- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2004

BRITAIN

Lawmakers vote against spanking ban

LONDON — British lawmakers, after a passionate debate in the House of Commons, voted overwhelmingly yesterday against banning parents from spanking their children.

Some lawmakers argued that even mild spanking should be outlawed and insisted that children should have the same legal protection as adults when it comes to being hit.

But Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government has shied away from an outright ban, fearing that it will be accused of intruding into family affairs. Instead, ministers urged lawmakers to back legislation that would allow mild smacking but make it easier to prosecute parents who harm a child physically or mentally.

Lawmakers voted by 424-75 against an outright ban. They will vote on the government proposal later.

Britain is out of step on the issue with several other European countries, including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Austria, where all physical punishment of children is illegal.

SUDAN

Troops block aid to refugee camps

KHARTOUM — The Sudanese army and police surrounded several refugee camps in the war-torn Darfur region yesterday and denied access to humanitarian groups, the United Nations said. The Sudanese government denied that its security forces had closed off the camps, but said angry Arab tribesmen have gathered in the area.

The U.N. World Food Program said that three camps were surrounded — apparently in retaliation for the abduction of 18 Arabs by Darfur rebels — and that it was forced to pull 88 relief workers from those areas.

JAPAN

Jenkins found guilty of desertion to N. Korea

CAMP ZAMA — A U.S. military judge yesterday found Army Sgt. Charles Jenkins guilty of desertion to North Korea in 1965 while serving in South Korea, at a court-martial hearing held at the Army’s Camp Zama near Tokyo.

U.S. Army Col. Denise Vowell, who served as the military judge, also told the hearing that she found the 64-year-old sergeant guilty of aiding the enemy by teaching North Koreans English.

The sentence is expected to be passed after a lunch recess, probably within the day, taking into consideration a pretrial agreement earlier reached by Jenkins and a commander, U.S. Army officials indicated.

THAILAND

Muslims behead Buddhist in revenge

BANGKOK — Muslim militants are suspected of beheading a Buddhist village leader in southern Thailand in revenge for the deaths of 85 protesters last week and left the head and torso one mile apart, officials said yesterday.

Residents found the head of the 58-year-old deputy village chief, Ran Tulae, in a bag on a road in Narathiwat province with a note saying the beheading was in revenge for the deaths of Muslim protesters.

AFGHANISTAN

Kidnappers demand release of prisoners

KABUL — A militant Afghan group holding three foreign U.N. workers has given negotiators a list of Taliban prisoners and said it will kill the hostages unless they — and all Afghans jailed at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — are freed.

The Afghan Islamic Press said the Jaish-e-Muslimeen (Army of Muslims) had handed over the names of at least 25 Taliban followers jailed in Afghanistan.

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