attacked by Pakistan militants
Suspected militants attacked army buildings near the US
consulate in Pakistan’s northwestern capital Peshawar
yesterday, police said.
Police said a number of armed fighters tried to get into a
secure area close to the consulate and army buildings early
in the morning and the exchanges of fire between the
attackers and security forces were continuing.
“There target is not clear but they were trying to reach a
very sensitive area. There is the US consulate and army
offices and buildings in that area,” Karim Kha, a senior
police official in Peshawar, said.
“The US consulate is completely safe,” he added.
Richard Snelsire, a spokesman for the US Embassy in
Islamabad, said he had “no information right now” on whether
the consulate was the intended target.
Police said the army had sealed off the site of the attack,
preventing anyone from entering, while intermittent gunfire
An AFP reporter at the scene said the army and police had
blocked all the roads into the area while helicopters
patrolled the skies.
Bashir Bilour, a provincial cabinet minister whose home is
in front of the consulate, said: “The first round of firing
continued for 30 minutes. I don’t know what’s going on but
the army has sealed off the whole area and firing is still
“Soldiers have also entered my Hujra (visitors compound). I
cannot go outside,” he added.
Bombs and attacks blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked
militants have hit soldiers, government officials and
civilians across nuclear-armed Pakistan since government
troops besieged a radical mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.
Such attacks have killed more than 3,574 people in the past
three years, concentrated largely in the northwest and
border areas with Afghanistan, where 141,000 US and NATO
troops have been fighting the Taliban for nine years.
A roadside remote control bomb on Monday killed two
anti-Taliban militia men in Mattni on the outskirts of
Peshawar and wounded five others, police said.
|Japan opens up death chamber to media
(AFP) - Japan has thrown open the doors to its
mystery-shrouded execution chamber for the first time, as
part of a crusade by the justice minister to stoke debate
about the death penalty.
The move came a month after Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, an
opponent of capital punishment, announced a review of the
practice after she witnessed the first executions since her
centre-left government took power almost a year ago.
At the minister’s urging, Japanese media were allowed on a
30-minute visit inside the glass-walled execution room in
the Tokyo Detention House, where convicts, usually multiple
murderers, are put to death by hanging.
A red square with a cross on the white floor marks the spot
in the windowless room where convicts stand with the noose
around their neck, before a trap-door opens below them and
they plunge to their deaths.
The mechanism is triggered by one of three wall-mounted push
buttons in an adjacent room, pressed simultaneously by three
officers, although none of them is told which button is the
live one that will cause the prisoner’s death.
In another room, a golden Buddha statue stands in an alcove
for final prayers before the handcuffed convicts are
blindfolded and led to their deaths, according to footage by
public broadcaster NHK and other TV stations.
“This reporting opportunity will provide information for
public debate on the death penalty system,” Chiba told a
news conference on the media visit to one of several death
chambers operated across the country.
Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major
industrialised democracy to carry out capital punishment, a
practice that has earned Tokyo repeat protests from European
governments and human rights groups.
Japan has faced particular criticism for only informing
death row prisoners of their impending execution at the last
minute, and for only telling their families afterwards that
their relative has been put to death.
Amnesty International last year labelled death row
conditions in Japan “cruel, inhuman and degrading”, blaming
the mental strain they cause for tipping many long-term
convicts into insanity.
“Each day could be their last and the arrival of a prison
officer with a death warrant would signal their execution
within hours,” the report said. “Some live like this year
after year, sometimes for decades”.
|Three killed, 40 injured in Iran quake
(AFP) - Three people, including two children, have been
killed and 40 others injured in an earthquake which struck
Iran’s biggest desert, Dasht-e Kavir, state television
The 5.9 magnitude quake struck on Friday south of the
northern city of Damghan.
In a separate report, the state television website quoted
secretary general of Iran Red Crescent, Zaher Rostani, as
saying that an elderly woman was also among those killed in
The website said six villages near Damghan were damaged in
the quake which was about 278 kilometres (167 miles) east of
The tremor, which struck at 11:53 pm (1923 GMT) on Friday,
was also felt in the capital Tehran.
