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Resolution on Iran introduced in Security Council
United Nations, July 29
After almost two weeks of intensive negotiations, France has introduced a resolution in the 15-member UN Security Council demanding Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programme by August 31 or face possible economic and political sanctions.

Israel rejects UN call for humanitarian truce
Jerusalem, July 29
Israel today rejected a United Nations call for a 72-hour truce in the Lebanon conflict to bring humanitarian aid to trapped civilians and evacuate the wounded.

Israeli armoured vehicles return from a southern Lebanese village into northern Israel on Saturday.

Israeli armoured vehicles return from a southern Lebanese village into northern Israel on Saturday. AP/PTI photo


 

EARLIER STORIES


Release report on Indian firms helping Iran: Congressman
Washington, July 29
Amidst reports that the US has imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for allegedly helping Iran's missile programme, a senior lawmaker, who is opposed to the nuclear deal with India, has demanded release of a State Department report detailing the curbs.

Soldiers go on the rampage in Kathmandu
Kathmandu, July 29
Nepal's controversial army became embroiled in a fresh scandal after a midnight raid on a police station and torture of two policemen.

Zamir Akram may be Pak envoy to India
Islamabad, July 29
Zamir Akram, currently working with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, is expected to be Pakistan's new high commissioner to India.


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Resolution on Iran introduced in Security Council

United Nations, July 29
After almost two weeks of intensive negotiations, France has introduced a resolution in the 15-member UN Security Council demanding Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programme by August 31 or face possible economic and political sanctions.

The draft, which is mandatory, could be voted on as early as Monday and members are expected to propose any amendments they would like to be incorporated before that. But French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabiere, this month's Council President who formally introduced the resolution yesterday, expressed the hope that there would be no amendments.

Diplomats said his hope is based on the fact that the draft had emerged after days of intensive consultations among the diplomats in UN and top officials in the capitals of five permanent veto-wielding members -- the US, China, Russia, France and Britain.

The draft, a weakened version of the original American document, does not threaten to impose sanctions automatically or immediately, as the US would have liked the resolution to say, if Iran fails to comply with the Council demand. The US agreed to water down the draft to win the support of Russia and China and now Council would need to have fresh discussions on the action to be taken if Tehran defies the resolution.

Asking Iran to comply with resolutions adopted by Board of Governors of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the draft demands that Tehran suspend all its enrichment-related activities, including research and development, by August 31.

The resolution was drafted by France, Britain and Germany, which is participating in the European Union negotiations with Tehran on the incentive package in return for suspension of the enrichment programme. It is backed by the US.

The Council action came in the wake of the decision by the Foreign Ministers of the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China on July 12 for referring the issue to the Council in view of failure of Iran to respond to the offer of incentives in return for the suspension. PTI

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Israel rejects UN call for humanitarian truce

Jerusalem, July 29
Israel today rejected a United Nations call for a 72-hour truce in the Lebanon conflict to bring humanitarian aid to trapped civilians and evacuate the wounded.

"We cannot accept a ceasefire with Hezbollah because this terrorist organisation would exploit it to gather civilians to use them as a human shield in the combat zone," Gideon Meir, a senior foreign ministry official, said.

With almost 20 per cent people in Lebanon displaced, the UN had appealed for three days truce to allow children, the wounded and the elderly to escape and that food, medicines and other essential supplies reach the needy.

UN humanitarian coordinator Jan Egeland had quoted Health Ministry which put the civilian death toll as over 600 which including a majority of women and children dead.

Meir said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had already agreed, during talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to set up humanitarian corridors to bring in aid to civilians in southern Lebanon.

Israel yesterday already allowed three trucks to bring food and medicine to areas in south Lebanon, he added.

Meir said that from tomorrow a UN representative would be present at a humanitarian relief centre which has been set up by the Israeli army at the border to organise humanitarian aid for south Lebanon. AFP/ PTI

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Release report on Indian firms helping
Iran: Congressman

Washington, July 29
Amidst reports that the US has imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for allegedly helping Iran's missile programme, a senior lawmaker, who is opposed to the nuclear deal with India, has demanded release of a State Department report detailing the curbs.

The administration earlier this week decided to impose sanctions on the two Indian entities, which have not been named so far, for the missile-related transactions with Iran, according to a media report. These were in addition to at least eight non-proliferation sanctions the US has filed against at least seven Indian companies or persons, including two sanctions in December 2005.

A query about the same left with Eugene Cottilli, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs in the Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce, remained unanswered.

In a statement, Congressman Ed Markey, the Democrat from Massachusetts, alleged that the sanctioning of the two firms indicated that India was unable to fully police "bad actors" in its jurisdiction from helping Iran.

"The Bush Administration has once again delayed, obfuscated, and misled this Congress by withholding information about these violations by Indian entities before we voted to grant historic nuclear cooperation with the Indian government," Markey alleged.

The Bush Administration, he said, "is so busy giving away nuclear goodies to India, it has forgotten to ensure that a country that the President once called part of an 'Axis of Evil', Iran, isn't then able to turn around and use those weapons against us or our allies in the Middle East." PTI

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Soldiers go on the rampage in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, July 29
Nepal's controversial army became embroiled in a fresh scandal after a midnight raid on a police station and torture of two policemen.

About 40-50 soldiers stormed the police station in Durbar Marg, an upmarket area in the capital close to the royal palace, around 1.30 am on Saturday, intimidated the policemen stationed inside and marched off two cops as well as a man under custody.

The soldiers were from the Bhairabnath Battalion, the most infamous wing of the army known to be running torture camps inside barracks. The raid was in retaliation to one of their colleagues being taken to the police station for questioning.

The marauding soldiers took the three men inside the Bhairabnath Battalion barracks where they were abused, thrashed, administered electric shock and dunked in filthy water in which the soldiers habitually urinate.

Since King Gyanendra ascended the throne of Nepal and took up the reins of the army, it became notorious for gross human rights violations, extra-judicial killings and shielding its guilty soldiers and officials.

The latest army attack comes when a UN team is on a nine-day visit to Nepal in answer to a request by the government to assist in managing the arms and armies of the state as well as of the Maoists.

While the Maoists are under mounting pressure to disarm, the government has no plans to disarm the Nepal Army, saying it is a national army bound by discipline and allegiance to the state. IANS

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Zamir Akram may be Pak envoy to India

Islamabad, July 29
Zamir Akram, currently working with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, is expected to be Pakistan's new high commissioner to India.

He will succeed Aziz Ahmad Khan, who will retire next month on completion of his third contractual extended stint in New Delhi.

New Delhi is considered a key posting and has mostly been assigned to career diplomats.

Even as Akram has the prime minister's backing, President Pervez Musharraf will have the final say in the posting in New Delhi, The News said.

Top-level postings are partly decided by "connections". Zamir is the younger brother of Pakistan's permanent envoy at the UN, Muneer Akram. IANS

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