SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Pak rakes up Kashmir issue at SAARC meet
Islamabad, July 11
Pakistan today raked up the Kashmir issue at the SAARC Finance Ministers' meeting here with India hitting back by voicing concerns on terrorism and stressing the need to remove "double standards" in mounting a collective challenge to "eliminate the scourge".

Rice urges Congress to vote N-deal before August
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday urged both Houses of the US Congress to vote on the US-India civil nuclear cooperation before the month-long summer recess in August.

Astronauts fix broken space station equipment 
Houston, July 11
In a routine but difficult spacewalk, two astronauts have fixed a crucial broken piece of the international space station, allowing it to be added on to later this year.

Shuttle Discovery crew members Stephanie Wilson, Pilot Mark Kelly and Lisa Nowak (left to right, front) and Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum (left to right, back) during a news conference in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station in this view from NASA TV on Tuesday Shuttle Discovery crew members Stephanie Wilson, Pilot Mark Kelly and Lisa Nowak (left to right, front) and Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum (left to right, back) during a news conference in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station in this view from NASA TV on Tuesday.—Reuters












EARLIER STORIES


‘Asian’ tag irks British Hindus
London, July 11
Hindus in the UK do not want to be described as ‘Asian’ but would rather be called British Indian or British Hindus, a study released in the House of Commons today said.

Top








 

Pak rakes up Kashmir issue at SAARC meet
K J M Varma

Islamabad, July 11
Pakistan today raked up the Kashmir issue at the SAARC Finance Ministers' meeting here with India hitting back by voicing concerns on terrorism and stressing the need to remove "double standards" in mounting a collective challenge to "eliminate the scourge".

"There is need to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir and find a just and durable settlement of the issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir," Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said inaugurating the first formal meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers here.

He said the success of the peace process will help improve the atmosphere and auger well for the region in bringing new synergy to SAARC.

The member states of SAARC must demonstrate commitment, flexibility, magnanimity and leadership to resolve the outstanding issues, Aziz said.

Ever since the bilateral peace process started, Pakistan has not been raising Kashmir in SAARC fora and Aziz's decision to speak about it at the SAARC Finance Ministers' meet apparently marked a shift in Islamabad's policy.

In his speech, Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal hit back pointing to the decision taken at last year's Dhaka SAARC summit where cooperation in counter-terrorism was a major theme.

"There was strong condemnation of terrorism in the Summit Declaration and renewed commitment to eliminate this scourge, both from the region and the world. There can also be no double standards in tackling this collective challenge," he said.

Mr Bansal also referred to this year's May meeting of SAARC Home Ministers which urged member states to provide enabling legislation for Convention on Suppression of Terrorism.

"An effective implementation of this Convention and Additional protocol will help up collectively tackle the problem of terrorism," he said.

Bansal also pointed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech at the Dhaka summit where he suggested that political divisions should not come in the way of the free movement of people, goods and services and ideas in the region. "This will not only lead to economic growth of the region but also to greater awareness and mutual understanding," he said.

In his address to the meet, Aziz, without directly referring to Pakistan's decision not to apply the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement fully to India, said SAARC countries should enhance bilateral economic, trade and commercial cooperation to bring about a qualitative change in the people's living standards.

Finance Ministers and financial experts from the seven members of SAARC -- India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Pakistan -- are attending the two-day meeting with a view to formulate recommendations for establishing the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) for the region.

Later, officials said the meet has agreed on modalities for the SDF, which would be formed of 300 million dollar corpus fund for poverty alleviation, out of which India has already announced contribution of 100 million dollars which would be spent on projects outside the country.

The fund with its own permanent secretariat would comprise three distinct windows, social infrastructure and economic sectors. The three windows would offer confessional and non-confessional funds as well as grants to the SAARC countries. — PTI

 

Top

 

Rice urges Congress to vote N-deal before August
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday urged both Houses of the US Congress to vote on the US-India civil nuclear cooperation before the month-long summer recess in August.

Ms Rice also emphasised that the USA does not support India joining the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a nuclear weapon state. “Rather, the goal of our initiative is to include India, for the first time ever, in the global non-proliferation regime” she said.

