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Thứ Tư, tháng 10 25, 2006

No. 1199 (Hạt Cát dịch)

NZ army destroys bomb threat to 2000-year-old Buddha
23 October 2006

New Zealand army explosive experts have saved a 2000-year-old Buddha by destroying a 500kg bomb found at the base of the statue in Afghanistan.

The army's provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) bomb experts were called in when workers found the large incendiary bomb at the foot of the 53 metre high statue in the Bamyan province.

The statue was believed to have been carved into the mountains in the sixth to seventh century but survived a Taliban attack which destroyed many other statues.

The workers who found the bomb were part of an international team working on the restoration of two Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban.

The workers at first thought the bomb was a piece of tin, said Edmund Melzl, a spokesman for the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

In the latest issue of the New Zealand army magazine, Army News, he said as soon as they learned it was more than a harmless piece of tin, the New Zealand army was called.

Air Force armourer, Corporal Jim Johns said the bomb's history was not known but it may have been dropped when the Russians were fighting the Mujahadeen but failed to go off.

AdvertisementAdvertisement"Then when the Taliban came in and were blowing up the Buddhas it was probably placed alongside other ordnance, failed to go off and was buried under the rubble.

The bomb was pulled out from the base of the statue using a block and tackle. It was destroyed in a controlled explosion which generated a loud explosion before a large white cloud rose over the statue.

"I am so happy with what has happened here," said Mr Melzl.

"Thanks to the PRT we can resume our work and no damage has been done to the Buddha which was our biggest fear," he said in the army newspaper.

The bomb was one of the biggest destroyed by the army PRT team in Afghanistan.

No.1198 (Minh Chau dich)

China takes heat after tragic flight of Tibetan teenager

By Daniel Pepper, The CSMonitor, Oct 25,2006
The shooting death of a would-be refugee by a Chinese patrolman places the Middle Kingdom's human rights record under scrutiny.

NEW DELHI, India -- The two teenage girls were best friends. In their tiny farming village in Tibet, they had stayed up late many nights over four years plotting their escape.
The plight of these rural Tibetan refugees brings to light the hardships suffered by the estimated 2,500 to 4,000 Tibetans who try to reach India every year via Nepal, paying smugglers to bring them to India because obtaining the official travel permits and a passport can be too difficult. Most come seeking an audience with the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, who resides in Dharamsala, in northern India.
"Our aim only is to get the blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama," says Ms. Wangmo, one of the nuns. "We were planning to go back afterwards, but now it won't be possible after the trouble in the pass. If we go back to Tibet, the Chinese will definitely arrest us."
The nun killed was typical of the many Tibetan refugees who make the journey: she was poor, young, and religiously motivated. At least half of those making the journey from Tibet are children, sent by parents who want their children to grow up with a strong Tibetan identity and who often cannot afford school fees at home. Among the group of Tibetans that just arrived in India, the youngest was a 7-year-old girl, Deki Pantso, who came without her parents.
Most Tibetan refugees prefer to make the journey in the winter, when there is deep snow in the passes between Nepal and Tibet and the chances of being caught by Chinese patrolmen are diminished. The International Campaign for Tibet, a Washington advocacy group, estimates that 80 percent of refugees attempt to cross between October and April, when the mountain glaciers are frozen over.
The United States and the European Union have condemned the shooting and urged China to investigate the incident thoroughly. But so far Canada has delivered the harshest rebuke. On Oct. 18 Canada's foreign minister, Peter MacKay, expressed his "abhorrence and dismay for this terrible incident that happened at the border. Canada strongly condemns this act of violence against unarmed civilians as an egregious violation of human rights."
Tenzin Norgay, with the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Dharamsala wondered whether this would lead to more governments pressuring China to improve their human rights record. "I fear it might be another event come and gone. Public memory is very short."