SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI

 

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Experts ask Senate to fix ‘flaws’ in Indo-US N-deal
A group of 16 nuclear non-proliferation experts is urging the members of the US Senate to fix “serious flaws” in the US-India civilian nuclear deal.

Iran, West Asia to figure in NAM summit
Havana, September 13
Leaders of NAM countries, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are expected to seek unconditional negotiations to resolve the standoff over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme at an annual summit here.

Sri Lanka agrees to talks with LTTE
Colombo, September 13
Brightening hopes for peace, Sri Lankan Government today formally agreed to enter into talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to end the renewed spurt in violence that left over 1,500 dead in the island nation.

New Swiss law upsets NRIs
Zurich, September 13
India is exploring ways to resolve an issue arising from a new Swiss law that insists on non-resident Indians (NRIs) presenting their original birth and marriage certificates issued in India to register the birth of their children born in this country.


EARLIER STORIES



US Senator Hillary Clinton speaks at reception hosted to push forward the US-India civil nuclear deal at Russel Office Building in New York on Tuesday while Sant Chatwal listens carefully.
US Senator Hillary Clinton speaks at reception hosted to push forward the US-India civil nuclear deal at Russel Office Building in New York on Tuesday while Sant Chatwal listens carefully. — PTI

Maoists ‘seize’ arms cache from India, Nepal Govt denies
Kathmandu, September 13
Peace talks between the Nepal Government and the Maoists suffered a jolt today with the latter protesting throughout the country against seizure of a massive cache of arms allegedly imported by the Nepalese Army (NA) from India.

India’s denial
The Indian government today dismissed as “baseless” certain news reports in Nepal that trucks from India allegedly carried arms supplies to the Himalayan Kingdom.

Indian scientist wins Trailblazer award
Washington, September 13
In a unique honour, Indian woman scientist Mala R Chinoy has been chosen for the 2006 Science Spectrum Trailblazer award for her pioneering work in cardiopulmonary defects in newborns, bagging the second such prestigious prize in two years.


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Experts ask Senate to fix ‘flaws’ in Indo-US N-deal
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

A group of 16 nuclear non-proliferation experts is urging the members of the US Senate to fix “serious flaws” in the US-India civilian nuclear deal.

Asking senators to modify a Bill that seeks to enable civilian nuclear cooperation with India, the analysts have recommended the inclusion of a determination that US nuclear trade does not in any way assist or encourage India’s nuclear weapons programme.

They also called upon lawmakers to prohibit the US Government from continuing nuclear assistance or facilitating foreign nuclear exports to India if the Indian Government or Indian entities break existing non-proliferation commitments and practices.

In their letter, the group said legislators should restrict full US nuclear trade until India joins the five original nuclear-weapon states in stopping the production of fissile material for weapons or subscribes to a multilateral fissile production cutoff agreement.

“We believe these measures are necessary because India has neither joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty nor accepted safeguards on all of its nuclear facilities and India’s non-proliferation policy is not fully consistent with the non-proliferation practices and responsibilities expected of the original nuclear-weapon states,” wrote the experts.

The letter, a last-ditch effort to push changes in the Bill, urges the lawmakers to strive to “further offset the adverse effects of the arrangement on US non-proliferation and security objectives”.

The experts note that “partial IAEA safeguards would do nothing to prevent the continued production of fissile material for weapons in unsafe guarded facilities”. Furthermore, “foreign supplies of nuclear fuel to India could assist India’s bomb program by freeing up its existing limited capacity to support the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons,” they wrote.

The Senate may debate and vote on the nuclear cooperation Bill some time this month. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, speaking to a group of Indian-American Republicans in Washington last week, said the passage of the Bill was “absolutely critical”, but noted there were less than 15 legislative days left in this session of the Congress.

If the Bill is not taken up during this period the Congress will consider it after the November elections, in what will essentially be a lame duck session. The House passed a similar Bill in July and the two chambers must reconcile their separate versions into a final Bill.

With polls showing President George W. Bush at his lowest popularity rating, political analysts expect Democrats to make big gains in the November elections.

The change in the composition of the House and Senate “both chambers presently dominated by the Republicans ” could complicate the passage of the nuclear Bill.

The nuclear analysts insisted that the Senate Bill should also require that prior to the implementation of a US-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement, the US President make a determination that the proposed US civil nuclear assistance will not, in any way, assist India’s nuclear weapons programme.

Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, said US and Indian officials should resist the temptation to bargain endlessly over the details of the deal.

In the paper, Lisa Curtis and Baker Spring of the Heritage Foundation, say the Senate should move as quickly as possible since further delay would raise suspicions in India that the US is not fully committed to sealing the deal and could chip away at Indian public support for moving forward.

Both countries must keep their eyes on the prize and consider the lengthy and involved process that brought the deal to its current stage, they said, adding, “It would be disastrous for US-India relations if those opposed to the deal on either side manage to scuttle it and undermine the hard-won progress that has been made over the last year”.

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Iran, West Asia to figure in NAM summit

Havana, September 13
Leaders of NAM countries, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are expected to seek unconditional negotiations to resolve the standoff over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme at an annual summit here.

After heated closed-door meetings on the second day of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, officials issued a resolution on Iran and fine-tuned a draft final document the heads of state and government are to adopt on Saturday.

They updated a resolution adopted by a NAM meeting in May in Putrajaya, Malaysia, but added a paragraph stating the need for an “unconditional resumption of dialogue”. The statement had said any country had the right to use nuclear energy and welcomed what it said was Iran’s “voluntary confidence-building efforts” aimed at resolving the issue.

