SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Fiji military ‘ready’ to launch coup

Suva (Fiji), December 3
The military commander threatening to topple Fiji's government said today he was planning to appoint an interim civilian administration and hold elections at a later date to restore democracy in the country.

Workmen install window protection screens at a shop in Fiji's capital Suva on Sunday. The workmen said they were doing the last-minute installation ahead of any possible trouble on Monday that may result from the current tension between Fiji's government and military. — Reuters
Workmen install window protection screens at a shop in Fiji's capital Suva on Sunday.

Rumsfeld backed ‘pullback’ in Iraq
Washington, December 3
Two days before he resigned, outgoing Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent a classified memo to the White House recommending “a major adjustment” in the Iraq policy, the first acknowledgement by the strategist that things were not working well in the war-torn country.

Poll a battle between dictatorship, democracy: Nawaz
London, December 3
In what sounded like an urgent call to his party leaders to start preparing for the next election, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif told a PML (N) delegation from Pakistan here on Saturday that the next election would be a “battle between dictatorship and democracy.”



EARLIER STORIES


Global honour for Bollywood stars
London, December 3
Actress Shabana Azmi, choreographer Farah Khan and filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra will be honoured with the Global Online awards for their contribution to the Indian cinema.

William shortlisted for Sword of Honour
London, December 3
Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, has been short-listed for the Sword of Honour of Sandhurst, the royal military academy, pitting him against six rivals competing to be named best officer cadet.

US airstrike kills women, child in Iraq
Baghdad, December 3
U.S. airstrikes destroyed two foreign fighter safe houses, west of Baghdad on Saturday night, killing
five insurgents, two women and a child, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

Suicide attack on NATO convoy, 3 killed
Kandahar, December 3
A suicide car bomber targeted a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan today, killing at least three civilians and wounding four others.

 

 

 

Top











 

Fiji military ‘ready’ to launch coup
New Zealand appeals to Fiji military to show restraint

Suva (Fiji), December 3
The military commander threatening to topple Fiji's government said today he was planning to appoint an interim civilian administration and hold elections at a later date to restore democracy in the country.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama also appeared to pull back a step from his threat to stage a coup by demanding that Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase resign so the military can implement its plan.

"Our plan is for (Qarase) to accept the military demand for him to resign," Bainimarama said in an interview with Fiji One television. If Qarase resists, "We will find ways for him to resign," he threatened.

Bainimarama had earlier said the government had missed its last chance to meet his range of demands, and that the military would proceed with a "cleaning up" campaign against the government.

But troops have stayed in their barracks since before the noon Friday deadline passed, and Fiji, a South Pacific island nation, that has suffered three coups since 1987, has been on tenterhooks.

Qarase said during the weekend he was open to more talks with Bainimarama, and that he would go as far as he can within the law to meet the commander's demands. But he has said previously that resigning under military threat would be unconstitutional, and he would not do it.

Bainimarama has rejected more talks.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark today called on the Fiji military to step back from plans to launch a coup, as speculation mounted that a takeover would happen overnight.

"This is no way for the military to behave, trying to involve itself in politics," Clark said through a spokesman.

"New Zealand continues to call for the problems between the prime minister and the military commander to be resolved through peaceful means." Reports from the Fiji capital Suva say military commander Voreqe Bainimarama was ready to launch his delayed coup, removing Prime Minister Laisene Qarase from office, in the early hours tomorrow.

The Sunday Post newspaper quoted sources assaying Suva would be sealed by military roadblocks at the start of the operation from 3:00 am tomorrow.

Under the plan, the government would be dismissed, parliament dissolved and an interim administration installed, it said.

The interim government was believed to include some current legislators, former politicians, indigenous chiefs and soldiers.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who brokered talks last week between Bainimarama and Qarase, has warned that Fiji faced international ostracism if the coup goes ahead. —AP/AFP

Top

 

Global honour for Bollywood stars
Shabana, Farah Khan and Mundhra to be awarded

London, December 3
Actress Shabana Azmi, choreographer Farah Khan and filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra will be honoured with the Global Online awards for their contribution to the Indian cinema.

