Bush knew of Pak N-reactor plan
Congressman to block sale of F- 16s to Pak
India signs convention on nuclear terror
NRI ‘saas’ to pay £35,000 damages to ‘bahu’ in Britain
US Senate passes energy Bill
Malaysian princess stabbed to death by son
Bush knew of Pak N-reactor plan
Washington: The Bush administration on Monday acknowledged it had long known about Pakistan’s plans to develop a large plutonium production reactor and urged Pakistan not to expand its nuclear weapons programme.
The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) reported on Monday that Pakistan is building a second heavy water production reactor inside the Khushab complex that could enable the production of up to 50 nuclear weapons a year.
The reactor “could produce over 200 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium per year, assuming it operates at full power for a modest 220 days per year. At 4-5 kilograms of plutonium per weapon, this stock would allow the production of over 40-50 nuclear weapons a year. The reactor could also be used to produce substantial amounts of tritium for boosted fission weapons,” authors David Albright and Paul Brannan wrote.
White House spokesman Tony Snow, responding to the claims, said the Bush administration continues to “discourage the expansion and modernization of nuclear weapons programs, both of India and Pakistan.”
He said the U.S. supported a fissile material cutoff treaty that it has introduced at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, and “we’re continuing on all the states that produce fissile material to observe a voluntary production moratorium, as we have in the United States for a very long time.”
Noting that neither Pakistan nor India is party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Mr. Snow said, “But on the other hand, we discourage military use of the facility” at the Khushab complex in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told reporters the report on the complex “ought to be no revelation to anyone, because Pakistan is a nuclear-weapons state,” according to the Associated Press.
The ISIS report raises the specter of a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan “that could lead to arsenals growing into the hundreds of nuclear weapons, or at a minimum vastly expanded stockpiles of military fissile material.”
Mr Albright has been an ardent critic of the U.S.-India civilian nuclear cooperation that, if approved by the U.S. Congress and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, will allow the U.S. to transfer nuclear technology to India after a gap of more than three decades. Indian government officials and backers of the deal say the latest report from the ISIS is an attempt by the non-proliferation lobby in Washington to derail the U.S.-India agreement.
Incidentally, the report was released days before the full House of Representatives debates the civilian nuclear deal. This debate has been scheduled for July 26.
Justifying Indian concerns that the report will provide ammunition for Washington’s non-proliferation lobby, Congressman Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said, “The nuclear arms race in South Asia is about to ignite, and instead of doing everything possible to stop this vicious cycle, the Bush Administration is throwing fuel on the fire.”
“If either India or Pakistan starts increasing its nuclear arsenal, the other side will respond in kind; and the Bush Administration’s proposed nuclear deal with India is making that much more likely,” he complained.
Mr Markey, sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding the release of a report on all foreign persons known to be engaging in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He cited rumours that the State Department is withholding the document from Congress because its contents would embarrass the Bush administration while it is pushing for final passage of the India deal.
“It would be absolutely unacceptable if the State Department purposefully withheld information relating to Indian entities engaged in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction until after the Congress considers the U.S.-India nuclear agreement,” Mr. Markey said.
“Since 2003, the United States has filed at least eight nonproliferation sanctions against at least seven Indian entities, including two sanctions in December 2005,” Mr. Markey said in his letter, cosigned by Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher and Barbara Lee, both California Democrats.
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme and the Islamic bomb, ran the notorious nuclear black market that transferred technology to states including North Korea and Iran.
Congressman to block sale of F- 16s to Pak
Washington: A close friend of India and the Indian American community, Congressman Gary Ackerman, has introduced a legislation in Congress to block the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
The New York Democrat and co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, appealed to colleagues in the Congress to back his effort. In a "Dear Colleague" letter he circulated on Monday, Mr Ackerman referred to a report in the Washington Post that Pakistan is dramatically expanding its nuclear weapons programme.
"At any time this news would be unwelcome. However, in the context of a pending sale by the United States of F-16 fighter-bombers, the import of the story is truly alarming," Mr Ackerman said.
He was worried that despite assurances by the Bush Administration that these aircraft will not be misused, or their technology transferred to other countries like China, once these planes have been delivered to Pakistan, there is, in fact, "absolutely nothing we can do to prevent misuse."
"Based on history and strategic analysis, there is every reason to believe the contrary, that these F-16s will be drafted for use as nuclear weapons delivery vehicles, and they will be picked apart by potential adversaries to answer questions about our aviation capabilities," Mr Ackerman said.
At a hearing in the House International Relations Committee last week, members of Congress lambasted the Bush administration for rushing through the sale of F-16s to Pakistan and putting national security at risk.
