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US to give Pak latest weapons systems
Islamabad, May 8
The United States has agreed to provide Pakistan’s military with latest conventional weapons systems besides the already promised F-16s to fight terrorism.

‘Solve Kashmir issue for better ties with OIC’
Islamabad, May 8
With some Gulf countries suggesting that India be given observer status in the OIC, the Islamic countries’ grouping has linked this to the “just” settlement of the Kashmir issue.

A woman lights a candle at the grave of soldiers killed during World War II at a cemetery in central Moscow on Monday. A woman lights a candle at the grave of soldiers killed during World War II at a cemetery in central Moscow on Monday. Russians celebrate Victory Day on May 9 commemorating the 61st anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in the war — AFP



 
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Scuffle in Afghan parliament after MP flays warlords
Kabul, May 8
Former warlords in Afghanistan's parliament hurled water bottles and rushed at a woman MP yesterday after she accused them of being involved in the deaths of thousands of people.

Suharto’s condition improves
Jakarta, May 8
Former Indonesian dictator Suharto is in intensive care following colon surgery and will likely remain in critical condition for up to a week, his doctors said today.

Bush to name Hayden CIA head
Washington, May 8
US President George W Bush will name deputy national intelligence director Gen Michael Hayden as the new CIA chief today, setting up a battle with Congress over his credentials, to lead the spy agency.

Gene that increases diabetes risk detected
New York, May 8
Scientists have found a gene that increased Type 2 diabetes in overweight mice, a development they say may help find a new treatment for the condition in humans.

Maoists abduct 3 despite ceasefire
Kathmandu, May 8
The Maoist rebels have abducted three persons from Ramechhap district in Nepal last week despite their announcement of a three-month ceasefire, police and media reports said today.

Last American survivor of Titanic dies
Boston, May 8
Lillian Gertrud Asplund, the last American survivor of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, has died, a funeral home said yesterday. She was 99. Asplund, who was just 5 years old, lost her father and three brothers, including a fraternal twin, when the “practically unsinkable’’ ship went down in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg.

Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards undergoes surgery
Wellington, May 8
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards underwent brain surgery in New Zealand to treat a blood clot after sustaining head injuries while on holiday last month.

Video
Dalai Lama says he and George W. Bush share a desire to promote democracy.
(28k, 56k)


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US to give Pak latest weapons systems

Islamabad, May 8
The United States has agreed to provide Pakistan’s military with latest conventional weapons systems besides the already promised F-16s to fight terrorism.

The commitment to provide the weapons was made by the US after examining the list of defence requirements provided by Pakistan at the just concluded US-Pakistan Defence Consultative Group (DCG) meeting in Washington, Pakistan’s

Defence Secretary Tariq Waseem Ghazi said.

The meeting also decided that American and Pakistan forces would hold joint military exercises in 2007, he said

The United States has already agreed to provide F-16s to Pakistan. Recent reports said Pakistan has scaled down its plans to buy 77 F-16s, following last year’s earthquake and sought about 25 used and second hand planes during the recently concluded US-Pakistan strategic dialogue.

DCG was revived in 2003 to periodically discuss Pakistan’s defence requirements.

Ghazi said during the meeting, he conveyed Pakistan’s stand that US-India nuclear deal would “disturb” the existing military balance between India and Pakistan.

He said Pakistan had “some reservations” about the Indo-US nuclear deal and these reservations were raised during the five-day talks of the DCG.

“We told them that the existing balance of power in South Asia must not be disturbed. It will hurt everybody if this balance is disturbed,” Ghazi said.

He said the Pakistani delegation also discussed the Bush administration's concept of "de-hyphenated" relationship with India and Pakistan. "We have different views on some aspects of this concept and we believe that (the Indo-US nuclear deal) may lead to an arms race in South Asia," Ghazi said.

US officials were told that allowing India to keep some of its nuclear facilities outside the international safe guards had the potential to "disturb" the balance of power.

"There's always a possibility of the diversion of fissile material from safeguarded to un-safeguarded facilities. This could lead to escalation in greater weaponisation and arms race," he said.

The Defence Secretary claimed it was not just Pakistan that had reservations about the Indo-US nuclear deal. "Enough people are questioning this in the US as well," he said, adding at the DCG that meetings both sides agreed that there was an "excellent" understanding between the military establishments of the two countries and on issues of regional security. — PTI 

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‘Solve Kashmir issue for better ties with OIC’

Islamabad, May 8
With some Gulf countries suggesting that India be given observer status in the OIC, the Islamic countries’ grouping has linked this to the “just” settlement of the Kashmir issue.

A report on political issues by the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said, “Positive relations between the OIC and India could not be achieved as long as there were tensions between Pakistan and India and without a just solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with international legality.”

The report was presented at the preparatory meeting of the 33rd Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers of the 57-member grouping in Jeddah on Saturday.

According to sources, some Gulf countries have suggested that India, which has the second largest population of Muslims after Indonesia, and has an influential voice in the international arena, should be given observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia had suggested Pakistan should sponsor India’s name for observer status in the OIC. However, Pakistan gave cold response to the suggestion.

A statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry yesterday said the OIC meeting expressed support for the Indo-Pakistan peace process and hoped the dialogue would lead to the final settlement of all outstanding issues for peaceful, stable and prosperous environment in South Asia. — PTI 

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Scuffle in Afghan parliament after MP flays warlords

Kabul, May 8
Former warlords in Afghanistan's parliament hurled water bottles and rushed at a woman MP yesterday after she accused them of being involved in the deaths of thousands of people.

Malalai Joya said bearded and turbaned MPs who were once warlords in the country's decades of conflict had to be restrained from physically attacking her after a heated session of the four-month-old parliament.

