- The Washington Times - Friday, October 10, 2003

CHINA

Church legal adviser, activist arrested

BEIJING — The legal adviser to an imprisoned leader of China’s unofficial Christian church has been arrested along with a prominent church activist and his wife, international human rights groups reported yesterday.

Xiao Biguang, a longtime campaigner for religious freedom and workers’ rights, was seized Sept. 26 by police in central Henan province’s Lushan County and was being held at an undisclosed location, said Bob Fu, president of the China Aid Association based in Pennsylvania.

Arrested with Mr. Xiao was Zhang Yinan, a leading historian of the unofficial church movement, Mr. Fu said. Mr. Zhang’s wife, Ding Guizhen, a doctor, was arrested separately.

VATICAN CITY

Kidney dialysis mulled for pope

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II could undergo kidney dialysis to cleanse his body of drugs he is taking for Parkinson’s disease, an Italian news agency said yesterday.

A Vatican official said the AGI news agency report “seemed correct.” Later, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls denied the pope was currently undergoing dialysis.

The AGI report said doctors were considering dialysis not because the pope’s health has worsened, but to prevent his kidneys from being overloaded by medicine. It said any dialysis would be done in the pontiff’s Vatican apartment.

INDIA

AWACS deal signed with Israel

NEW DELHI — India and Israel signed their biggest weapons deal ever yesterday, with New Delhi agreeing to buy strategic airborne radar systems that it hopes will boost its military edge over nuclear rival Pakistan.

The Israeli-made Phalcon radar will be mounted on Russian IL-76 aircraft in a deal estimated to be worth more than $1 billion.

Pakistan has repeatedly expressed concern at growing India-Israel defense ties and said the introduction of advanced systems such as the AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) would lead to an arms race between the two nuclear powers, which came close to war last year over Kashmir.

BRAZIL

2nd witness killed in U.N. rights probe

BRASILIA — Gunmen fatally shot a man who spoke to a U.N. investigator about police death squads, an attack that came a day after Brazil’s president pledged to protect witnesses who come forward to testify about human rights abuses.

The killing of Gerson de Jesus Bispo on Thursday shocked human rights officials who have struggled to control rogue police accused of torture and summary executions in Latin America’s largest country.

Mr. Bispo was the second person killed after speaking to Asma Jahangir, the U.N. official investigating extrajudicial and summary executions.

IVORY COAST

Youths attack French businesses

ABIDJAN — Pro-government youths in Ivory Coast smashed French businesses in the main city of Abidjan yesterday, accusing troops from the former colonial power of helping rebels who control half of the country.

Tension has soared in the West African state since the rebels walked out of a unity government set up under a French-brokered peace deal to end a civil war earlier this year. France has sent 4,000 troops to Ivory Coast to police a cease-fire line.

Officials at French mobile phone operator Orange said at least two of their branches had been ransacked and a French manager roughed up by youths.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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