Noting that the foreign relations committees in both Houses and the Senate had overwhelmingly voted in favour of the civil nuclear legislation, Ms Rice said, “The enabling legislation must now be voted on by the full bodies of both Houses. So we are hard at work with both Houses of the Congress, especially with the India caucuses. And we are encouraging both the Senate and the House to vote on the civil nuclear initiative this month, before the summer recess.”

In a speech at the inaugural meeting of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association in Washington, Ms Rice said in recent months, she and her team had “worked tirelessly with the Congress to fully implement our initiative with India.”

“We've spent countless hours meeting with Senators and Congressmen of both parties — hearing their concerns, making our case and reaching agreement,” she said. But, she added, “Our work is not yet done.”

Ms Rice described the civil nuclear deal as the key to unlocking the full promise of the US-India partnership. “By addressing India's unique situation, creatively and responsibly, our civil-nuclear initiative will elevate our partnership to a new strategic level,” she said.

Ms Rice said the initiative would also enhance India's energy security, benefit the environment and create opportunities for American jobs. “Civil nuclear cooperation with India will open a new market for American entrepreneurs and workers, which would create thousands of new jobs, directly and indirectly, within the USA. By helping India's economy grow, we would thus be helping our own,” she said.

Congressman Gary Ackerman, New York Democrat, told the meeting members of the Congress were “poised to remove the single irritant in the US-India relations.”

“I believe Congressional approval of this deal will be a strong, positive signal,” he said, adding, “Passage of the Bill in both House and the Senate, while likely, is never certain.” He exhorted the Indian American community to lobby members of the Congress to support the deal.

“We still have work to do. The celebration has yet to come. But this is not the time to relax, this is the time to make things happen,” Mr Ackerman said.

India's Ambassador to Washington, Ronen Sen, conceded the nuclear deal had, “rightly or wrongly,” been perceived as a “litmus test for the strength of the US-India relationship.” The stakes are very high, Mr Sen said.

Meanwhile, India's unsuccessful missile test this week featured at both White House and State Department briefings where spokesmen said New Delhi had informed the USA and Pakistan in advance about its decision to conduct the test. “It did it in a transparent and non-threatening way,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

Ms Rice praised the two million people of Indian descent who live in the USA. “They're decent and industrious people like you, who staff hotels and hospitals and own and operate hotels. I can tell you that they contribute to the intellectual capital of universities. I've dealt with many of those people in my time as an academic at Stanford. These are people who are debating the great issues of our time and adding, not only to the wealth of our nation, but also to the character of our country,” she said. 

Top

 

Astronauts fix broken space station equipment 

Houston, July 11
In a routine but difficult spacewalk, two astronauts have fixed a crucial broken piece of the international space station, allowing it to be added on to later this year.

Space shuttle Discovery astronauts Piers Sellers and Michael Fossum yesterday replaced a cable reel to a rail car needed to move large pieces around the giant orbital outpost in a spacewalk dotted with glitches.

The reel, severed accidentally last year by a cable cutter, provides video, data and power to the rail car.

NASA managers said fixing the cable reel was vital to space station construction, which would take 15 more shuttle flights.

“Whew, man, do I feel better,” space station flight director Rick LaBrode told journalists after the spacewalk. “I tell you, I've spent the better part of the past three years of my life putting together this mission, and this particular (spacewalk) was my main concern.

“If we didn't get this successfully changed and checked out, then we couldn't proceed with the next mission which was on our heels,” LaBrode said. “There were challenges and concerns but it turned out great.” The astronauts were just as relieved.

“The job worked out,” the British-born Sellers said when he finally finished the difficult task of installing the broken reel in the shuttle's cargo bay. — AP

Top

 

Asian’ tag irks British Hindus

London, July 11
Hindus in the UK do not want to be described as ‘Asian’ but would rather be called British Indian or British Hindus, a study released in the House of Commons today said.

The report ‘Connecting British Hindus,’ launched by Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities, identified that some Hindus feel ‘excluded’ in the race dialogue and urged the government ensure they are included in work taken up to tackle racism in communities.

The survey showed that 80 per cent of the respondents prefer to be called British Indian or British Hindus, rather than be identified under the British Asian. — 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 |