Jewish organizations and the EU plan to organize a seminar to find out why most EU citizens consider Israel the main threat to world peace, the European Commission said on Tuesday. A survey published on Monday by the EU executive showed that 59 percent of those polled considered Israel the main threat to peace, closely followed by the US, Iran and North Korea, each with 53 percent. After Israel, the US, Iran and North Korea, 52 percent of those polled said Iraq was a threat and 50 percent said Afghanistan was. The other countries scored less than 50 percent.
■ The Netherlands
Youth arrested for arson
A youth started a fire at the Turkish embassy in the Netherlands on Tuesday during which five people were slightly hurt, a Dutch prosecutor said. Prosecutor Han Moraal said police arrested a 16-year-old youth for the incident, which he said was a personal attack without any terrorist motivation. Moraal, who had earlier identified the suspect as a 26-year-old man, said the injured included the youth suspected of igniting the fire, as well an embassy visitor who had jumped out of a window. Officials said the fire had been extinguished.
Nobel winner to defend
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi will represent the family of murdered Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in criminal proceedings in Iran, a lawyer said on Tuesday. "The court accepted Ebadi's request to defend Kazemi's family during the trial," Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, one of the three lawyers Ebadi will join in the case, said by telephone. Dadkhah said Kazemi's mother asked Ebadi to join the case. Kazemi, a Canadian of Iranian descent, died of a brain haemorrhage in July after her arrest for taking pictures outside Tehran's Evin prison.
Election results protested
Thousands of opposition supporters marched through the Georgian capital on Tuesday to protest against initial results of a parliamentary poll and demand veteran President Eduard Shevardnadze step down. The crowd of up to 10,000 people, many shouting "Down with Shevardnadze!" and waving national flags, accused the government of rigging the election after initial results put a bloc backing the president in the lead. The election's outcome is seen as an indicator of who may succeed him as president of Georgia, now of key interest to the West with an oil pipeline being built across it to take Caspian oil to the Mediterranean Sea.
■ United States
Hasta la vista, US embargo
Casting itself as the terminator, the US on Tuesday wished Cuba's Fidel Castro "hasta la vista, baby" before a vote in the UN General Assembly on the US embargo against Havana. But Castro won. The assembly voted a record 179 to 3 against Washington's four-decade old trade embargo and travel against Cuba. Angry at the insult to the Cuban president, Havana's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque shot back: "It is the people of Cuba who say `Hasta la vista to the blockade, Hasta la vista to genocide.'" The annual roasting of the US by friends and adversaries alike was approved for the 12th straight year. Only the US, Israel and the Marshall Islands voted "no" on the resolution.
UN issues ultimatum
The UN on Tuesday ordered rebels and government fighters to pull back from a volatile frontline in the north of Liberia and end clashes that have threatened a fragile peace deal. "They have been given 48 hours to pull back to the various positions they were in," a spokeswoman in Monrovia said. Reports of fierce clashes in Nimba -- far from the thousands of UN peacekeepers deployed around the capital, Monrovia -- have cast doubt on a peace deal meant to end 14 years of war. The ultimatum came after a UN mission flew to northern Nimba County to check reports of fighting between Liberia's smaller rebel group, known as Model, and government soldiers.