The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 29, 2001 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 29, 2001
Page:
Page 6
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: AB SUNDAY. APRIL 29, 2001 WORLD THE SALINA JOURNAL .'f AFGHANISTAN ii^anis endure foul conditions BRIEFLY Top U.N. official gets a look at the plight of Afghan refugee camps By The Associated Press JALOZAI REFUGEE CAMP, Pakistan — The foul smell from a sewer just a few yards away fills the pale yellow tent. A badly scratched oxygen tank is propped up against a bed. The white sheets are alive with swarms of black flies. This is the medical clinic for this camp of more than 80,000 Afghan refugees, but it's little better than the sea of squalid tents made from discarded plastic bags where the Afghans live. Their only latrines are holes in the ground, surrounded by sheets strung up to provide a bit of privacy ; A clinic attendant, Ali Ahmed, says the camp's raw conditions — inadequate drinking water, lack of sanitation Bnd the occasional downpour that turns the camp into a river" of mud — are killing the young and old residents. • "Maybe they aren't dying every day like they were in the middle of winter, but every other day or in one week there is another person who dies," he said. During the height of winter as subfreezing temperatures • JAPAN The Associated Press Afghan children play in a pool of water to cool themselves recently as the weather gets hot in the Jalozai Refugee Camp in Palcistan.The U.N. high commissioner for refugees has said the Afghans' plight Is one of the worst among the world's refugees. gripped the region, dozens died daily in this camp and in a string of refugee camps in Afghanistan itself Now, refugees in the treeless camp here face scorching heat, with temperatures hovering in the upper 90s. Next week, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Rudd Lubbers — who has said the Afghans' plight was one of the worst among the world's refugees — will visit Jalozai and six U.N. camps in Afghanistan's Herat province where 120,000 Afghans live as refugees in their own land. The scenes of sickness and despair at this camp in northwest Pakistan can only reinforce Lubbers' judgment. Dysentery is on the rise, and small children scratch blistering sores on their arms, neck and faces. Inside a tent of dirty plastic bags, a woman complains of a lack of medicine as she tends her tiny feverish son. Nearby, 60-year-old Halima Bibi extends her hands wrapped in a black shawl, and says "all that is left for me is to beg for help. I am sick. My two sons are dead. All I have left are their four small children. Everyone else is dead." Bibi's family died in the bit- ter fighting between Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, who control 95 percent of the country, and the opposition, led by ousted defense chief Ahmed Shah Massood. "Is this living?" Bibi asks. "Can you say this is life?" Another camp resident is 10- year-old Shireen, whose father was killed in a battle and whose mother died when a bomb shattered their home north of the Afghan capital of Kabul. She tugs at a tattered red scarf that only partially hides dirty, matted hair and says in a whisper, "My stomach is always hungry." Shattered by two decades of war, Afghanistan also is reeling from one of the worst droughts in memory Most of the cattle in the impoverished country have died, fields, are parched and crops destroyed. The World Food Program says hundreds of thousands of people face the possibility of starvation. The United Nations has issued special appeals for Afghan refugees. But of the $226 million it requested, barely 20 percent has been pledged. New leadership has some Japanese worried Cartoons, textbook, new premier stoke fears about nationalism By The Associated Press , .TOKYO — Japanese city folk have long regarded right-wing • nationalism as little more than an irritant — loud and threatening, yet too marginal to be - taken very seriously .. .But an international storm recently over the government's approval of a revisionist histo- . ry textbook, and a wave of car. toons and movies glorifying Japan's imperialist past, are raising fears the rightist message may be getting through. . The sensitivities are likely to become all the more acute because of the unexpected rise to power Thursday of Junichiro Koizumi, who has alarmed some Asians with his hawkish views. Japanese know the new prime minister as a maverick and a reformer. But neighbors in the region are more concerned by Koizumi's support for official visits to a shrine that honors Japan's war dead — including war criminals — and his calls to strengthen the military Koizumi's conservative positions are a far cry from the emperor worship of Japan's hardcore nationalists. And his choice of several moderates in his Cabinet — many of whom have urged consideration for victims of Japanese imperialism — indicate the new administration is not veering drastically