- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2005


Front-runner wants to impose Shariah

BERLIN — Iraq’s front-running Shi’ite candidate for prime minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, said in an interview he intended to introduce Shariah, or Islamic law, and federalism and declared that Saddam Hussein would be judged by the end of this year.

“It’s understandable in a country where the majority of people are Muslim,” Mr. Jaafari said of Shariah in an interview conducted in Baghdad and due to appear in tomorrow’s edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel.

“Iraq should become a Muslim country but without falling under the influence of Iran or Saudi Arabia,” he said.

He also said women would be under no legal obligation to wear a veil.


Strong earthquake rocks Kyushu

TOKYO — A strong earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale rocked the southern Japanese island of Kyushu today, triggering tsunami warnings, officials said.

The warnings were lifted one hour after the quake, which occurred at 10:53 a.m., the government’s Meteorological Agency said. It had predicted that the tsunami waves could rise as high as 20 inches.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or major property damage, apart from cracked walls, shattered windows, fallen shelves and ruptured water and gas pipes, according to media reports.

Several people reportedly sustained minor injuries.

The quake’s epicenter was located in waters off Fukuoka, a major city on the north coast of the island.


Rome concerned over bishop firing

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican yesterday warned Argentina that its decision to fire the country’s military bishop may be viewed by Rome as a “violation of religious liberty,” its spokesman said.

Rome was waiting for “an official communication from the Argentine government” after it withdrew the accreditation of Bishop Antonio Baseotto on Friday, spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls said.

The government of President Nestor Kirchner dismissed Bishop Baseotto, vicar of the country’s military diocese, after he remarked that a Cabinet minister should be “thrown in the sea” for favoring abortion, raising the specter of the 1976-83 military dictatorship when dissidents were killed by dropping them alive from aircraft into the ocean.


U.S. suspends military aid

MANAGUA — The United States has suspended $2.3 million in military aid to Nicaragua until it resumes the destruction of anti-aircraft missiles Washington fears could be sold to terrorists on the black market, U.S. and Nicaraguan officials said yesterday.

The Soviet-made missiles were left in army stockpiles from the country’s civil war in the 1980s and, while Nicaragua has destroyed about 1,000 of the surface-to-air missiles, another 1,000 remain.

Some 600 of the 1,000 remaining surface-to-air missiles were scheduled to be scrapped this year, but the Nicaraguan Congress passed a law late in 2004 that requires the president to seek congressional approval for the destruction.


Theater explosion kills 1, injures 12

DOHA — A car bomb tore through a theater popular with Westerners during a performance yesterday, killing one person, officials said.

Twelve other persons were injured in the blast.

The theater, which was performing Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” is a popular venue for non-Qataris from Western and Arab countries. A British school is located in the vicinity of the theater.

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