World Briefs: Religious police losing some powers

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RIYADH | The director of Saudi Arabia’s powerful religious police says his forces are losing some of their key powers, including arrests, investigations and raiding houses.

Abdul-Latif al-Sheikh was quoted Wednesday by the Saudi pan-Arab online newspaper Al-Hayat as saying some powers will be reassigned to regular police or to judicial authorities.

He admitted that there have been complaints about his force’s behavior.

The religious police enforce a ban on mingling by unrelated men and women, and they patrol public places to ensure women are dressed modestly and that men go to mosques for prayers.

Saudi authorities instructed the religious police, run by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, to draw up guidelines to keep individual officers from imposing their personal interpretations of Islamic rules.

BANGLADESH

Court: Why weren’t Buddhists protected?

DHAKA | Bangladesh’s High Court asked the government Wednesday to explain why local officials failed to provide security to minority Buddhists whose homes, temples and businesses were attacked over a picture of a burned Koran posted on Facebook.

A two-judge panel asked top bureaucrats of the Home Ministry and local administrators to reply within a week, and ordered authorities to ensure safety in troubled areas of southern Bangladesh.

The judges ruled after a lawyer presented several newspaper reports on last weekend’s attacks.

At least 10 temples and 40 homes were torched, looted or vandalized in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar.

The court also asked a government-formed investigative committee to submit its findings to it by Oct. 17.

The government already has removed a local police chief for failing to thwart the attacks.

JORDAN

Capital city braces for rival rallies

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