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Saturday, September 13, 2008

THAILAND

Ousted Premier Ends Attempt to Get Job Back

Thailand's ousted prime minister on Friday abandoned his bid to regain his job, but the move failed to appease protesters who responded with a call to purge the entire cabinet.

Samak Sundaravej, 73, also said he would give up leadership of the ruling party, an aide said.

A constitutional court ruling dismissed him Tuesday for violating a conflict-of-interest law by accepting money for hosting two television cooking shows while in office.

FRANCE

Pope Stirs Up Paris

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged a greater role for religion in European society but cautioned against fanaticism as he met Friday with political, Jewish and Muslim leaders in his first papal visit to France.

In separate remarks to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Benedict also called for more attention to the role of faith in shaping consciences and forging "a basic ethical consensus within society."

France is fiercely proud of its secular division between church and state, and some staunch proponents of that stance were angered by the pope's remarks.

But others, including Muslim and Jewish figures in Paris, expressed appreciation that he reached out to them.

MEXICO

24 Slain Near Capital

Mexican police say the bodies of 24 men have been found with their hands bound and shot to death execution-style outside the capital. The rural area just west of Mexico City has been marked by gang slayings and land disputes.

Mexico's drug cartels and criminal gangs have been killing their rivals in increasingly large numbers.

U.S. Teacher Charged in Bahrain

An American teacher has been charged in Bahrain with insulting the prophet Muhammad for displaying pictures of Islam's founder to university students, forbidden under Islam. A spokesman for the Persian Gulf nation's general prosecutor declined to reveal the name of the teacher or the university. A Bahraini newspaper reported that the teacher has left the country.

Britain's Brown Faces Unrest

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, wrestling with an economic downturn and political woes, faced a new challenge when a member of his government called for a leadership election in the Labor Party. Siobhain McDonagh, a party whip, said a vote was needed to spur debate on the direction of the party after 11 years in power and to "clear the air." Brown responded by firing her from her post.

Russia Criticized on Monitors

Russian forces and their separatist militia allies are keeping international monitors out of South Ossetia, according to confidential Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe documents obtained by the Associated Press.

Arrests Follow Chinese Landslide

Authorities arrested 13 officials of an illegal mine whose dump site collapsed Monday in the northern Chinese province of Shanxi, triggering a landslide that killed at least 178 people.

From News Services


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