- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Cartoon row viewed as EU vs. Muslims

COPENHAGEN — Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday that the global row over prophet Muhammad cartoons first published in his country had evolved into a clash between the entire European Union and the Muslim world.

His comments came as Danish diplomats returned to Indonesia, which they had left at the height of the uproar; the consulate in Tunisia reopened; and a senior Muslim leader sought to lessen tension, describing a fatwa, or religious Islamic decree, condemning the cartoonists to death as “very dangerous.”

“This affair is not just an issue between Denmark and the Muslim world. It has to a much greater degree evolved into an affair between the European Union and the Muslim world,” Mr. Rasmussen told reporters in Copenhagen.


Opposition rejects American funding

DAMASCUS — Secular opposition groups in Syria yesterday rejected a U.S. plan to allocate $5 million to reform activists, in a statement received by Agence France-Presse.

The groups, under the “Damascus Declaration” banner, rejected “any financial assistance from any party,” after the U.S. State Department announced Friday that it would give the funds “to accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.”

The money would come from the department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative to encourage reform in the region, the State Department said.

The Damascus Declaration, made up of several opposition groups and figures, also called for the formation of “democratic and modern” parties in Syria and the release of all political detainees.


Frantic search fails to find miners

SAN JUAN DE SABINAS — Desperate efforts to rescue 65 Mexican miners trapped in deep coal shafts for two days dragged on yesterday, and relatives of the men broke down in despair with the slow progress.

About 60 rescue workers, mainly local miners, were digging with picks and shovels at the Pasta de Conchos mine in the northern state of Coahuila to reach the men.

“The work is going on in very difficult conditions. Unfortunately, the situation is grave,” said Oscar Pimentel, a top official from the state government of Coahuila.


Charles sues over published diaries

LONDON — Prince Charles took legal action yesterday against a newspaper that had printed diaries in which the heir to the British throne described Chinese diplomats as “appalling old waxworks.”

The diaries, containing Charles’s views on the 1997 handover of the British colony of Hong Kong to China, were copied by a former member of his staff and circulated to newspapers.

Titled “The Handover of Hong Kong” or “The Great Chinese Takeaway,” they were published by the Mail on Sunday in November, shortly after a visit to Britain of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Charles is suing in the High Court for breach of copyright and confidentiality.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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