- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2005


Reform protests suffer first death

CAIRO — The first death in a wave of demonstrations that has swept Egypt this year was reported yesterday as authorities arrested hundreds of opposition activists amid signs they were blowing cold on reform hopes.

Tariq Mahdi Ghanam, a 40-year-old school teacher, died after Egyptian police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse about 5,000 people at a pro-reform rally in the Nile Delta city of Mansura, the opposition Muslim Brotherhood said.

Interior Ministry sources said the man had died of a heart attack.


Opposition to boycott referendum

KAMPALA — Uganda’s six main opposition groups said yesterday they would boycott a planned June referendum on whether to restore multiparty politics in the country, which were banned nearly 20 years ago.

The groups said the referendum was no more than an attempt to legitimize and consolidate the power now held by Movement, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s organization, now the country’s only fully functioning political entity.

“This is the epitome of the highest kind of dictatorship,” the groups said.


South African leader calls on pope

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI received South African President Thabo Mbeki yesterday, the first African leader to meet the pontiff since his inauguration last month, and promised to pray for his troubled continent.

Many Africans had hoped that Pope John Paul II, who died last month, would be replaced by someone from their continent, where membership in the church is rising.


8 nations target child porn on Net

STOCKHOLM — Around 100 suspects have been questioned as part of a crackdown on child pornography on the Internet by police in eight European countries that wound up yesterday, Swedish police said.

“In joint operations between May 2 and 6, police forces in eight countries undertook a series of raids of the homes of people suspected of child pornography crimes,” a police statement said.

Hundreds of police officers took part in the raids in Sweden, Britain, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Malta, Norway and Poland.


Cat owners warned over killer lillies

LONDON — A national alert has been issued to pet owners in Britain after pollen from a bunch of supermarket flowers killed a cat.

In one instance, a cat brushed against a vase of lillies, then licked the pollen from its fur. Within minutes she started being sick and, within hours, had died after going blind, suffering renal failure and becoming virtually paralyzed.

“All lilies are poisonous to cats, with just one leaf eaten possibly leading to death,” the alert said.


Maoists kill Hindu priest

KATMANDU — Suspected Maoists fatally shot one of Nepal’s top Hindu priests yesterday as he chanted hymns before a sacred fire in what was believed to be the first such killing since the rebels took up arms in 1996, police said.

Narayan Prasad Pokharel, chairman of the World Hindu Council-Nepal, was killed in Butwal in Rupandehi District in southwestern Nepal by three to four attackers, police and state radio said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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