France to Address

Woes That Led to Riots

PARIS -- French police on Thursday in effect declared three weeks of rioting over, and the government began mapping out plans to tackle the problems that sparked the country's worst civil unrest in almost 40 years.

Ninety-eight vehicles were set ablaze during the night, a sharp drop from the peak of the violence on Nov. 6, when 1,400 vehicles were torched in one night by young people in predominantly immigrant neighborhoods around the country.

"The situation has returned to normal because about 100 vehicles are set on fire each night in France," a police spokesman said.

About 9,000 vehicles have been set on fire, many public buildings attacked and 3,000 people detained since the rioting began on Oct. 27 after two youths were accidentally electrocuted while apparently fleeing police.

The unrest -- the worst since student riots in 1968 -- subsided after the government adopted emergency measures last week, although few areas used the special powers. Parliament on Wednesday extended the measures for three months.


* BUCHAREST, Romania -- Romania and the United States have agreed to establish U.S. military bases on the Black Sea, President Traian Basescu said. He did not give the locations of the facilities.

* VIENNA -- British historian David Irving, who once said that Adolf Hitler knew nothing about the systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews, was arrested in Austria on a charge of denying the Holocaust.

* VATICAN CITY -- Israeli President Moshe Katsav met with Pope Benedict XVI and other top Roman Catholic officials to discuss a long-standing tax dispute that has irritated relations between Israel and the Holy See. The Vatican is seeking ways to lessen its tax burden as one of the significant land owners in the Holy Land and wants access to Israeli courts to handle disagreements over ownership.

* LONDON -- Almost half the world's Anglican archbishops have mutinied over the divisive issue of gay clergy, demanding action from the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, over "sexual immorality" in the church. Their views were set out in a sharply worded open letter to Williams in which they attack his leadership.

* NAPLES -- Italian police arrested three Algerians suspected of being Islamic extremists with links to international terrorism. Police said the three men, identified as Yamine Bouhrama, Khaled Serai and Mohamed Larbi, were believed to be "potentially operative" and ready to carry out a strike.


* PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's first elections since the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide have been postponed for the third time this year, the interim prime minister said. The first round of the legislative and presidential vote will be Dec. 27, followed by a runoff on Jan. 31.


* CAIRO -- Egypt's ruling party won 112 seats in the first stage of parliamentary elections, or about 70 percent of those available, according to final results. The banned Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most powerful Islamic fundamentalist group, more than doubled its presence in parliament, with affiliated independents winning 34 seats.

* AMMAN, Jordan -- The mother of the bride whose wedding was being celebrated at one of the three Amman hotels hit by suicide bombers last week died of her wounds. Hala Faroukah's death brought the number of people killed in the Nov. 9 terrorist attacks to 62, including the three bombers.

* DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A high school chemistry teacher in Saudi Arabia accused of discussing religion with his students was sentenced to 750 lashes and 40 months in prison for blasphemy, officials said. Mohammed Salamah Harbi was convicted of questioning and ridiculing Islam, discussing the Bible and defending Jews, judicial officials said.


* KAMPALA, Uganda -- The United States pressed for a speedy and fair trial for Kizza Besigye, Uganda's main opposition leader, whose arrest on Monday sparked two days of rioting. Besigye's arrest on charges including treason, which carries the death penalty, came as he prepared to challenge his onetime ally, President Yoweri Museveni, in elections expected early next year.

* ARUSHA, Tanzania -- Paul Bisengimana, a former Rwandan mayor accused of participating in the killing of several thousand people who had sought refuge in a church, pleaded guilty to charges of murder and extermination related to the 1994 genocide.

-- From News Services