- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2004

HAITI

Students seek U.S. support

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Angry students protesting President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s rule burned a coffin in front of the U.S. Consulate yesterday. One student was fatally shot.

Riot police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the students as well as Aristide partisans, who were pelting the demonstrators with rocks.

One student was fatally shot near the consulate, apparently by a gun-fired tear gas canister that hit him in the back and caused internal bleeding, said Dr. Eric Cantave, who removed the canister from the student’s back.

The students want the United States to help them in calling for Mr. Aristide’s resignation.

AFGHANISTAN

British soldier killed in suicide attack

KABUL — A car bomber blew himself up in a taxi next to British peacekeepers patrolling the Afghan capital yesterday, killing one soldier and wounding four.

It was the second suicide assault on foreign troops in as many days, marking an escalation in the rebellion led by fighters from the ousted Taliban regime — and increasing its parallels with the insurgency in Iraq. In response, U.S. forces in Afghanistan are planning a spring offensive, Pentagon officials said.

The British soldier died after a yellow and white taxi carrying 200 pounds of explosives blew up near his open-topped Land Rover at about 11 a.m. in the eastern outskirts of Kabul.

GAZA STRIP

Israeli army kills 8 Palestinians

GAZA — Israeli troops killed eight Palestinians yesterday in the deadliest raid in the Gaza Strip in more than a month, casting a shadow over a new U.S. push to salvage a battered peace plan.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the main groups behind a campaign of suicide bombings against Israelis, vowed revenge, saying five of their fighters were among those killed in fierce gunbattles in Gaza City. Medics said the other dead were civilians, but Israel said all were armed “terrorists.”

FRANCE

Head-scarf bill moves forward

PARIS — French Cabinet ministers yesterday adopted a bill banning conspicuous religious symbols in public schools — the first step in outlawing Islamic head scarves in the classroom.

The bill, containing three articles, goes to the Parliament for debate Tuesday.

It stipulates that “in schools, junior high schools and high schools, signs and dress that conspicuously show the religious affiliation of students are forbidden.”

It does not apply to students in private schools or to French schools in other countries.

The law would forbid Islamic head scarves, Jewish skullcaps, Christian crosses, Sikh turbans and possibly beards worn by some Muslim men for religious reasons.

SAUDI ARABIA

16 Saudis asked to leave U.S.

The United States has revoked diplomatic accreditation from 16 Saudis and asked them to leave the country, a State Department official said yesterday.

“There are 16 Saudis who we’ve asked to leave because we looked at the accreditation list and we found that they were not working at the embassy,” the official said.

“Rather, they were teaching Islam outside the embassy and, therefore, not entitled to diplomatic status,” the official said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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