- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

HAITI

Gunmen hit six at protest march

PORT-AU-PRINCE — One person was fatally shot and five were wounded yesterday when gunmen took to the streets to break up an antigovernment demonstration in the capital.

People hiding in alleys and on rooftops threw rocks and bottles and fired shots as thousands of antigovernment demonstrators marched through the streets.

Five persons were shot in the street outside a state-owned television station along the route of the marchers, but before they had arrived on the scene, witnesses said. A local radio station said at least two of the wounded were merchants.

ISRAEL

Sharon praises envoy for action in Sweden

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised Israel’s ambassador to Sweden yesterday for vandalizing a Stockholm art display about a Palestinian suicide bomber, saying the “entire government stands behind him.”

The Israeli ambassador, Zvi Mazel, threw a mounted spotlight at the outdoor exhibit in Stockholm’s Museum of National Antiquities on Friday. He said the display legitimized genocide, and Israel has demanded that it be removed.

Mr. Sharon said at a Cabinet meeting that he had called Mr. Mazel and thanked him “for his strength in dealing with increasing anti-Semitism.”

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban prisoners to be released

KABUL — President Hamid Karzai yesterday ordered the immediate release of all Afghans detained at the northern Sheberghan prison who are not considered dangerous.

It was not clear how many inmates were affected. Local officials said the jail holds more than 400 suspected of being Afghan Taliban members.

The government hopes the move, like the release last week of dozens of Pakistanis who fought with the Taliban, will help heal wounds left by the latest episode in the country’s almost quarter-century of conflict.

CHINA

Toughened steps taken against SARS, bird flu

BEIJING — China boosted precautions against the twin health threats of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and bird flu yesterday as the country entered its peak travel period ahead of the Lunar New Year, the country’s biggest holiday.

Vice Premier Wu Yi called on quarantine, railway and aviation officials to work together as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel home to rural villages for the holiday Thursday.

In the fight against bird flu, China has banned chicken imports from flu-hit Vietnam, Japan and South Korea, and officials were searching markets for any poultry from those countries.

EGYPT

Interest is taken in Sudan peace bid

CAIRO — Egypt staked a claim to a role in Sudanese peace talks yesterday and said its aim was to see the north and south of Sudan stay together in “voluntary union.”

Sudanese President Omar Bashir spent several hours in Cairo in talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose country’s main concern is to protect its share of the flow of the Nile, the only source of water for most of the country.

The Sudanese government and southern rebels are moving closer to a comprehensive agreement after 20 years of civil war in the south of Africa’s largest country.

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