- The Washington Times - Monday, August 16, 2004

ISRAEL

Official is unmoved by hunger strike

JERUSALEM — About 1,600 Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike yesterday to protest conditions in Israeli jails, despite a warning by Israel’s public security minister that they could “starve to death” before he would ease restrictions.

The remaining Palestinian prisoners and detainees — Israel holds a total of about 7,500 — are to join the hunger strike by the end of the week, organizers said.

The prisoners are being held in Israeli jails, a large tent camp in the Negev Desert, and at crowded military bases in the West Bank where prisoners have complained of poor sanitary conditions.

BURUNDI

U.N. meeting called on Tutsi massacre

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council called an emergency session on the situation in Burundi yesterday after the massacre of more than 150 Tutsi Congolese refugees at a camp in western Burundi.

Most of the victims were women, children and babies, shot and burned in their shelters at the Gatumba refugee transit camp about 10 miles northwest of Bujumbura, near the border with Congo, U.N. peacekeepers said.

The peacekeepers issued a statement saying those behind the massacre “will answer for their acts against humanity” and pledging to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

AFGHANISTAN

Airlift inserts troops amid warring factions

KABUL — Government troops flew from the capital to the far west on U.S. and NATO airplanes to retake an air base contested in an outbreak of fighting between warlords, officials said yesterday.

The Afghan National Army seized the airbase at Shindandin Herat province, but battles continued between the forces of Herat Gov. Ismail Khan and several rival warlords.

Taliban militants, meanwhile, killed a community leader for encouraging people to vote in the October election and gunned down six Afghan soldiers at a checkpoint, officials said.

INDONESIA

Golkar endorsement boosts Megawati

JAKARTA — President Megawati Sukarnoputri gained a boost in her effort for a fresh term in office yesterday when Golkar, the party that won most of the votes in recent parliamentary elections, endorsed her.

Mrs. Megawati — whose Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle lost its mantle as the leading party in the parliament to Golkar in the April elections — faces her former security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in a Sept. 20 presidential election.

Mr. Yudhoyono won a July 5 first-round vote, but without the majority needed to avoid a runoff against Mrs. Megawati, who came second among five candidates.

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