- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Guatemalan dictator loses immunity

GUATEMALA CITY Guatemala's Supreme Court lifted the parliamentary immunity of the speaker of Congress, former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, potentially leaving him open to prosecution for reputed human rights abuses during his rule.

The court acted because Mr. Rios Montt, and 23 deputies of the ruling Guatemalan Republican Front, stand accused of changing the published terms of a law taxing alcoholic beverages after it had passed Congress.

Human rights groups have been calling for Mr. Rios Montt's prosecution for human rights abuses committed during his rule. Mr. Rios Montt's military government, in place from 1982 to 1983, is accused of implementing a scorched-earth policy in which entire villages in the northwest were massacred on suspicion of harboring or sympathizing with leftist rebels.

NATO considers troops along border

NEW YORK NATO is considering allowing Yugoslav soldiers into a buffer zone that borders Macedonia. Guerrilla activity by ethnic Albanians has increased there during the past week, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said yesterday.
The ground safety or buffer zone runs along the outside of the province of Kosovo's internal boundary with the rest of Yugoslavia, from the Montenegrin border in the northwest to the Macedonian border in the southeast.
NATO already has decided to shrink the zone, which was set up after the conflict in Kosovo in June 1999, to protect NATO peace keepers and Kosovo's ethnic Albanians from being menaced by Serb troops. Sections of the zone now have turned into a staging area for the guerrillas.

Paraguay's president may have stolen car

ASUNCION, Paraguay A gray BMW driven by Paraguayan President Luis Gonzalez Macchi brought illegally into the South American country could have also been stolen, police and court officials said yesterday.
"According to preliminary information we have, that car's characteristics correspond to a car stolen in a neighboring country," a high-ranking police official said.
Paraguay is infamous among its South American neighbors for its black-market trade in stolen automobiles. According to police, more than 400,000 of the country's 600,000 cars were purchased on the black market, many of them stolen from neighbors like Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

Ukraine leader demands fealty

KIEV, Ukraine Embattled Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told ministers and civil servants yesterday that they had one week to publicly renounce ties to opposition groups or quit.
The ultimatum put Mr. Kuchma back on the offensive in a scandal over a murdered journalist which has sparked street protests and calls for his resignation.
Hours after delivering the ultimatum, Mr. Kuchma fired Energy Minister Serhiy Yermilov, Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.

Hackers put porn on Hamas Web site

GAZA Hackers invaded the Internet site of the Muslim militant group Hamas and configured it so that viewers were rerouted to a pornography Web site yesterday after the fundamentalist organization claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed three Israelis.
Web surfers trying to access hamas.org were sent automatically to a pay-for-view pornographic site offering a fare ranging from "kinky coeds" to "Latina fetish."

Torture of women seen worldwide

LONDON The torture of women and girls is widespread, and many suffer at the hands of people they know, Amnesty International said in a report released yesterday.
"The general perception is always that torture happens in police stations," said Angelika Pathak, of the human rights group. "That is not true. It happens in many contexts. It is a global phenomenon. It is based in discrimination which prevails everywhere."
Women are beaten and raped by husbands and boyfriends in every country, and in poorer places, many suffer violence after being sold for their labor, traded into marriages or forced into human trafficking networks, said the report, titled "Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds."

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