- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 18, 2004


Politician secretive after death threats

BRUSSELS — A Belgian senator of Moroccan origin, known for her criticism of conservative practices within immigrant Muslim communities, has established a secret residence after receiving death threats, officials said yesterday.

Mimount Bousakla, 32, contacted police after receiving threatening telephone calls last weekend, said a Socialist Party official who asked not to be identified. Miss Bousakla showed up for work at Parliament yesterday, but now lives at a secret location.

Death threats are being taken a lot more seriously since the slaying in the Netherlands two weeks ago of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a suspected Islamist. Mr. van Gogh had produced a brief television movie highly critical of the treatment of women in Muslim families.

Miss Bousakla last week criticized the Muslim Executive, an umbrella group for Muslims in Belgium, for not condemning the attack. “Because of the murder of Theo van Gogh, the Executive should have protested and called on the Muslims to criticize the attack. Instead it did nothing,” she was quoted as saying on her Web site.


Asia-Pacific group convenes annual talks

SANTIAGO — Top government ministers from 21 Pacific Rim nations convened high-level talks on free trade and global security yesterday, while police battled university students protesting the summit and a weekend visit by President Bush.

Several hundred demonstrators who tried to gather in downtown Santiago were confronted by riot police. The protesters were doused with tear gas from fast-moving jeeps and knocked to the ground with blasts from water cannons mounted on trucks.

There were no reports of injuries. The protest occurred miles away from the suburban Santiago venue for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.


Pentagon announces arms-sale proposal

The Pentagon notified Congress on Tuesday about three proposed arms deals with Pakistan, a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terror, including the sale of eight P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft valued at up to $970 million.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which handles foreign weapons sales for the Pentagon, said it also planned to sell Pakistan 2,000 TOW-2A missiles and 14 TOW-2A Fly-to-Buy missiles in a deal valued at $82 million.

Pakistan also had requested the sale of six Phalanx rapid-fire 20-millimeter guns for surface ships, and the upgrade of six gun systems, a contract worth up to $155 million, the agency said.

Lawmakers have 30 days to block the proposed arms sales, but defense officials and congressional sources said that such a development was unlikely.


President wants French models out

MINSK — Alexander Lukashenko, the hard-line anti-Western head of the former Soviet republic of Belarus, yesterday called for French models to be banished from advertising billboards in favor of the best of Belarus beauty.

“These Frenchwomen with their faces splashed with mud off the road must not monopolize billboards all over the place, including the presidential route to work,” he complained at an opening session of parliament.

“We’ve got plenty of beautiful girls of our own, so let’s have their pictures up instead of advertising watches, even if the watches are foreign-made,” the president said.

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