- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2003

Strike shuts down half the country
HARARE Many banks, factories and stores across Zimbabwe were forced to close yesterday as workers stayed off the job to protest a government increase in gasoline prices.
A key labor federation said well over half the country's businesses closed by midafternoon because of the strike.
The gasoline price increase forced commuter and bus fares to more than double, said Wellington Chibhebhe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
He said strikers were demanding an immediate reversal of the gas-price increases.

Woman sought by FBI missing, mother says
KARACHI The mother of a Pakistani woman wanted for questioning about potential al Qaeda connections said yesterday her daughter vanished early this month and that her daughter's estranged husband may be behind her disappearance.
Aafia Siddiqui, a 31-year-old former graduate student in Boston, is wanted by the FBI for questioning about potential contacts with members of Osama bin Laden's terror network. The FBI also wants to question her husband, Dr. Amjad Mohammed Khan.
Ismat Siddiqui told the Associated Press in Karachi that the wanted woman had been living with her until April but has been out of touch since setting off to visit a friend and an uncle in Islamabad. The Pakistani authorities have denied holding her in custody.

President skips event over Muslim head scarf
ANKARA President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and powerful military chiefs boycotted a traditional reception marking the founding of Turkey's parliament yesterday because the wife of parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc was expected to attend the event wearing a scarf.
Although most Turkish women wear head scarves the practice is banned in public buildings. Secularists like Mr. Sezer and the military see the scarf as an Islamist challenge to the European Union candidate country and NATO's only Muslim member.
The ruling Justice and Development Party's roots are in a banned Islamist movement. Mr. Arinc's wife also skipped the reception in an attempt to defuse the controversy.

Pizzeria owner charged for war-linked ban
COPENHAGEN The owner of a Danish pizzeria who refused to serve German and French tourists was charged with discrimination yesterday.
Aage Bjerre, who owns a pizzeria on Denmark's Fanoe island, was investigated by police after he refused to serve tourists from Germany and France because of their countries' lack of support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq. He called them "anti-American."

Lawmakers seek to ban national flag as tattoo
NEW DELHI Indian lawmakers yesterday called for a ban on the use of the national flag in body painting and tattoos and the use of the national anthem as a ring tone in mobile phones.
The members of Parliament voiced their concerns during a debate on disrespect to national symbols, as the Parliament approved an amendment bill calling for stringent punishment for such acts.
A well-known fashion designer was arrested briefly two years ago for wearing the flag colors on her sequined dress.

At least 7 dead, 14 missing in mudslide
GUATEMALA CITY Authorities declared a state of emergency in the eastern province of San Marcos yesterday after a mudslide buried three homes, leaving at least seven persons dead and 14 missing in the village of Chichicaste, about 170 miles west of Guatemala City.
Officials said the dawn mudslide was triggered on a hillside, apparently by a series of minor earth tremors that dislodged accumulations of wet, packed earth clinging to the hillside.

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