- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2005

BRITAIN

Court overrides ban on Muslim dress

LONDON — A school violated a student’s human rights by banning her from wearing a traditional Muslim gown to class, a British court ruled yesterday, ending a more than two-year legal battle.

Shabina Begum, now 16, was sent home from school in Luton, north of London, in September 2002 for wearing a jilbab, a long, flowing gown covering all of her body except her hands and face.

The High Court, in June, rejected her argument that the ban breached her right to religious freedom under the European Convention on Human Rights. Yesterday, a panel of three Court of Appeal judges ruled in her favor. The teenager was represented by Cherie Booth, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

CHINA

20 children killed in blast, reports say

BEIJING — A cache of explosives at the home of a coal mine manager blew up in a town in northern China, killing at least 20 children at a nearby grade school, according to press reports.

The explosion occurred yesterday in Kecheng, a town in Shanxi province, one of China’s biggest coal-mining regions, newspapers reported.

“Grade school students who were in class were buried,” the Shanxi Commercial News said.

The mine manager was among the dead, and his wife was injured.

PAKISTAN

Man held in Pearl killing

KARACHI — Pakistani police yesterday arrested a man wanted in the slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and already sentenced to death in absentia for a hotel bombing that killed 11 French engineers.

Mohammed Sohail was among six persons who fired on police from a motorcycle, sparking a shootout, police said. The five other suspects fled, but Sohail fell off one of the motorcycles and was captured.

Sohail confessed to being a member of the outlawed Islamic militant group Harkat Jihad-e-Islami. A police official said Sohail will be interrogated about suspicions that he made the grisly video that showed Mr. Pearl’s throat being cut with a knife.

FRANCE

WHO to increase smallpox vaccines

LYON — The World Health Organization is seeking to expand its 2.5 million-dose supply of smallpox vaccines as part of precautions against a biological terrorism attack, a senior official said yesterday.

“We need stockpiles of vaccines. We need stockpiles of those essential medications,” Brad Kay, coordinator of the WHO’s division on preparedness for accidental and deliberate epidemics, said on the sidelines of an Interpol conference on bioterrorism.

Smallpox is one of six highly lethal Category A diseases that public health experts think could be used as biological weapons. Others include anthrax, tularemia, botulism, or viruses such as Ebola.


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