World briefs 3/29/04

Monday, March 29, 2004

Immigrants vote for Rome city council, districts

ROME -- Immigrants living in Rome voted Sunday to elect city and district representatives from their own ranks in the first such election here. The vote was designed to give non-Italians a greater say in Italian affairs. Fifty-one candidates from across the globe vied for four nonvoting seats on Rome's city council -- one each to represent Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Another 172 others were bidding for 19 nonvoting district council seats, representing each of Rome's 19 municipal neighborhoods. Results were expected today.

Iraqi minister escapes attack; two others killed

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Gunmen opened fire Sunday on a convoy carrying Iraq's minister of public works, killing a driver and a bodyguard and injuring two others, the U.S.-led coalition said. The minister, Nisreen Berwari, was unharmed. In another attack in the same city, Mosul, gunmen killed a Briton and a Canadian who were working as security guards for foreign electrical engineers at a power station. The ambush appeared to be part of a campaign to undermine U.S.-led reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Turkey's ruling party sweeps polls in elections

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Turkey's Islamic-rooted governing party swept local elections across the country Sunday, according to early results, giving Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a major victory. The results could strengthen Erdogan's hand in pushing for a solution in United Nations-backed talks now under way over the divided island of Cyprus. But so far, the talks have yielded few results. It also might encourage the government to loosen a ban on Islamic-style headscarves at universities.

Hamas leader: Bush is the 'enemy' of God, Islam

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- The new leader of the militant group Hamas on Sunday called President Bush the enemy of Islam and said that "God declared war" against Bush, the United States and Israel. In a speech at Gaza's Islamic University, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said he was not surprised that the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel's assassination on Monday of Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. The United States lists Hamas as a terrorist organization.

-- From wire reports

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