SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Indian student shot dead in US store robbery
Jayachandra Elaprolu Houston, December 26
A 22-year-old Indian hailing from Andhra Pradesh was shot dead early on Christmas morning during a robbery at a convenience store where he was working part time as a clerk.

Jayachandra Elaprolu

Heavy snow closes Moscow’s main airport
Ice forms on the branches of a tree in Moscow on Sunday. Moscow, December 26
Moscow's Domodedovo airport was closed and thousands of Muscovites were left without power on Sunday after a heavy overnight snowfall, the RIA Novosti news agency said.It quoted an airport spokeswoman as saying flights at the airport, Russia's busiest, were halted after two electricity substations were knocked out.

Ice forms on the branches of a tree in Moscow on Sunday. — Reuters



EARLIER STORIES


Woman suicide bombers fresh challenge for Pak
 Over 250 suicide attacks have been carried out in Pakistan since 2006 but Saturday’s assault was the first one by a woman bomber. Islamabad, December 26
The use of a woman suicide bomber by the Taliban to target a UN aid centre in Pakistan’s restive tribal belt represents a fresh challenge as security forces will have to find ingenious ways to avert more such attacks, experts said today.In the first attack of its kind, the burqa-clad woman bomber lobbed grenades and detonated an explosive vest after being stopped at a checkpoint near a World Food Programme centre distributing aid to displaced people in Bajaur tribal region yesterday. The bombing killed 46 people and injured over 80.

TOUGH TIME: Over 250 suicide attacks have been carried out in Pakistan since 2006 but Saturday’s assault was the first one by a woman bomber. — AFP

Four Turkish engineers abducted in Afghanistan
Khost, December 26
Four Turkish engineers and their Afghan driver were kidnapped today in Afghanistan's eastern border province of Paktia, the deputy provincial governor said.Abdul Rahman Mangal said the men were travelling from a building site in the Dand Wa Patan district, which borders Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, to the provincial capital Gardez when the incident happened.

Pat-downs to continue at US airports 
Washington, December 26
The US Homeland Security czar today said the controversial full-body scanners and invasive pat-downs, which had sparked an outrage in India earlier this month, will remain in place for the "foreseeable future," at airports around the country.

Indian ship detained at Chittagong port
Dhaka, December 26
An Indian ship was today detained at Chittagong port after a Bangladeshi court issued an "arrest order" against it over a suit claiming Rs 12 crore as compensation for the alleged loss of cargo.

 





Top











 

Indian student shot dead in US store robbery
Hailing from AP, the victim was a part-time clerk 

Houston, December 26
A 22-year-old Indian hailing from Andhra Pradesh was shot dead early on Christmas morning during a robbery at a convenience store where he was working part time as a clerk.

Jayachandra Elaprolu was shot five times and was found dead when the police arrived on to the scene. The tragic incident occurred in Pasadena county of California state on early Christmas morning. The police said they are now seeking at least two suspects in the shooting death, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Elaprolu was a student and was working at the convenience store part time. Ali Kahn, a manager at the store said Elaprolu was from India and had been working at the store for less than a month.

A video of the CCTV footage obtained by the police showed a man in a ski mask entering the Conoco gas station at about 2:20 am (local time), before shooting the clerk and taking away the cash register. Pasadena police spokesman Bud Corbett said the victim was shot five times.

The police distributed surveillance video from the store to local media outlets in an attempt to find witnesses, the paper said.

As the assailant confronted him, Elaprolu managed to get behind a door that led to a small office behind the counter, but he appears to have been shot through the door, according to police.

Media reports said Elaprolu was studying computers at college and had been working at the gas station for only three weeks.

Corbett said investigators were surprised by the ferocity of the gunman who appears to walk in with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol in hand and starts shooting.

“To actually see the suspect enter a store and engage in gunfire is a unique circumstance... He’s a very violent individual, and the sooner we apprehend him, the better,” he said.

While the shooter is described as a 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall man between 220 and 250 pounds, police have named another person who was seen leaving the store seconds before the shooting incident.

The police said the second man, who did not appear to be having a weapon, could either be an accomplice of the attacker or a witness to the case. The video showed the gunman pulling the cash register off the counter and hauling it out, snapping an attached cord as he left.

A woman who entered the store about a minute and half after the incident found the clerk hit by bullets and she called the police. — PTI 

Top

 

Heavy snow closes Moscow’s main airport

Moscow, December 26
Moscow's Domodedovo airport was closed and thousands of Muscovites were left without power on Sunday after a heavy overnight snowfall, the RIA Novosti news agency said.

