Top Kashmir minister calls nuclear conflict warning ‘daft’

Updated 23 January 2013
0

Top Kashmir minister calls nuclear conflict warning ‘daft’

SRINAGAR, India: The top elected official in Indian Kashmir on Wednesday described a public advisory telling residents to prepare for nuclear war by building basement shelters as a “daft idea.”
The State Disaster Response Force in a notice this week urged people to build shelters to prepare for a potential nuclear conflict in the disputed region, which has been on edge after deadly border clashes between Indian and Pakistani troops.
“What a daft idea!!!” Indian Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in a post on micro-blogging website Twitter, referring to the advisory which appeared in a local English-language newspaper.
The notice instructed residents in the Himalayan region to build toilet-equipped underground shelters “where the whole family can stay for a fortnight” and said the bunkers should be stocked with non-perishable food.
A cease-fire took hold last week in the territory after India and Pakistan agreed to halt cross-border firing that threatened to unravel a fragile peace process between the nuclear-armed nations, but tensions remain.
State civil defense authorities in Kashmir confirmed that they had issued the notice on Monday but said it “should not be connected with anything else,” in an apparent reference to the recent border flare-up.
The advisory was part of regular year-round civil defense preparedness, Mubarak Ganai, deputy inspector general of civil defense in the Kashmir police force, told AFP.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the divided territory. Each country controls a part of the region but claims it in full.
The notice in the Greater Kashmir daily vividly described a nuclear war scenario to prepare residents to deal with “the initial shock wave,” telling people to “wait for the winds to die down and debris to stop falling.”
“If the blast wave does not arrive within five seconds of the flash, you were far enough from the ground zero,” it said.


Malaysia court sentences Australian woman to death for drug-trafficking

Prosecutors had sought the appeals court conviction, which overturned the earlier acquittal of Maria Exposto, 54, of charges of smuggling the drugs in a backpack in Dec. 2014. (Reuters)
Updated 4 min 43 sec ago
0

Malaysia court sentences Australian woman to death for drug-trafficking

  • Tania Scivetti, a lawyer representing Exposto, who hails from Sydney, said her team had filed an appeal in a federal court
  • Malaysia, like other countries in Southeast Asia, imposes harsh penalties for drug offenses

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court on Thursday sentenced to death by hanging an Australian mother of three, for trafficking more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine into the Southeast Asian nation, but her lawyer said she was appealing.
Prosecutors had sought the appeals court conviction, which overturned the earlier acquittal of Maria Exposto, 54, of charges of smuggling the drugs in a backpack in Dec. 2014, after she said she was duped in an online scam.
Tania Scivetti, a lawyer representing Exposto, who hails from Sydney, said her team had filed an appeal in a federal court.
“We are extremely disappointed,” Scivetti told Reuters by text message. “Maria is a victim of an Internet romance scam. She is not a drug trafficker.”
Exposto, arrested in Kuala Lumpur while in transit to Melbourne from Shanghai, has said she was decoyed into carrying the bag with the drugs by a friend of her online boyfriend, who claimed to be a US soldier serving in Afghanistan.
Malaysia, like other countries in Southeast Asia, imposes harsh penalties for drug offenses. Late last year, parliament voted to remove the death penalty as mandatory punishment for drug trafficking, and leave it to judges’ discretion instead.
Malaysia has executed three Australian nationals for drug trafficking in the past 30 years, leading to brief strains in diplomatic ties between the two countries.