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World Digest: Israel investigates accusations of vandalism in a Palestinian cemetery

Friday, January 22, 2010; A08

WEST BANK

Israel probes report of cemetery attack

The Israeli army said Thursday that it is checking a report of vandalism in a Palestinian cemetery in the West Bank that a Palestinian official accused Jewish settlers of desecrating.

Several tombstones were smashed in the cemetery in the village of Awarta, south of Nablus, said Ghassan Daghlas, who is responsible for monitoring Jewish settlement activity in the area.

An Israeli army spokesman said that if the report proves true, "a complaint will be filed with the Israeli police."

Jewish worshipers, accompanied by the army, had entered the village Tuesday evening to visit an ancient Jewish grave site in the area, the spokesman said.

Recent violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, has been linked by some activists to Israel's decision to impose a partial, 10-month freeze on building in the enclave.

-- Reuters

IRAN

Russia to start up reactor this year

Russia this year will start up the reactor at Iran's long-delayed Bushehr nuclear power plant, the head of Russia's state nuclear corporation said Thursday.

Russia agreed to build Iran the 1,000-megawatt power plant at Bushehr 15 years ago, but delays have dogged the $1 billion project, and diplomats say Moscow has used it as a lever in relations with Tehran.

"2010 is the year of Bushehr," Sergei Kiriyenko said in Moscow.

The United States and major European Union countries suspect Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb under cover of its civilian nuclear program, an assertion Tehran vehemently denies.

-- Reuters

GERMANY

Airport breach to be investigated

German authorities were searching Thursday for a man, about age 50, who left a Munich Airport screening area with his laptop the previous day after it had triggered an alert for possible explosives.

Authorities also suspended the security worker who had ordered the check on the laptop and then lost track of the man after he had passed through the scanner.

The incident, which forced the evacuation of a terminal, appears to have been a false alarm, triggered by a passenger in a hurry to catch his plane, officials said.

-- Associated Press

PAKISTAN

Indian cricket snub angers lawmakers

Pakistani lawmakers canceled a planned tour to neighboring India after assertions that India's richest cricket competition had snubbed top Pakistani cricketers, Dawn newspaper reported, citing the National Assembly speaker.

The eight teams that compete in the Indian Premier League did not bid for any of the 11 Pakistani players on offer at an auction Tuesday. The third season of the tournament starts in March.

-- Bloomberg News

Kenya deports radical cleric: A Jamaican-born radical Muslim cleric was flown back to Jamaica, Kenyan officials said. Abdullah el-Faisal once served four years in a British prison after being convicted of inciting murder and stirring racial hatred by urging followers to kill Americans, Hindus and Jews. British authorities say his teachings also heavily influenced one of the men who carried out the 2005 London bombings, which killed 52 people.

-- From news services

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