- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Iran off the hook at U.N. rights meeting
GENEVA The United Nation's top human rights body yesterday rejected a call by the European Union and the United States to again condemn reputed abuses in Iran, abandoning an 18-year-old tradition of criticizing Tehran.
As a result, for the first time since 1984, Tehran will not be the subject of special reports by an investigator appointed by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
The 53-member body backed a call by members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to throw out the resolution that called on Iran to stop the use of torture, grant greater freedom of expression and end religious discrimination.
The motion was defeated by 20 votes to 19 with 14 countries abstaining, delivering a diplomatic setback for Washington.

Castro calls Fox a liar
HAVANA Cuba's relations with longtime ally Mexico appeared headed for a new low yesterday after President Fidel Castro repeatedly called President Vicente Fox a liar, and made public a private conversation between them to prove it.
Mr. Castro, speaking before a national TV audience and the press, insisted Mr. Fox lied about the Cuban leader's hasty departure last month from a U.N. aid summit in Monterrey, Mexico.
Cuba claimed at the time that Mexico, working on behalf of the United States, pressured Mr. Castro to either stay away from the summit or make himself scarce before President Bush arrived. Mexican President Vicente Fox and Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda denied pressuring Mr. Castro to leave.
The Cuban president played a tape of a private telephone conversation he had with Mr. Fox on the eve of the summit, in which Mr. Fox clearly pushed Mr. Castro to leave the meeting early and urged him "not to attack the United States or President Bush."
Making public the tape was a clear break with presidential protocol, and was expected to cause a protest in Mexico.

Jewish leaders meet to fight attacks
BRUSSELS World Jewish leaders held emergency talks in Brussels yesterday to discuss how to fight a rash of anti-Semitic violence that has swept Western Europe, a day after a third Belgian synagogue was attacked.
"We are now facing an unprecedented increase in anti-Semitism on this continent," said Avi Beker, secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress. "We haven't had this level of anti-Semitism since World War II."
According to figures from the European Jewish Congress, there have been 300 anti-Jewish attacks in the last three weeks, ranging from graffiti daubed on Jewish property to fire-bombings of synagogues and assaults on rabbis.
The violence appears to be linked to protests against Israel's military incursions into Palestinian areas of the West Bank, although investigators believe it is the work of petty delinquents.

Chinese protest visit to war shrine
BEIJING Aging Chinese survivors of a massacre by Japanese troops in 1937 protested yesterday against Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Sunday visit to a shrine that honors war criminals, a Chinese report said.
The survivors of the Nanjing Massacre, in which occupying troops killed some 300,000 people, demonstrated alongside relatives of victims and scholars outside a memorial to the bloodshed, the official news agency Xinhua said.

U.S., Canada begin probe of soldiers' deaths
OTTAWA Investigators in Canada and the United States yesterday began examining what went wrong last week when a U.S. fighter jet mistakenly bombed and killed four Canadian soldiers who were taking part in a training exercise in Afghanistan.
The countries will have two separate panels that will collaborate, and the U.S. military, announcing the creation of its panel, said the probe could result in punishment.
Sentiments are still raw in Canada, where the bodies of the four soldiers arrived over the weekend.

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