SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


ADVERTISEMENT


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

China, Russia warn against deploying space weapons 
Geneva, June 9
China and Russia warned that space-based weapons would pose a threat as great as weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and called for global negotiations to prevent their deployment.

Zarqawi betrayed by Al-Qaida network
AL-QAIDA terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq with a $25 million bounty on his head, was eventually betrayed by senior leaders of his network.

Nepal King to miss Thai royal bash
Kathmandu, June 9
Stripped of his powers and facing the abolition of his crown, Nepal's King Gyanendra has been forced to skip the royal celebrations in Thailand starting Friday to commemorate Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th year on the throne.

Nepal rules out House dissolution
Kathmandu, June 9
Amidst Maoists’ demand that the reinstated Parliament be dissolved, a key ally of Nepal’s ruling multi-party alliance today said no threats or pressure could force the government to do so.
Nepal govt indulges in petty issues: Maoist chief. (28k, 56k)



 

EARLIER STORIES


 

 
Sean Connery and wife Micheline arrive at the American Film Institute’s “AFI Life Achievement Award
Sean Connery (left) and wife Micheline arrive at the American Film Institute’s “AFI Life Achievement Award — A Tribute to Sir Sean Connery” in Hollywood on Thursday. — Reuters

French woman windsurfs across Indian Ocean
Reunion, June 9
Frenchwoman Raphaela le Gouvello became the first person to windsurf across the Indian Ocean after spending 60 days at sea on a specially designed 7-metre (23-foot) board.

Baghdad under curfew
Baghdad, June 9
Baghdad was under curfew today to enhance security in the wake of two evening bombings that followed news that Al-Qaida leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed.

Retrospective of Nek Chand opened in London
London, June 9
A retrospective exhibition of sculpture, photography and film from Nek Chand's world-famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh opened here today attracting numerous visitors.

 

Top








 

China, Russia warn against deploying space weapons 

Geneva, June 9
China and Russia warned that space-based weapons would pose a threat as great as weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and called for global negotiations to prevent their deployment.

Diplomats said yesterday the appeals from the two powers were mainly targeted at the USA, expected by some to leave open the option of putting weaponry in orbit when it issues a new national space policy soon.

The United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) is focussing talks this month on prospects for launching negotiations on prevention of arms race in outer space.

The USA and Britain are virtually alone among the forum's 65 member states, at which China and Russia spoke, in opposing the start of the negotiations.

''A world free of outer space weapons is no less important than a world free of the weapons of mass destruction,'' China's ambassador Cheng Jingye told the CD.

''The development of outer space weapons keeps progressing quietly and relevant military doctrine is taking shape,'' he said, without directly naming the George W. Bush administration.

Space technologies were like a ''two-edged sword'', similar to nuclear and cloning technologies which can either help mankind or cause severe harm if misused or uncontrolled, according to the Chinese envoy.

Valery Loshchinin, Russia's ambassador, echoed the warning, telling the forum that weaponisation of outer space was akin to the ''emergence of a new type of weapon of mass destruction''.

''If there are no weapons in outer space, no room for the use of force, then there will be no arms race there. We must nip it in the bud,'' he declared.

NEW US POLICY: The White House is this month due to issue a new space policy, the first overhaul in a decade. Some US experts have said it would underscore the Pentagon's determination to protect its existing space assets and maintain dominance of outer space.

Among other countries at the CD session backing the call for talks were Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia (on behalf of the Group of 21 non-aligned countries), North Korea, South Korea, and South Africa.

The US delegation did not speak in the three-hour debate.

Britain recognised growing concerns by some states but said it saw no international consensus on the need for a new pact.

A 1967 UN treaty bans weapons of mass destruction from space, but some experts believe the USA would not shy from withdrawing from the pact, just as it withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty so that it could begin deploying a missile defence shield.

China's envoy Cheng said existing international treaties on outer space, including the 1967 and ABM pacts, left gaps.

''Some focus on the WMD only, some are limited to a certain celestial body or area in outer space and lack universality, and some have even been scrapped,'' he said. 
— Reuters

Top

 

Zarqawi betrayed by Al-Qaida network
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

AL-QAIDA terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq with a $25 million bounty on his head, was eventually betrayed by senior leaders of his network.

