23 March 2006 Edition

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International news in brief

Jericho raid fallout

Israel says it intends to try the six Palestinian prisoners it seized in a provocative raid on a Palestinian authority jail in Jericho last week. Four of the men had already been tried and convicted by the authorities. The seizures were clearly in violation of international law.

Five of the men are accused of assassinating the ultra Zionist Israeli cabinet Minister Rehavam Zeevi on 21 October 2001. Zeevi had described Palestinians as parasites and called for their eviction from the occupied territories. A lawyer for one of the men, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader, Ahmed Saadat said she feared the use of torture against the prisoners.

Israel claims Palestinian trials of the six men men were substandard. The raid, which occurred just after British monitors at the jail discreetly withdrew, has increased tensions between Europe and the Palestinians and prompted a wave of protests and kidnappings.


The Organisation for Security and Co - Operation in Europe has accused Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko of intimidation, censorship and abuse of power in relation to last Sunday's presidential elections. However Chris Stephen of The Irish Times has reported a majority of those surveyed as supporting the president.

Opposition hopes of repeating last year's so called orange revolution in Ukraine, seemed unlikley to succeed, with no more than 15,000 people taking to the streets. There were 500,000 on the streets in Ukraine. The EU however is considering some form of sanction in support of opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich's call for fresh elections

War on Iraq

Protesters marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war made their voices heard around the world last weekend, with the largest marches in London, Portland and Chicago. US President George W Bush marked the anniversary on Sunday 19 March by touting the efforts to build democracy in Iraq. He avoided any mention of the continuing daily violence there and didn't utter the word "war", while peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who energized the anti-war movement last summer with her month-long protest outside Bush's Texas ranch, pointed out that "the support for this war has dwindled dramatically," she said. "The rest of America is on board with ending this war."


Former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was buried beside his family home on Saturday 18 March. Thousands of mourners attended, waving Serbian flags and holding red roses, gathered to praise Milosevic, indicted by the U.N. over the Balkan wars of the 1990s, before his burial in the town of Pozarevac, east of the capital Belgrade.


The United Nations had described the carnage of DArfur as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, but little or nothing is being done to put an end to it. Now, the Herald Tribune reports that Arab militias armed by Sudan's government have extended a policy of 'ethnic cleansing' to neighbouring Chad, where villagers near the border have already suffered casualties as they find themselves defenceless to confront the attacks.

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