- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003


Train blast kills 10 in Bombay

BOMBAY A bomb exploded on a passenger train yesterday at a station in Bombay, India's financial hub, killing at least 10 persons and injuring 55.

Eight of those killed were women, as the explosive went off between the women's first-class compartment and the general compartment, a senior government official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Islamic hard-line groups have carried out at least two crude bomb attacks in the past four months in Bombay, police said.


Havana protests U.S. handling of spies

HAVANA Cuba has filed a protest with the United States over treatment meted out to five of its agents convicted of spying, stating they are being held incommunicado to obstruct an upcoming appeal, an official said yesterday.

Rafael Dausa, head of the Cuban Foreign Ministry's North America department, told a Havana news conference that the agents, who are being held in five different federal prisons, were all placed in solitary confinement around Feb. 28 to thwart a federal appeal of their case scheduled for early next month.


Parliament opposes data exchange with U.S.

STRASBOURG The European Parliament yesterday overwhelmingly rejected an agreement between the European Union and the United States under which information on airline passengers is being supplied to U.S. intelligence.

By 414 votes in favor to 44 against, the parliament passed a resolution demanding the European Union's Executive Commission immediately suspend the accord announced last month.

The parliament, threatening to appeal to the European Court of Justice, said the arrangement was illegal.


7 die as fire engulfs packed mosque

LAHORE Fire swept through a packed mosque yesterday in eastern Pakistan, causing a frantic stampede. At least seven worshippers were killed and 20 injured, police said.

The midday blaze engulfed the mosque in Sargodha, a town 130 miles southwest of Islamabad, as Shi'ite Muslims were participating in special prayers for the Islamic holy month of Muharram, which began March 5.


2 Iraqi diplomats expelled over spying

STOCKHOLM Sweden has asked two Iraqi diplomats to leave the country, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

The diplomats were asked to leave because they had spied on Iraqi refugees living in Sweden, the ministry said in a statement, pointing out that two other Iraqi diplomats had been asked to leave for the same reason a year ago.

But a Swedish government official said that Sweden, which opposes any U.S. military action against Iraq, was not complying with a U.S. request to around 60 countries to expel Iraqi diplomats.


Teachers strike over Muslim girl's scarf

LYON Teachers from a school in the French city of Lyon went on strike yesterday over a Muslim pupil's insistence on wearing a scarf on her head in the latest example of strained relations with Muslims in France.

Around 150 teachers 80 percent of the teaching staff at the Lamartiniere-Duchere secondary school protested outside the local education office after a disciplinary council being set up to examine the case was suspended.

The 16-year-old Lyon student began covering her head in December, during the holy month of Ramadan, and was gradually excluded from most of her classes by January. A law forbids religious teaching in state-funded French schools, and in the mid-1990s France also outlawed "ostentatious religious symbols" from the classroom.

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