WORLD IN BRIEF
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
· 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.