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Raising Banners for Peace

SAUDI ARABIA

Antiwar activists march under cloudy skies in central London on a worldwide day of protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Demonstrations were held "from Washington to Beirut, from Sydney to Seoul," according to organizers, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq this week.
Antiwar activists march under cloudy skies in central London on a worldwide day of protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Demonstrations were held "from Washington to Beirut, from Sydney to Seoul," according to organizers, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq this week. (By Peter Macdiarmid -- Getty Images)

Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Writers

Saudi Arabia's most revered cleric said in a rare fatwa this week that two writers should be tried for apostasy for their "heretical articles" and put to death if they do not repent.

Sheik Abdul-Rahman al-Barak was responding to recent articles in the Saudi daily al-Riyadh that questioned the Sunni Muslim view in Saudi Arabia that adherents of other faiths should be considered unbelievers.

"Anyone who claims this has refuted Islam and should be tried in order to take it back. If not, he should be killed as an apostate from the religion of Islam," said the fatwa, or religious opinion, dated March 14 and published on Barak's Web site.

Abdullah bin Bejad al-Otaibi, one of the two writers, said he feared for his life and called on the government to intervene. The other writer was Yousef Aba al-Khail.

"My articles have been met with fatwas before, but it never got to this level of directly inciting murder or directly accusing someone of no longer being a Muslim," Khail said.

COLOMBIA

Top Rebel Killed in Raid Is Buried

Authorities have quietly buried the body of rebel leader Ra¿l Reyes in an undisclosed location, Colombia's attorney general said Saturday, two weeks after he was killed in a cross-border military raid in Ecuador.

Reyes, 59, whose real name was Luis Edgar Devia, was one of 24 people killed when Colombian troops struck at his camp just inside Ecuadoran territory.

One of the seven members of the ruling secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Reyes was buried "not just for health but also security reasons," Attorney General Mario Iguar¿n told Caracol radio.

The government had planned to turn the body over to Reyes's first wife but later decided she could not receive it because she is not a direct relative.

The March 1 raid touched off a diplomatic crisis in which Ecuador and its ally Venezuela both sent troops to their borders with Colombia.

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Israeli Strikes in Gaza Kill 3 Palestinian Fighters

Israeli airstrikes in the central and northern Gaza Strip killed three Palestinian fighters and wounded six, Palestinian medical and security officials said. They identified the dead and wounded as members of Islamic Jihad. Israel confirmed two strikes, in which it said five men preparing to launch rockets at Israeli targets were hit.

Kangaroo Cull Halted in Australian Capital

About 70 protesters gathered at an abandoned military site in Canberra, the Australian capital, to prevent the slaughter of 400 kangaroos blamed for ruining the habitat of rare lizards and insects. The planned cull by government contractors has triggered international protests.

From News Services


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