- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2002

Bangladeshis told of child camel jockeys
DHAKA, Bangladesh Some 2,000 child camel jockeys are still in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) despite the Gulf state's promise to crack down on the widely condemned practice, a Bangladeshi rights group reports.
Nazrul Islam of the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association said he was recently in Dubai and found that 2,000 South Asian child jockeys were still in the UAE and many were being trained for the next season. "Some 600 were from Bangladesh," he told a seminar in Dhaka, the capital.
Speaking at the same conference, Bangladesh's state minister for expatriate welfare, Qamrul Islam, said he could not confirm the figure. The Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association said last month that camel jockeys were being secretly returned home before tougher punishments came into force this month in the UAE.

Tajikistan arrests head of banned group
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan Police have detained a leader of a banned Islamic organization and confiscated subversive literature found in his home, the government said Thursday.
Abdurazik Kuvatov, 34, was a leader of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir group here in the Tajik capital, said Security Ministry spokesman Hazar Buriev. Police found 400 leaflets and other "propaganda" in his home during the detention Wednesday, Mr. Buriev said.
The secretive Hizb-ut-Tahrir aims to create an Islamic state in Central Asia. It emerged in the Middle East and spread to Central Asia and Azerbaijan after the 1991 Soviet collapse. Secular authorities in Central Asia have banned the group. Tajik officials have accused Hizb-ut-Tahrir of having ties with al Qaeda and the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan.

India puts in orbit first weather satellite
MADRAS, India India launched its first meteorological satellite last week and authorities hope it will reap widespread commercial benefits for this country, as well as bring more accurate weather forecasts.
The 2,310-pound METSAT was successfully launched from a Polar Satellite Launching Vehicle (PSLV-C4) near Madras Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organization said.

Weeky notes
Pakistan's exiled two-time former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, formally withdrew last week from the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections, the first since Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power by toppling Mr. Sharif and jailing him on corruption, hijacking and terrorism charges. Mr. Sharif had nominated himself from exile in Saudi Arabia, and his bid to run came as a surprise because of his purported promise to stay out of Pakistan and its politics for 10 years. A major survey of the damage wrought by 23 years of war to Afghanistan's environment is to be carried out by international and local scientists, the U.N. Environment Program announced. Pekka Haavisto, chairman of the UNEP Afghanistan task force, told reporters the country's environment has also suffered as a result of a lengthy drought.

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