- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2005


Young camel jockeysreturned from UAE

LAHORE — They have finally returned home from a brutal life in the United Arab Emirates, but 22 Pakistani children who worked as camel jockeys have still not been claimed by their parents.

The youngsters, age 6 to 17 years old, flew to the eastern city of Lahore on Tuesday, the first to be repatriated under an agreement between the United Nations Children’s Fund and the governments of Pakistan and the Gulf sheikdom.

However, there were no family members there to welcome the children after their absences of two to seven years, and a Pakistani court ordered Wednesday that they be kept in a protection center.

Faiza Asghar, adviser to the government of Punjab province, said about 2,800 child camel racers remain in the UAE, 70 percent of them Pakistanis. Others are from Sudan, Bangladesh, Mauritius and India, she said.


Tsunami aidskips rebel areas

MULLAITIVU — Six months after a tsunami battered Sri Lanka’s shores, people in this remote eastern village under the control of Tamil Tiger rebels have yet to see any sign of reconstruction.

Most live in makeshift camps and are still clearing rubble with their bare hands. For them, a place near the front of the toilet line is a luxury. Not that Sri Lanka is short of money — the island has been promised $3 billion in foreign aid, enough to pay for tsunami reconstruction twice over.

Politics, however, is preventing aid from reaching the eastern seaboard, a prized military possession for the Tigers, the rebels say. Here in Mullaitivu, more than 5,000 families are living with friends or relatives or in relief camps. Of the million people displaced across the island, two-thirds are in the island’s northeast, mostly controlled by the rebels.


Stray army bulletkills 5-year-old girl

DHAKA — A 5-year old girl was fatally shot by a stray bullet as she played near a Bangladeshi army firing range Wednesday, officials said.

“Army shooters were practicing firing when a stray bullet hit the girl in the head while she was playing close to the range on Wednesday,” police officer Tariq Kamal told Agence France-Presse.

It was not known if the girl was in a restricted area when she was hit, although an armed forces spokesman said normal security arrangements had been in operation around the range at the time.

The child was taken to a nearby military hospital but died soon after being admitted, Officer Kamal said. The army is investigating the death.

Weekly notes

An undercover report into reputed human rights abuses in Burma is to form the basis of an appeal for action against the country’s military government. British lawmakers and human rights groups met in London Thursday to publicize the 600 pages of evidence compiled by a British human rights researcher. Guy Horton made numerous undercover trips to Burma during five years of working on the report, which was partly funded by the Dutch government. It includes video and other evidence of attacks on ethnic minorities, and Burmese military communications intercepted by Thai intelligence are also cited. … At least eight Maoist rebels and seven security force members were killed in a midweek gunbattle in eastern Nepal about 146 miles east of Katmandu, a police report said. After the armed clash, the Maoists abducted about a dozen security men and retrieved army communication equipment, the report said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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