Iran sits astride several major fault lines in the Earth’s
crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which
have been devastating.
The worst in recent times was a 6.3 magnitude quake which
hit the southern city of Bam in December 2003, killing
31,000 people, about a quarter of its population, and
destroying the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.
|Scores turn out to bury Philippine
(AFP) - Scores of friends and
family turned out yesterday to bury the slain ex-policeman
who this week hijacked a bus in Manila, leading to a crisis
in which eight Hong Kong tourists died.
Even as the government tried to distance itself from the
incident, over a hundred people gathered at Senior Inspector
Rolando Mendoza’s home, to remember him for his police
honours and not for Monday’s tragic events.
“There are so many mourners because he was a good man. You
never heard about him doing anything bad,” said warehouse
worker Mark Torres, a family friend attending the wake in
Tanauan, a small city south of Manila.
Francisco Misaba, a district watchman, said he had been
assigned to manage the traffic because many people were
expected to attend Mendoza’s funeral mass and burial later
in the day.
“There will be plenty of people attending because he had a
lot of friends. Just about everyone in the district was his
friend,” he said.
Mendoza’s family has refused to grant press interviews. But
at his wake, which is being held in Mendoza’s home, they put
his numerous citations on display alongside many floral
wreaths sent by fellow policemen.
Mendoza, a decorated police officer who had been sacked over
extortion charges, took a bus-load of Hong Kong tourists
hostage in Manila on Monday, demanding to be reinstated.
This led to a siege of the bus and muddled police
negotiations that ended bloodily, with Mendoza and eight of
the tourists shot dead.
The bungled rescue has enraged Hong Kong and embarrassed the
Philippine government, which has called an investigation of
Further embarrassment came on Friday when the Chinese
embassy condemned the draping of Mendoza’s coffin with a
Philippine flag as if he was a hero.
The Philippine government said that the flag had been placed
there by Mendoza’s family and that it had been later removed
by a city official.
Torres said he could not explain Mendoza’s violent actions,
adding that he had never heard of any misdeeds committed by
the former policeman.
“I don’t think he went insane. He just believed what he was
fighting for,” he told AFP.
“I can’t really say that he was justified, because people
died. But we can’t say he was totally wrong, either.”
“We don’t understand why he did this. All we know is that he
is now dead,” said Misaba.
|Sluggish response to
By Peter Marshall
There can be little doubt that the view on the ground from
aid agencies is that aid is getting to Pakistan far too
slowly after flooding has left a third of the country under
water, displacing 20 million people and killing around
1,600, according to Pakistani sources and others.
The floods have inundated Khaiber Pukhtoonkhawa and
Southern Punjab, with the water then washing down the Indus
River Valley, causing a deluge in Sindh, all caused by
unprecedented monsoon rains in the northern areas of the
country starting three weeks ago with even more rain
As well as this, there is the obvious potential for
epidemic levels of waterborne diseases, especially with such
widespread devastation in such a hot climate, and then of
course the problems that will arise from so much
agricultural land being flooded and destroyed. Apparently
many of the people hit are unfortunately some of the poorest
in a country that has no shortage of poverty related
Despite the US Government, pledging around $150 million
and the European Union pledging somewhere in the region of
200 million Euros with more said to be in the pipeline
(obviously with many other countries also pledging aid the
world over) there have been reports in the press in both the
US and certain EU member states that private donations by
citizens have been somewhat slow in coming compared with
other similar appeals in recent times, along with the wider
assertion by workers on the ground that pledges already made
are trickling in rather than flowing into the flood ravaged
Many have pondered the question of why Pakistan may be
receiving less attention than the huge scale of the natural
disaster would suggest it deserves, with a whole range of
reasons being banded about.
A BBC article suggested that ‘Donor Fatigue’ may play a
part after so much aid is perceived to have been given by
the international community following other natural
disasters like the Tsunami in 2004, the cyclone in Burma in
2008 and the recent Earthquake in Haiti.