It quoted an airport spokeswoman as saying flights at the airport, Russia's busiest, were halted after two electricity substations were knocked out. "The airport service is suspended," the spokeswoman, Elena Galanova, was quoted as saying, adding that it was not clear when operations would resume.

The Moscow United Electric Grid Company said about 100,000 persons in the region were affected by power outages, according to RIA.

The temperature in Moscow hovered around zero degrees Celsius on Saturday and early Sunday. Some rail services were also disrupted.

Moscow's other two main airports, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo, were working normally.

Forecasters said snow was expected to continue falling until Tuesday, with temperatures ranging between zero and -6 C. According to the latest figures available, 2.47 million passengers passed through Domodedovo in July, up 18.4 per cent compared with a year earlier.

That compares with 2.12 million at Sheremetyevo, Moscow's second airport, and 6.72 million at London's Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport.

Hundreds of travellers spent an uncomfortable Christmas in airport queues after icy weather grounded and delayed many flights in Europe, with Paris and Brussels airports the worst affected.— Reuters

Top

 

Woman suicide bombers fresh challenge for Pak

Islamabad, December 26
The use of a woman suicide bomber by the Taliban to target a UN aid centre in Pakistan’s restive tribal belt represents a fresh challenge as security forces will have to find ingenious ways to avert more such attacks, experts said today.

In the first attack of its kind, the burqa-clad woman bomber lobbed grenades and detonated an explosive vest after being stopped at a checkpoint near a World Food Programme centre distributing aid to displaced people in Bajaur tribal region yesterday. The bombing killed 46 people and injured over 80.

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Azam Tariq telling the media that the group has a large number of women suicide bombers who would be used in attacks. Officials said an examination of remains confirmed the bomber was a woman.

Several witnesses said they had heard the woman scream before the explosion and one claimed her last words were: “Ya Allah khair.” Security experts contended that yesterday’s attack represented a new challenge for security forces in the lawless tribal belt as it is not possible for troops to search women due to the tribal culture and sensitivities.

“The attack does pose serious problems for security forces, who will have to find ingenious ways to avert such bombings. They will also have to improve intelligence and gadgetry,” Lt Gen (retired) Talat Masood, one of Pakistan’s leading security analysts, said.

Brig Mahmood Shah (retd), a defence analyst specialising in the tribal belt, told the media: “If females are used in suicide attacks then it can be more dangerous.” “The problems in Pakistan’s tribal belt had been compounded by the failure of Afghan security forces to stop the cross-border movement of terrorists,” Masood said.

Over 250 suicide attacks have been carried out in Pakistan since 2006 but yesterday’s assault was the first one by a woman bomber.

Experts said the change of tactics could turn into a dangerous trend as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other groups have warned in illegal FM broadcasts that they have trained squads of female bombers. Taliban leaders Maulana Faqir Mohammad and Maulvi Mohammad Omar had claimed several times that they had women bombers, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

However, security experts said such claims by the Taliban could be a bluff as the use of women for carrying out attacks goes against tribal traditions. “It is contrary to tribal culture to put women in front,” said Masood.

“Besides, it may not be easy for them to prepare such a large number of women bombers.” Masood told the media that the militants had been using teenagers for suicide attacks but he did not believe that they would engage women too.

Interacting with journalists in his hometown of Multan today, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani referred to the suicide attack by the woman in Bajaur and said it was the responsibility of the people to “identify such black sheep and bring them to justice.” He contended that militants were hitting “soft targets” as they had been forced to go on the run after the elimination of their strongholds. — PTI 

Top

 

Four Turkish engineers abducted in Afghanistan

Khost, December 26
Four Turkish engineers and their Afghan driver were kidnapped today in Afghanistan's eastern border province of Paktia, the deputy provincial governor said.Abdul Rahman Mangal said the men were travelling from a building site in the Dand Wa Patan district, which borders Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, to the provincial capital Gardez when the incident happened.

"Four Turkish engineers and their Afghan driver were kidnapped by unknown gunmen and have been taken away to an unknown location," Mangal said, adding that the men worked for a construction company which builds border posts.

Criminal groups and insurgents have kidnapped several dozen foreigners in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban. Most of the hostages are released safe and well. — AFP

Top

 

Pat-downs to continue at US airports 

Washington, December 26
The US Homeland Security czar today said the controversial full-body scanners and invasive pat-downs, which had sparked an outrage in India earlier this month, will remain in place for the "foreseeable future," at airports around the country.

