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News


Sanjay Dutt could head to jail Monday: lawyer

Bollywood bad boy Sanjay Dutt, who is out on bail from a six-year sentence for illegal arms possession due to a technicality, could be back in jail as early as 22 October, his lawyer said 20 October in Mumbai

MUMBAI (AFP) - Bollywood bad boy Sanjay Dutt, who is out on bail from a six-year sentence for illegal arms possession due to a technicality, could be back in jail as early as Monday, his lawyer said.
India’s Supreme Court agreed to his conditional release in August after the anti-terror court in Mumbai that jailed him failed to provide the actor with a copy of its judgement.
“Dutt has now been called on Monday and is likely to receive his copy,” Farhana Shah, one of Dutt’s lawyers, told AFP Saturday.
The Supreme Court has ordered Dutt to turn himself in when his lawyers receive a copy of the judgement.
Dutt appeared in court Saturday but was told to return after the weekend, the lawyer added.
The hugely popular star was sentenced on July 31 to serve six years for possessing illegal weapons received from the plotters of the 1993 Mumbai bombings, which killed 257 people and wounded 800.
Dutt has always maintained his innocence, arguing he purchased a Kalashnikov assault rifle to protect his family from sectarian violence.
During his temporary reprieve Dutt has been busy completing his movie contracts, with six films in production and some 750 million rupees (18.4 million dollars) of Bollywood money riding on him.
The son of a politically prominent Hindu father and a Muslim mother honoured for her acting, Dutt’s turbulent off-screen life has also been wracked by drug abuse and two failed marriages.

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Bomb blast kills seven in Pakistan

QUETTA (AFP) Seven people were killed and 15 others were injured Saturday when a bomb exploded in a market in troubled Baluchistan province in the latest violence to hit Pakistan, police said.
The blast happened as passengers were waiting at a mini-van stand in the main market in Dera Bugti town in the southwestern province, which is in the grip of a low-level insurgency.
“There was a bomb explosion in the main bazaar and seven people were killed and six are wounded,” local police officer Hazoor Baksh told AFP.
Another police officer said 15 people were wounded and a van was completely destroyed in the blast in Dera Bugti about 250 kilometres southeast (155 miles) of provincial capital Quetta.
“We are investigating if the bomb was planted in the van which was parked near a passenger van,” local officer Mohammed Baluch said.

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Iran to fire ‘11,000 rockets in minute’ if attacked

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran warned on Saturday it would fire off 11,000 rockets at enemy bases within the space of a minute if the United States launched military action against the Islamic republic.
“In the first minute of an invasion by the enemy, 11,000 rockets and cannons would be fired at enemy bases,” said a brigadier general in the elite Revolutionary Guards, Mahmoud Chaharbaghi.
“This volume and speed of firing would continue,” added Chaharbaghi, who is commander of artillery and missiles of the Guards’ ground forces, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
The United States has never ruled out attacking Iran to end its defiance over the controversial Iranian nuclear programme, which the US alleges is aimed at making nuclear weapons but Iran insists is entirely peaceful.
Iran has for its part vowed never to initiate an attack but has also warned of a crushing response to any act of aggression against its soil.
“If a war breaks out in the future, it will not last long because we will rub their noses in the dirt,” said Chaharbaghi.
“Now the enemy should ask themselves how many of their people they are ready to have sacrificed for their stupidity in attacking Iran,” he said.
Iranian officials have repeatedly warned the military would target the bases of US forces operating in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan in the event of any attack and already has these sites under close surveillance.
Chaharbaghi said that the Guards would soon receive “rockets with a range of 250 kilometres (155 miles)” whereas the current range of its rockets is 150 kilometres (91 miles).
“We have identified our targets and with a close surveillance of targets, we can respond to the enemy’s stupidity immediately,” Chaharbaghi added. He said that the Guards’ weapons were spread out throughout the country and so would not be affected by any isolated US strikes against military facilities.

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European FMs launch new bid to end Lebanon crisis

BEIRUT (AFP) - The foreign ministers of France, Italy and Spain meet Lebanese leaders on Saturday to discuss the long-running political crisis that threatens to scuttle the country’s presidential election.
France’s Bernard Kouchner, Massimo D’Alema of Italy and Spain’s Miguel Angel Moratinos arrived in Beirut late on Friday in the latest international bid to end a standoff between the Western-backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition.
Ahead of their meetings with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the influential leader of Lebanon’s Christian Maronite community, the three ministers were headed to the south to visit their contingents serving with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Kouchner said on arrival that he had come to try and ensure the election within the constitutional deadline of a president who enjoys “backing from all communities.”
The Lebanese parliament is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to elect a new president, but all indicators point to the session being postponed because of disagreement between the feuding factions, as also happened last month.
Siniora’s government has been paralysed since opposition forces, which include factions backed by Iran and Syria, withdrew six ministers from the cabinet in November 2006 in a bid to gain more representation in government.
Fears are running high that the standoff over the presidency could lead to two rival governments, a grim reminder of the end of the 1975-1990 civil war when two competing administrations battled it out.

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