A commonly held belief is that the international community
only really has the ability in terms of logistics and
forward planning, to satisfactorily handle one world-wide
disaster of such a large magnitude once a year – if in deed
true, this makes for an obvious problem as this natural
disaster comes not long after relief efforts following the
devastating affect of the Haitian Earthquake.
I recently wrote a piece regarding how the international
public are affected when they read and watch so many news
bulletins on so many cases of human suffering world-wide
which may have the affect of making them far more
desensitised – I believe ‘the more they see, the less it
registers’ was the term I used.
In this case, the fact that it has built over weeks rather
than one ‘shock value image’ for want of a better term, such
as the widespread and visually striking destruction caused
over a very short space of time in Haiti may mean that with
less shock, comes less feeling of urgency to assist.
It has also been suggested in the US and British press
(these are just two examples though many argue this is the
case for many countries, particularly in the West) for
example via articles in the media and responses to blog
sites attached to popular news media providers, that the
general public have the opinion that the Western world,
often seen as the part of the world community that provides
a large proportion of the aid for such natural disasters
(and many would argue the part of the world that can most
afford to), may be less likely to give due to its often
negative opinion of Pakistan.
Many in the UK and America for example (highlighted by the
British PM’s controversial comments made recently), though
officially the country as an ally in the so titled ‘war
against terror’, seem to feel that more should be done by
the Pakistani Government to stop terrorism being exported
from Pakistan to other parts of the world.
It is often quoted in the press as fact that Pakistan has
one of the worst, if not the worst record when it comes to
the number of terrorists living within its borders.
Many including the Afghan President Hamid Karzai have
claimed that the Taliban’s base is in Pakistan and a recent
leaked document from a British Ministry of Defence
think-tank researcher criticised Pakistan’s intelligence
service, the ISI, for covertly abetting the Taliban, which
was denied by Pakistan’s Government.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, on the eve of a
visit to Britain recently, said his country was wrongly
accused of failing its allies and of assisting the Taliban -
a growing terrorist threat in nearby Afghanistan for which
in recent days he has repeatedly blamed Afghanistan and its
leader, Hamid Karzai.
He also complained of the West’s habit of badmouthing
Islam. But, the President did say that it was unrealistic to
suggest there were no terrorists or their sympathisers in
Pakistan and on its borders but made the point that
differentiating between these and ordinary moderate people
was no easy task.
“It’s high time that the world understood that the
Muslims are 1.5 billion people. They have their own concerns
- their own culture - and they are vastly moderate. Don’t
lump Muslims together and assume they are extremists,” he
The Pakistani Government, especially after Prime Minister
Cameron’s comments, were quick to point out that a great
many Pakistani’s have died fighting terrorist organisations
and that they have truly been a genuine ally in the war
Regardless of which side you take, it is easy to see how
some Western countries, especially ones that have suffered
terrorist attacks such as the UK, Spain and obviously the US
itself - amongst others - might react given this stereotype.
London is statistically now the most multi-cultural city
in the world, and a place where generally speaking different
races and cultures rub together perfectly well, without it
would seem, widespread hatred or outbursts of violence on
There are, however, huge swathes of land in Britain and
other countries including the US (traditionally priding
itself on its ‘melting pot’ society) where there are no
Muslim people, or immigrants of any kind for that matter.
Many of the people living there may well, like we all do
to an extent, make up their minds on world issues from
watching the news.
Of course only bad news makes headlines, a fact that has
sadly always been the case owing to human nature and so the
vast majority of ‘moderate Muslims’ living in the UK do not
appear on news bulletins. ‘Moderate Muslim family who get on
with their neighbours as well as anyone else are working
hard to pay mortgage and educate children’ is not a very
interesting story whichever way you spin it. It is normally
a story regarding an extremist, or terrorist sympathisers
etc. that generates some kind of newsworthiness, regardless
of whether they only represent a very small, if loud,
minority of Muslim people. And so, when the word Muslim is
constantly linked with terrorism and bad deeds in the media
it is easy to see how such a negative stereotype can occur
very quickly (even when no television controller or paper
editor is purposely trying to mislead; and especially if
they are – though this seems again to be a relatively tiny
amount in relation to the whole).
