SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Israeli planes continue to pound Lebanon
Civilians bear the burnt
Beirut, July 23
Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanon and Hizbollah rockets crashed into Haifa today as a senior U N official demanded a halt to the violence to allow aid to reach desperate civilians.

Suicide bomber kills 60 in Baghdad
Baghdad, July 23
A suicide bomber in a minibus killed at least 60 persons and wounded many today at the entrance of a Baghdad market as people crowded the market to shop after the country’s weekend, the police said.

US to train Pak forces
Islamabad, July 23
The US Government will train Pakistani security personnel to provide security cover for President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and other VVIPs.

Pervez ‘regrets’ India’s no to joint probe
Islamabad, July 23
President Pervez Musharraf has expressed “regret” over India not accepting Pakistan’s offer to assist in the investigations into the Mumbai serial blasts if evidence was forwarded to it.

Pakistani killed in ethnic brawl
London, July 23
A youth of Pakistani-origin was stabbed to death in a clash between two groups of the white and Asian community in Lancashire in UK, leading to the arrest of a number of persons.

Bachchan raises funds for blast-hit
London, July 23
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was the cynosure of all eyes in the British House of Commons as he helped raise 26,000 pounds for the victims of July 11 Mumbai blasts.

Saddam hospitalised
Baghdad, July 23
Saddam Hussein was hospitalised today on the 17th day of a hunger strike, the chief prosecutor in his trial said.


A Lebanese man carries belongings he found in the wreckage of his home after it was targeted by the Israeli air strikes in southern Beirut on Sunday.
A Lebanese man carries belongings he found in the wreckage of his home after it was targeted by the Israeli air strikes in southern Beirut on Sunday. — Reuters

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Israeli planes continue to pound Lebanon 
Civilians bear the burnt

Beirut, July 23
Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanon and Hizbollah rockets crashed into Haifa today as a senior U N official demanded a halt to the violence to allow aid to reach desperate civilians.

Civilians have taken the brunt of the 12-day war that has cost 368 lives in Lebanon and killed 37 Israelis.

“We have been living in hell,’’ Lebanese farmer Mohammad Zabad, 45, told Reuters in the southern port of Tyre.

Israeli factory worker Keren Hagigi said he had witnessed horrific scenes after a rocket hit an industrial zone in Haifa.

“There were wounded people on the road and a wounded person in the building too. There was terrible destruction,” he said.

Israeli air raids hit Beirut and east and south Lebanon, killing eight civilians and wounding 100, many of them in Tyre.

Two persons were killed and 15 wounded when Hizbollah rockets hit houses and vehicles in Haifa, Israel’s third largest city.

Washington blames Hizbollah and its allies, Syria and Iran, for the conflict.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad said his country was ready for a dialogue with the United States and wanted an immediate ceasefire, followed by diplomacy to end the war.

Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said Israel could accept a new international force in the south to keep Hizbollah guerrillas at bay and suggested that NATO could lead it.

The United States said it would take the idea seriously, but was not considering contributing troops to such a force itself.

“We have been looking carefully at a multinational force perhaps authorised by the (U.N.) Security Council, but not a U.N.-helmeted force,’” Mr John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN. U.N. peacekeepers have patrolled the south since Israel first invaded Lebanon in 1978. — Reuters

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Suicide bomber kills 60 in Baghdad

Baghdad, July 23
A suicide bomber in a minibus killed at least 60 persons and wounded many today at the entrance of a Baghdad market as people crowded the market to shop after the country’s weekend, the police said.

The attack occurred around 9 am in the heavily Shiite district of Sadr City as residents crowded the market to shop, said the police.

A video footage of the scene showed a burned minibus and the police searching the area for victims. An old man with bloody clothing wept and cried the name of a missing relative.

The police was still counting the casualties, but estimated at least 72 persons, including women and children, were wounded in the blast. Iraqi police units cleared the area and broadcast messages over loudspeakers that anyone staying behind would be questioned.

Others rushed to Imam Ali Hospital looking for relatives feared killed in the explosion.

Hours earlier, Iraqi and US military units raided a series of homes in the same neighbourhood to target members of a “death squad,” a US statement said. Such squads are believed to be behind a recent increase in sectarian attacks that have gripped Baghdad.

One of the raids in eastern Baghdad targeted two people. A second raid in northwestern Baghdad targeted a man “suspected of murder, kidnapping and other illegal activities,” the US statement said.

The military said soldiers freed two Iraqi citizens held hostage and detained eight insurgents. It was unknown it those detained included the man the military was targeting. — AP

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US to train Pak forces

Islamabad, July 23
The US Government will train Pakistani security personnel to provide security cover for President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and other VVIPs.

