- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2007

LEBANON

Top Shi”ite cleric bans ‘honor killings’

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah yesterday issued a fatwa, or religious edict, banning so-called honor killings as repulsive acts that contradict Islamic law.

Sheik Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Shi’ite fundamentalists whose influence extends beyond Lebanon, said he was issuing the edict amid reports of an increase in the practice across the Arab world, particularly in “Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon.”

In Islamic countries, many men kill their sisters, daughters or other female relatives on the pretext of committing acts against decency and honor. Laws in many Arab and Muslim countries stipulate extenuating circumstances for such crimes.

CONGO

100 killed in train accident

KINSHASA — An overnight train derailed in central Congo after its brakes failed, killing about 100 people, government officials said yesterday.

The train’s locomotive stopped responding to controls as it traveled between the city of Ilebo and the provincial capital of Kananga, said Medard Ilunga, head of Congo’s state railway agency.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in the country has sent helicopters with doctors, nurses and medical equipment to the site to help with the relief effort, a spokesman said.

LIBYA

$405 million contract for French arms OK’d

TRIPOLI — A Libyan official said yesterday that Moammar Gadhafi’s long-isolated country has signed contracts worth $405 million with French companies for missiles and communications equipment.

A spokesman for French President Nicolas Sarkozy would not confirm the deal but said there appeared to be one. French officials denied that any deal to sell military equipment was in exchange for Libya’s releasing six imprisoned medics last month.

The first contract, worth $230 million, is for Milan missiles, and the second, totaling $175 million, is for advanced Tetra communications and surveillance equipment for the police, said the Libyan official.

COLOMBIA

High court defends anti-rightist ruling

BOGOTA — Colombia’s Supreme Court yesterday stood by its decision to stop former paramilitaries from holding public office despite cries from the government that the ruling will torpedo the country’s peace process.

President Alvaro Uribe accuses the court of being biased against his plan for granting pardons and political rights to thousands of right-wing “paras” who have laid down their arms after 20 years of fighting leftist insurgents.

The court struck back with a statement yesterday “energetically rejecting” Mr. Uribe”s comments and accusing him of “undue and unacceptable interference” with the judicial system.

BRITAIN

Inquiry: Public misled on Brazilian’s shooting

LONDON — A senior British police officer withheld information from superiors and misled the public after learning that police wrongly killed a Brazilian electrician, mistaking him for a terrorist, an inquiry into the killing reported yesterday.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission report said that Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman, head of London’s police counterterrorism unit, allowed the police force to issue a press release soon after the shooting that said it was unknown whether the dead man was a terrorist.

Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head in a subway car by counterterrorism police hunting suspects after London”s 2005 transit bombings.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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