A file photo of Sheikh Abdul-Rehman, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s
A file photo of Sheikh Abdul-Rehman, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s spiritual adviser, who was also killed in the US air strike.

Gen. George Casey, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, said "tips and intelligence" from senior leaders of Zarqawi's network led U.S. and Iraqi forces to the Jordanian-born terrorist and some of his associates,"who were conducting a meeting."

Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air strike on a house 80 miles northeast of Baghdad on Wednesday. In Washington, White House spokesman Tony Snow said U.S. forces haD "done some forensic reviews and that the fingerprints, tattoos and scars on the body did, in fact, match those of Abu Musab 
al-Zarqawi."

A U.S. F-16 dropped two 500-pound bombs on Zarqawi's hideout, according to U.S. Army Maj- Gen. Bill Caldwell. "Last night was the first time that we had definitive, unquestionable information as to exactly where (Zarqawi) was located, knowing that we could strike that target without causing collateral damage to other Iraqi civilians and personnel in the area," Gen. Caldwell said.

Iraqi security and coalition forces conducted 17 simultaneous raids in and around Baghdad at the time of the attack. "A tremendous amount of information and intelligence was collected" from the raids, Gen. Caldwell said, "and is presently being exploited and utilised for further use. I mean, it was a treasure trove; no question."

Attending a NATO meeting in Brussels, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: "I think arguably over the last several years, no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men, women and children on his hands than Zarqawi."

U.S. and Iraqi forces tracked Sheik Abdul Rahman, Zarqawi's spiritual adviser who was also killed in the attack, to the terrorist leader's hideout on Wednesday. Planning for the operation was "a very long, painstaking, deliberate exploitation of intelligence, information-gathering, human sources, electronic, signal intelligence that was done over a period of time — many, many weeks," Gen. Caldwell said.

Sheik Rahman "was brought to our attention by somebody from within the network of Zarqawi's. For operational reasons, I probably can't specify exactly when," he added.

Asked whether another terrorist may have tipped off U.S. forces in the hope of replacing Zarqawi, Mr. Snow said: "That would be a really stupid terrorist, because the life expectancy of people who have been succeeding these guys, and the life expectancy of being Zarqawi's number two has not been very good."

Meanwhile, a Website used by al-Qaida in Iraq acknowledged Zarqawi's death and urged supporters to continue the war against the U.S. occupation. "People of Islam, God will not let our enemies celebrate and spread corruption in the ground. Expect the right that was stolen to come back to us and destroy the Crusaders," it said in a statement.

In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called Zarqawi's death "a very important moment in Iraq. A blow for al-Qaida in Iraq is a blow for al-Qaida everywhere."

Analysts, meanwhile, debated the consequences of Zarqawi's death. Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said there is no doubt that the Iraqi government and U.S. forces in Iraq had scored "a major political and propaganda victory" by killing Zarqawi. "What is less clear," he said, is that this victory will have a major impact over time. 

Top

 

Nepal King to miss Thai royal bash  
Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu, June 9
Stripped of his powers and facing the abolition of his crown, Nepal's King Gyanendra has been forced to skip the royal celebrations in Thailand starting Friday to commemorate Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th year on the throne.

As Thailand fetes the event with a five-day national holiday, feasts and a glittering guest list, including heads of state and representatives of royal houses from 25 countries, neither the Nepal king nor Crown Prince Paras is attending the celebrations due to the changed political situation in Nepal.

With Nepal's parliament last month axing the king's powers and pledging to slash his allowances, immediate foreign trips are ruled out for Gyanendra and Paras, especially in view of the millions they were found to have squandered from the state exchequer on such visits during the 15 months of absolute rule by the king.

After a nationwide agitation compelled the king to relinquish power in April, Nepal's parliament, reinstated after four years, proclaimed itself sovereign. Therefore it is likely that the king would now have to seek the house's approval to go abroad. With the regulations now governing the crown's activities yet to be worked out fully, the palace probably decided it was prudent to lie low.

Diplomatically too, the trip would have been an embarrassment for King Gyanendra, underscoring the differences between him and the Thai king.

Though both of them ascended the throne unexpectedly after the death of an elder brother under mysterious circumstances, while the Thai king commands immense respect and love from his subjects, the Nepal king is facing a growing demand for the abolition of kingship.

