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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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Clock is ticking, EU to tell Iran
Brissels, July 4
The European Union will tell Iran tomorrow that time is running out for it to agree to enter negotiations on incentives to curb its nuclear activities or face penalties.

Parliaments of India, China sign MoU
Beijing, July 4
Opening a new avenue for enhancing mutual trust, parliaments of India and China yesterday signed the first-ever agreement to regularise bilateral exchanges, as also consult and coordinate on international and regional affairs.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao welcomes Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee at the Zhongnanhai leadership compounding in Beijing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao welcomes Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee at the Zhongnanhai leadership compounding in Beijing on Tuesday. — PTI photo


EARLIER STORIES


Discovery lifts off
Cape Canaveral, July 4
US space shuttle Discovery roared off its Florida launch pad today on a voyage to the International Space Station. Discovery, carrying seven astronauts, lifted off from the seaside launch site at 6.38 pm (GMT) and soared into sunny skies, jettisoning its booster rockets around two and a half minutes into the flight. It reached orbit safely about nine minutes after the launch. — Reuters

Britain clamps down on overseas nurses
London, July 4
Faced with budgetary cuts and surplus of available manpower from Britain and the European Union, the British government on Monday announced a clampdown on the recruitment of overseas nurses from countries such as India.

5 Afghans at US base shot
Jalalabad (Afghanistan), July 4
Five Afghan labourers working at a US military base in Afghanistan have been killed in an ambush on their way home from work, the police said today.

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Lady without arms is a symbol of inimitable courage.
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Clock is ticking, EU to tell Iran

Brissels, July 4
The European Union will tell Iran tomorrow that time is running out for it to agree to enter negotiations on incentives to curb its nuclear activities or face penalties.

Diplomats doubt Teheran will give a firm answer at Brussels talks between its top nuclear negotiator and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, but say UN Security Council action would loom if no answer arrives before major power meetings next week.

An Iranian official said Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Larijani would bring questions about what Teheran regards as ambiguities in the international package.

“We hope and clearly see the objective of the talks tomorrow is to create the conditions for the start of negotiations,” Mr Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said.

“The more clarity we get, the better feedback for the G8,” she said of a July 15 summit of the Group of Eight major powers in St. Petersburg, to be preceded by talks on Iran among the five top Security Council nations plus Germany next Wednesday.

Washington insists Teheran has had ample time to respond to a package presented a month ago of technology, trade and political incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment. The United States wants the G8 summit to take decisions on future action.

Veto-holding UN Security Council member China urged Iran today to reply as soon as possible but called on the G8 nations — the United States, Russia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain — to show patience.

“We hope that Iran will pay attention to the concerns of the international community and respond as soon as possible to the basket of proposals,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a press conference in Beijing.

“We also hope the other sides will exercise patience and restraint and seriously consider Iran’s reasonable concerns.”

Iran has said it will give its reply by August 22, insisting the incentives offer contains ambiguities it wants to iron out.

Semi-official Mehr News Agency quoted Mr Larijani yesterday as saying deadlines were not helpful and dismissing the crucial demand that Iran suspend enrichment — a process which can be used in making a bomb — as a condition for talks to start.

Iran, the world’s fourth biggest oil exporter, rejects Western suspicions that it wants to build a nuclear warhead. It insists its nuclear programme is only to produce electricity.

The G8 called last week for “a clear and substantive response” at the Larijani-Solana meeting, but expectations for a breakthrough at the meeting are low.

Mr Ali Hosseinitash, head of strategic affairs at Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was quoted yesterday as saying Iran did not intend to give an answer.

Mr Solana’s spokeswoman said it was high time Mr Larijani gave Iran’s official answer but acknowledged he was likely to come with questions.

The package drafted by European powers Britain, France and Germany and the EU, and endorsed by the United States, Russia and China, offers a state-of-the-art nuclear reactor with a guaranteed fuel supply as well as economic benefits and support for the idea of a regional security framework. — Reuters 

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Parliaments of India, China sign MoU
Anil K. Joseph

Beijing, July 4
Opening a new avenue for enhancing mutual trust, parliaments of India and China yesterday signed the first-ever agreement to regularise bilateral exchanges, as also consult and coordinate on international and regional affairs.

The agreement, in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), was signed by visiting Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and his Chinese counterpart Wu Bangguo after hour-long talks held here at the Great Hall of the People.

Mr Wu, ranked second in the hierarchy of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), warmly welcomed Mr Chatterjee to China on his fifth visit and said the ongoing visit had special significance as the two nations were jointly celebrating 2006 as the ‘India-China Friendship Year.’

It was also decided that parliamentary delegations of the two sides might in principle meet officially every year. — PTI 

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Britain clamps down on overseas nurses

London, July 4
Faced with budgetary cuts and surplus of available manpower from Britain and the European Union, the British government on Monday announced a clampdown on the recruitment of overseas nurses from countries such as India.

In the past, hundreds of nurses from the Indian sub-continent have taken up jobs in Britain's National Health Service, but of late many have had their contracts cancelled due to budgetary cuts.

Since nursing skills were in short supply in Britain, it used to be easy for overseas nurses to find employment as their job was listed by the Home Office in the shortage occupation list. The role of nurses is now being taken off the list, official sources here said. According to Health Minister Lord Warner, the government had invested heavily in nurse training and recruitment policies and the country no longer faced a shortage of nurses.

He said in a statement: "We are now moving away from year-on-year growth in the NHS workforce to more of a steady state where there is a closer match between demand and supply. Large-scale international nurse recruitment across the NHS was only ever intended to be a short-term measure.

"The aim of the NHS has always been to look towards home-grown staff in the first instance and have a diverse workforce that reflects local communities.

“Therefore to ensure that UK resident and newly trained nurses are given every opportunity to continue their career in the UK and to secure the future workforce of the NHS, we are today taking Agenda for Change band five and six nurses off the shortage list."

However, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) attacked the move, warning it would be impossible to replace retiring nurses with home-grown talent alone.

Beverly Malone, RCN general secretary, told the BBC: "International nurses have always been there for the UK in times of need, and it beggars belief that they are now being made scapegoats for the current deficits crisis.

"Over 150,000 nurses are due to retire in the next five to 10 years and we will not replace them all with home-grown nurses alone." — IANS

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5 Afghans at US base shot

Jalalabad (Afghanistan), July 4
Five Afghan labourers working at a US military base in Afghanistan have been killed in an ambush on their way home from work, the police said today.

It was the second major attack on people working for foreign forces in less than three weeks. A bomb hit a minibus taking workers to a military base in the southern city of Kandahar on June 15, killing eight of them.

The gunmen appeared to be foreigners. — Reuters

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