Acid attacks appear unrelated
HONG KONG | An attacker hurled acid at pedestrians in a crowded Hong Kong shopping district Sunday, injuring nine people in the neighborhood’s fourth acid attack in a year.
Television footage showed two victims being carried on gurneys to ambulances, their heads covered in bandages.
Police spokesman Chau Yau-fai said the attacker — a 28-year-old man arrested nearby — targeted a couple strolling through the Mong Kok district but also hurt seven others. Assistant District Commander Angela Ng said the couple quarreled with the suspect before the attack.
Sunday’s assault was unrelated to the previous ones, which started in December and injured about 100 people, Mr. Chau said. In those attacks, acid apparently was tossed from neighboring buildings. No one was arrested.
Ministers back settlement growth
JERUSALEM | Israeli Cabinet ministers lined up Sunday behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to approve the construction of hundreds of new apartments in West Bank settlements, defiantly shrugging off a rare and harsh public rebuke from top ally Washington.
Israeli officials announced the new construction Friday, while suggesting they might halt some building in the West Bank in exchange for overtures from the Arab world.
But while Israel portrayed its willingness to consider a building slowdown as a concession toward peacemaking, the proposed new construction flouted U.S. demands for a complete settlement freeze. And it drew swift denunciation from the Palestinians, who have conditioned the resumption of peace talks on a halt to all settlement activity.
Israel says a curtailment in construction would not apply to the new housing units, the 2,500 units currently under construction, or to east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim for the capital of a future state. Israel captured that sector of the city in 1967, and Mr. Netanyahu’s hawkish coalition objects to any territorial concessions there.
Anti-terror rally turns violent
LONDON | British police say 90 people have been arrested after racially charged clashes in the English city of Birmingham.
West Midlands Police say the arrests followed violence that erupted when a rally against Islamic extremism ran into counterdemonstrators Saturday.
Police said Sunday that about 200 people were involved in running clashes between the English Defense League, which opposes militant Islam in Britain, and a group of anti-fascist activists and youths of South Asian descent.
Clashes also erupted last month at a similar demonstration in Birmingham.
Chavez to supply refined gasoline
TEHRAN | Venezuela is to supply fuel-starved Iran with 20,000 barrels of petrol a day, President Hugo Chavez said Sunday at the end of a two-day visit to the Islamic republic during which deals were also inked on medicine and commerce.
“Venezuela has agreed to export 20,000 barrels of petrol daily to Iran from October in a deal worth $800 million,” Mr. Chavez told reporters in the northeastern city of Mashhad, according to local media.
He gave no indication of the duration of the agreement.
Because of a lack of domestic refining capacity, oil-rich Iran is dependent on gasoline imports to meet about 40 percent of domestic consumption.
From wire dispatches and staff reports