- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2002

Pakistan, Tajikistan resolve differences

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan The foreign ministers of Tajikistan and Pakistan, which backed opposing sides in neighboring Afghanistan when it was ruled by the Taliban regime, say they have settled their differences.

"Afghanistan served as an interference in our bilateral relations, but there are no longer any shadows over Pakistan and Tajikistan, and we have great prospects for developing contacts," Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said Thursday during a visit to Dushanbe.

Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov said that his country and Pakistan were united in supporting Afghanistan's interim government led by Hamid Karzai. "Our joint task consists in helping the reconstruction of Afghan society," he added.

Rotting sea snails litter Bangladeshi beach

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh Thousands of sea snails are dying along a beach here, creating a stomach-churning stench that is driving away tourists.

The tourism officials said Thursday that the snails were washing up along a wide stretch of Cox's Bazar beach on the Bay of Bengal.

"We are baffled by the finding that only one out of more than 300 species of sea snails are dying off along a particular stretch of the natural beach," said Mohammad Zaher, a scientist with Cox's Bazar Sea Fish Research Institute. The cause of the deaths is not known, he added.

Cox's Bazar, 260 miles southeast of the capital, Dhaka, is Bangladesh's main tourist resort but attracts only a few thousand foreign tourists each year because it is poorly maintained.

Weekly notes

Jemima Khan, wife of Pakistani cricket hero Imran Khan, led a march to the European Union mission in Islamabad two days ago to demand sanctions against Israel for its military action against Palestinians. The daughter of the late British businessman and anti-EU politician Sir James Goldsmith, who was Jewish, led about 300 female members of her husband's political party to the EU office and delivered a petition asking the European Union to suspend all military and economic aid to Israel and recall its envoy. The United States has grown impatient at the slow pace of reconciliation talks between Burma's military junta and Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy there, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly said in Bangkok on Thursday. "We are happy that the contacts between the NLD and the government have continued, but it is our view that Aung San Suu Kyi should be released from house arrest, and the sooner that's done, the better," Mr. Kelly said. Privatization of India's state-run power firms suffered a setback this week when the Delhi government rejected bids from two private firms for the city's electricity distribution firm. Delhi Power Minister Ajay Maken said Thursday the bids of Tata Power and BSES for the Delhi Vidyut Board were far below the expected price, adding that "various new conditions now proposed by the bidders also cannot be considered."

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