The awards, constituted by Triangle Media Group, will be presented at the University of Leicester on December 7.

The awards ceremony will also have a lecture by Mundhra, who will discuss his forthcoming movie ‘Provoked’ starring Aishwarya Rai, based on a real life story of a woman abused by her husband, and its legal significance to the university’s law school professors and students.

The film had received rave reviews at Cannes.

“The TMG awards bi-annually celebrate, recognise and honour the top 50 South Asian and foreign achievers who have made an outstanding mark and contribution in the global mainstream media,” theatre personality, Haresh Sood, who is a the Global Ambassador of the awards, said.

Leicester Councillor Manjula Sood, who is a postgraduate from the university, will also be honoured for her outstanding contribution to local politics.

The awards, launched in 2004, have been supported by Minister for Culture Media and Sport Tessa Jowell. — PTI 

Top

 

Poll a battle between dictatorship, democracy: Nawaz
By arrangement with the Dawn

London, December 3
In what sounded like an urgent call to his party leaders to start preparing for the next election, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif told a PML (N) delegation from Pakistan here on Saturday that the next election would be a “battle between dictatorship and democracy.”

However, did not clarify if Mr Sharif, who so far had serious reservations about participating in elections held by President Gen Musharraf, had changed his mind.

The statement quoted Mr Sharif telling his party men that in the forthcoming elections the people would hold Gen Musharraf accountable for his crimes against the nation.

Referring perhaps to what is seen as military-junta type of rule in the country, the former prime minister said Pakistan had no future if 15 generals continued to hold the people hostage and took decisions about their future.

“The only hope for Pakistan lies in the people taking charge of their destiny through restoration of democracy,” he said, adding that had the people been in charge of their destiny in 1971 the tragedy of East Pakistan’s separation would never have occurred.
Mr Sharif said price hike had paralysed the common man and the illegal regime had no regard for the plight of the poor. He said the price of oil had been decreasing in the international market whereas the rulers had not provided relief to the people on this count.

The PML-N chief paid glowing tribute to the struggle of his party members against dictatorship and in this regard specially mentioned MPA Rana Sanaullah, who, the statement said, had been tortured by the military regime, and Zulfikar Balti, his personal photographer, who had maintained crucial contact with the media in the early days after the coup of October 12, 1999.

Top

 

William shortlisted for Sword of Honour 

London, December 3
Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, has been short-listed for the Sword of Honour of Sandhurst, the royal military academy, pitting him against six rivals competing to be named best officer cadet.

William (24) has just returned from Cyprus following the final command phase of his course, which will determine whether he is chosen to carry the sword before the Queen at his passing-out parade, a media report said today. While the cadet deemed to have the most potential as an officer receives the Sword of Honour, the Queen's Medal is awarded to the cadet who achieves the best military, practical and academic results.

His younger brother, Prince Harry, however, is said to be frustrated that army chiefs are blocking his attempts to serve on the front line.

Harry's unit, the Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry, is going to Iraq, but defence sources said that although he will do the pre-deployment training, he is unlikely to be allowed to join his colleagues.

William has made the shortlist of seven, which includes two women, despite an embarrassing slip-up when he briefly lost a machinegun, which could have scuppered his chances, the the Sunday Times reported.

Prince William, who will also join the Blues and Royals, is said to be in the running for one or other of the two awards. He achieved exceptional results in the Sandhurst entry tests, while Harry's results were average.

While, Prince William had achieved a seven out of a maximum of 10 in the IQ test taken by all potential cadets, Prince Harry, by contrast, scored only four in the IQ test and didn't go to university, the report said. — PTI

Top

 

US airstrike kills women, child in Iraq

Baghdad, December 3
U.S. airstrikes destroyed two foreign fighter safe houses, west of Baghdad on Saturday night, killing
five insurgents, two women and a child, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

Residents put the death toll in the village of al-Lihaib, near the town of Garma much higher, saying as many as 24 persons had been killed and some buildings levelled. The figures could not be independently confirmed.

