- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2005

INDIA

Militants attack cross-border tourists

SRINAGAR — Two gunmen attacked a government tourism complex yesterday on the eve of the first bus service across divided Kashmir in nearly six decades, but the waiting passengers escaped unharmed and both India and Pakistan vowed that the buses would run as planned.

Authorities said the two suspected Islamist militants died in a gunbattle with Indian security forces, and six persons were reported injured in the clash, which ignited a fire that destroyed the main building along with historic documents and photographs of the divided Himalayan territory, including original photographs by acclaimed French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Four Muslim separatist groups that had vowed to disrupt the bus service took responsibility for the attack.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Adams urges IRA to give up guns

BELFAST — Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams appealed to the IRA yesterday to use words, not guns, to fulfill its aims of ending British rule in Northern Ireland.

In a speech cautiously welcomed by Dublin and London but dismissed by others as a cynical election ploy, Mr. Adams told the Irish Republican Army that it should choose a political and democratic solution over weapons.

WEST BANK

‘Gandhi’ film shown to Palestinians

RAMALLAH — A U.S. entrepreneur screened an Arabic-language version of the 1982 film “Gandhi” to Palestinians yesterday in a bid to encourage nonviolent methods of conducting their uprising against Israel.

The award-winning epic about pacifist Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi will be shown throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the next week. The screenings were endorsed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jeff Skoll told a Ramallah audience.

JAPAN

China, South Korea protest new textbooks

SEOUL — South Korea summoned Japan’s ambassador yesterday to protest official approval of textbooks that critics say whitewashes Japanese history, as Chinese stores began boycotting Japanese goods.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-sik told Japanese Ambassador Toshiyuki Takano that Seoul was concerned about a history book approved for junior high schools and also about a separate set of textbooks in which Tokyo lays claims to disputed islands, a official said.

ITALY

Senate ratifies EU constitution

ROME — Italy became the first founding member state of the European Union to ratify the bloc’s new constitution yesterday with a widely expected majority vote in the upper-house Senate.

The constitution, signed by EU leaders in Rome in October, is aimed at making the bloc run smoothly after its eastward expansion last year to embrace 10 new countries.

SUDAN

Security forces raid opposition offices

KHARTOUM — Security forces stormed the headquarters of Sudan’s main opposition party yesterday, arresting scores of its members and top officials, apparently because of celebrations marking the anniversary of an anti-government uprising nearly 20 years ago, the party said.

Police surrounded the headquarters of the Umma National Party in Omdurman, the sister city of the Sudanese capital, said.

EUROPEAN UNION

Security budget targets illegal aliens

BRUSSELS — The EU executive wants to earmark 60 percent of its multibillion-euro security budget in 2007 through 2013 for fighting illegal immigration, beefing up border controls and organizing the return of unwanted migrants.

The European Commission’s proposals for security spending, adopted yesterday, come as public anxiety mounts over illegal migrants, particularly those of Muslim origin.

NETHERLANDS

Court acquits teen in terror plot

ROTTERDAM — A Dutch court acquitted a Dutch-Moroccan teenager yesterday of charges that he planned attacks on Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, a nuclear reactor and government buildings, citing insufficient evidence.

Dutch authorities raised a national security alert in July after they arrested Samir Azzouz and found machine-gun cartridges, a bulletproof vest, two mock explosive devices, a silencer, maps and sketches of prominent buildings in his home.

Judge Sonja de Pauw Gerlings told the Rotterdam court that there was not enough evidence to convict the 18-year-old of plotting bomb attacks, but sentenced him to three months in jail for illegal possession of weapons.

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