- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2007

PHILIPPINES

Muslim rebels kill 20 troops in south

MANILA — Muslim rebels killed at least 20 Philippine soldiers yesterday in gunbattles on the remote southern island of Jolo, the army said.

At least nine soldiers were killed, and two were wounded in an ambush in the morning near the town of Maimbung, where the troops were headed to buy food, Maj. Gen. Ruben Rafael said. One of the wounded later died.

Reinforcements were rushed to the area and troops began pursuing the rebels, officials said. In a gunbattle later in the day, at least 10 soldiers were killed in mountains near Maimbung, said a military spokesman in the city of Zamboanga, the headquarters of the Philippines’ southern military command.

VATICAN CITY

Statement defends stand on Jews

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican, trying to allay Jewish concern over Pope Benedict XVI’s meeting with a radical Polish priest accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, yesterday said its stance toward Jews had not changed.

The brief statement followed a meeting on Sunday between the pope and the Rev. Tadeusz Rydzyk, who publicly apologized last month after accusing a “Jewish lobby” of trying to extract millions of dollars from the Polish state.

Jewish rights groups condemned the meeting and called on the pope to denounce Father Rydzyk and his Radio Maryja, which they accuse of spreading xenophobic, anti-Semitic statements.

LIBYA

Gadhafi’s son admits nurses were tortured

CAIRO — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, who is touted as a reformer, has acknowledged that Bulgarian medical workers imprisoned for purportedly infecting children with HIV were tortured in captivity.

The five nurses and a doctor were released last month after nearly nine years in prison in Libya. Since then, some of the captives have said they were tortured to force them to confess to infecting the children with the AIDS virus.

“Yes, they were tortured by electricity, and they were threatened that their family members would be targeted,” Mr. Gadhafi said in an interview with the pan-Arab satellite station Al Jazeera, excerpts of which were aired Wednesday.

INDIA

Muslim lawmakers attack author

HYDERABAD — Dozens of Muslim protesters led by three lawmakers attacked an exiled Bangladeshi writer at the release of her book in southern India yesterday, calling her “anti-Islam” and telling her to go back to her country.

About 100 people burst into the Press Club in Hyderabad, shouting insults at Taslima Nasreen and ransacking the place, throwing chairs into the air and overturning tables. The protesters belonged to the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen political party in Andhra Pradesh state.

From wire dispatches and staff reports