- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 26, 2007

RUSSIA

Rally protests plans for gay parade

MOSCOW — Russian nationalists, communists and religious believers gathered in Moscow yesterday to denounce plans for a “Gay Pride” march, as homosexual activists prepared to lobby the mayor to lift a ban on the event.

About 200 protesters, including flag-waving communists and old women carrying religious icons, held a “Russia March” in the center of the capital at which some denounced the homosexual parade as a “satanic act” — a phrase used by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

In another part of the city, about 200 right-wing activists, many with shaved heads and tattoos, protested against the planned parade.

Last year, a homosexual march went ahead despite the ban. Activists were detained by police, abused by militant Christians and attacked by neo-Nazis.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Hundreds protest U.S. missile radar

PRAGUE — Hundreds of banner-waving Czechs demonstrated in central Prague yesterday against U.S. plans to site a tracking radar in the country as part of its extended anti-missile shield.

Organizers of the “No base” demonstration said around 2,000 people took part in the protest against the proposed base, backed by the center-right government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. Police put the figure nearer to 1,000.

Josef Hala, mayor of Jince, the town 40 miles west of Prague that is expected to host the radar, demanded a national referendum on the plan.

Another demonstration has been scheduled for June 4, when President Bush is expected to begin a visit to Prague ahead of the Group of Eight summit in Germany.

NETHERLANDS

Amnesty approved for asylum-seekers

AMSTERDAM — Some 25,000 asylum-seekers whose applications for refuge were rejected will be allowed to stay, the newly installed Dutch government said yesterday, reversing the previous administration’s hard-line immigration policy.

The Cabinet approved the plan crafted by Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak, the country’s top immigration official, in the early hours of the morning after a marathon session Friday.

The amnesty will apply to asylum-seekers who arrived before April 1, 2001, and were found not to qualify but who remained in the country anyway.

Weekly Notes …

Years after many of Amsterdam’s world famous houseboats were connected to cable television and broadband Internet, the next innovation awaits: sewers. All of the estimated 3,000 houseboats in Amsterdam and its surroundings have to be connected to the sewers in the next few years and will not be allowed to empty their toilets into the Dutch city’s canals, local authorities said Friday. … A thick cloud of bees was sucked into the engine of a passenger plane en route from Britain to Portugal on Thursday, forcing the airline to abandon the trip and grounding passengers for 11 hours. A Palmair executive said the swarm was spotted off Britain’s Bournemouth coast shortly before the Boeing 737 left.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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