Asked on CNN's 'State of the Union' programme if anything is going to change with the pat-down programme, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said it would not change for the "foreseeable future." She underlined that the full-body scanners and pat-downs will remain in place for the "foreseeable future".

Even as arguing that the new technology and the pat-downs are safer for the travelling public, the security czar said she was always looking to improve the security systems in place.

Some airline passengers and lawmakers have objected to the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy, which includes full-body scans and pat-downs.

TSA, under its new policy, must screen airline passengers using whole-body imaging systems. But passengers who feel that the scans are too intrusive are permitted to go through a metal detector or receive a pat-down, which some have said comes too close to groping.

There was outrage in India when sari-clad Indian Ambassador to US, Meera Shankar, was pulled out of security line at Mississippi's Jackson-Evers International Airport and patted down by an American security agent, despite being told of her diplomatic status. — PTI

Top

 

Indian ship detained at Chittagong port

Dhaka, December 26
An Indian ship was today detained at Chittagong port after a Bangladeshi court issued an "arrest order" against it over a suit claiming Rs 12 crore as compensation for the alleged loss of cargo.

'MV Ocean Pearl' was detained after the arrest order was issued by the High Court on Thursday, a senior customs official was quoted as saying by the 'New Age'.

“The ship was scheduled to call at Mongla port to unload the cargo. But as the ship faced trouble after developing cracks, it made emergency beaching on Patenga coast. As it failed to reach the destination in time, some cargoes were damaged," he was quoted as saying the Age.

The ship carried over 16,000 tonnes of fertiliser from China for Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation, officialshere said.

The Department of Environment in Chittagong on Thursday had served a show cause notice to Sigma Shipping Ltd, the local agent of the ship, for spilling oil along the coastline, officials said here.

Sigma Shipping was asked to show cause by December 28 why legal action against MV Ocean Pearl should not be taken for oil spills in sea, DOE officials said. — PTI 

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Christians step up campaign for release of Asia Bibi
Lahore
: Amidst pressure from Pakistan's religious hardliners not to amend a blasphemy law, Christian groups have pledged to take all possible steps for the release of a mother of five who has been sentenced to death for insulting Prophet Mohammed. The death sentence given to Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old Christian woman convicted for blasphemy, has triggered a debate on the need to repeal or amend the controversial law. However, hardline groups had organised protests across the country, saying they will not accept any changes to the law. These controversial clauses, inserted during the regime of late dictator Zia-ul-Haq, prescribe the death penalty for anyone convicted for insulting Prophet Mohammed and life imprisonment for those found guilty of desecrating the Quran. — PTI

Indian-American supporters of civil rights activist Binayak Sen display placards in protest against his life sentence at the Harvard Square in Boston, US, on Saturday.
Indian-American supporters of civil rights activist Binayak Sen display placards in protest against his life sentence at the Harvard Square in Boston, US, on Saturday. — PTI

Venezuela ex-President Perez dead
Caracas
: Venezuela's former president Carlos Andres Perez, 88, who nationalised the oil industry and then survived a coup attempt by future leader Hugo Chavez, has died in Miami, his daughter told local media. As a two-term president, Perez led Venezuela through rising fortunes as well as deeply turbulent times, including the country's worst-ever riots that left hundreds dead in 1989 after he initiated economic reforms, and eventually was driven out of office on corruption allegations. The leftist leader governed Venezuela twice: from 1974 to 1979 and 1989-1993. AFP

Columbus monument assembled
Moscow
: Russia will gift a 126-metre bronze monument of Christopher Columbus, assembled by well-known Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli to America. The composition will be assembled from 2,400 details, which were cast in St Petersburg at the Monumentskulptura plant and delivered overseas, said Tsereteli who is also a president of the Russian Academy of Arts. The bronze monument will stand at the northern coast of Puerto Rico from where Columbus began his discovery for America. Itar-Tass

Coming soon: Fridge of the future!
London
: Imagine your home refrigerator cleaning itself, offering up recipes depending on whether you prefer something Italian or fancy a spicy curry, cutting down on left-overs, and automatically re-ordering fresh food. Well, your imagination may soon turn into a reality, thanks to British researchers who claim to be designing such a 'fridge of the future' which could help you save precious time in today's hectic life. — AFP

Top





 

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