- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 27, 2003

RWANDA

Genocide survivors vote on constitution

KIGALI — Rwandans voted yesterday on a new constitution hailed by some as a step toward reconciliation after the genocide in 1994, but criticized by others who say it is aimed at keeping President Paul Kagame’s ruling party in power.

Diplomats expect the 3.8 million registered voters to back the constitution, which permits an executive president to serve two seven-year terms, while imposing tight control over political parties.

MEXICO

Fugitive U.S. ex-priest jumps to his death

MAZATLAN — A former priest who fled to Mexico from the United States to escape sex-abuse charges jumped to his death from a balcony after police cornered him at a hotel, authorities said yesterday.

Siegfried F. Widera, 62, was accused of 42 counts of child molestation in California and Wisconsin.

As police surrounded the beachside hotel and moved in, the fugitive ran to the balcony of his second-story room and jumped, according to the U.S. Marshals Service in Milwaukee and authorities in Mexico.

EGYPT

Sunni Muslim authority decries suicide bombings

CAIRO — Al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, warned yesterday that Muslim rage does not justify suicide bombings, such as recent deadly ones in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Casablanca, Morocco.

“These savage and blind attacks have terrified the whole Muslim world … and are in clear violation of many Islamic principles,” Al-Azhar’s theological research committee, chaired by the institution’s top cleric, Sheik Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, said in a statement.

The committee said people have the right to defend their country “from occupation and invasion, but such attacks against innocent civilians under the cover of religious, political or other slogans is completely different.”

BRITAIN

Prince Charles’ lover gets queen’s invitation

LONDON — In an unprecedented gesture, Queen Elizabeth II has invited Camilla Parker Bowles to celebrations for the 50th anniversary of her coronation.

It is the first time that Prince Charles’ close companion has been invited personally by the queen to a key public event and is likely to fuel speculation about when Mrs. Parker Bowles will marry the prince.

Although Mrs. Parker Bowles will not sit with Prince Charles, it is believed that she will sit near senior royals with her father, Maj. Bruce Shand.

SOUTH KOREA

Fishermen from North cross rival’s waters

SEOUL — Six North Korean fishing boats intruded into South Korean waters for an hour yesterday before being chased back by the South’s navy, Yonhap News Agency quoted military officials as saying.

The showdown took place at the Yellow Sea border west of the divided peninsula at a point near where naval vessels from the rival states engaged in deadly gunbattles last June and in 1999.

BURMA

Democracy activists sentenced to prison

RANGOON — A court in Burma sentenced 10 democracy activists to prison terms ranging from two years to life, and a pro-junta group threatened supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hurled a brick at her car, her party said yesterday.

As the Nobel Peace laureate drove through central Burma, returning home from a political tour, a group backed by the military regime forced her waiting supporters to flee after threatening to run them over with cars, said a spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy.

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