Scores of Taliban killed in battle
Kashmir war saved Indian Army: book
Indo-Pak optic fibre link through Wagah ready
Indian doc accused of causing death by negligence
Four Indians die in road mishap
Illegal Indians in US growing fastest
Kandahar, August 20
Four policemen were also killed in the battle in Panjwai district, southwest of Kandahar city, that erupted late yesterday, said Panjwai police chief Neyaz Mohammad Sarhadi.
"So far, we've recovered the bodies of 72 Taliban," Sarhadi told Reuters.
He said the battle began when hundreds of Taliban attacked government headquarters in the district where clashes have erupted regularly since May when hundreds of Taliban were found to have infiltrated.
NATO aircraft were also involved in the fighting that raged through the night, he said.
A NATO spokesman, Major Scott Lundy, said the Taliban had suffered significant casualties. He said the NATO force had not suffered losses.
A Taliban spokesman told a Pakistan-based news agency that 12 Taliban were killed while at least 30 NATO and government troops had died. NATO aircraft had killed many civilians, the spokesman told the Afghan Islamic Press.
Afghanistan is experiencing its worst violence since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. Although the insurgents are not in a position to defeat the Western-backed government, the war is sapping support for President Hamid Karzai, analysts say.
More than 1,800 people have been killed in violence this year, most of them militants but including more than 90 foreign troops. Four foreign soldiers were killed in clashes yesterday.
In a separate incident, three policemen and four Taliban were killed in a yesterday clash in Farah province in the west, police said.
Most of the violence has been in the south where NATO assumed responsibility for security from a separate US-led force last month.
The NATO mission, the biggest ground operation in its history, should allow the US military to trim the size of its Afghan force.
There are now more than 35,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan.
They are confronting a resurgent Taliban fueled by funds from the drugs trade and support from international militant networks. They are also benefiting from sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the lawless Afghan-Pakistani border. — Reuters
Khiam (Lebanon), August 20
Pulverised by Israeli air strikes, their neighbourhood is no more. There are no other houses, no shops and no work. They have seen no trace of the neighbours who once lived in buildings that are now dusty crags of concrete and steel.
"They were our friends. We don't know where they are, but I'm sure they'll come back. This is their home," said Joanna Gharib, holding her 7-year-old daughter's hand.
"We'll just have to manage somehow."
Khiam escaped the near complete devastation visited on border towns like Ainata, Bint Jbeil, and Aitaa al-Shaab, where Hizbollah guerrillas fought fierce battles with Israeli troops.
But Deputy Mayor Mohammad Abdallah said around 800 houses — a fifth of the city's total — were completely destroyed and the same number badly damaged.
No building here was left unscathed, he said, in the war triggered when Hizbollah snatched two Israeli soldiers in a bloody cross-border raid on July 12.
Israel said its bombing campaign and ground attacks were the only way to stop Hizbollah firing rockets across the border.
Of Khiam's 4,000 people whose houses were destroyed, most have returned to their villages along with the hundreds of thousands others displaced by fighting which killed 1,183 in Lebanon and 157 Israelis.
Humanitarian groups expect most of the displaced to stay in a single room if their houses are not too badly damaged or, failing that, with friends and family.
"They are going to need a year to clear the rubble, to rebuild, and to start again," said Cassandra Nelson, senior communications officer for Mercy Corps. — Reuters
Lahore, August 20
According to the book, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru blew his top when Lt-General Sir Robert Lockhart, the first Commander-in-Chief of India took a strategic plan for a government directive on defence policy.
“Shortly after Independence, General Lockhart as the Army chief took a strategic plan to the Prime Minister, asking for a government directive on the defence policy. He came back to Jick’s office shell-shocked. When asked what happened, he replied: “The PM took one look at my paper and blew his top.”
‘Rubbish! Total rubbish!’ he shouted. ‘We don’t need a defence plan. Our policy is ahimsa (non-violence). We foresee no military threats. Scrap the Army! The police are good enough to meet our security needs’,” the Daily Times quotes the book as saying.
According to the book, Jick believed the Kashmir war saved the Indian Army.
“General Sir Douglas Gracie had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan army and he and General Lockhart daily exchanged information about refugees traversing Punjab in both directions.
One day in late October 1947, Gracie mentioned that he had had reports of tribesmen massing in the area of Attock-Rawalpindi.
Both men knew that cross-border raids from Pakistan had been mounted against Poonch. Kashmir was not a part of the dominion of India and Lockhart felt that the tribesmen posed no threat to India. He did not pass on the information to the ministry or general staff,” the paper said.
“When confronted by Nehru three months later, he admitted this and added that he may have been remiss. Nehru turned to him and asked the general if his sympathies were with Pakistan? Aghast, Lockhart replied, ‘Mr Prime Minister if you have to ask me that question, I have no business being the Commander-in-Chief of your forces. I know that there is a boat leaving Bombay in a few days, carrying British officers and their families to England. I shall be on it’,” it added.
