- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 16, 2002

10 Bhutto partisans urge unity government
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Ten National Assembly members of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto announced early yesterday they would support formation of a national-unity government.
"We have decided to back formation of a national-consensus government at the center in the larger national interest and to ensure transition to a democratic order and save democracy in the country," Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, speaking as the leader of the dissident group, told reporters.
Oct. 10 elections resulted in a hung parliament, with no party winning the 172-seat majority needed to form government. The Pakistan People's Party, winner of the most seats among parties opposed to the policies of President Pervez Musharraf, had been in protracted negotiations to build a coalition with other, like-minded parties, but talks broke down about the choice of a candidate for prime minister.

Mongolian farmers protest land prices
ULAN BATOR, Mongolia Police at midweek broke up a demonstration by hundreds of farmers who parked their tractors in front of the parliament building to protest a law allowing the sale of farmland.
Some protesters drove tractors up to 400 miles over snow-covered roads to appear and spent Tuesday night on Sukhbaatar Square in temperatures below freezing. Banners hung from the tractors said, "Privatize the Land for People" and "Land for the Rich, Death for the Poor."
Police moved in at 4 a.m. Wednesday, detaining 44 protesters and removing the tractors from the square. Six journalists were among the detained, and one showed a videotape of police knocking protesters to the ground and hitting them with clubs.

U.S. troops visited by D.C. pompom girls
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan Saucer-eyed U.S. soldiers watched a performance by professional pompom girls Thursday members of two Washington, D.C., cheerleading squads who flew in for a morale-boosting visit.
The young women, ages 19 to 27, dressed in a succession of revealing outfits, ran through routines normally reserved for the sidelines of Washington Wizards basketball games and Washington Redskins football matches.

Weekly notes
One of India's leading women's rights activists is sarcastically urging deployment of female suicide squads to fight wife-killers and rapists. Brinda Karat of the All India Democratic Women's Association said her suggestion was aimed at radical Hindu leader Bal Thackeray, who has sparked a storm by demanding the formation of Hindu suicide squads to counter Muslim militants. "Thackeray should first take care of atrocities against women," she said of the radical Hindu leader. U.N. envoy Razali Ismail met briefly with Burma's leader Than Shwe on Thursday in talks critical to revitalizing stalled reconciliation efforts. Mr. Razali warned recently he would quit if the junta failed to make progress on democratic reforms, and planned to confront Gen. Than Shwe about a broken promise to open talks with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In an indication that little was achieved, the meeting lasted less than 15 minutes, official sources said.


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