- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2008

SYRIA

Arabs concerned about ‘Islamophobia’

DAMASCUS — Arab leaders gathered in Damascus for an annual summit expressed concern yesterday about what they said is rising Islamophobia around the world amid Muslim anger at a Dutch film linking Islam to terrorism.

“The growth of ferocious attacks against Islam and the rise of Islamophobia are a deep source of concern, particularly given that the offenses to Muslims are increasing in countries known for their pluralism and acceptance of difference,” Arab leaders said in a final statement.

“The intense polarization the world has seen requires more work in order to reduce the increasing gap between cultures and civilizations,” the statement said.

SOMALIA

Market blasts’ death toll hits 17

MOGADISHU — Hospitals here overflowed with wounded yesterday and the death toll from mortar strikes on the city’s sprawling main market reached at least 17.

Scores of civilians at the Bakara Market were hurt Saturday when troops positioned at the Villa Somalia presidential palace returned fire against Islamic insurgents who attacked it with mortar bombs, witnesses said.

CHILE

Protests leave 1 dead, 122 arrested

SANTIAGO — Violent clashes between police and protesters commemorating the killing of two leftists during Chile’s dictatorship left one person dead, nine officers injured and 122 people arrested, police said yesterday.

The fatality was a 23-year-old man shot by masked demonstrators who claimed he was an infiltrator, Santiago Gov. Alvaro Erazo said.

The protests broke out Saturday night and lasted into yesterday morning in several working-class neighborhoods in Chile’s capital. Police used tear gas and water cannons against hundreds of protesters commemorating the “Day of the Young Combatant,” a day that marks the killing by police 23 years ago of two young brothers during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship.

CAMBODIA

Opposition leader wants FBI probe

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s opposition leader Sam Rainsy yesterday called for the FBI to renew its probe into a grenade attack that killed at least 16 people more than a decade ago.

He addressed supporters outside Cambodia’s parliament, where exactly 11 years ago four grenades were hurled into a crowd of anti-government protesters, wounding at least 120 people, including a U.S. citizen — after which the FBI opened a probe.

Despite the government’s insistence that the case is still open, no one has been arrested in connection with the bloody attack.

SOUTH KOREA

Inmates no longer to strip when jailed

SEOUL — South Korea will drop its long-standing practice of stripping prison inmates naked before jailing them due to possible rights abuses, officials said yesterday.

The South’s justice ministry said the controversial process would be dropped at all prisons nationwide beginning tomorrow, as recommended by the National Human Rights Commission.

The practice of stripping all inmates of clothes has served as more of a body search, rather than a medical check-up, ministry officials said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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