World briefs 10/5/04

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Bombings, shootings in northeastern India kill 63

GAUHATI, India -- Sleeping villagers heard men outside their huts, calling them to come out. They stumbled into the early morning darkness Monday and the intruders began firing automatic weapons, killing six people and wounding seven. The assault brought the death toll to 63 from three days of suspected rebel attacks in India's northeast, where dozens of ethnic guerrilla groups are fighting for separate homelands and battling each other for supremacy. The killings in the village of Gelapukhuri -- 130 miles north of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state -- followed the weekend bombings of a train station, utilities, a tea plantation and a crowded marketplace.

Haitian protesters threaten violence against police

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide wielded machetes and threatened to cut off the heads of Haitian police and the interim prime minister during demonstrations on Monday, part of a recent campaign that has been dubbed "Operation Baghdad." No violence was reported in Monday's demonstrations in the capital Port-au-Prince. But at least 14 people were killed in clashes Thursday and Friday, including three police officers who were shot to death and then beheaded. Tensions erupted into violence in the capital last week as the country was still reeling from the chaotic aftermath of Tropical Storm Jeanne. The death toll from the storm's devastating floods and mudslides rose Monday to 1,870 with another 884 reported missing and most presumed dead.

Palestinian leader accuses world of indifference

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia on Monday condemned what he called international indifference to Palestinian suffering in the face of a broad Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip aimed at halting rocket attacks on Israel. At least 68 Palestinians have been killed in the five-day offensive, making it the deadliest Israeli incursion into Gaza in more than four years of fighting. Israel moved into northern Gaza last week after a Palestinian rocket attack killed two children in the Israeli town of Sderot. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said the operation will continue until the rocket attacks stop. Despite the Israeli campaign, Palestinian militants managed to fire off two more rockets at Sderot on Monday, slightly wounding one man with shrapnel. In other developments, a spat between Israel and the United Nations escalated after a top U.N. official in the region acknowledged that some of his Palestinian employees were probably members of militant groups.

Cambodia approves Khmer Rouge tribunal pact

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodian lawmakers on Monday approved a U.N.-backed plan to try surviving Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide more than a quarter-century after the radical communists were ousted from power. The vote ended seven years of negotiations and delays over a pact with the United Nations establishing the internationally assisted tribunal and cleared a major hurdle toward bringing to justice members of the regime blamed for the deaths of nearly 2 million people. The 107 lawmaker present in the National Assembly voted unanimously to ratify the pact.

International Criminal Court, U.N. sign pact

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the president of the International Criminal Court signed an agreement Monday on the working relationship between the United Nations and the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal. Although the court is an independent judicial institution, it was born out of the U.N. system. The agreement provides a legal basis for a permanent relationship between the two organizations as well as information-sharing and judicial assistance. The United States vehemently opposes the court, arguing that it could be used for frivolous or politically motivated prosecution of American troops. But the 97 countries that have ratified the 1998 Rome Treaty counter that it contains enough safeguards to prevent any frivolous prosecutions.

-- From wire reports

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