- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Austrian anti-Semitism at issue in twin suits

VIENNA, Austria A Jewish senior member of Austria's far-right Freedom Party said yesterday he was suing the head of the country's Jewish community, a relatiatory suit in the midst of a row over anti-Semitism.

Peter Sichrovsky's suit against Ariel Muzicant intensifies a debate over anti-Semitism that has raged at home and abroad, sparked by far-right chief Joerg Haider's recent attack on Mr. Muzicant, which has earned Mr. Haider a lawsuit.

Mr. Sichrovsky, who says criticism of Jewish people is not tantamount to anti-Semitism, is himself the subject of a lawsuit from Mr. Muzicant for calling him an "idiot." He has now filed a suit against Mr. Muzicant over comments made on his marriages.

The remarks demonstrate that "the current leadership of the Jewish community, which presents itself consistently as victimized and persecuted, places no value on concepts like tolerance and respect," said a statement from Mr. Sichrovsky's office.

Albanians boycott Macedonia talks

SKOPJE, Macedonia Macedonia's political leaders opened talks yesterday to address the Balkan country's ethnic tensions, but the meeting was boycotted by the main ethnic-Albanian opposition party.
President Boris Trajkovski said he presented a document that formed the basis for "more concrete talks" and asked political party leaders to reconvene in a week. But the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) refused to participate.
"The PDP thinks this unofficial meeting is intended to daze the international community into believing that some talks are taking place in Macedonia and that dialogue continues," PDP spokesman Zahir Bekteshi said.

Separatists threaten to behead American

MANILA Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered "all-out war" on a band of Muslim extremists yesterday, hours after they vowed to behead a U.S. hostage to mark the president's 54th birthday.
"We will pursue every one of them relentlessly," Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo said of the Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines. "We shall annihilate them."
Hours before Mrs. Arroyo's announcement, Abu Sabaya, an Abu Sayyaf leader, told the local Radio Mindanao Network that his men will kill Californian Jeffrey Schilling, 25, on Thursday evening, the president's birthday.

Earthquake rocks northeastern Japan

TOKYO An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 shook northern Japan this morning, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.
The quake, centered some 40 miles below the seabed, struck at 4:54 a.m. off the coast of Aomori state, about 370 miles northeast of Tokyo, the Meteorological Agency said.

Rights chief changes mind on stepping down

NEW YORK Mary Robinson has reversed her decision to step down as the U.N. human rights chief and asked for a one-year extension of her current term, U.N. officials and human rights groups said yesterday.
Just two weeks ago, Mrs. Robinson said she would leave her post as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights at the end of her four-year term in September.
But U.N. officials said that after expressions of regret at her impending departure from many quarters, Mrs. Robinson asked for a one-year extension.

Botswana hangs South African woman

GABORONE, Botswana A South African woman was hanged for a love-triangle murder in Botswana Saturday, the first white person and the fourth woman to be executed since independence in 1966, officials said yesterday.
Mariette Bosch, 50, was sentenced in February 2000 to hang for the June 1996 murder of her best friend, Maria Wolmarans, whose husband she later married.
Bosch's shattered husband, Tienie Wolmarans, said he, South African consular officials and the hanged woman's attorneys were not told she was going to be executed.

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