to the right. Experts are quick to stress that right-wing extremists have shown no increase in number, though they continue to be a fixture in Japan's cities, blaring their calls for national purity over loudspeakers on vans done up in paramilitary regalia. Battles fought in media Instead, the battles are being fought in the textbooks, and in the mainstream media. On the best-seller lists these days are two comic books that praise Emperor Hirohito's World War II troops and pre­ sent Japan's conquest of Asia as "liberation from Western colonialism." The author, Yoshinori Kobayashi, has a huge following among Japan's youth, jand appears on TV talk shows to hawk his views not as a rabid demagogue but as a slick, designer-tailored commentator. Japan's largest studio, Toho, will soon release "Merdeka" — "Independence" in Indonesian— a movie that portrays wartime Japanese soldiers as liberators rather than aggressors. A film that lionizes the mastermind of Japan's invasion of Asia — convicted war criminal Hideki Tojo — was one of the biggest home-grown moneymakers of last year. Hundreds killed In Sri Lanka battle COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Tamil Tiger guerrillas claimed to have inflicted "a humiliating military debacle" on government troops Saturday, driving them out of newly captured territory in a battle that left hundreds dead. A defense ministry statement confirmed its troops had pulled back to their original positions in Eluthimiadduval, 18 miles east of Jaffna city^ in the face of heavy rebel shelling and mortar fire. According to the government, three days of fighting left 157 soldiers dead and 860 wounded. The defense ministry claimed that 190 rebels had been killed and more than 400 injured. But a rebel statement from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ee- 1am said only 75 guerrillas died. It put the government losses at more than 400 soldiers dead and another 2,000 wounded. Independent confirmation of the conflicting claims was not possible because the government bars journalists from visiting the war zone. U.S., Britain deny Iraqi report of strikes BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. and British defense officials denied an Iraqi report Saturday that allied warplanes had bombed southern Iraq, killing one civilian and wounding two others. The official Iraqi News Agency quoted an unidentified Iraqi official saying the allied air strike hit civilian targets in Najaf province, whose capital city of the same name is 113 miles south of Baghdad. "While people were celebrating President Saddam Hussein's birthday, the evil aggressors committed another crime to be added to the list of their crimes against our people," the spokesman said. The government staged festivals across the country Saturday to celebrate Saddam's 64th birthday In London, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said U.S. and British planes flew over Iraq, but did not attack. "We had a coalition patrol flying in the southern no-fly zone today that was fired at by Iraqi ground forces. However we didn't respond, so no bombs were dropped," the spokesman said. Iraqis mark Saddam's 64th birthday BAGHDAD, Iraq — Radios and TVs blared birthday songs, as telegrams wishing President Saddam Hussein a happy 64th birthday poured in from across Iraq Saturday in a lavish display of loyalty for a leader who has ruled unchallenged for 22 years. The government-sponsored festivities have been held every year since 1985, despite the hardships suffered under more than a decade of U.N. economic sanctions, imposed following Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. New murals and portraits of Saddam bedecked the capital for the occasion, and government buildings and schools, wrapped in posters and banners, played host to singers and poets trumpeting the achievements of the Iraqi leader. Iraqis singing birthday songs cruised the streets in cars flying the Iraqi flag. "The president is our beloved. He is the only leader who can liberate Palestine," said Kamal Salim, 30, a Baghdad resident. Pro-democracy rally draws 2,000 people SINGAPORE — Two thousand people attended an antigovernment rally at an outdoor sports stadium in Singapore Saturday — the first event of its kind since the tightly controlled city-state became independent 35 years ago. "Cast off this fear! Wake up out of your apathy!" declared the country's leading opposition politician, Joshua "J.B.J." Jeyaretnam, to enthusiastic applause. Speaker after speaker denounced the ruling People's Action Party and demanded civil liberty for Singaporeans, who enjoy one of Asia's highest standards of living but who live under some of the world's strictest laws. ^ The rally was to show support and raise funds for Je­ yaretnam, who faces ouster from the 93-seat Parliament. His is one of' only three seats held by the opposition. From Wire Service Reports Open Today! 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