- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 5, 2007

IRAN

Scores detained at rock concert

TEHRAN — Iranian police detained more than 200 people and seized alcohol and drugs in a raid on a “satanic” underground rock concert, according to press reports in the conservative Islamic state yesterday.

Iran, which carries out an annual summer crackdown on “immoral behavior,” bans alcohol, narcotics and parties with unrelated men and women dancing, drinking and mixing. Western popular music is frowned upon.

The police operation took place Wednesday night in the town of Karaj near Tehran, at an event with local disc jockeys, rock and rap groups performing, the reports said.

Karaj’s public prosecutor, Ali Farhadi, said invitations had been sent out via the Internet and that people from Britain and Sweden were among those held. A senior police official, Reza Zarei, suggested they were expatriate Iranians visiting the country.

TURKEY

Pro-Kurdish deputies join parliament

ANKARA — Turkey’s new parliament was sworn in yesterday with the Islamist-rooted ruling party keeping its majority after elections last month and pro-Kurdish deputies joining for the first time in 16 years.

The first big issue facing parliament is choosing a new president, and Turkey’s secular establishment fears the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will now try to force through its own candidate.

Elections were scheduled earlier than expected after the army blocked AKP Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s choice of an ex-Islamist ally, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, for president. AKP won 349 of 549 seats, and Mr. Erdogan is expected to return as prime minister.

TURKEY

3 soldiers killed in roadside attack

DIYARBAKIR — Three Turkish soldiers were killed yesterday when their vehicle was blown up by a remote-controlled explosive device laid by Kurdish rebels on a rural road, security forces said.

The deaths follow some of the heaviest fighting since the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) started its spring offensive this year, with 11 killed in clashes earlier last week.

More than 200 soldiers and separatist guerrillas have died in the violence so far this year, according to a study by a human rights group.

The escalation has prompted calls from the army for a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq to deal with rebels based there.

ECUADOR

U.S. activist to be expelled

QUITO — Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said yesterday he has ordered a U.S. environmental activist deported for purportedly violating national sovereignty by taking part in a police seizure of two tons of illegally fished shark fins.

Sean O’Hearn, a representative of the environmental group Sea Shepherd, was detained before dawn in the capital, Quito.

“I have an Ecuadorean wife and Ecuadorean daughter, … This is my country,” Mr. O’Hearn told the Associated Press at the immigration center where he was being held.

Police seized two tons of shark fins Tuesday illegally caught in the days before a widely criticized presidential decree allowing the sale of fins if the sharks are caught accidentally.

GAZA STRIP

Israeli air strike kills 2 militants

GAZA CITY — An Israeli air strike on a vehicle killed two Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday, ambulance crews and local residents said.

Residents in the town of Rafah, near Gaza’s border with Egypt, said two missiles fired from an Israeli aircraft hit a car, killing two members of the Islamic Jihad group and wounding three others. An Israeli army spokeswoman in Tel Aviv confirmed the attack but gave no details.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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