- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Muslims celebrate start of Ramadan

CAIRO The mood was both festive and contemplative as Muslims began their holiest month yesterday, lighting special lanterns, watching holiday TV programs and enjoying special meals to mark the end of the day's fast.
During Ramadan which lasts 28 days observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse between sunrise and sunset to spiritually renew themselves. The month commemorates when the Koran, the Muslim holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed about 1,400 years ago.

Kashmir cease-fire goes into effect

SRINAGAR, India India put a cease-fire into effect in Kashmir late last night, ordering its soldiers not to fire on separatist guerrillas except as a last resort if attacked.

The unilateral cease-fire during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan was called by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in a bid to end an 11-year insurgency by Islamic separatists that has cost more than 30,000 lives.

An estimated 600,000 soldiers and thousands of other security forces in India's Jammu-Kashmir state stood guard in sandbagged bunkers, observation towers and along the mountainous frontier with Pakistan. The two countries have fought two wars over predominantly Muslim Kashmir.

Tamil rebels claim readiness for talks

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka The leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels said yesterday he was ready for unconditional peace talks with the Sri Lankan government and proposed a cease-fire before talks begin.
Velupillai Prabhakaran called for both sides to scale back hostilities something the government has thus far refused to promise but said this was not a precondition for talks.

Uganda's Ebola crisis spreads, toll climbs

KAMPALA, Uganda Ugandan officials recorded another death from the deadly Ebola virus in the southwest of the country yesterday, while 14 others died from the highly contagious virus in the north, health officials said.
The Ebola outbreak Uganda's first originated in the town of Gulu, 225 miles north of Kampala, with the first of hundreds of victims showing symptoms in September. Seventeen new cases were reported yesterday, said Francis Omaswa, director general of health services. In all, 145 persons have now died of the disease.

France to legalize sterilization

PARIS France likely will legalize sterilization tomorrow, ending the legal limbo in which about 30,000 women a year find themselves as the procedure is neither authorized nor outlawed.
The French National Assembly, or lower house, is expected to pass a law increasing from 10 to 12 weeks after conception the time limit for women to undergo an abortion. The bill includes a rider authorizing sterilization and bringing France into line with most of Europe.

Czech's Havel treated for a viral illness

PRAGUE President Vaclav Havel has come down with a viral illness and his official program has been canceled, his spokesman said yesterday.
Medical tests show he is developing pneumonia, Mr. Havel's spokesman Ladislav Spacek said in a statement sent to the Associated Press.
He said the president was being treated with antibiotics at his residence in Lany, outside Prague.

Study claims bulls drugged before fights

MADRID Twenty percent of Spain's fighting bulls are drugged before they enter the ring, loading the odds in favor of the bullfighter, according to scientists from Spain's Salamanca University.
A study the scientists presented over the weekend said that one in five bulls they tested had been given anti-inflammatory drugs, which mask injuries that could sap the animal's strength.

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