- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 1, 2003

AFGHANISTAN

Turk abducted; 10 killed in clash

KABUL — Fighting between Afghan soldiers and police in southern Afghanistan left 10 dead before U.S. troops intervened. Afghan insurgents also abducted a Turkish highway engineer and demanded the release of six Taliban prisoners, officials said yesterday.

During the fierce five-hour battle, dozens of men fired rockets and heavy weapons in a residential area of Geriesh, 90 miles west of Kandahar. Two soldiers and eight police officers were killed.

GERMANY

Lawmaker apologizes for remark on Jews

BERLIN — A conservative German lawmaker accused of anti-Semitism for comparing the actions of Jewish communists in the Russian Revolution with those of the Nazis apologized yesterday, saying he had not meant to play down the gravity of the Holocaust.

Martin Hohmann’s comments in an Oct. 3 speech marking German Unity Day drew a threat of legal action from Jewish leaders and sharp criticism from across the political spectrum after German television aired them Thursday.

Mr. Hohmann, a member of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, initially stood by his remarks, saying they had been misunderstood. But he finally yielded to intense pressure from embarrassed party leaders.

SPAIN

Prince to wed television presenter

MADRID — Spanish heir to the throne Prince Felipe has become engaged to a previously married television newscaster, crowning years of gossip and speculation about his love life.

Prince Don Felipe de Borbon y Grecia, 35, will marry Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, 31, in a ceremony in Madrid next summer, the palace said in a statement yesterday. He is next in line to succeed his father, King Juan Carlos.

The newspaper ABC, which once employed Miss Ortiz as a reporter, said she and the prince met in Galicia last December when Miss Ortiz was covering the story of the sunken oil tanker Prestige, which spilled massive amounts of fuel oil on the beaches.

SWAZILAND

Prisoners say beating spreads AIDS virus

MBABANE — Prison inmates in Swaziland have demanded an end to the beating of naked prisoners with metal chains because it is spreading AIDS, the Swazi News reported yesterday.

Swaziland has one of the highest rates of infection with the HIV virus in the world, estimated by the United Nations at 33.4 percent. It is also sub-Saharan Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy.

“The chains get bloody, and this spreads AIDS when the next prisoner is beaten,” a life-sentence prisoner at Matsapha Maximum Security Prison for Men was quoted by the newspaper as saying during an inspection by the prison commissioner.

SUDAN

Grasshoppers cause 11 deaths

KHARTOUM — Eleven persons died and thousands were taken to hospitals with breathing difficulties after a swarm of grasshoppers invaded a town in central Sudan, the government-owned Al-Anbaa newspaper reported yesterday.

The paper cited health authorities in Wad Medani, capital of the central al-Jezira state, as saying an epidemic of what they considered to be asthma had afflicted 1,685 persons since Oct. 22, all of whom had since been cured. The authorities also said 11 persons had died from the breathing difficulties.

A resident in Wad Medani, about 110 miles southeast of the capital Khartoum, said the grasshoppers gave off a strong smell that caused breathing problems.


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