- - Sunday, January 1, 2012

BAHRAIN

Clashes follow protester’s funeral

MANAMA — Riot police in Bahrain fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades as they clashed Sunday with hundreds of opposition supporters, some hurling Molotov cocktails, following the politically charged funeral of a 15-year-old boy.

Thousands of opposition supporters carrying Bahraini flags and chanting anti-government slogans converged on the island of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, to mourn the death of Sayed Hashim Saeed.

Police earlier tried to seal off the site of the funeral to prevent crowds from gathering.

The opposition says the teenager died Saturday after a tear-gas canister fired at close range hit him in the chest.

The Interior Ministry has raised questions about the circumstances of Sayed’s death, saying that burns on the boy’s body could not have come from a tear-gas canister.

ISRAEL

Holocaust survivors blast Nazi garb at protest

JERUSALEM — Images of ultra-Orthodox Jews dressing up as Nazi concentration camp inmates during a protest drew widespread condemnation Sunday and added a new twist to a simmering battle over growing extremism inside Israel’s insular ultra-Orthodox community.

Religious extremists are facing increasing criticism for their efforts to separate men and women in public spaces, and Saturday’s protest, in which a child mimicked an iconic photo of a terrified Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, added to the outrage.

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle.

The protesters called Israeli policemen Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word “Jude” (German for Jew), and dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps before transporting them in the back of a truck.

SWITZERLAND

Cousin of Syria’s Assad denied visa to Switzerland

GENEVA — A cousin of Syria President Bashar Assad has lost his legal bid to get a visa for Switzerland, where he wanted to meet with a lawyer to challenge international sanctions imposed against him.

Switzerland’s supreme court rejected Hafez Makhlouf’s request, saying the 40-year-old army colonel could use other means - such as a telephone - to speak with his Swiss lawyer.

The verdict published Thursday was reported Sunday by Switzerland’s NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.

Mr. Makhlouf petitioned Switzerland’s Federal Tribunal in September after his name appeared on Swiss and European Union sanctions lists imposing asset freezes and travel bans on senior member’s of Mr. Assad’s regime.

Mr. Makhlouf heads the Damascus branch of General Security Directorate, one of Syria’s feared state intelligence agencies.

SYRIA

Arab body calls for pullout of monitors

CAIRO — A pan-Arab body is calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Arab League monitors in Syria because President Bashar Assad’s regime has kept up killings of government opponents even in the presence of the observers.

The 88-member Arab Parliament said Sunday that Arabs are angered by the Syrian regime’s ongoing killings while the monitors are in the country. The monitors are supposed to be ensuring that Syria complies with terms of the Arab League’s plan to end the nine-month-old crackdown on dissent.

But the Kuwaiti head of the Arab Parliament, Ali Salem al-Deqbasi, said the monitors are only providing cover for the regime to continue its “inhumane actions” under the noses of the Arab League observers.

MYANMAR

Gas prices rise 30 percent for new year

YANGON — Gas prices unexpectedly rose more than 30 percent for the new year in Myanmar and sparked fears of other goods costing more as well.

Motorists learned of the increase at the pump Sunday, when prices increased from $3.15 to $4.20 per imperial gallon.

The government made no announcement. But with the fuel price increase, and a new 40 percent electricity cost increase announced late last year, people are concerned about inflation of consumer goods, too.

Myanmar’s energy production is not enough to meet domestic demand, and it imports petrol and other fuels. The government subsidizes gas prices and rations it to two imperial gallons a day.

YEMEN

Yemenis rally, demand trial for president

SANAA — Large crowds of Yemenis rallied in major cities, demanding that outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh be put on trial for the deaths of protesters killed during the country’s uprising.

The protests came just a day after Mr. Saleh reversed his decision to leave Yemen, according to his ruling party. The decision may be an attempt to salvage his control over the regime as it is appears to unravel in the face of internal revolts and relentless street protests.

Tens of thousands marched in the streets of the capital Sanaa on Sunday, chanting that Mr. Saleh “must stand before a judge.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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