- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 23, 2004

BANGLADESH

Ferry capsizes; 200 reported missing

DHAKA — More than 200 people were reported missing today after a ferry capsized in Bangladesh, officials said.

A ferry company official said that 27 of the 250 passengers on board the Lightning Sun had swum to safety after the ferry capsized in the Meghna River in the western province of Chandpur, but that the fate of the rest was unknown.

“The ferry capsized during a storm,” the official, who gave only the name Habib, told Agence France-Press.

Unconfirmed reports that seven bodies had been retrieved could not immediately be confirmed.

SAUDI ARABIA

German man killed in strip mall

RIYADH — A German man who worked as a caterer for Saudi Arabia’s national airline was shot and killed yesterday by unknown assailants, and authorities are investigating whether the incident was linked to terrorism or more conventional crime.

The man was shot on a popular shopping thoroughfare in eastern Riyadh. Police cordoned off a strip mall where he was shot apparently after leaving an automated teller machine.

The most recent terrorist attack in the kingdom, on May 1, targeted the offices of an American energy company in the western city of Yanbu, killing six Westerners and a Saudi.

PAKISTAN

Commonwealth lifts suspension

LONDON — The Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies lifted a four-year suspension of Pakistan yesterday, welcoming the country’s progress on democratic reform since a military coup more than four years ago.

However, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group insisted President Pervez Musharraf must stand by his pledge to step down as army chief by the end of the year and said it would continue to monitor Pakistan’s democratic progress.

The 53-nation group suspended Pakistan from its decision-making councils in 1999 after Gen. Musharraf toppled the country’s elected prime minister.

FRANCE

Film critical of Bush wins Cannes honor

CANNES — American filmmaker Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a scathing indictment of White House actions after the September 11 attacks, won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday.

It was the first documentary to win Cannes’ prestigious Palme d’Or since Jacques Cousteau’s “The Silent World” in 1956.

The grand prize, the festival’s second-place honor, went to South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s “Old Boy,” a blood-soaked thriller about a man out for revenge after years of inexplicable imprisonment.

The best-actress award went to Maggie Cheung for her role in “Clean” as a junkie trying to straighten out her life and regain custody of her young son after her rock-star boyfriend dies of a drug overdose. Yagira Yuuya, 14, was named best actor for the Japanese film “Nobody Knows.”

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