- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2004


Explosion set off at Israeli army base

GAZA CITY — Palestinian militants tunneled under an Israeli military post in the Gaza Strip yesterday and blew it up in a huge explosion that wounded six soldiers.

Israeli helicopter gunships launched two separate missile strikes in Gaza City early today, witnesses said, hitting two metal workshops, but not causing any major injuries.

A Palestinian policeman and a teenager were killed by troops after the blast at the army post, Palestinian medics and witnesses said. The Israeli army said there was heavy Palestinian fire from a nearby refugee camp, where the two died, and that troops fired back.


Opposition gains ground in election

ULAN BATOR — Unofficial early results from Mongolia’s parliamentary election suggest opposition Democrats are taking seats from the ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), observers said today.

The MPRP has 72 seats in the 76-member Great Hural, or parliament, and had been expected to lose a handful to the opposition Motherland Democratic Coalition in yesterday’s election.

“All the results are pre-liminary, but so far we have information of perhaps 26 Democratic candidates winning seats,” said Batsuka, of the independent International Cultural Exchange Society.


Adamkus returns as president

VILNIUS — Valdas Adamkus, Lithuania’s former leader who paved the way for the Baltic state to join the European Union and NATO, won yesterday’s presidential election after a strong challenge by the head of the Peasants’ Party.

With nearly all votes counted, he had 52 percent of the total and an election official confirmed he had won the second-round vote.

The 77-year-old independent centrist is credited with guiding the former Soviet republic into the European mainstream as president from 1998 to 2003, when he lost to Rolandas Paksas, who was impeached in April over accusations including links to Russian mobsters and intelligence.


Mexicans stage protest against crime

MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans wearing white staged a silent march through the heart of their nation’s capital to protest kidnappings, violent crimes and the failures of law enforcement to curb them.

The march was the largest here in recent history, filling Mexico City’s central plaza and packing surrounding streets.

As protesters crossed the city, they shared stories of how many people had been victims of violent crime.


Human rights situation deteriorates

CAIRO — Human rights in Syria are deteriorating under arbitrary arrests, a crackdown on minority Kurds and systematic torture, according to a London-based rights group’s annual report released yesterday.

The report accused Syrian authorities of ignoring the constitution and international conventions on torture, saying methods used include beatings with bats, whips and cables, electrocution, rape threats and sleep deprivation.

The Syrian government has “failed to take an earnest step toward the long-awaited pledge to implement reforms,” said the report of the Syrian Committee for Human Rights, a group of Syrian dissidents based in London.

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