Around the World

Around the World

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Minority Serbs Form Their Own Parliament

Kosovo's hard-line Serb leaders formed their own parliament Saturday, ignoring Kosovo's declaration of independence and defying its U.N. administrators.

The action in the Serb-controlled half of the divided town of Mitrovica represents an attempt by the Serbs to split the disputed territory, which they claim as their own, despite the Kosovo Albanian majority's Western-backed secession in February.

The assembly consists of 45 representatives elected in Serb local elections in Kosovo, held in May. Serbs control about 15 percent of Kosovo's territory in the southeastern corner of Europe.

In a declaration, the self-proclaimed parliament said that Kosovo is "an inseparable part of Serbia" and that its secession was illegal.


Papal Call for Unity

Pope Benedict XVI called for Christian unity when he joined the spiritual head of Orthodox Christians on Saturday to launch a year dedicated to St. Paul, the evangelist of the early church born two millennia ago.

The pope presided over the ceremony at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls, which houses a marble sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the 1st-century apostle.

Benedict was joined by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual head of worldwide Orthodoxy, which split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1054.

Fingerprint Plan Decried

Italy's interior minister, Roberto Maroni, has touched off a storm with a proposal to fingerprint Roma, or Gypsy, people living in camps in Italy, including children.

The proposal, part of a campaign by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government to crack down on street crime, has drawn accusations of racism and discrimination at home and abroad.


Insurgents, Police Killed

Russian officials say five militants and four police officers have been killed and four more people wounded in the violence-plagued south.

The local interior ministry says police killed three suspected insurgents, including a woman, in Dagestan province Saturday.

A police spokesman in neighboring Chechnya said a clash in the province left two insurgents and four police officers dead, and four more police officers wounded.

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Suspension of Asian Tuna Fishing

Tuna fishing-boat operators in Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan have agreed to suspend activity for several months in the face of soaring fuel costs. The move also is expected to help declining populations of the fish to recover.

New Mideast Talks Proposed

The United States has proposed new talks in a push to reach a deal on Palestinian statehood before President Bush leaves office in January, the chief Palestinian negotiator said. Ahmed Qureia said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had invited the Israelis and Palestinians to a series of trilateral discussions in New York and Washington.

Sex Charge for Malaysia Politician

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was accused Saturday of sodomy, police said, sparking speculation that he might be arrested on the same charge that led to his imprisonment a decade ago. Anwar, who resurrected his political career by leading the opposition to gains in March elections, called the allegation a "complete fabrication."

Violence at Bulgarian Gay Parade

Extremists throwing rocks, bottles and gasoline bombs attacked the Bulgarian capital's first gay pride parade. Police said that the extremists had been prevented from harming the 150 or so people in the procession through Sofia and that about 60 people had been detained.

Honduras, U.S. in Cocaine Haul

Honduran and U.S. authorities seized at least 4.6 tons of cocaine from a boat and arrested six of the vessel's crew members. The Honduran-flagged boat was stopped about 100 miles off the country's Caribbean coast, Navy Cmdr. Juan Pablo Rodríguez said.

From News Services

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