French Official Defends

Policy as Riots Continue

BOBIGNY, France -- French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy defended his tough anti-crime policies on Monday after a fourth night of riots in a Paris suburb in which tear gas was fired into a mosque during evening prayers.

Sarkozy vowed to investigate the tear gas incident and repeated his "zero tolerance" policy toward violence that began when two teenagers were electrocuted after clambering into a power substation while apparently fleeing police.

Youths hurled rocks overnight and set fire to cars in the northeastern Clichy-sous-Bois suburb of the French capital, where many immigrants and poor families live in high-rise housing estates notorious for youth violence.

French television said six police officers were hurt and 11 people arrested in the violence.

"I want these people to be able to live in peace," Sarkozy told reporters as he mingled with local residents outside the Seine-Saint-Denis prefecture in Bobigny, which oversees Clichy-sous-Bois.


* TOKYO -- Japanese officials planned to slaughter 82,000 more chickens after signs of bird flu were detected at a farm northeast of Tokyo, and authorities in Thailand said the disease was diagnosed in a woman after she had cleaned out a chicken coop.

Pacific Rim disaster experts also met in Australia to discuss how to respond to a possible human flu pandemic, as Hong Kong said it would shut farms and kill all poultry in the city if the virus were found on more than one farm.

Meanwhile, nearly three dozen wild ducks have tested positive for the H5 bird flu virus in Canada, officials reported. They said, however, it was unlikely to be the strain blamed for more than 60 human deaths in Southeast Asia.

* NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted there was a foreign link to fatal bombings at two New Delhi markets, a veiled reference to Pakistan-based militants. But both India and Pakistan sought to preserve the fragile detente that grew out of the recent quake disaster.

The Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, condemned terrorism and pledged full cooperation in the bombing investigation. During a phone call Monday, Singh reminded Musharraf of "Pakistan's commitment to ending cross-border terrorism, and said that he continued to be disturbed and dismayed at indications of external linkages" to the attack, said Sanjaya Baru, a spokesman for the Indian leader.


* ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- President Laurent Gbagbo remained in office a day after his five-year term ended, but rebels who occupy half of the country refused to recognize him and named their own prime minister.

Although a political impasse persisted, threats by hard-line opponents to launch massive street protests to topple Gbagbo by force after midnight on Sunday failed to materialize. Gbagbo, who has ruled the former French colony since winning a disputed vote in 2000, told the nation in a televised broadcast late on Sunday that he would remain as head of state to guarantee political continuity until elections could be held.

* ZANZIBAR, Tanzania -- Security forces used tear gas, water cannons and sticks to disperse taunting opposition supporters in Zanzibar in a second day of clashes over an election on the semiautonomous Tanzanian islands.

Both main parties claimed to be ahead in Sunday's voting on the Indian Ocean archipelago, based on early results. The opposition said the government and electoral authorities "may be cooking the results" and added that three of its supporters were shot and badly wounded during clashes that marred the voting.

-- From News Services