According to the biography, General Lockhart called up his Military Secretary Jick Rudra the next day, January 26 1948, and suggested he start looking around for a successor since he had resigned from his post. — ANI
Islamabad, August 20
Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) has laid and tested a fibre-optic link with India through the Wagah border crossing, but the link's opening has been delayed because of “policy matters” and “tactical reasons,” a media report said.
Pakistan’s minister for information technology Awais Leghari said there is no policy constraint on launching the project.
“The link cannot be established because of technical reasons on both sides. As far as policy is concerned, there is no problem. Pakistan okayed the link long before India did,” he told ‘Daily Times’.
The link, when open, will speed up Internet traffic and bring down tariffs for international long distance calls between India and Pakistan.
“Currently, data and voice traffic between both countries is routed through landing stations situated in a third country, which drives up cost,” a PTCL official told the paper.
He said a coaxial cable has already been laid between the two countries but is not being used for public communication.
“Currently, Pakistan is linked through South East Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe-3 (SEAMEWE-3) and SEAMEWE-4. If the new cable is opened it will benefit Pakistan and provide an additional link with other countries,” he said.
India agreed to lay the cable to Pakistan when the internet operations in the country came to a standstill following snapping of undersea cable. — PTI
Melbourne, August 20
Mrs Lillian Shaw, a 67-year-old grandmother, died last year near Ipswich, after Indian-trained general practitioner Dr Jaideep Bali allegedly failed to diagnose a perforated stomach ulcer despite visiting her three times in 36 hours.
Besides failed diagnose, an investigation by the coroner also found Dr Bali had given Mrs Lilian a potentially fatal injection of morphine a few hours before she died.
The doctor is also accused of attempt to cover-up his part in the death of the mother-of-seven by refusing for months to admit that he had administered morphine during his last house call. — UNI
Four Indians die in road mishap
Dubai, August 20 The accident occurred when the truck, which was trying to overtake another vehicle, collided with the bus carrying six passengers. The bodies of the four Indian passengers who died on the spot were sent for a post mortem and those injured were hospitalised, Head of Al Mafraq Traffic Department Capt Mohsin Al Minhali was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times. The police is investigating the incident, he said. — PTI
Dubai, August 20
The accident occurred when the truck, which was trying to overtake another vehicle, collided with the bus carrying six passengers.
The bodies of the four Indian passengers who died on the spot were sent for a post mortem and those injured were hospitalised, Head of Al Mafraq Traffic Department Capt Mohsin Al Minhali was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
The police is investigating the incident, he said. — PTI
Illegal Indians in US growing fastest
Washington, August 20
The number of unauthorised immigrants residing in the United States in January 2006 reached 11 million compared to 8.5 million in January 2000, according to calculations by the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Department of Homeland Security.
Among the 10 leading source countries for the unauthorised immigration during 2000 to 2005, Mexico topped the list with nearly 6 million residents in January 2005 up from 4.7 million in 2000 with the greatest annual average increase of 260,000.
El Salvador (470,000), Guatemala, (370,000), India (280,000), and China were the next leading source countries, accounting for a combined total of nearly 1.4 million unauthorised immigrants.
However, the greatest percentage increase in the unauthorised immigrant population from 2000 to 2005 occurred among immigrants from India (133 per cent) and Brazil (70 per cent).
The top 10 countries of origin, including Mexico, accounted for 79 per cent of the 10.5 million unauthorised immigrants living in the United States in 2005.
An estimated 7.6 million of them were from the North America region, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. The next leading regions of origin were Asia (1.3 million) and South America (830,000).
Almost 3.1 million of the 10.5 million unauthorised residents in 2005 had come to live in the United States in 2000 or later. An estimated 1 million entered the United States in 2003 or 2004, while 2.1 million arrived during 2000 through 2002.
California had the largest illegal immigrant population, with 2.8 million in January 2005, followed by Texas with 1.4 million and Florida with 850,000.
California's share of the national total declined from 30 per cent in 2000 to 26 per cent in 2005.
Among the 10 leading states of residence of the unauthorised population in 2005, those with the largest average annual increases since 2000 were Texas (54,000), California (52,000), and Georgia (50,000).
The states with the greatest percentage increases in unauthorised immigrants from 2000 to 2005 were Georgia (114 per cent), Arizona (45 per cent), Nevada (41 per cent), and North Carolina (38 per cent).
An estimated 6.1 million of the 10.5 million unauthorised residents in January 2005 lived in the five states with the largest unauthorised resident populations - California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois. These states accounted for 64 percent of the total population in 2000 and 58 percent in 2005, due largely to the decline in California's share.
Growing geographic dispersion of the unauthorised immigrant population is reflected by an increase in the share of the population living in all other states.
The percentage of unauthorised immigrants residing in states ranked 6th through 10th in 2005 - Arizona, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Nevada - increased from 16 percent in 2000 to 18 percent in 2005.
In addition, the share of the unauthorised population residing in all other states increased from 21 percent to 24 percent during the period. — IANS