- The Washington Times - Monday, July 7, 2003


Palestinian prisoners to be set free

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Cabinet decided yesterday to release several hundred Palestinian prisoners, a move that could help push forward a U.S.-backed peace plan, though Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the releases were conditional on Palestinian action against militants.

Securing the freedom of prisoners is a top priority for Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and a key demand by Palestinian militants who agreed to a cease-fire a week ago. Mr. Sharon said the move would strengthen Mr. Abbas’ leadership.

The measure passed only after the Cabinet agreed to establish a committee of Israeli officials to monitor Palestinian compliance with the “road map” to peace in the Middle East, Tourism Minister Benny Elon said.


Homosexual priest declines bishop post

LONDON — A homosexual clergyman whose appointment as a bishop divided the Anglican church has decided not to take up his post, the Church of England said yesterday.

The church’s spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, said the decision by the Rev. Jeffrey John should give Anglicans “pause for thought.”

Mr. John wrote that he made the decision because of “the damage my consecration might cause to the unity of the Church, including the Anglican Communion.”


15 arrested in Shi’ite mosque attack

QUETTA — At least 15 persons have been arrested in the Pakistani city of Quetta in connection with an attack on a Shi’ite mosque.

The attack Friday, which left 53 persons dead, was part of an outbreak of intra-Muslim violence, and all those arrested were reported to be of the Sunni sect.


Operation on twins reaches critical point

Surgeons entered a critical phase yesterday in a dangerous, marathon operation as they began separating the brains of 29-year-old Iranian twin sisters joined at the head.

The operation, which could take two to four days, could prove fatal for the sisters, Ladan and Laleh Bijani.


Islamists triumph over reformers

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwaiti voters ousted most of Parliament’s Westernized reformists in favor of militant Muslims and supporters of the royal-led Cabinet, results showed yesterday. The shift raised fears of spreading extremism in one of the United States’ key Arab allies.

The Islamists, who seek to impose a more wide-ranging version of their religious law to preserve Kuwait’s Muslim identity, won 21 seats — one more than in the previous 50-member parliament — and the reformers won three seats, down from 14. The rest were independents or government supporters.

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