"Recent intelligence reports indicated the targeted building was being used to harbour foreign fighters.

Intelligence reports also verified that several men were present at the targeted building during the time of the raid," the military said.

It said a sixth insurgent had been killed and three detained by ground forces.

"Coalition forces take precautions to mitigate risks to civilians while in pursuit of terrorists. However, terrorists continue to put innocent civilians in danger by operating among them," it said.

The village is in western Anbar province, where the Sunni insurgency against U.S. forces and the Shi'ite-led government is strongest. An F-16 warplane crashed in the Garma area last week during fierce battles between insurgents and U.S. forces.

The body of the pilot, who was killed in the crash, has not been seen since, and the U.S. military suspects it was taken from the crash site by militants. — Reuters

Top

 

Suicide attack on NATO convoy, 3 killed

Kandahar, December 3
A suicide car bomber targeted a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan today, killing at least three civilians and wounding four others.

The blast damaged a NATO armored vehicle and scattered the pieces of the car bomb over a wide area in Kandahar city.

It was not immediately clear if there were any NATO casualties.

The bomber tried to ram his car into the convoy as the troops were driving through the city, said Razaq Khan, a police officer at the scene.

The blast was the fourth suicide attack in the Kandahar region in a week. Two Canadian soldiers were killed last Monday by a suicide car bomb on the city outskirts.

Taliban insurgents have launched a record number of suicide attacks in Afghanistan this year. The bombs typically target NATO and Afghan security forces, but more often kill civilians. NATO figures as of last week showed that 227 Afghans and 17 international soldiers have been killed in about 105 suicide bombings this year.

Meanwhile, suspected Taliban militants attacked a police checkpoint in neighbouring Zabul province, sparking a gunbattle that left four insurgents dead and one police officer wounded, an official said. — AP

Top

 

Rumsfeld backed ‘pullback’ in Iraq

Washington, December 3
Two days before he resigned, outgoing Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent a classified memo to the White House recommending “a major adjustment” in the Iraq policy, the first acknowledgement by the strategist that things were not working well in the war-torn country.

“Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough,” Rumsfeld wrote in the memo dated November 6.

The detailed presentation to the White House did not contain any specific alternative but a series of more than 20 possible courses of action, including many that would have fundamentally changed American occupation of that country.

Rumsfeld, according to media versions, also clearly understood the political implications of a change in strategy.

“Announce that whatever new approach the US decides on, the US is doing so on a trial basis,” he is said to have written in one of the highlighted sections.

“This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not ‘lose’,” he wrote, adding, “Recast the US military mission and the US goals (how we talk about them) - go minimalist.”

The Pentagon has acknowledged the memo but has not commented and the White House for its part chose not to directly comment on the specific Rumsfeld note. — PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Mass burial of typhoon victims
DARAGA, (Philippines): Villagers in the central Philippines buried hundreds of relatives and friends in massgraves on Sunday as hopes faded of finding survivors from Typhoon Durian. Officials fear the death toll from Durian, which swept into the South China Sea on Friday, could reach 600 after torrential rain and winds of up to 225 kph (140 mph) sent waves of mud crashing down an active volcano into nearby villages.— Reuters

M.F. Hussain painting to be auctioned
London: An M.F. Hussain masterpiece will go under the hammer at Christie's in New York to raise funds for Pratham, a charity dedicated to eradicate primary illiteracy in India.The painting, titled 'Woman playing Veena', currently in possession of NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal's wife Usha, will be auctioned next March to raise funds for Pratham's work with children in India. — PTI

Chile's Pinochet’s health serious
Chile: Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet suffered a heart attack today and was in serious but stable condition in a military hospital. Pinochet, who stands accused of human rights abuses and corruption during his iron-fisted rule from 1973 to 1990, underwent a heart bypass operation as doctors worked to ''practically bring him back from death,'' his son said. ''He's in a pretty serious state ... We're in the hands of God and the doctors,'' Pinochet's son Marco Antonio Pinochet said. — Reuters

Top

 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |