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Diplomatic divide over Lebanon crisis widens
Brussels, July 27
A diplomatic divide over how to end the fighting in Lebanon widened today with France pressing for an early UN ceasefire resolution, while the United States aimed new threats at Iran and Syria.

Special article: Flames of war in West Asia
Nation page: India calls for ceasefire in Lebanon
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Palestinian relatives of two children and their mother, killed when an artillery shell hit their house, mourn in northern Gaza Palestinian relatives of two children and their mother, killed when an artillery shell hit their house, mourn in northern Gaza on Thursday. — Reuters

Dalai Lama colluded with CIA: China
Beijing, July 27
Denouncing the Dalai Lama as a “splittist,” China has accused him of collaborating with the CIA and the Indian military to establish the “Indian Tibetan special border troops” to reclaim authority in his Himalayan homeland from Beijing.


 

EARLIER STORIES


2 Indo-Canadians named to Order of Canada
Toronto, July 27
Two Indo-Canadians-a political economist and a healthcare worker-have been named to the Order of Canada, the country's second highest civilian honour.

Maoists extend ceasefire for indefinite time
Kathmandu, July 27
Maoist rebels in Nepal have extended their ceasefire which was due to expire today for an indefinite period to facilitate the ongoing peace talks with the government.

Baghdad car bomb kills 27
Baghdad, July 27
A mortar barrage followed minutes later by a car bomb blasted Baghdad’s upscale Karradah district today, killing a total of 27 persons and wounding 63, the police said.

16 aboard helicopter killed in Afghanistan
Kabul, July 27
All 16 persons aboard a helicopter, including several foreigners, were killed when it crashed in the rugged mountain terrain in southeastern Afghanistan, officials said today.

Indian woman falls to death in Moscow
Ranchi, July 27
A young woman married to an Indian businessman in Moscow has died after allegedly falling from her tenth floor apartment in the Russian capital and her brother here charged that she was being tortured by her in-laws for dowry.



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Diplomatic divide over Lebanon crisis widens

Brussels, July 27
A diplomatic divide over how to end the fighting in Lebanon widened today with France pressing for an early UN ceasefire resolution, while the United States aimed new threats at Iran and Syria.

Israel pounded southern Lebanon after Hizbollah guerrillas inflicted the biggest one-day casualty toll on Israeli troops since the fighting began when the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12.

A day after major powers papered over cracks at a conference in Rome by pledging to work for an urgent but not immediate ceasefire and agreed on the need for an international peacekeeping force, their differences were on display again.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy called for a ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council early next week to discuss a ceasefire resolution.

“France has presented a plan, the outlines of a UN Security Council resolution. We have asked for a meeting of the Security Council, which I hope will be at a ministerial level ... on July 31 or August 1,” he told France-Inter radio.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and European ministers have called for efforts to engage Syria and Iran constructively in seeking a political solution in Lebanon.

But US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who blocked demands for an immediate ceasefire in Rome, warned Hizbollah’s two backers they faced further isolation if they tried to “torpedo” US efforts to bring an end to the fighting on Israel’s terms.

Ms Rice told reporters flying with her from Rome to Malaysia that Syria, which pulled out of Lebanon last year after nearly three decades of occupation, should not be allowed to return and influence events there.

Neither should Iran, she said, accusing Teheran of supporting “extremist elements”.

“This needs to be between Lebanon and Israel,” Ms Rice said.

Douste-Blazy said at one point last week the United States had sought to send NATO troops into south Lebanon before there was a ceasefire. But France had warned that involving NATO would turn the conflict into a battle between Islam and the West.

Diplomats said key elements of a political solution had been identified in private talks among Ms Rice, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Mr Annan and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in Rome.

These included a ceasefire resolution, a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbollah, an end to a territorial dispute over a border area known as the Shebaa Farms occupied by Israel, moves to disarm Hizbollah and strengthen the Lebanese army and the deployment of an EU-led peace force in southern Lebanon.

Ms Rice, Mr Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were in Kuala Lumpur today to discuss the crisis with Asian foreign ministers at an ASEAN Regional Forum, facing Asian pressure for an immediate ceasefire. — Reuters

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Dalai Lama colluded with CIA: China

Beijing, July 27
Denouncing the Dalai Lama as a “splittist,” China has accused him of collaborating with the CIA and the Indian military to establish the “Indian Tibetan special border troops” to reclaim authority in his Himalayan homeland from Beijing.

In the name of “organising armed troops to fight their way back into Tibet”, the Dalai Lama collaborated with the Indian military and American CIA to organise the “Indian Tibetan special border troops”, the state-run ‘China Daily’ reported on its website, quoting a lengthy report appearing in an official Tibetan publication.

It is not clear whether the report was alluding to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, a paramilitary unit of India.

The report noted that the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader had been setting up “representative offices” in some countries, organising the “Tibet youth congress”, “Tibet national democratic party” and “Tibet women’s federation.”

“All these organisations have engaged in separatist activities overseas,” the report said.

Moreover, the Dalai Lama set up his “government in exile” overseas and worked out a “Tibetan constitution” and set up a rebel army in Nepal for border harassment, it said.

Despite his frequent statements of not seeking ‘Tibetan independence,’ the article accused him of pursuing his agenda of seeking independence under the guise of seeking ‘real autonomy’ for the remote Himalayan region.

