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Friday, May 11, 2007

U.S. Curbs Sri Lanka Aid As Rights Abuses Rise

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- The United States has halted some aid to Sri Lanka because of rising human rights abuses during renewed civil war, a State Department official said Thursday.

Richard A. Boucher, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, said U.S. officials were concerned by a spate of abductions and killings blamed on each side during the conflict, which began in the early 1980s.

* * *

THE MIDDLE EAST

· The State Department condemned Syria for its "harsh and unjust sentencing" of a prominent human rights activist to 12 years in prison. Kamal Labwani, 50, the head of a pro-democracy group, was convicted of "communicating with a foreign country and inciting it to attack Syria."

-- Nora Boustany

ASIA

· TOKYO -- The Japanese government decided to resume economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority, with Foreign Ministry officials to be dispatched in June to discuss program funding with the Palestinian government.

· TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- A court nearly doubled the prison term of jailed human rights activist Gulbakhor Turayeva after convicting her of slander over an account of deaths in a 2005 uprising in Andijan, relatives and a rights group said.

· Independent Bangladeshi journalist and blogger Tasneem Khalil was arrested at his home at midnight in the capital, Dhaka, according to Bangladeshi residents of Washington.


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