China has announced the withdrawal of its troops from Vietnam after a 17-day invasion during which Peking claimed to have achieved its goal of punishing its neighbour for alleged border incursion. The official Xinhua news agency reported that Chinese troops had begun withdrawing but warned that “the Chinese Government solemnly states that the Chinese side reserves the right to strike back again in self-defence in case of recurrence of such Vietnamese activities”. There was no immediate reaction to the Peking announcement from Hanoi, but a commentary from the Voice of Vietnam broadcast at about the same time as the Chinese withdrawal statement said that Peking’s leaders had “failed in their large-scale invasion to teach Vietnam a lesson and could not fulfil their expansionist aims”.
If an ordinary telephone subscriber fails to pay his bill the telephone department acts with amazing speed in disconnecting his phone and taking legal action. But MPs and ex-MPs enjoy special privilege. Bills, often for huge amounts, are outstanding against their names, but the department has done little about the matter. The fact that such a large number of MPs defaulted on payment of their telephone bills has been brought out by a fellow MP, Kanwar Gupta. There are over 300 MPs and ex-MPs on the list. It includes the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chenna Reddy, owing Rs 271, Madhya Pradesh CM V K Saklecha owing Rs 390, and the late president, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, who owed Rs 2,864, among others.
A close aide of former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto discussed Bhutto’s fate, now under death sentence, with President Zia-ul- Haq. The aide, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, a former finance minister in the Bhutto cabinet, met Zia for two hours, sources said.