- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2009

ARGENTINA

Holocaust-denier bishop expelled

BUENOS AIRES | Argentina has given a Roman Catholic bishop who denies the extent of the Holocaust 10 days to leave the country or else he will be expelled, the government said Thursday.

Bishop Richard Williamson, a traditionalist who headed a seminary near Buenos Aires until earlier this month, has said he believes there were no gas chambers and that no more than 300,000 Jews died in Nazi concentration camps, rather than the 6 million figure that is widely accepted by historians.

Pope Benedict XVI angered Jewish leaders and progressive Catholics last month when he lifted excommunications on the bishop and three other traditionalists to try to heal a 20-year-old schism within the church.

BRITAIN

EU court backs terror suspects

STRASBOURG, France | The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday found Britain guilty of unlawfully detaining nine men under an anti-terrorism law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States in 2001.

The nine plaintiffs - six Algerians, a Jordanian, a Tunisian and a man registered as stateless but of Palestinian origin - were suspected of having ties with al Qaeda and held in high-security prisons.

The court also ordered London not to deport one of the men, Jordanian preacher Abu Qatada, before it had examined an appeal he had made to the court in which he said he faced the risk of torture in his own country.

Britain’s highest court, the House of Lords, ruled Wednesday that Abu Qatada should be returned to Jordan despite the threat he may face torture there.

BRITAIN

U.S. anti-gay preacher barred

LONDON | An anti-gay U.S. Christian preacher and his daughter have been barred from entering Britain as they could spread “extremism and hatred,” the British government said Thursday.

The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, had been expected in Britain to protest at the staging of “The Laramie Project,” a play about the killing of gay Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in October 1998, at Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke, southwest of London.

Mr. Phelps believes that U.S. military deaths in conflicts such as Iraq are God’s punishment for tolerating homosexuality. His church achieved notoriety for picketing the funerals of U.S. servicemen.

GAZA STRIP

Kerry surveys war damage

GAZA CITY | Sen. John Kerry came to the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the highest-level visit by a U.S. official since the Hamas militant group seized power nearly two years ago.

He did not meet with anyone from Hamas, which the U.S. shuns as a terrorist group, and used the visit to urge the group to end its violent campaign against Israel.

However, the presence of the Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was a possible harbinger of a new U.S. approach in the region. Mr. Kerry toured the ruins of an American-style school that was destroyed in the recent Israeli offensive.

KENYA

Somalis free 2 Italian nuns

NAIROBI| Two Italian nuns kidnapped by Somali gunmen in a cross-border raid into Kenya in November have been freed.

Catholic missionaries Caterina Giraudo, 67, and Maria Teresa Olivero, 60, were abducted Nov. 10 after a raid on the Kenyan border town of El Wak. The kidnappers then took them deeper into Somalia.

MISNA, a Catholic missionary news agency, said the two had been freed overnight in Somalia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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