The media by definition cannot show the world as it is
and will always, to some extent, be misleading in its very
nature as it has to edit somewhere and decide what it shows
and what it doesn’t.
This also highlights how easily a country or religion can
be tagged with a specific label, even un-intentionally.
But, regardless of whether there is any truth in this
stereotype regarding Pakistan? And regardless of the answer,
should it really bare any relevance to a situation were a
huge number of very poor ‘civilians’ are facing the worst
flooding in their nation’s history? Is this not punishing
the people for what the Pakistani Government is doing, or is
perceived to be doing by some people.
And then there will be those will point to the fact that the
government in Pakistan is seen as being corrupt and that
they do not think their money will actually get to the
people who need it.
In reality, even if you take the charge of corruption as
being true (most Pakistani’s certainly would if asked
anonymously – I’d wager by back teeth on that) the fact is
that today many large charity groups such as Oxfam, Doctors
Without Borders, The Red Cross etc. distribute goods and
instigate programmes largely through their own staff and do
not – as happened in the past – simply hand over cheques to
governments and hope for the best.
Also, the Haiti Government hardly had a peachy record
when it comes to corruption in politics, but that didn’t
stop people pledging to help the quake victims.
Another sticking point will be the fact that Pakistan can
apparently afford to fund a nuclear programme and a large
military budget but then expects aid when its own people are
in need of emergency help.
Of course when you and your neighbour are well known
enemies with the threat of war constantly simmering away it
seems, and they have nuclear weapons pointed at you, it is
only natural the government would be tempted to have their
own means of nuclear reprisal should things end up turning
so bad (in which case you can wave goodbye to any aid effort
so far, as a nuclear war between the two would make the
worst flooding in the country’s history look like a leaking
tap in comparison).
Still, most, I think, would still have a problem with the
notion of seeming to priorities a military budget over
putting aside funds to aid the people (yes this was an
unprecedented natural disaster, though there is still
perennial poverty in Pakistan and a lot of it – a country
that has received huge amounts of international aid that as
mentioned earlier has not always found its way to the people
it was intended for in the past).
Murky waters in international politics once again, who’d
have thought such a thing could still happen in 2010? Though
should this make a jot of difference when it comes to people
who in the vast majority of cases are more than likely just
ordinary men, women and children who now find themselves
literally living in a sunken (and most likely soon to be
disease ridden) world through no fault of their own?
Some would say that if you disagree with politics of a
country’s government, there are channels to address this
(e.g. diplomacy, UN sanctions if deemed necessary, trade
embargoes etc.) and that taking it out on the ordinary
population, even indirectly by not sending contributions a
person would normally do to other regions is not one of
them; I’m no great fan of recent, or past US Government
foreign policies for that matter, but does that mean I have
any less sympathy for the poor souls and their families
involved in the World Trade Centre Attacks in New York? Do I
hold them accountable for what their President says and
Of course, this may well play back into the donour apathy
effect in that after donating, perhaps very generously to
say the Haiti earthquake recently, a person in whatever
country, is essentially looking for an excuse not to have to
dig deep in their pocket again (understandable) – and a
handy excuse can come in the form of a negative stereotype
of that nation. This may sound cruel but human nature being
what it is the world over, this wouldn’t surprise me as
being at least a contributing factor.
In reality the problems of aid getting to the flood victims
too slowly is likely to be caused by all of theses factors
in some part.
Once again we see how the media can (sometimes
deliberately, sometimes unintentionally) help stamp a
country with a particular label (and of course the country’s
government can also play a large part in this by the way
they behave) and that humans as we see all the time, love to
pigeon hole entire groups of people, whole nations or
religions at times. Perhaps a pertinent reminder to the
press of the power and responsibility it has?
