- The Washington Times - Friday, September 24, 2004

ISRAEL

Woman dies in attack on Gaza settlement

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinian militants killed an Israeli-American woman yesterday just ahead of Yom Kippur, the first deadly shelling of a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip in four years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

The attack, which came just hours before the start of the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, was likely to mobilize further opposition to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip next year.

The dead woman, identified as Tiferet Tratner, also held U.S. citizenship. The militant Hamas group took responsibility for firing two mortars at the Neve Dekalim settlement in southern Gaza.

An apparent Israeli return of fire at the nearby Palestinian town of Khan Younis wounded two Palestinians, including a 4-year-old boy.

NIGERIA

29 die as troops clash with Islamists

LAGOS — A gunbattle between security forces and Islamist militants fighting to create a Taliban-style state in northern Nigeria left 29 persons dead, most of them militants, police said yesterday.

Security forces have been battling militants in the north this week after Islamic fundamentalist gunmen attacked police stations Monday in the towns of Bama and Gworza. Since then police and army troops have pursued the militants and on Thursday engaged in a gunbattle in the Gworza hills, near the border with Cameroon, killing 27 militants and two police.

In the southern oil region, meanwhile, clashes between troops and tribal militia fighters forced oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell to evacuate two facilities, the company said.

CANADA

Nova Scotia allows same-sex ‘marriage’

OTTAWA — Nova Scotia yesterday became the fifth of Canada’s 10 provinces to allow same-sex couples to “marry” when the provincial supreme court ruled that banning same-sex unions was unconstitutional.

Earlier, courts in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia — home to 75 percent of all Canadians — and the western province of Manitoba allowed same-sex “marriage,” prompting the federal government last year to draw up draft legislation to legally redefine marriage.

SUDAN

U.N. official proposes Darfur autonomy

ABECHE, Chad — The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees proposed autonomy for the troubled Darfur region of Sudan — a solution the government has resisted but said yesterday it would be willing to discuss anew in an effort to end the violence that has killed about 50,000 people.

“There has to be some clear partition of power in Darfur,” UNHCR chief Ruud Lubbers said in Chad, whose eastern territory borders Darfur.

Also, the State Department’s representative for Sudan, Charles Snyder, said it would take up to two years to disarm the Arab militia blamed for the violence and secure the region.

NAMIBIA

Workers threaten to seize white farm

WINDHOEK — Workers at a white-owned farm in Namibia have decided to take over the property in three-weeks’ time to protest the government’s failure to implement a decision to expropriate land, a union official said yesterday.

At a meeting Thursday at Otjiwarongo, 155 miles north of capital Windhoek, farm workers and officials of the Namibian Farm Workers’ Union set the date of Oct. 16 to seize the farm at Okosongomingo.

The Namibian newspaper said the workers were also planning to seize several other farms from owners that they say are exploiting them.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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