World briefs 3/14/04

Sunday, March 14, 2004

At least one killed as Syrian mourners riot

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Hundreds of Kurds rioted at a funeral Saturday for victims of a soccer stadium stampede, vandalizing shops and state offices and shouting anti-government slogans -- a rare protest in tightly controlled Syria. At least one person was killed and 17 wounded, hospital officials said. Saturday's riot broke out as a crowd of Kurds buried three victims. Mourners shouted slogans against Qamishli governor Salim Kabboul and attacked shops and government buildings, setting fire to a Department of Customs office, said Ibrahim al-Hussein, a lawyer.

U.S. Marine peacekeepers kill two gunmen in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Relatives wailed in grief over two people shot by American troops as anger grew over the U.S.-led peacekeeping operation, with some Haitians on Saturday demanding the United States return ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide, in exile in the Central African Republic since Feb. 29, was planning fly to Jamaica on Monday to be reunited with his family. U.S. Marines said the two men killed late Friday during a patrol were gunmen who had previously fired on the Marines, although their weapons were never recovered. Witnesses said the dead were bystanders.-- From wire reports

If summit fails, Israel may take unilateral action

JERUSALEM -- Israel will push forward with plans to withdraw from some Palestinian areas and draw its own borders if a summit between Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week doesn't revive a peace plan, an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Saturday. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders tentatively agreed to meet Tuesday if a final planning session goes well on Sunday. A long-delayed first summit between Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia will focus on jump-starting the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan, stalled since it was launched last June. The plan aims to end more than three years of fighting and create a Palestinian state next year.

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