World briefs 4/12/04

Monday, April 12, 2004

Activists protest ruling on Hong Kong reforms

HONG KONG -- Thousands of angry citizens marched Sunday to Beijing's representative office in Hong Kong, demanding full democracy and calling on their unpopular leader to quit. Hong Kongers are clamoring for the right to elect their chief executive and lawmakers, and many were upset last week when China's most powerful legislative committee weighed in by saying any political reforms here must be approved in advance by Beijing.

Likud Party sets date for referendum on Gaza

JERUSALEM -- Israel's ruling Likud party will vote April 29 on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's hotly debated plan to pull out of the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements, a party spokesman said Sunday. Seeking the vote is an enormous gamble for Sharon because his hard-line party is divided over the plan and approval is far from assured. Sharon has pledged to honor the outcome and could come under growing pressure to resign if he loses.

Mexicans search for survivors after explosion

NUEVO PROGRESO, Mexico -- Rescue workers sifted through a tangled mass of steel and concrete, searching for survivors of a blast that leveled two buildings, killed at least six people and injured more than a dozen others in this Mexican border town. Mexican soldiers and American firefighters searched debris at five spots late Saturday where search dogs had detected human scent, said Rene Alaniz, a spokesman with the McAllen, Texas, Fire Department.

-- From wire reports

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