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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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W O R L D

Will try to retain spirit of July pact, says Bush
The Bush administration shares India's concerns about attempts to shift goalposts in the civilian nuclear deal and will work with senators to ensure the legislation does not depart from the spirit of the July 18 agreement, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

6 die in Israeli air raids
Beirut, July 28
Six civilians, including a Jordanian, were killed in Lebanon today as Israel launched a new wave of air strikes across the country, police said. The new strikes on the 17th day of the blistering bombardment of the country brought the death toll in Lebanon from Israel’s offensive to 426 persons, including 355 civilians.

A building destroyed in a Hizbollah stronghold by Israeli air strikes in southern Beirut on Friday. —Reuters

A building destroyed in a Hizbollah stronghold by Israeli air strikes in southern Beirut

Continue with peace talks, urges SAFMA
Islamabad, July 28
Several mainstream Pakistani political parties have asked their government against giving room to extremists to subvert the Indo-Pak peace process and urged the authorities in the two countries to stick to their commitment to continue with the dialogue. Pakistan should not give any room to extremists based in its territory to disrupt the peace process, said a resolution passed at a meeting on terrorism and peace process organised by SAFMA.

India 125th happiest country: study
London, July 28
India is the 125th happiest country in the world, a world map of happiness prepared by a British scientist claimed today. Denmark is the happiest country in the world and Burundi in Africa is the most unhappy as per the map produced by Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist at the University of Leicester.

 



US entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari, due to become the first woman space tourist, enjoys "flying" in a zero-gravity simulator, a Russian IL-76 MDK aircraft
US entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari, due to become the first woman space tourist, enjoys "flying" in a zero-gravity simulator, a Russian IL-76 MDK aircraft better known as the Flying Laboratory in Star City on Thursday. —AFP

 

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Will try to retain spirit of July pact, says Bush
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

The Bush administration shares India's concerns about attempts to shift goalposts in the civilian nuclear deal and will work with senators to ensure the legislation does not depart from the spirit of the July 18 agreement, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department, Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said the Bush administration would make an exception in US law for nuclear cooperation with India.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns called Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran on Thursday morning to discuss the convincing approval of the Bill in the House the previous night. "We have an ongoing dialogue with them. We are friends. We speak frankly to each other," Mr Boucher said of the ongoing discussions with New Delhi.

Both India and the Bush administration are concerned about the legislation to be debated and taken up for a vote in the Senate. Senate Foreign Relations Committee co-chairmen, Senator Richard Lugar, Indiana Republican, and Senator Joseph Biden Jr, Delaware Democrat, crafted the bill. A Senate debate is expected in September, after Congress returns from its month-long August recess.

"There are some provisions in the Senate Bill that raise some concerns," Mr Boucher admitted. "We are, in various ways, making our views known on that. How exactly the Senate will handle those, we have to see. We have to find ways to consistently make clear that we appreciate the views of the Congress but we want to make sure that the legislation that is enacted enables cooperation with India and does not distort or change or try to force a renegotiation of the deal," he said.

The House voted 359-68 in favour of the Bill on Wednesday night.

Mr Boucher said the House vote showed that "this is not a tremendously contentious issue between the parties."

"The vote in the House was bipartisan and got a very strong support across the board. We hope that this was going to be the case in the Senate also," he added.

President Bush on Thursday urged the Senate to act "expeditiously to pass companion legislation to enable this important initiative to become a reality."

The initiative also advances US non-proliferation objectives by bringing India into the international non-proliferation mainstream," the White House said.

Mr Boucher said he hoped the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would "take to heart" the US legislative and executive branches' support for the deal. "The group shouldn't feel they have to wait for the US Congress. The signal is pretty clear. That would allow us to continue to accelerate the consideration of the NSG," he said.

The administration, he said, would try and build some momentum in the NSG in the fall.

Later on Thursday, Mr Boucher left for official visits to Dubai, China, Bangladesh and India besides two stops in Central Asia. "We have other pieces of work to do with India. We're not there yet, but this [the House vote] is a tremendous step forward in making this into a reality," he said. 

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6 die in Israeli air raids

Beirut, July 28
Six civilians, including a Jordanian, were killed in Lebanon today as Israel launched a new wave of air strikes across the country, police said.

The new strikes on the 17th day of the blistering bombardment of the country brought the death toll in Lebanon from Israel’s offensive to 426 persons, including 355 civilians.

A couple were killed when their home in a village south of Tyre, was hit in an Israeli attack. Their bodies could not be extracted from the rubble owing to the continued bombardments, the police said.

In the same region, a 75-year-old woman was bleeding underneath the rubble of her house in a village as rescue efforts to reach her proved in vain.

A Jordanian was killed and three members of his family wounded when a missile slammed into a house in the village of Kfar Joz, on a hilltop overlooking the southern town of Nabatiyeh. — AFP

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Continue with peace talks, urges SAFMA

Islamabad, July 28
Several mainstream Pakistani political parties have asked their government against giving room to extremists to subvert the Indo-Pak peace process and urged the authorities in the two countries to stick to their commitment to continue with the dialogue.

Pakistan should not give any room to extremists based in its territory to disrupt the peace process, said a resolution passed at a meeting on terrorism and peace process organised by SAFMA.

The meeting, which comes close on the heels of the Mumbai blasts, was addressed among others by Pakistan People’s Party general secretary Pervez Ashraff, Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Iqbal Jhagda and Muttahida Majlis Amal general secretary Fazlur Rehman, who is also the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

Moving the resolution at the conclusion of the meeting yesterday, SAFMA secretary-general secretary Intiaz Alam said India and Pakistan should fulfil their commitments on the dialogue process.

The meeting, which condemned the Mumbai blasts and observed a minute’s silence to mourn the dead, urged the two countries to resume the peace process. SAFMA also announced peace marches on both sides of the Wagah border on August 14, and August 15.

Referring to Kashmir issue, Rehman said while it was considered as a national issue in Pakistan cutting across all sections of political opinion, the successive Pakistani government kept it as an “emotional” issue by inserting it in various Indo-Pak statements and agreements, including the Simla Agreement without making any effort to resolve it. — PTI

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India 125th happiest country: study

London, July 28
India is the 125th happiest country in the world, a world map of happiness prepared by a British scientist claimed today.

Denmark is the happiest country in the world and Burundi in Africa is the most unhappy as per the map produced by Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist at the University of Leicester.

According to the study, happiness is found to be most closely associated with health, followed by wealth and education.

China is more happier than India with the 82nd position while Japan is placed at 90.

“We were surprised to see countries in Asia scoring so low, with China 82nd, Japan 90th and India 125th. These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity which other researchers have associated with well-being,” a University of Leicester release said.

“It is also notable that many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly. With China 82nd, India 125th and Russia 167th, it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries,” it said.

Switzerland, Austria and Iceland follow Denmark in the Map of happiness. It places USA at 23, the UK at 41 and France at 62.

The study is based on data from 178 countries and on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people. Participants were asked questions related to happiness and satisfaction with life.

White analysed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the WHO and the likes to create a global project of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness. 
— PTI 

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