King Bhumibol is the world's longest serving monarch with his reign entering its 60th year.

Gyanendra, who ascended the throne in 2001, ruled the nation for just 15 months after which his throne is on the chopping block.

The Thai king rarely intervenes in his kingdom's politics. But when he does, his voice is respected. Last year, he took to task Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for attacking his critics, resulting in Thaksin dropping legal action against opposition leader Sondhi Limthongkul. This week, out of deference to the king, Thai parties feuding over election dates agreed on a weeklong truce.

However, soon after Gyanendra ascended the throne in 2001, he began manipulating the government and last year, seized control through a bloodless coup. When he called civic elections, it triggered a boycott by the opposition parties and a fresh spate of violent attacks by the Maoist guerrillas.

The international community condemned the king's autocratic rule and put diplomatic visits and agreements on hold during the king's tenure. — IANS

Top

 

Nepal rules out House dissolution

Kathmandu, June 9
Amidst Maoists’ demand that the reinstated Parliament be dissolved, a key ally of Nepal’s ruling multi-party alliance today said no threats or pressure could force the government to do so.

“The reinstated Parliament will not be dissolved coming under any pressure or because of any threat,” said Madhav Kumar Nepal, General Secretary of the Nepal Communist Party-UML which is an important constituent of the ruling alliance.

“The HoR will be dissolved only after a dependable representative body is established,” Mr Nepal said at a programme here.

While endorsing Prachanda’s demand for an interim government that includes Maoists too, Nepal appealed to him “not to be suspicious and create confusion among the people against the seven parties.” — PTI

Top

 

French woman windsurfs across Indian Ocean
Saint-Denis-De-La-Reunion,

Reunion, June 9
Frenchwoman Raphaela le Gouvello became the first person to windsurf across the Indian Ocean after spending 60 days at sea on a specially designed 7-metre (23-foot) board.

Le Gouvello (46) set out from Exmouth in northwestern Australia on April 9 and windsurfed some 6,500 km (4,000 miles) to get to the French island of La Reunion.

The official time for the voyage was 60 days, two hours and one minute.

She fell into the sea on a number of occasions during the crossing and her board capsized twice, but an accompanying team escorting her across the ocean prevented serious mishap.

''I didn't have any major problems on a physical level,'' she told reporters after reaching La Reunion.

She has previously completed solo crossings of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

''This is the last of my great ocean crossings on a windsurf and alone,'' she said yesterday. — Reuters 

Top

 

Baghdad under curfew

Baghdad, June 9
Baghdad was under curfew today to enhance security in the wake of two evening bombings that followed news that Al-Qaida leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed.

Even as US and Iraqi officials predicted that Zarqawi’s surviving lieutenants would launch new attacks to assert their organisation’s continued presence in the country, two car bombs exploded in predominantly Shia neighborhoods killing 15 persons.

“The curfew is a measure to keep people indoors as there could be more bombings like the ones last night, following Zarqawi’s death,” a defence ministry official said.

Zarqawi was killed on Wednesday in a joint US-Iraqi raid. — AFP 

Top

 

Retrospective of Nek Chand opened in London

London, June 9
A retrospective exhibition of sculpture, photography and film from Nek Chand's world-famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh opened here today attracting numerous visitors.

Minister for Co-ordination in the High Commission, Mr Rajat Bagchi, formally inaugurated the exhibition which will last till July 2.

“I am very impressed with the high quality of the exhibition,” Mr Bagchi said.

Lauding Nek Chand's conception and creative art, Mr Bagchi said the artist had a much larger idea of people and life. “He has successfully depicted how nothing in our life is of insignificant value.” Mr Manick Dalal, Chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, where the exhibition is held, said Nek Chand's message of transforming waste into beauty and his insistence of the universality of religious belief have a vital message for our troubled times.

“His combination of all differing threads of his creative power into a unified whole, place him firmly in the realm of legend.” And seen as a whole, as one work of art, the Rock Garden of Chandigarh is without any doubt one of the world's most astounding artistic achievements.

82-year-old Nek Chand congratulated the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for housing the exhibition and inviting him to be present. — PTI

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |