- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 23, 2002

Pakistan, China start work on deep-sea port
GWADAR, Pakistan Pakistan and China formally started the construction of a strategic deep-sea port on Pakistan's remote south coast yesterday, further strengthening Sino-Pakistani relations.
Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Wu Bangguo was on hand to start work on the port with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
China is contributing $198 million of the total $248 million cost of the construction of the facility at Gwadar, about 480 miles southwest of Karachi.
"Our relationship will keep growing, regardless of any international political volatility," the Chinese official said. Gen. Musharraf said yesterday's event signaled a "historic day" in his country's relationship with China. "Our friendship will grow to new heights," he added.
The port, slated for completion in three years, will provide international access to Iran, landlocked Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia, in addition to playing a pivotal role linking South Asian sea trade with the Middle East.

Indian chops off tongue for leader's election
MADRAS, India An Indian man who cut off his own tongue as a religious sacrifice has had surgery to repair his wound, officials said.
Raja, 60, a poor tea seller from the town of Sirkazhi in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, had vowed to cut off his tongue at a temple if a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha Jayaram, who had stepped down following a court order in a corruption case, was returned to power.
Earlier this month, Miss Jayalalitha was sworn in again as chief minister after her convictions were overturned. A few days later, Raja went to the famous Tirupati temple in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, cut his tongue with a rusty blade in front of horrified worshippers and flung it into a huge brass pot for offerings.
He was taken to a hospital in Madras where plastic surgeons reshaped his tongue so he will be able to speak again.
When she heard about the bizarre display of loyalty, the chief minister gave Raja $532.

Kin of pioneers to meet on Everest
KATMANDU, Nepal Almost half a century after Peter Hillary's father and Tashi Tenzing's grandfather became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the younger two are making their separate ways to the roof of the world to celebrate.
Sir Edmund Hillary's son and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa's grandson will retrace the successful 1953 route to the treacherous 29,035-foot peak on the Nepal-Tibet border, but each in separate expeditions among the 10 trying to conquer the mountain this season.
Mr. Tenzing, a 36-year-old Australian, left Katmandu Wednesday as part of a Swiss team marking a near-successful 1952 bid led by his grandfather and Switzerland's Raymond Lambert.
Mr. Hillary is part of a six-member, mainly American National Geographic expedition, led by U.S. mountaineer Peter Athans, which is due to leave Katmandu this weekend.
Although the New Zealand-born Mr. Hillary, 54, first reached the Everest summit in 1990 and Mr. Tenzing in 1997, it is the first time the pair will be on the mountain in the same season.

Portrait law fuels Bangladesh protests
DHAKA, Bangladesh Several people were injured Thursday when police used tear gas to break up a demonstration against a controversial bill that the opposition had warned could lead to street protests.
Paramilitary troops and police were deployed around Bangladesh's parliament and in other key areas of Dhaka as a session began that is expected to approve the bill scrapping a law that required portraits of Bangladesh's founder Sheik Mujibur Rahman to be displayed in public buildings.
Sheik Mujibur, who led the movement that led to Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971 and was assassinated four years later, is the father of opposition leader Sheik Hasina Wajed, whose Awami League passed the portrait law while in power.
The Awami League has boycotted the 300-seat parliament since losing an Oct. 1 election to the archrival Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The party announced last week its 58 members of parliament would also resign their seats.
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, on Tuesday, warned the opposition of "tough action" if it resorted to violent protests.

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