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Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

World briefs

April 10, 2002

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Geneva: Rights group reports doubling of executions

The number of known executions around the world doubled last year, with China accounting for 80 percent of that total during a national "strike hard" campaign against crime, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

In its annual report on the death penalty, the human rights group said at least 3,048 people were executed in 31 countries last year.

That includes 2,468 executions in China alone.

Four countries China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States were responsible for 90 percent of the death sentences carried out in 2001, Amnesty International said.

Colombia: Bomb spree kills two

A parked car with a body inside blew up Tuesday south of Bogota, killing two police explosives experts. Two homemade mortars were later launched near the presidential palace in Bogota, but neither detonated.

Two small bombs also exploded in a downtown commercial district of the capital, injuring four people, including a 6-year-old girl who was reported in critical condition.

No one claimed responsibility, but police blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has stepped up attacks since peace talks collapsed on Feb. 20.

Tuesday's explosions followed a pair of bombs Sunday in a provincial capital that killed 12 civilians and wounded more than 60.

Mexico City: Senate denies president permission to travel

The Senate denied President Vicente Fox permission on Tuesday to travel to the United States and Canada the first time Congress has stopped a Mexican leader from leaving the country.

Lawmakers, apparently fed up with Fox's frequent trips abroad, voted 71-41 to deny permission for the trip next week.

Since taking office in December 2000, Fox has made left the country frequently to meet with world leaders and attend international summits. Opposition lawmakers have complained that he spends too much time traveling and not enough time dealing with domestic concerns.

Netherlands: U.S. historian testifies on Milosevic regime

A Harvard historian, testifying Tuesday at the war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic, said Serb forces deliberately destroyed mosques and Muslim holy sites.

Cultural historian Andras Riedlmayer said the Serbs dynamited, shelled, shot or set fire to scores of mosques, libraries and theology schools in the province of Kosovo.

Milosevic, Yugoslavia's former president, faces separate indictments for alleged war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo during Yugoslavia's disintegration. He could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted of any one of 66 counts.

The trial resumed Monday after a three-week break because of Milosevic's illness.

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