The uproar, in which several MPs rose from their chairs shouting, was shown on television. A cameraman from a private television station said one of the MPs had slapped him across the face while he was filming the scuffle.

Joya, who has had death threats against her after a similar outburst during a meeting to draw up a post-Taliban Constitution in 2003, alleged that she had heard a prominent former warlord telling his men "to stab me with a knife".

"Several of them threw water bottles at me and many others rushed towards me to beat me up," she said in an interview.

Joya, in her late 20s, said the MPs had reacted angrily to her statement that some of the men who led the resistance to the 10-year Soviet occupation were responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in a civil war that erupted after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

Her comments were made in a debate about the anniversary last month of the defeat of communism in Afghanistan in 1993 when the government that replaced the Soviet administration was toppled.

"I told them that we have two types of mujahedin— one who were really mujahed (holy warriors)— the second, those who killed tens of thousands of innocent people and who are criminals. My words sparked their anger," she said. — AFP

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Suharto’s condition improves

Jakarta, May 8
Former Indonesian dictator Suharto is in intensive care following colon surgery and will likely remain in critical condition for up to a week, his doctors said today.

Doctors described Suharto, who is 84, as conscious and said his condition “has improved” since he was admitted into the hospital last Thursday after complaining of feeling weak.

Subiandono noted, however, that he would likely be in a “crisis period,” or critical condition, for five to seven days.

This is the fourth time Suharto has been treated for intestinal bleeding in two years, most recently in November, though he is not believed to have undergone intestinal surgery before.

His poor health has blocked efforts to prosecute him on corruption charges since a popular uprising in 1998 forced him to resign the presidency after ruling for 32 years.

Critics say he should also be tried in connection with widespread political bloodshed during his presidency that killed as many as a million suspected communists and left-wing opponents. — AP 

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Bush to name Hayden CIA head

Washington, May 8
US President George W Bush will name deputy national intelligence director Gen Michael Hayden as the new CIA chief today, setting up a battle with Congress over his credentials, to lead the spy agency.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley, appearing on morning talk shows, confirmed what had become the worst kept secret in Washington after CIA chief Porter Goss was eased out of his job on Friday after less than two years.

A number of lawmakers, including some from Bush’s Republican Party, have voiced concern about Hayden being a general with close ties to the military and his role in an eavesdropping program assailed by critics as a violation of civil rights.

“It sends the wrong signal,’’ Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, who heads the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, told CNN. “I’m not sure he can adapt.’’

The CIA lost clout when it fell under a newly created director of national intelligence as part of reforms in response to intelligence failures over the September 11 attacks.

Tensions between national intelligence director John Negroponte and Goss grew as the new intelligence arm sought to assert itself over the CIA and met opposition from the spy agency, administration officials have said. — Reuters 

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Gene that increases diabetes risk detected

New York, May 8
Scientists have found a gene that increased Type 2 diabetes in overweight mice, a development they say may help find a new treatment for the condition in humans.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition, with an estimated 16 million Americans afflicted with the disease. Often, the development of the disease is caused by obesity.

Researchers led by Alan Attie at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied obese mice and discovered the gene, reported the health portal EurekAlert.

Genetic factors are believed to account for roughly half of an individual’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Knowing which genes contribute to the onset of the disease will help develop profiles of obese individuals at the greatest risk, Attie said. — IANS 

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Maoists abduct 3 despite ceasefire

Kathmandu, May 8
The Maoist rebels have abducted three persons from Ramechhap district in Nepal last week despite their announcement of a three-month ceasefire, police and media reports said today.

The rebels kidnapped a man from Kulasi village on Friday night after severely beating him up, police said, adding his 84-year-old father and wife, who tried to resist the abduction, were also physically assaulted.

Later, on Saturday, the Maoists abducted Guman Singh Thapa, vice-chairman of Sheradevi Community Forest Users’ Group, from the same village.

In another incident in the same district, the rebels have kidnapped the district commander of the Terai Liberation Army, an organisation close to Terai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha, The Kathmandu Post reported today. — PTI 

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Last American survivor of Titanic dies

Boston, May 8
Lillian Gertrud Asplund, the last American survivor of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, has died, a funeral home said yesterday. She was 99.

Asplund, who was just 5 years old, lost her father and three brothers, including a fraternal twin, when the “practically unsinkable’’ ship went down in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg.

She died yesterday at her home in Shrewsbury, said Ronald E. Johnson, vice president of the Nordgren Memorial Chapel in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“She went to sleep peacefully,’’ he said. Asplund’s mother, Selma, and another brother, Felix, who was 3, also survived the Titanic sinking in the early morning of April 15, 1912.

Asplund was the last Titanic survivor with actual memories of the sinking, but she shunned publicity and rarely spoke about the events.

At least two other survivors are living but they were too young to have memories of the disaster. Barbara Joyce West Dainton of Truro, England, was 10 months old and Elizabeth Gladys “Millvina’’ Dean of Southampton, England, was 2 months old. — AP

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Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards undergoes surgery

Wellington, May 8
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards underwent brain surgery in New Zealand to treat a blood clot after sustaining head injuries while on holiday last month.

Richards, who reportedly fell from a coconut tree in Fiji, was earlier said to have suffered only mild concussion.

The operation was performed soon after he arrived in New Zealand from Fiji for treatment.

Richards, 62, was in hospital from April 27 until May 2.

His US-based publicist has been quoted as saying he was in good spirits and would join the band in Barcelona on May 27 for the next leg of their world tour.

Richards was apparently climbing the tree at the luxury Wakaya Club resort with fellow band member Ron Wood, 58, when he fell and hit his head. Some reports said he was later also involved in a jetski accident. — AFP 

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