- The Washington Times - Friday, August 6, 2004

INDIA

Hundreds protest anti-terror law

IMPHAL — Indian police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at anti-government demonstrators, wounding dozens, as protests spread yesterday across the northeastern state of Manipur against a federal anti-terror law.

Several schoolchildren were hurt when police used batons to break up one demonstration.

Government employees went on mass leave to support the movement against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which gives full powers to soldiers to arrest and kill suspected rebels.

AFGHANISTAN

U.N. refugee agency downsizes operations

GENEVA — The United Nations’ refugee agency said yesterday it is scaling down operations in southeastern Afghanistan after the killing of two Afghan aid workers there earlier this week.

The two, a field officer and his driver employed by a German aid agency working with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, were shot in their car from a passing vehicle on the road between Gardez, 65 miles south of Kabul, and the town of Zormat.

“We have put all staff travel in the southeast on hold while we review the situation,” agency spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis said. “We do not operate in areas where we don’t feel secure.”

SRI LANKA

Ruling party names new leader

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s ruling party avoided a power struggle and nominated a former prime minister to replace President Chandrika Kumaratunga as its head as disagreements loomed over the island’s peace process, officials said yesterday.

Mrs. Kumaratunga’s Freedom Party named Ratnasiri Wickremanayake as leader of their Freedom Alliance, which includes several other parties, including the Marxist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front.

Government spokesman Mangala Samaraweera said Thursday that Mrs. Kumaratunga had stepped down from the party post to spend “quality time” solving the country’s problems.

The selection of Mr. Wickremanayake, 71, as a consensus candidate prevents a divisive vote for the alliance leadership.

NEPAL

Extra aid sought for monsoon victims

KATMANDU — The Red Cross in Nepal sought emergency aid yesterday after a violent monsoon triggered landslides and floods that have killed at least 185 persons.

About 740,000 people in the Himalayan kingdom have been affected by the floods of whom 180,000 need help, said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, general secretary of the Nepal Red Cross Society.

He said the local Red Cross had appealed to the Geneva headquarters for an extra $2.15 million for relief work.

“We have been assured of 60 percent of the assistance within a week,” Mr. Dhakhwa said.

He said the Red Cross in Nepal had sufficient funds to supply aid during last year’s monsoon, but it needed extra outside support in 2002.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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