Personally, I think the needed funds will be raised and
will reach the areas needed eventually. But of course for
the people who need it most to alleviate unthinkable
suffering now (they will worry about the future problems
when they are out of their current ones) the matter of the
time they have to wait between now and then is very nearly
as important as whether the help is coming at all.
And once again it will not be the people who certain nations
and their citizenry have a grudge with - those, who say
choose to start and continue to fund a nuclear programme, or
assist terrorism (or not, depending on your point of view)
that are affected, but the civilian in the street who like
civilians in countries the world over are just trying to get
by, to raise a family – it is the man woman and child in the
street who will take both the brunt of the storm, and the
resultant fallout as well.
People should remember this at least, when making the
decision about whether to do their bit or not.
|Deciphering the ‘Hermit’
North Korea is called the hermit kingdom for good reason.
Since the end of the Cold War, the country has been the most
reclusive nation on Earth, rarely allowing outsiders in and
even more tightly ensuring that no one gets out.
For all its secrecy however, the Democratic People’
Republic of Korea, as it is officially known is constantly
making the news, albeit for the wrong reasons.
Last week, there was another high level visit to North
Former US president Jimmy Carter reportedly undertook a
rescue mission that carries what analysts see as tremendous
diplomatic significance amid rising tensions on the Korean
The reason for Carter to fly to Pyongyang was to pick up a
30-year-old American whom North Korean soldiers seized after
he crossed the border into North Korea from China last
Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who was teaching English in South
Korea before deciding to go to North Korea, attempted to
commit suicide, according to a North Korean report, after a
court in April sentenced him to eight years in prison.
Two American doctors, accompanied by consular officials, saw
him earlier this month, and US officials have been pressing
hard for a way to have him released.
The rescue mission was similar to when former president,
Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang in early August of last year
aboard a private jet.
Clinton, after spending three hours dining with Kim Jong-il
returned with two American women who had been picked up by
North Korean soldiers on the Tumen River border with China
while filming a documentary for former vice-president Al
Gore’s Internet TV network.
The Clinton visit was hoped to be more than just a
humanitarian mission due to his access to the Obama
His wife being the country’s top diplomat analysts were
abuzz that the visit will give an opportunity for America to
engage the North at a higher level since the break down of
six party talks that were meant to disband the country’s
ambitious nuclear programme.
Although the Obama administration has made clear that the
forays by ex-presidents have no official approval, they are
seen as a useful and high-profile channel of communication
with the unpredictable regime that defiantly developed
nuclear weapons and routinely threatens to wage war against
Tensions have simmered since the Clinton visit when
allegedly the North sank a South Korean naval vessel in
March this year.
The sinking of a naval vessel on March 26, 2010 that killed
dozens of sailors was the worst incident since the Korean
War ended in an armistice in 1953.
The 1,200-tonne Cheonan was on a routine patrol mission in
the waters near the Koreas’ maritime border when an
explosion ripped the sturdy frigate in two. Fifty-eight
sailors were rescued; 46 others perished.
A subsequent investigation carried out by a team of
international experts concluded the vessel was struck by a
North Korean torpedo most likely fired by one of its
The North has denied the accusation but the claims and
counter claims have heightened tensions in the trouble
peninsula to levels that were not seen since the end of the
Back to talking
President Jimmy Carter’s visit is hoped to ease some of
simmering tensions and recent sabre rattling by the North
Koreans and if possible bring them back to the negotiating
table to discuss the country’s nuclear disarmament. In the
past, the North has been hard bargainers.
At the height of a famine in the late 1990s the North
started its nuclear programme which was used as leverage for
aid from its own enemies who went to extraordinary lengths
to stall the development of a nuclear weapon.
Food and other economic aid was promised and delivered in
return for the North’s assurance that it will stop nuclear
The deal was to give North Korea the technology for civilian
nuclear reactors for energy purposes with monitoring while
ensuring non of the by products of electricity generation
was used to build a nuclear bomb.
