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11 killed in clashes in troubled northwest

BEIJING — Police fatally shot four people Sunday in China’s far northwest, bringing to 11 the death toll in weekend violence in one of the country’s most troubled ethnic regions.

The people died after more than 10 pedestrians and officers were injured in what the state-run Xinhua News Agency called “an eruption of violence” Sunday afternoon in Kashgar. It followed a day of clashes in the same Silk Road city that killed seven people and injured 22.

Xinijang region has been on edge since nearly 200 people were killed in fighting between Uighurs and Han Chinese in 2009 in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Xinhua did not give a reason for the latest violence, but Xinjiang has been beset by ethnic conflict and a sometimes violent separatist movement by Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group that sees Xinjiang as its homeland. Many Uighurs say they have been marginalized as more majority Han Chinese move into the region.

It was unclear who started the clashes in Kashgar. But an overseas ethnic activist group said Sunday it feared the violence could prompt a new crackdown on minority Uighurs blamed for previous violence in the region.

JAPAN

Prime minister criticizes nuclear safety agency

TOKYO — Japan’s prime minister on Sunday criticized the country’s nuclear safety agency for allegedly trying to plant questions aimed at supporting atomic energy at public forums.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) was siding with the industry rather than acting as a regulator. He said it underscored a cozy relationship and the deep-rooted problem that must be corrected in the wake of the March 11 tsunami and the nuclear crisis.

“NISA, which is supposed to check nuclear safety to represent the interest of the general public, provided support for the promoters. It was more than just a help, if true,” Mr. Kan said at an energy symposium.

Mr. Kan’s comment followed a government report showing NISA allegedly tried to manipulate public opinion at town meetings to promote nuclear power.

ISRAEL

Thousands of Israelis protest high cost of living

JERUSALEM — Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets nationwide on Saturday to protest rising housing prices in the largest turnout in a grass-roots movement that began two weeks ago and is demanding steps from the government to ease the burden.

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