Mr Ackerman's legislation, introduced on July 20, is presently pending before the House International Relations Committee, of which he is a senior member. Mr Ackerman's bill would block the Bush administration's proposal to sell Pakistan three dozen F-16's for $5 billion.
Calling Pakistan an important friend of the US, Mr Ackerman said this recognition "should not entail the transfer of aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons to a nation preparing to massively expand its nuclear weapons production capabilities."
Military assistance to Pakistan makes sense if the capabilities actually have some bearing on rooting out Al Qaida and the Taliban, he said. "The sale of F-16s has nothing whatsoever to do with the requirements of the war on terror."
United Nations, July 25
The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, initially proposed by the Russian
It requires States to make punishable as serious offence under their domestic law, terrorist acts involving the use of nuclear material. States are also required to cooperate in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of these offences through information sharing, extradition and mutual legal assistance.
Indian Ambassador to the United Nirupam Sen signed the documents at a brief formal ceremony yesterday. — PTI
London, July 25
Gina Satvir Singh, 26, from Nottingham, moved to her husband's house in Ilford, Essex, to live with his family, but faced four months of bullying and humiliation at the hands of her mother-in-law, Dalbir Kaur Bhakar.
Gina used the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997, to take her mother-in-law to court. The act is normally used for protection against stalkers and legal experts believe that this is the first time the act has been used for a case of domestic violence.
The case was heard in the Nottingham County Court on Monday. Gina's arranged marriage to Hardeep Bhakar, 29, broke up when Gina could not take the humiliation any more and returned to Nottingham.
Gina, who the court was told had risen to a managerial position in her family's fashion company, had "considerable experience of the wider world".
She said she agreed to live with her husband's family, but her mother-in-law's behaviour and attitude led to serious health problems and the breakdown of the marriage in March 2003.
The court was told that Gina was forced to do menial housework for hours and was kept a virtual prisoner in the house, beginning her domestic duties at 6.30 a.m.
Gina said her mother-in-law called her a 'poodle' and was subjected to a tedious work routine, including cleaning toilets without a brush.
She told the court she was not allowed to visit the Sikh temple and was only allowed four short visits home to her parents in the weeks after her wedding.
She said her telephone use was limited and her calls monitored.
The mother-in-law allegedly also forced Gina to have her hair cut to shoulder length, despite knowing that her religious beliefs forbade it. Gina said she was not even allowed to register with a local doctor.
Bhakar, 52, denied the allegations, but the court rejected her claims of innocence.
Recorder Timothy Scott awarded Gina 35,000 pounds in damages after accepting her claim that she had endured "misery and humiliation".
He said: "She was utterly miserable and wretched during those months and was suffering from what was for her an incomprehensible personal attack." Gina's lawyer, John Rosley, said: "This case has exposed a problem that is common but not often talked about. This very difficult case was brought by a brave young woman who is now rebuilding her life.
"There must be many who could bring such a case but do not. My client has had the strength to do so only due to the support of her family and her faith. She did so for all young women in a similar situation.
"We now hope that the publicity generated by this successful action will persuade other women who have suffered similarly to come forward." Bhakar's barrister Colin Anderson said she and her family were "disappointed" and were planning to appeal against the level of damages. — IANS
Washington, July 25
The ‘United States-India Energy Security Cooperation Act of 2006’ sponsored by the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar declares as the policy of the United States to cooperate with India to address common energy challenges, ensure future global energy security and to increase the world-wide availability of clean energy.
It also calls for promoting dialogue and increased understanding between India and the US on respective national energy policies and strategies as an integral part of the expanding strategic partnership.
The Bill also seeks to collaborate with India in energy research that fosters market-based approaches to energy security and offers the promise of technological breakthroughs that reduce oil dependency globally.
The legislation authorises the US President to establish programmes to support greater Indo-US energy cooperation. — PTI
Malaysian princess stabbed to death by son
Kuala Lumpur, July 25 64-year-old princess Kamariah Sultan Abu Bakar, sister of the Sultan of Pahang, was slashed with a hunting knife by her son Rizal Shahzan, 21, at their home in Kuantan province yesterday after she tried to stop him from attacking her semi-paralysed husband. Rizal, who was believed to have been under the influence of the psychotropic substance, later died from an apparent overdose at a hospital where he had been warded off by police.
Kuala Lumpur, July 25
64-year-old princess Kamariah Sultan Abu Bakar, sister of the Sultan of Pahang, was slashed with a hunting knife by her son Rizal Shahzan, 21, at their home in Kuantan province yesterday after she tried to stop him from attacking her semi-paralysed husband.
Rizal, who was believed to have been under the influence of the psychotropic substance, later died from an apparent overdose at a hospital where he had been warded off by police. — PTI