However, after years of talking the negotiations ended
when the North announced that it had developed a nuclear
weapon. Despite routine provocations and occasions threats
of declaring war by the North the US and its allies have
been continuously trying to engage the Hermit Kingdom
The Carter visit not expected to be groundbreaking or bring
the North back to the negotiation table but it is at least
hoped would ease some of the tensions that are now at its
Compounding the North’s current predicament is the
uncertainty that looms over the succession of its ailing
leader Kim Jong Il.
The current leader like his father, North Korea founder Kim
Il Sung, is the object of an all-pervasive personality cult.
Unlike his father, however, he has not clearly designated a
There is great speculation among North Korea watches that
Kim Jung-Un, the youngest son of the current leader will be
Very little is known about the younger Kim. He’s reported to
be in his late twenties and apparently had studied abroad in
Analysts believe that the recent escalation of tensions in
the peninsula is linked to the succession of the leadership.
North Korea expert Victor D Cha Cha in a recent article
has drawn similarities between the current happenings and
the 1980’s when Kim Jong Il was being groomed to succeed his
father. “When Kim Jong-Il was appointed successor to his
father Kim Il-Sung, a similar sort of legitimisation process
took place in which Kim Jong-Il was responsible for many of
the actions in the 1980s -- such as the Korean Air 858
explosion in 1987, when North Korean agents planted a bomb
in the plane which had taken off from Baghdad. The agents
got off in Abu Dhabi, and the plane exploded over the Sea of
Andaman, killing all 115 aboard. And in 1983, North Korean
terrorists killed about half of the South Korean cabinet
while it was on a state visit to Burma,” explains Cha adding
that the recent sinking of the South Korean naval vessel and
the resulting tensions between the two Koreas could most
likely be the “coming out ceremony” for Kim Jung-Un.
If he’s going to be anything like his father or his
grandfather, the Hermit Kingdom would most likely remain the
most elusive place on earth.
News in brief
Congo butchery ‘resembled genocide’
(AFP) - Hutus in the Democratic Republic of Congo were
butchered in a pattern of targeted, widespread and
systematic attacks that resembled the Rwandan genocide, the
head of a new UN probe said.
Luc Cote, a war crimes prosecutor from Montreal, told AFP
that Rwandan Tutsi troops and their rebel allies targeted,
chased, hacked, shot and burned Hutus in the DRC, from 1996
to 1997, after the outbreak of a cross-border Central
“For me it was amazing,” said Cote, who also investigated
the 1994 Rwandan genocide and ran the legal office of the UN
International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda from 1995 until
“I saw a pattern in the Congo that I’d seen in Rwanda,” Cote
said, referring to the Rwandan genocide where Hutu
extremists butchered an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and
Taliban ‘raid NATO base’ in Afghanistan
(AFP) - A NATO base in volatile eastern Afghanistan came
under attack early today from possible Taliban militants,
police in the region said.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was
unable to confirm reports that a US-run base in Khost
province had come under attack but said it was investigating
“From what I understand it is still ongoing, we are getting
details,” a spokeswoman said.
Local police chief Adbul Hakim Is’haqzai said Taliban
militants had first attacked Forward Operating Base (FOB)
Salerno before retreating to occupy a secondary school in
Khost city, the provincial capital.
The school was near a smaller US-run base, FOB Chapman, he
Kim Jong Il meets Chinese president
(CNN) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Il may have met
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday, South Korea’s
official news agency reported.
An unnamed South Korean official said government
intelligence indicated that Kim and Hu met in the
northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, according to the
Yonhap News Agency.
Reports from multiple news sources indicated that Jintao
arrived in China on Thursday, though neither China nor North
Korea have confirmed the trip.
Kim’s visit coincided with former President Jimmy Carter’s
trip to North Korea, during which Carter secured the release
of a US citizen who had been sentenced to eight years of
hard labour for crossing over the Chinese border into North
That man, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, arrived home on Friday
afternoon in Boston, Massachusetts with Carter.
