- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2005

GERMANY

Police rescue young hostages

ENNEPETAL — German police commandos slipped into a house where a knife-wielding man was holding four schoolgirls hostage yesterday, surprising the suspect and taking him into custody while rescuing his captives after a five-hour standoff.

The suspect inflicted a superficial knife wound on the stomach of a 16-year-old hostage, whom he held with three 11-year-olds, before he was captured by a police SWAT team that entered the red brick house at the end of a cul-de-sac shortly after 6 p.m., lead investigator Ulrich Kuhne said.

The suspect, identified as a 50-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who has been in Germany since the 1990s, wanted to be allowed to bring his children from Iran to Germany.

JAPAN

Expansion eyed for research whaling

TOKYO — Japan will seek permission to broaden its research whaling program in the Antarctic when the International Whaling Commission holds its annual meeting in June, a fisheries official said yesterday.

Japan has completed an 18-year research program focused on the small and relatively abundant minke species of whale, killing several hundred each year to glean data on feeding and migration habits. Now, Japan now wants to extend its activities, fisheries agency spokesman Takanori Nagatomo said.

CHINA

Anti-terror campaign seen crushing Islam

BEIJING — China is waging a campaign to suppress peaceful Muslim religious and cultural activities in its west under the guise of fighting terrorism, two U.S.-based human rights groups said yesterday.

Comparing the situation to Tibet, a report by the two groups said Muslims in the Xinjiang region are “concerned for their cultural survival” amid a government-financed influx of settlers from China’s Han ethnic majority.

The communist government is trying to “smother Islam” among Uighurs in Xinjiang, said Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China. The groups accused the government of carrying out a “crushing campaign of religious repression.”

EGYPT

Israeli minister seeks Mubarak’s help

CAIRO — Israel’s foreign minister urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak yesterday to help Israel improve its relations with the Arab world and to pressure the Palestinians to take stronger action against militants.

Silvan Shalom, after a 90-minute meeting with Mr. Mubarak, said improved relations should lead to full diplomatic relations with the Arab world. Israel currently has relations with just three Arab states: Jordan, Egypt and Mauritania.

SAUDI ARABIA

Council hopes for more powers

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s newly expanded Shura advisory council was sworn in by King Fahd yesterday and called for wider powers to push economic and educational reforms in the absolute monarchy.

Reformers want the all-male council to be at least partly elected. The monarchy has resisted this demand. But members won the right to propose or challenge new legislation two years ago and now want to be able to scrutinize government ministries.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide