Leaked report on 1998 Omagh bomb stirs anger

Saturday, December 8, 2001

OMAGH, Northern Ireland -- Relatives of 29 people killed in Northern Ireland's deadliest terrorist strike demanded a public inquiry Friday into allegations that senior police officers suppressed warnings that might have stopped the attack.

A car bomb planted by Irish Republican Army dissidents in Omagh Aug. 15, 1998, tore through a crowd that had been accidentally evacuated toward the blast.

A report by an independent investigator, leaked to the media Thursday, said anti-terrorist detectives didn't pass on two warnings from informers that could have thwarted the bombers.

NATO, Russia decide to create security council

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- NATO and Russia agreed Friday to forge what Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov called "a profound change" in their relations, creating a new council to work out joint action on issues ranging from civil emergencies to missile defense.

NATO officials insisted that if a decision cannot be reached with Russia, NATO will make the decision without it.

The 19-nation alliance wants to take advantage of Moscow's cooperation in the fight against terrorism to pursue "opportunities for joint action," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said.

Guard confesses to killing former first lady

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- A security guard at the complex where former first lady Marike de Klerk was found dead has confessed to her killing, police said Friday.

The 21-year-old guard, whom police may only name once he is formally charged, told a Cape Town judge late Thursday of his role in the killing, Lennit Max, police commissioner of the Western Cape province, said in a statement.

The man was to be formally charged Monday, he said.

Marike de Klerk was the former wife of F.W. de Klerk, South Africa's last president under apartheid. Her body was discovered Tuesday. An autopsy revealed de Klerk, 64, was strangled and stabbed.

Third of Southeast Asian prostitutes are children

BANGKOK, Thailand -- An estimated one-third of the sex workers in Southeast Asia are children, and poverty is driving more boys and girls into the sex trade, said a report released Friday by UNICEF.

The report was released as part of the 2nd World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, to be held Dec. 17-20 in Japan. The congress will explore how to protect the victims of sexual exploitation and reduce the demand for child sex workers.

UNICEF's report notes that it is difficult to know exactly how many children are involved in the sex trade because of its illicit and usually underground nature.

Japanese royal baby bathed, named in ritual

TOKYO -- Backed by the strains of string music and chanting from an ancient text, the newest member of Japan's royal family was bathed in an elaborate ritual on Friday and given a name -- Aiko.

The new princess, born Dec. 1, is the first child for Crown Princess Masako and Crown Prince Naruhito since they wed more than eight years ago.

The name Aiko refers to a virtuous person. The baby also received a second name, Toshi-no-miya, or Princess Toshi, which is used in more formal occasions.

Turkish women wear trousers to protest ban

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Women working at state offices throughout Turkey wore trousers to work Friday to protest a law that requires female civil servants to wear skirts.

They say the dress code reflects authoritarian attitudes that are still widespread in the largely traditional Muslim society.

"We'll continue to fight for women to be able to wear trousers at the workplace, and for dress codes to be brought up to date," said Serap Ozturk, spokeswoman for the union that organized the protest.

Women in secular Turkey already enjoy wider rights than in most Islamic countries, but women's groups say there is much to be done.

-- From wire reports

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