- The Washington Times - Monday, January 1, 2007


Journalists mark deadliest year in decade

PARIS At least 81 reporters were killed last year, the highest toll in more than a decade, with Iraq once again proving the deadliest place for journalists, Reporters Without Borders said yesterday.

In its annual report, the media watchdog said 32 journalism assistants were killed last year, at least 871 reporters arrested and at least 1,472 attacks or threats against the press registered around the world a record.

Reporters Without Borders said it was the worst year for journalists since 1994, when 103 reporters died as a direct result of their work, almost half of them during the genocide in Rwanda. In 2005, 63 reporters were killed against 53 in 2004 and 40 in 2003.

For the fourth year running, Iraq claimed the highest number of deaths, with 39 journalists killed there against 24 in 2005. About 25 journalism assistants also died in Iraq last year.


Ban announces first appointments

NEW YORK Ban Ki-moon, the South Korean who becomes U.N. secretary-general today, announced his first two appointments after weeks of speculation and mystery about his intentions.

Vijay Nambiar of India, a special adviser to Mr. Ban’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, will be his chief of staff, and Michele Montas, an award-winning Haitian broadcaster, will head the U.N. spokesman’s division, replacing Stephane Dujarric of France, the United Nations announced yesterday.

U.N. sources said Alicia Barcena of Mexico is expected to be named undersecretary-general for administration and management, a post previously held by the United States, which now wants political affairs or peacekeeping. Ms. Barcena was Mr. Annan’s chief of staff over the past year.


Rafsanjani warns against pressure

TEHRAN Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned Western powers yesterday that pressuring Iran to halt its nuclear work would have consequences for the whole region.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Dec. 23 that imposes sanctions on Iran for its refusal to freeze nuclear enrichment, a process that can make nuclear fuel or the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

“This is a dangerous resolution. They are creating problems for themselves and the region. Many will suffer from the smoke of this fire,” Mr. Rafsanjani said in a prayer sermon carried live on state radio.

“Sanctions cannot make Iran surrender,” the influential former president said.


Hong Kong bans smoking

HONG KONG Hong Kong will become a mostly smoke-free city starting today, when a ban on lighting up in many public spaces inside and out comes into force, an unusual prohibition in smoke-happy Asia.

The ban covers restaurants, workplaces, schools and karaoke lounges, and extends to outdoor places such as beaches, sports grounds and large swaths of public parks.

The strict anti-smoking laws are rare in Asia, home to some of the heaviest smoking populations in the world. Among the continent’s major cities, Singapore is the only one with a similar law.


1,000 injured in Eid slaughters

ANKARA More than 1,000 Turks received hospital treatment yesterday after their knives slipped as they held down struggling goats, sheep and bulls during attempts at ritual slaughter at the start of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice.

Four persons were reported seriously injured when sacrificial sheep resisting their fate tumbled on top of their would-be slaughterers, Anatolia news agency reported.

Three others suffered heart attacks while struggling to hold down unwilling sacrifices. Hundreds of amateur butchers end up in hospitals each year, cutting themselves or having their noses and limbs broken by kicking, unruly animals.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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