- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2003


Students demand release of prisoners

TEHRAN — Thousands of Iranians took to the streets early today chanting anti-government slogans after police surrounded a dormitory at Tehran University, witnesses said.

“Political prisoners must be freed,” about 3,000 people shouted in a square near the university, the scene almost four years ago of the biggest unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Other chants were directed against Iran’s fundamentalist clerical rulers.

Many people said they had gathered after hearing calls by U.S.-based Iranian-exile television channels to go to the campus after student protests there yesterday.


Aung San Suu Kyi ‘in good spirits’

RANGOON — A U.N. envoy who met with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday said she is “well and in good spirits” and could be released within two weeks.

Razali Ismail was the first outsider to meet with Mrs. Suu Kyi since she was detained by Burma’s military government May 30 and moved to a secret location. Her arrest came after clashes between her supporters and government backers that prompted a crackdown on her pro-democracy party.

After returning to Malaysia, his home country, Mr. Razali said he urged Burma’s government to release Mrs. Suu Kyi right away.


Taylor ready for cease-fire

MONROVIA — Liberia said yesterday it is ready for a cease-fire with rebels, as international pressure mounted on both sides to avoid a bloody showdown for the capital.

Regional mediators struggling to broker a truce had to postpone a trip to Liberia yesterday because of bad weather. They are expected here today for talks with President Charles Taylor.

Defense Minister Daniel Chea told reporters in the capital, Monrovia, that Liberia wants a cease-fire, as government troops continued fighting rebels in Monrovia’s northwestern suburbs, which have been under fierce attack for nearly a week.


SARS threatens new outbreak

TORONTO — Twelve pneumonia patients may turn out to have SARS, and a U.S. traveler has developed the disease after visiting this Canadian city, officials said yesterday.

The patients, in a dialysis clinic in the Toronto suburb of Whitby, started showing SARS-like symptoms of pneumonia and fever over the past week, they said.

SARS has killed 33 persons in the Toronto area, the only place outside Asia where the virus has claimed lives. As of Monday, there were 66 probable cases in and around Toronto, a city of 4 million people. Twenty-one persons were in critical condition.


Opposition leader to remain jailed

HARARE — Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was ordered to remain in police custody on treason charges yesterday, but similar charges against his party’s secretary-general were dropped.

The state accuses Mr. Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, of inciting his supporters to overthrow the government of this impoverished, crisis-racked southern African nation.


Chaos takes hold as trade unions strike

PARIS — France was hit by another day of walkouts, protests and transport chaos yesterday, as trade unions stepped up the pressure on Premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin to withdraw a pension-reform bill.

Railway and metro workers, and teachers and air-traffic controllers spearheaded the day of nationwide strikes — the third in as many weeks — causing serious disruptions to train, bus and underground services in Paris and other cities.

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