- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2001

Prison riots sweep across Brazilian state

SAO PAULO, Brazil A wave of riots swept across prisons in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo yesterday, including Latin America's largest penitentiary, in one of the country's biggest penal rebellions.
Rebellions were going on in at least 14 prisons across the southeastern state and hundreds were being held hostage, many of them inmates' spouses and children who were inside for Sunday visits, said a spokesman for the state public security office.
As crack police troops prepared to enter Carandiru, home to 8,000 inmates, shots were fired at a group of prisoners, wounding at least two persons.

U.S., Israel to fire Patriot missiles

JERUSALEM U.S. and Israeli forces will fire Patriot missiles, used to intercept Iraqi Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf war, as part of a six-day air defense exercise, the Israeli army said yesterday.
They said the exercise, which starts today, had no connection to the latest crisis with Iraq following air raids on Friday.

Turkish, Iraqi gangs smuggle Kurds

FREJUS, France Criminal gangs operating in Turkey and Iraq were behind the smuggling of 910 Iraqi Kurds who landed in France after a weeklong journey in a decrepit freighter without toilets or provisions, border police said yesterday.
The East Sea, a decrepit ship that ran aground off the country's Riviera, was used by "an Iraqi-Turkish mafia ring," said Daniel Chaze, deputy central director of the French border police.

Bishop defends sect in Hong Kong

HONG KONG Hong Kong's Roman Catholic Church yesterday lashed out at the government for calling the spiritual group Falun Gong a cult and expressed fears that the church itself could also come under attack.
In an article in the Sunday Examiner, an English-language Catholic diocese newspaper, Bishop Joseph Zen said Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's branding of the sect as "an evil cult was very alarming, not only for Falun Gong, but for all of us."

Syria's civil forums are suspended

DAMASCUS, Syria Syria's outspoken civil forums, set up under young President Bashar Assad's reforms, have been effectively suspended, forum organizers said yesterday.
Parliament member Riad Seif, a harsh government critic, told Reuters that organizers of the forums had been told that they had to get prior official permission to hold them effectively stopping them from taking place.
Participants in the forums have called for greater democracy in Syria, the suspension of martial law, and the end of the ruling Ba'ath party's domination.

Russian nuclear fuel reached India

Russia has shipped nuclear fuel to the Tarapur power reactors in India in violation of its obligations as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the United States says.
The United States regrets the shipment and calls on Russia to cancel its supply arrangement with India, the State Department said Friday.

Havel's condition poor, says Czech doctor

PRAGUE, Ailing Czech President Vaclav Havel's condition has worsened, and he must remain in the hospital, his doctor said yesterday.
Mr. Havel's personal physician Ilja Kotik said the president developed fever overnight, and his right lung was not functioning properly.

Saudi Arabia jails American suspects

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia Three Americans are being interrogated in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of involvement in bombings that killed one Briton and injured five persons, the interior minister said in remarks published yesterday.
U.S. State Department officials said last week that the three were arrested last month, possibly on suspicion of being involved in alcohol smuggling.

Fiji security tight as hearing begins

SUVA, Fiji The Fijian capital Suva was under heavy security yesterday as a court of appeals hearing began on the legitimacy of the South Pacific nation's interim government, imposed after an ethnically inspired coup last year.

Military checkpoints dotted roads around the city while armed police and undercover army officers patrolled the city's shopping district and marketplace and around the courthouse.

All police leave has been canceled.

Many people in the capital fear that a ruling against the interim government could spark racial and political violence.

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