- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2006

MEXICO

Legislators demand governor resign

MEXICO CITY — A majority of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies yesterday demanded the resignation or suspension of Oaxaca state Gov. Ulises Ruiz, after five months of fierce demonstrations in the tourist region.

The conservative National Action Party of President Vicente Fox and the liberal Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) both voted in favor of the text “asking for the immediate departure of Ulises Ruiz,” PRD spokeswoman Maria Elena Torres said.

Two-thirds of the deputies present in the lower chamber approved the resolution. Legislators of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, to which Mr. Ruiz belongs, voted mostly against, although some abstained.

AFGHANISTAN

NATO kills 55 insurgents

KABUL — NATO troops fought a six-hour battle with insurgents in southern Afghanistan yesterday in a firefight that left 55 militants and one NATO soldier dead, the Western alliance said.

Twenty militants also were wounded in the fight in the Daychopan district of Zabul province, NATO said. The nationality of the dead NATO soldier was not released, though many of the Western troops in Zabul are American.

AUSTRALIA

Muslim cleric issues apology

SYDNEY — Australia’s top Islamic cleric yesterday repudiated remarks he made likening women without head scarves to “uncovered meat,” and he temporarily gave up mosque duties after a fainting spell left him hospitalized.

The 65-year old Egyptian-born cleric, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, was admitted to a Sydney hospital after collapsing during a meeting with mosque administrators following days of criticism over comments that also blamed immodestly dressed women for rape.

In a statement yesterday, Sheik al-Hilali said he was temporarily giving up his duties at Australia’s largest mosque and acknowledged that the “uncovered meat” analogy was a mistake.

“I confess that this analogy is inappropriate and unacceptable for the Australian society and the Western society in general,” he said.

FRANCE

Government vows tougher punishment

PARIS — French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin vowed yesterday to stiffen punishments for vandals after youths torched a bus in the southern city of Marseille, leaving a badly burned woman fighting for her life.

With the weekend attack exactly one year after the start of widespread riots in poor, largely immigrant French suburbs, the conservative government sought to quell fears that France risked a new wave of unrest.

“Faced with such violent acts, the first response must be the systematic arrest of all those involved and their exemplary and speedy punishment,” Mr. de Villepin said after a special meeting with ministers on public transportation security.

ISRAEL

Hard-line party joins government

JERUSALEM — The Israeli Cabinet agreed yesterday to bring a hawkish, divisive politician into the government.

The decision shored up the shaky coalition but effectively ruled out any serious moves to revive Middle East peace negotiations.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted that the addition of Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party, which advocates redrawing Israel’s borders to exclude many of its Arab citizens, would not force any major change in government policy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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