As the first step towards this new training programme, Washington is posting a federal prosecution officer to the US Embassy here whose primary duty would be to act as a liaison officer for the training programme.

The US State Department wants better security for Pakistani officials it consider important in the war on terror, specially President Musharraf and Prime Minister Aziz, both of whom have been targeted by suicide bombers in the past.

President Musharraf escaped three bids on his life, including one by suicide bombers, while Mr Aziz escaped one attempt. Security for the two leaders is currently provided by special forces drawn from the Army.

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry officials said the US made the offer of training to Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao when he recently visited Washington for a security cooperation meeting, Daily Times reported.

During his meeting with Mr Henry Crompton, coordinator for counter-terrorism at the State Department, the US offered to help upgrade Pakistani security agencies.

Mr Bruce Swartz, US Deputy Attorney General, said the focus would be on providing more specialised training as well as assessing the impact of training already provided. — PTI

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Pervez ‘regrets’ India’s no to joint probe

Islamabad, July 23
President Pervez Musharraf has expressed “regret” over India not accepting Pakistan’s offer to assist in the investigations into the Mumbai serial blasts if evidence was forwarded to it.

President Musharraf, during a meeting yesterday with the outgoing Prime Minister of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Sikander Hayat, said he “regretted India’s decision to turn down Pakistan’s offer to assist in the investigation into the Mumbai blasts,” Online news agency reported today.

The Pakistani President, in his address to the nation on July 20, said his country would conduct serious investigations “if India forwards any evidence”. In its reaction, India asked Pakistan to deport underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and chief of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit Syed Salahuddin, to which Islamabad accused New Delhi of repeating its earlier allegations.

During the meeting, President Musharraf said Pakistan wanted to continue the dialogue process with India to settle all contentious issues, including Kashmir, but the decision to put off the Foreign Secretary-level talks by India would “only encourage extremists.”

Meanwhile, amidst escalation in violence in the Middle East, Iranian President Mohammad Ahmadinejad discussed with his Pakistani counterpart the emerging situation in the wake of the Israeli strikes against Hezbollah in Lebanon. — PTI

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Pakistani killed in ethnic brawl

London, July 23
A youth of Pakistani-origin was stabbed to death in a clash between two groups of the white and Asian community in Lancashire in UK, leading to the arrest of a number of persons.

About 40 persons- some armed with bottles, knives and baseball bats - fought pitched battle on the Callon estate in Preston shortly after midnight on Friday, the police said last night.

The victim, Shezan Umarji, 20, of Fishwick View, Preston, was stabbed and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital, the police said. Four other persons were treated in the hospital for injuries sustained during the brawl and were later discharged.

The police said they had made a number of arrests and the detectives were carrying out door-to-door inquiries throughout the weekend. The Lancashire constabulary has deployed 80 officers to the estate.

They said that the officers were investigating the stabbing and extra patrols would be sent to the estate overnight to prevent further trouble.

“We are treating this as a very serious incident, and are working with the local community to reassure them,” said Mr Richard Bailey, Superintendent of the Lancashire Constabulary.

“A number of persons had been arrested. However, as many others were in the vicinity at the time, we are asking them to contact us,” he said.

“The family of the dead man has appealed for calm and for members of the community to come forward and help the police, if they can,” a spokeswoman said. — PTI

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Bachchan raises funds for blast-hit

London, July 23
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was the cynosure of all eyes in the British House of Commons as he helped raise 26,000 pounds for the victims of July 11 Mumbai blasts.

The occasion was a dinner to celebrate the honorary degree of Doctorate of Arts conferred on the 64-year-old actor by De Monfort University in Leicester on Wednesday. It was hosted by leading NRI and Labour MP Keith Vaz in the House of Commons on Friday.

Responding to the innumerable accolades showered on him, a visibly moved Bachchan said, “It is the most memorable day of my life”. I am extremely happy for all of your presence for a noble cause.

“While there can’t be a value for human life, whatever little we can do to express sympathy to the bereaved families of the Mumbai bomb blasts will go a long way,” he said. — PTI

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Saddam hospitalised

Baghdad, July 23
Saddam Hussein was hospitalised today on the 17th day of a hunger strike, the chief prosecutor in his trial said.

Jaafar al-Moussawi said he visited the prison today where Saddam and the seven other co-defendats are held and was told that the ex-president's health "is unstable because of the hunger strike."

"We took him to hospital and he is being currently fed by a tube," al-Moussawi told The Associated Press. He refused to identify the hospital. — AP

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