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World briefs 3/28/05

Monday, March 28, 2005

Christians gather for Easter in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM -- Thousands of Christians from around the world gathered at Jerusalem holy sites to celebrate Easter Sunday, marking the day with prayer and hymns. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, the top Roman Catholic official in the Holy Land, celebrated Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over the skull-shaped rocky mount believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified. More than 20 Armenian priests cloaked in black gowns and head dress followed Sabbah into the candlelit church singing the Lord's Prayer.

Clerics warn measles vaccine is U.S. plot

KANO, Nigeria -- Accusations by Islamic preachers that vaccines are part of an American anti-Islamic plot are threatening efforts to combat a measles epidemic that has killed hundreds of Nigerian children, health workers say. Government officials play down the anti-vaccine sentiment, but all the measles deaths have been in Nigeria's north, where authorities had to suspend polio immunizations last year after hard-line clerics fanned similar fears of that vaccine.

Archbishop urges Zimbabweans to rise up

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- One of Zimbabwe's most outspoken church leaders on Sunday called for a peaceful uprising against President Robert Mugabe's autocratic rule, days before a parliamentary election that rights groups say already is tainted by years of violence and intimidation. Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, said he was willing to put on his vestments and lead a march to Mugabe's residence himself, but feared: "If I do it, I do it alone." Police arrested nearly 200 opposition supporters after a rally Sunday in the capital, Harare, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change said in a statement.


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