- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2006

IRAN

Missiles fired in war rehearsal

TEHRAN — Iran test-fired dozens of missiles, including the Shahab-3 that can reach Israel, in military maneuvers yesterday that it said were aimed at putting a stop to the role of world powers in the Persian Gulf region.

Iran remains locked in dispute with the West over its nuclear program, which Washington says is geared to producing atomic weapons but Tehran says is only for generating electricity.

Three days before Tehran’s show of strength, U.S.-led warships finished naval exercises in the Gulf that Iran branded as “adventurist.”

THAILAND

Leader apologizes for Muslim crackdown

PATTANI — Thailand’s interim prime minister publicly apologized yesterday for the former government’s hard-line policies against an Islamic insurgency, promising an investigation into charges of human rights abuses by the administration deposed in a recent coup.

The southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat are the only ones with Muslim majorities in predominantly Buddhist Thailand. An insurgency in the three provinces has claimed more than 1,800 lives since January 2004.

AFGHANISTAN

Opium farmers expect second bumper crop

KABUL — Afghan farmers now planting opium poppies probably will reap a harvest comparable to this year’s record crop, in part because insurgents control wide swaths of the south, preventing effective counternarcotics work, officials said yesterday.

Drug production has skyrocketed since a U.S.-led offensive toppled the Taliban regime five years ago, with police and government officials deeply implicated in the trade.

MEXICO

Police, protesters resume battle

OAXACA — Mexican riot police used tear gas and water cannon yesterday to force back protesters hurling Molotov cocktails as violence flared again in the city of Oaxaca.

At least eight persons were injured in the clash. Federal police who took over the city center at the weekend. The protesters accuse state Gov. Ulises Ruiz of corruption and brutality and have blockaded the city for five months demanding he step down.

GAZA STRIP

Deaths mount with Israeli incursion

GAZA CITY — Israeli helicopter gunships, tanks and troops tightened their grip yesterday on a northern Gaza town, killing a civilian, two militants and a police officer in Israel’s biggest push in months to stop Palestinian rocket fire.

Amid the clashes, men ages 16 to 40 were ordered over loudspeakers to gather in one of the main squares of Beit Hanoun, but few complied.

Defiant militants, meanwhile, kept up their attacks on southern Israel, firing homemade rockets from elsewhere in Gaza. One person was injured.

GERMANY

Clergyman kills himself over Islam

BERLIN — A retired German clergyman who set fire to himself apparently in protest over the spread of Islam died in a hospital yesterday, a church spokesman said.

Roland Weisselberg, 73, doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire outside a monastery in Erfurt in central Germany on Tuesday. He was taken to a hospital with severe burns and died yesterday, said Oliver Vorwald, a spokesman for the evangelical church association of the Saxony region.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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