A document demanding that Israel withdraw from the West Bank, stop its “aggression” in Gaza and release jailed Palestinian officials was also discussed at the meeting yesterday.

The officials said the delegates dropped a proposed paragraph that called the Israeli actions “war crimes for which the perpetrators must be held accountable and brought the justice”. The NAM draft declaration condemns Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and hails the Lebanese people’s “heroic resistance to the Israeli aggression” and demands that Israel compensate the Lebanese government and people for the deaths, injuries and destruction the war caused. — PTI

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Sri Lanka agrees to talks with LTTE

Colombo, September 13
Brightening hopes for peace, Sri Lankan Government today formally agreed to enter into talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to end the renewed spurt in violence that left over 1,500 dead in the island nation.

In a statement released hours after a minister slammed peace broker Norway for saying that the talks would be “unconditional”, the government said it was committed to negotiations with the LTTE, but wanted the strict implementation of the 2002 ceasefire.

“While the government notes the concerns, it remains fully committed to participate in peace talks with the LTTE”, said the statement.

“However, the specific modalities relating to dates and venue must be discussed and agreed between the government of Sri Lanka and the facilitator (Norway),” it said.

The government said it had reservations about the sincerity of the LTTE and called for the strict implementation of the collapsing 2002 truce.

Though the two sides met for talks this February in Switzerland and agreed to meet later in June, that meeting, scheduled to be held in Oslo, did not take place. — PTI

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New Swiss law upsets NRIs

Zurich, September 13
India is exploring ways to resolve an issue arising from a new Swiss law that insists on non-resident Indians (NRIs) presenting their original birth and marriage certificates issued in India to register the birth of their children born in this country.

Visiting Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi assured Indian community representatives during a meeting here that the government would consult state chief ministers to find a solution to the matter.

“I have to discuss with the Prime Minister and other ministries concerned to find a solution to the problem. I will also consult state chief ministers to see how we can solve this issue,” Ravi told NRI representatives here.

“The Supreme Court of India has issued an order to make birth registrations compulsory. But presenting past documents would be almost impossible,” he said. 
— IANS

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Maoists ‘seize’ arms cache from India, Nepal Govt denies
Kanchan vasdev

Tribune News Service

Kathmandu, September 13
Peace talks between the Nepal Government and the Maoists suffered a jolt today with the latter protesting throughout the country against seizure of a massive cache of arms allegedly imported by the Nepalese Army (NA) from India.

Claiming that a number of tankers and trucks carrying arms and ammunition were stopped by them at Gaujari near Kathmandu late last night, the Maoist leaders said, “Weapons inflow was a direct violation of the ceasefire code of conduct”.

The agitators blocked traffic on all highways throughout the country today morning. They took out protest marches and set on fire some combustible waste substances on the intersections of busy roads. Fortunately, no loss of life or property has been reported so far.

While the Maoist camp claimed that they were probing the entire episode, Nepalese Army officials rubbished their claims.

Maoist leader Dina Nath Sharma, who is also a member of the negotiating team, told The Tribune that his supporters had found tankers and trucks at 9 pm yesterday. “When we went there today, there were tankers and trucks but there was no arms and ammunition. Maybe the army has shifted those to a safer place.

“If the army has imported the cache, we will not allow it to enter the capital,” he said, adding that four mine-protected vehicles, 20 mini trucks, two trucks and five jeeps carrying arms and ammunition from India entered Nepal via Birgunj and arrived at the Nepal Army barracks at Gajuri, Dhading district.

Meanwhile, a team from the Ceasefire Monitoring Committee today inspected the trucks parked at the NA barracks at Gajuri. Following the inspection, the committee reported that it found only “non-lethal” cargo inside the trucks and no cache of arms and ammunition as claimed by the Maoists.

Defence Secretary, Nepal, Mr Bishnu Dutta Upreti, was quoted by the local media as saying that the trucks at Gajuri did not carry any arms and weapons. Similarly, media reports quoting a member of the government talks team, Mr Ramesh Lekhak, also said that the arms import issue was based on rumours.

Agitating Maoists called off the strike in the evening following reports of a meeting between Maoist chief Prachanda and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

Brig N.B. Chand told The Tribune that it was a routine logistic movement of army vehicles and these were coming in as a convoy to be painted afresh to be sent for the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.

He added that the vehicles had nothing to do with India as those belonged to the Nepalese Army. “I do not know how the Maoists came up with this weird theory.”

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India’s denial

The Indian government today dismissed as “baseless” certain news reports in Nepal that trucks from India allegedly carried arms supplies to the Himalayan Kingdom.

The Nepalese government has already denied the reports.

“The news reports are baseless and there is no truth in them,” an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said in response to a question.

The Nepalese news reports alleged that Maoist guerrillas had charged the Koirala government with importing a huge quantity of arms for the Nepalese army in violation of the ceasefire between the two sides. — TNS

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Indian scientist wins Trailblazer award

Washington, September 13
In a unique honour, Indian woman scientist Mala R Chinoy has been chosen for the 2006 Science Spectrum Trailblazer award for her pioneering work in cardiopulmonary defects in newborns, bagging the second such prestigious prize in two years.

Chinoy, Professor of Surgery at the Penn State College of Medicine, is one of the five Indian origin scientists to be honoured with the Trailblazer award this year. Last year, she was awarded the Emerald Honours Award for career achievement by the Minorities in Research Science (MIRS) Organisation. — PTI

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