U.S. ambassador's car hit by eggs in Venezuela

Saturday, April 8, 2006

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Supporters of President Hugo Chavez threw eggs, fruit and vegetables at the U.S. ambassador's car Friday, and a group of motorcyclists chased his convoy for miles, at times pounding on the vehicles, a U.S. Embassy official said. No one was hurt. Embassy spokesman Brian Penn said Venezuelan police escorts did not intervene as the car carrying Ambassador William Brownfield was pounded and pelted.

Head of U.N.'s IAEA to go to Iran next week

VIENNA, Austria -- The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency will to go to Iran next week to try to wrest concessions from Tehran on its atomic program, diplomats and officials said Friday. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, "expects to get positive results" from his trip, a senior IAEA official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made. The planned visit will come only about two weeks before ElBaradei is to report to the U.N. Security Council on whether Iran has heeded a call to reimpose a freeze on uranium enrichment and fully open its nuclear program to an IAEA probe.

Six Palestinians killed in Israeli missile strike

RAFAH, Gaza Strip -- Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a car in a militants' training camp Friday, killing six Palestinians, including a senior bombmaker and a child, hospital officials said. Fourteen people were wounded in the airstrike on the southern Gaza town of Rafah, including one who was in a coma and hooked up to a respirator, Palestinian security officials said. The training camp was run by the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group responsible for attacks on Israeli targets in the past, including huge bombs planted under Israeli tanks.

EU cuts off direct aid to Palestinian government

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union has cut off direct aid payments to the Hamas-led Palestinian government because of its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel, the EU's executive office said Friday. Hamas said the decision amounts to collective punishment of Palestinian people. The 25-nation EU is the largest international donor to Palestinian Authority. "We call on the EU not to adopt such decisions and policies, which we consider collective punishment against the Palestinian people, because they exercised their democratic right through elections," said legislator Mushir al-Masri, head of Hamas' parliament faction. European Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin said the temporary aid cut-off would not affect humanitarian aid sent to non-governmental organizations or to U.N. relief agencies.

Gypsies still targets of European discrimination

VIENNA, Austria -- Gypsies remain among Europe's most discriminated-against people, the European Union's racism watchdog agency said Friday on the international remembrance day for Gypsies. Gypsies, who prefer to be known as Roma, are routinely denied jobs, housing, education and health care, said the Vienna-based EU Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia. The center's director, Beate Winkler, said Gypsies living in many of the EU's 25 member states suffer "systematic discrimination," and she called for a more intensive effort and greater political will to eliminate the bias and help lift Europe's Gypsy communities out of poverty. An estimated 6.2 million Gypsies live in Europe, according to estimates by the U.N.-affiliated International Organization for Migration.

-- From wire reports

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