Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Afghanistan
Clerics threaten `jihad'

A group of Muslim clerics threatened yesterday to call for a holy war against the US if fails to hand over in three days military interrogators reported to have desecrated the Koran. The warning came after 16 Afghans were killed and more than 100 hurt last week in the worst anti-US protests across the country since US forces invaded in 2001 to oust the Taliban for sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network. The clerics in the province of Badakhshan said they wanted US President George W. Bush to handle the matter honestly "and hand the culprits over to an Islamic country for punishment." "If that does not happen within three days, we will launch a jihad against America," said a statement issued by about 300 clerics, after meeting in a mosque in Faizabad.

■ Iraq

Militants post ambush video

A militant group that claims to have kidnapped a Japanese man in Iraq has released a new video apparently showing the ambush that led to his capture. The Ansar al-Sunnah Army said on its Web site last week that it ambushed a group of five foreign workers, killing four and kidnapping the fifth -- Japanese citizen Akihito Saito, 44. Yesterday, the group's Web site had a new video purportedly showing the attack, but Saito's image could not be confirmed, and the gruesome six-minute footage did not contain any indication of Saito's fate. The group said in the video that they killed the four as representatives of Christianity.

■ China

Old village discovered

Archeologists have discovered an entire village destroyed in an earthquake nearly 700 years ago. The hitherto unknown village in northern Hebei province appears to have been a booming commercial center during the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD). This village appears to have fallen victim to a major earthquake. Other explanations include four successive floods hitting the area around the time when the village met its abrupt end. The site was uncovered by acciden during excavation work for a nearby highway.

■ Nepal

Aid efforts suspended

Four foreign aid organizations have suspended operations in western Nepal after local staff members were beaten by rebels. The World Food Program, Britain's Department for International Development, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and Dutch aid agency SNV said in a statement the workers were attacked at Sukatiya village. Rebels forced a woman at the project to dig her own grave, it said, without providing details. "We regret this deeply, but cannot put our staff at further risk," they said. "It is clear that this action seriously contravenes the BOGs [basic operating guidelines] which are the basis for these donors' engagements in Nepal." The suspension will hit 6,000 villagers who work on the project in Nepal, one of the world's 10 poorest countries.

■ Russia

China asks for punishment

China has urged Russia to punish "troublemakers" after a clash in the Siberian city of Irkutsk where police reportedly injured 20 migrant Chinese workers. The riot took place Wednesday evening as an ID check conducted by a Russian police patrol got out of hand, and more than 200 Chinese got into a fight with law enforcers. Thousands of migrant Chinese workers have poured across the borders with eastern Russia in recent years, frequently fueling tensions.

■ France
Cook killed in sword attack

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