“People who know Tibetan history well know that the Dalai Lama stands for the “independence of Tibet” when he has fled to India in 1959,” it said.

The article also rejected his demand for implementing the “one country, two systems” formula in Tibet. — PTI

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2 Indo-Canadians named to Order of Canada

Toronto, July 27
Two Indo-Canadians-a political economist and a healthcare worker-have been named to the Order of Canada, the country's second highest civilian honour.

Political economist and human rights activist Vithal Rajan and healthcare professional Lalita Malhotra were appointed officer and member, respectively, to the Order of Canada on Monday.

Malhotra and Rajan may not be household names, but have worked tirelessly to make Canada a better place. While Malhotra has made outstanding contributions to the field of healthcare, Rajan has been active in promoting literacy and community health programme, both in India and Canada, for the past 40 years.

Rajan, who divides his time between Montreal and India, is a graduate of the London School of Economics.

He became a Canadian in the 1960s and is head of the Confederation of Voluntary Associations, which works with Hindus and Muslims in the Indian slums.

They are among the 77 Canadians named to the order by Governor-General Michaelle Jean. Established in 1967, the Order of Canada recognises "a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation" in a range of fields. — PTI 

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Maoists extend ceasefire for indefinite time
Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, July 27
Maoist rebels in Nepal have extended their ceasefire which was due to expire today for an indefinite period to facilitate the ongoing peace talks with the government.

The three-month ceasefire, announced by the Maoists on April 27, will be extended, rebel spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara said.

The decision to extend the truce for an indefinite period has been taken to facilitate the peace talks with the seven-party alliance government, he said.

The Maoists had announced the three-month ceasefire soon after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala assumed power following the Joint People’s Movement that restored democracy ending the direct rule of King Gyanendra.

The government had reciprocated the Maoists’ truce by declaring an indefinite ceasefire to move ahead the peace process.

The multi-party government had signed an eight-point agreement with Maoists during the high-level talks between Koirala and rebel chief Prachanda on June 16 in which both sides agreed to keep their armies under UN supervision, form an interim government inclusive of the rebels and hold constituent assembly polls within a year. —PTI 

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Baghdad car bomb kills 27  

Baghdad, July 27
A mortar barrage followed minutes later by a car bomb blasted Baghdad’s upscale Karradah district today, killing a total of 27 persons and wounding 63, the police said.

The explosions occurred at midmorning in a religiously mixed neighbourhood controlled by a major Shia party, two days after President George W. Bush approved plans to send more US and Iraqi troops into the capital city to curb rising sectarian violence.

Several mortars landed in the district, some destroying a bank and an apartment building that later collapsed in flames, said Interior Ministry secretary Saloon Abu a-Ula. The others exploded in the middle of busy streets crowded with traffic.

The car bomb exploded just blocks away near a gas station, shattering storefronts and spraying flaming gasoline onto homes and stores, the Interior Ministry said.

A police officer gave the casualty toll as 27 dead and 63 wounded, but said the deaths could rise because many of the injuries were severe.

Karradah is among the city’s most upscale districts and home to several leading politicians from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the country’s biggest Shia party.

Dozens of dazed, blood-soaked survivors shuffled through the rubble as emergency crews loaded weeping victims into ambulances, witnesses said. The attack occurred as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was en route home from Washington, where he discussed the deteriorating security situation with President George W. Bush. — AP

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16 aboard helicopter killed in Afghanistan

Kabul, July 27
All 16 persons aboard a helicopter, including several foreigners, were killed when it crashed in the rugged mountain terrain in southeastern Afghanistan, officials said today.

The cause of yesterday’s crash was not immediately known, but it took place in an area where insurgents are active and at a time of increased violence across the country ahead of NATO’s groundbreaking mission in the dangerous south.

“There are no survivors,” said Col Tom Collins, a spokesman for US-led coalition forces. “Twelve of the 16 have been recovered. The terrain in this area is extremely difficult and we are now working hard to recover the remaining passengers.”

The Dutch Defence Ministry said two of its troops were aboard the helicopter, a Russian-made transporter.

“There is no indication yet on what caused the crash,” Colonel Collins told a press conference.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said the helicopter belonged to a western company and that among those killed were three foreign women.

A Taliban spokesman said militants had shot down the helicopter. Insurgents have in the past claimed responsibility for shooting down aircraft, but their reports have often proved unfounded. — Reuters

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Indian woman falls to death in Moscow

Ranchi, July 27
A young woman married to an Indian businessman in Moscow has died after allegedly falling from her tenth floor apartment in the Russian capital and her brother here charged that she was being tortured by her in-laws for dowry.

“Identifying himself as her neighbour and that he belonged to India, a man called us up on Tuesday midnight to say that “my sister, Ambika, has fallen from her apartment in Moscow and died”, Basant Sharma, brother of the woman, said.

Alleging that her in-laws had been torturing her for dowry for some time now, Sharma said Ambika used to telephone home regularly informing about it.

“We have not got any call from Ambika’s husband or her in-laws for confirmation,” he said.

Ambika, who graduated from Marwari College here, had married Sajjan Sharma in 2003 and shifted to Moscow where her husband was in tea business, her brother said. — PTI

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