said GGSF executive director Dr Rajwant Singh. —UNI