- The Washington Times - Friday, July 7, 2006

INDIA

U.S. firm charged in casket deal scam

NEW DELHI — Police yesterday charged a former military attache in Washington, two army officers and a U.S.-based firm in connection with a scam using inflated prices for body bags at the height of the 1999 India-Pakistan tensions over Kashmir.

The government bought 500 aluminum caskets and 3,000 body bags from the United States after the Kargil clashes left more than 1,000 dead from both sides. A national audit said the caskets were bought for $2,500 each even though the army bought similar ones at $172 apiece for Indian soldiers killed in Somalia during United Nations peacekeeping operations in 1994.

The Central Bureau of Investigation said the U.S.-based supplier, Buitron and Braize, has been charged with criminal conspiracy in the $1.5 million deal. Retired Maj. Gen. Arun Roye was military attache in the Indian Embassy in Washington at the time of the clashes.

PAKISTAN

1,300 women to get bail under new law

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s president amended a controversial Islamic law yesterday so that women facing charges for adultery and other minor crimes can be released on bail.

The much-awaited amendment by Gen. Pervez Musharraf to the Hadood Ordinance will initially affect 1,300 female prisoners, said Minister for Women’s Affairs Sumaira Malik.

Under the ordinance — passed during the military dictatorship of Gen. Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq in 1979 — women could be sentenced to death if found guilty of having sex outside of marriage. The ordinance did not allow women to be released on bail.

BURMA

800 Shan rebels said to surrender

RANGOON — Burma’s military rulers said yesterday that 848 soldiers from the Shan State Army, an ethnic rebel group fighting the junta, had surrendered.

The soldiers surrendered Thursday and government troops seized more than 1,000 weapons, mainly handguns, said state radio and television.

Shan rebels have been fighting the junta for autonomy in the eastern state of Shan on Burma’s border with Thailand.

Weekly notes …

Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels celebrated their suicide-bomber squads on the 19th anniversary of their first attack Wednesday as troops nervously scanned streets in the capital, Colombo, fearing new blasts. In two decades of civil war for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam say they have used 273 suicide bombers. The first attack took place on July 5, 1987, when rebel “Captain” Miller drove a truck packed with explosives into an army camp. … Prostitutes in the southern Indian city of Mysore are being given discount shopping cards in return for having regular checks at a sexual health clinic as part of a project to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. “They were very particular about us including a sari shop. Presentation is very important for them,” said Sushena Reza-Paul of the Karnataka state Health Promotion Trust.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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