- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2008

SWEDEN

U.N. criticizes deportation plan

STOCKHOLM — The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticized Sweden’s plans to deport a 23-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reported yesterday.

The human rights office has sent a fax to the Swedish foreign ministry demanding an explanation and urging authorities to try the man’s case again, according to the newspaper, which added that the fax has been partially classified.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees had appealed to the Swedish Migration Board to review its deportation ruling, citing the punishment the Eritrean man risks from his country’s regime because of his political activities.

The Eritrean, whose name has not been disclosed and who sought asylum in the Scandinavian country in 2002, is to be deported “in the coming weeks” and is in detention pending his departure, Dagens Nyheter reported.

The U.N. rights office has demanded that authorities explain why the man is being held.

POLAND

Church blaze forces worshippers to flee

WARSAW — A tableau of Christ’s tomb burst into flames at a Warsaw church during Easter Sunday Mass, sending worshippers fleeing in panic, PAP news agency reported yesterday.

Firefighters think the blaze was started by a candle within the traditional tableau depicting the stone tomb in which Jesus’ body was laid to rest after the Crucifixion.

It quickly engulfed the side nave and damaged artworks at St. Andrew’s, the church of Warsaw artists, PAP said.

“The fire spread so quickly that none of the some 250 worshippers could extinguish it before hurriedly leaving the service,” PAP reported fireman Grzegorsz Trzeciak as saying.

FRANCE

Official fired for anti-Israeli diatribe

PARIS — A French senior civil servant has been fired for publishing a violent anti-Israeli diatribe on a Web site, the Interior Ministry said.

Bruno Guigue, deputy prefect of the town of Saintes, wrote in an online column this month that Israel was “the only state where snipers shoot down little girls outside their school gates.”

The author of several books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr. Guigue wrote of the “Israeli jails where — thanks to religious law — they stop torturing on the Sabbath.”

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie dismissed the official after learning of the column on Wednesday, the ministry said.

BRITAIN

Woman gives up North Pole bid

LONDON — British explorer Hannah McKeand has called off her attempt to become the first woman to reach the North Pole alone and unaided after falling through ice and injuring herself, her expedition manager said yesterday.

She set out from Canada’s Ward Hunt Island on March 8 and had hoped to ski, walk and swim over 60 days to cover the 478 miles to the pole, where temperatures can dip to minus 76 degrees.

Ms. McKeand, 34, hurt her leg, back and shoulder after falling into an 8-foot-deep hole in the polar ice on Thursday night, 45 miles north of her starting point.

She took an hour to extricate herself from the hole and camped overnight, but with limited mobility decided to abandon the expedition.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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