India refused visas to Chinese military officials
(Times of India) India summoned the Chinese ambassador and
has refused to allow visits of two Chinese military
officials to protest against Beijing’s refusal of a visa to
a general in the Indian Army.
The discussion came after India, as reported by TOI on
Friday, cancelled defence exchanges to protest against China
refusing to allow the visit of an Indian Army general on the
ground that his jurisdiction included “disputed” J&K. In a
tit-for-tat response, India refused to allow the visits of
two captain-level Chinese officers to Pachmarhi, and one
colonel-level officer to National Defence College.
India was also cold to China’s fence-mending bid by
offering to send a colonel-level official to New Delhi for
talks with joint secretary (international cooperation) in
the defence ministry. With passions running high, there was
no certainty that the government would allow the visit
scheduled for September 7.
|Chilean miners told they may be
trapped until Christmas
The 33 Chilean miners
who have been trapped underground for three weeks have been
told that they may not be rescued until the end of the year.
Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said the men – who had not
previously been told how long the operation could take – had
accepted the news calmly during talks with the Chilean
president, Sebastián Piñera.
“During a conversation with the president, we were pretty
much able to tell them and they’ve accepted that they’re not
going to be rescued before Fiestas Patrias (Chile’s
independence day celebrations on September 18),” said
“(But) we hope to be with them – and their families hope to
be with them – before Christmas.”
The minister added: “I think that we’ve been able to talk
with them very frankly and they’ve accepted it and they’re
calm and they want to work well with us.”
Mañalich said the men were still in good shape and revealed
that rescue workers had managed to finish a second narrow
borehole which would be dedicated to channelling drinking
water to the miners and keeping communications flowing.
Rescuers are sending clothes, medicine and games down the
700-metre borehole, which has the diameter of a grapefruit,
to help keep the men physically and mentally fit.
The government has asked Nasa and Chile’s submarine fleet
for tips on survival in extreme, confined conditions, and
are intending to send them rations similar to those used on
Mañalich said the miners would also be given
“We expect that after the initial euphoria of being found,
we will likely see a period of depression and anguish,” he
|100 years of Teresa – A city remembers
As Mother Teresa’s birth centenary
celebrations commenced in India, Pope Benedict XVI has sent
a message to the Missionaries of Charity, joining
“spiritually” in the celebrations and giving the order and
the people they serve his blessings.
In a letter to Superior-General of the Missionaries of
Charity Sister Prema, Pope Benedict said: “This year will be
for the church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude
to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in
Continue to inspire
Pope Benedict said Mother Teresa exemplified the words of
Saint John: “Beloved, if God so loves us, we ought also to
love one another. If we love one another, God abides in us
and his love is perfected in us.”
Expressing the hope that this love would continue to inspire
the Missionaries of Charity in their work, the Pope said: “I
encourage you to draw constantly from the spirituality and
example of Mother Teresa.”
The letter was read out at a special mass held at Mother
House, headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, by
Archbishop of Calcutta Rev Lucas Sirkar.
“Today people from all nations, castes, creeds and walks of
life celebrate God’s love and light, which radiated on our
cold and darkened world through Mother Teresa,” Sister Prema
said. A stream of visitors came in to pay homage to Mother
Teresa at Mother House all through the day.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated ‘Mother
Express,’ an exhibition train with photographs depicting the
life and philanthropic deeds of Mother Teresa, at the
At the inauguration, Sister Prema spoke about the close
association Mother Teresa had with the Railways. It was on a
train she took from the same station to Darjeeling when
Mother Teresa received what she herself described as “the
call within a call” — the moment when she received a message
from God to leave the convent were she was a nun and begin
her work in the slums of Kolkata.
When several other centres of the Missionaries of Charity
came up in other cities, she would often travel to them, but
always in third class and without reservation.
“Mother liked to travel like the poor and among the poor,”
Sister Prema said.
Ms Banerjee said she had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee, urging them to ensure that the Government
of India observed the centenary year in a befitting manner.
A Mother Teresa International Film Festival 2010 was also
inaugurated. (The Hindu)