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Archive for Friday, July 26, 2002

Briefly

July 26, 2002

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Bangladesh: Floods leave 283 dead

Rivers overflowed Thursday across South Asia, flooding more villages and raising the death toll to 283 in Bangladesh, Nepal and India. More than 7 million people were homeless or stranded.

Floods gripped a third of Bangladesh, where nearly 3 million people remained stranded. Seventy-four people have been killed in Bangladesh.

In Nepal, the death toll has reached 150 in a week of landslides caused by rain in the Himalayan kingdom.

In India, floods submerged about 1,000 villages in northeastern Assam state, where at least six people have been killed. In eastern Bihar, 53 people have been killed and 4 million people left homeless, said that state's divisional commissioner, Jai Ram Lal Meena.

Pakistan: Forced marriages of girls draws outrage

Four men convicted of murder agreed to marry eight young female relatives to the men of the victims' family to settle the blood debt a deal not uncommon in poor areas of central Pakistan, where traditional law still rules.

But national outrage over the number and ages of the girls including one as young as 5 being offered to men old enough to be their great-grandfathers, forced the families to cancel the arrangement this week. And now, the four men again face execution.

The men, who came from the same family, were sentenced to hang for the 1988 murder of two men from another family in Musakhen. Both families share the same last name, Khan.

Under the deal, reached Tuesday, the girls were offered in exchange for an agreement to release their male relatives.

Tokyo: North Korea regrets deadly naval battle

North Korea expressed regret Thursday for a naval battle last month that killed five South Korean sailors, and offered to renew working-level talks aimed at improving relations between the wary neighbors.

North Korea stopped short of accepting blame for the clash, however, which occurred in seafood-rich waters along the disputed Yellow Sea boundary. The fight prompted Washington to withdraw its offer for high-level meetings with the North.

The South Korean government, which had demanded a full apology and prosecution of the North Korean sailors responsible, quickly embraced the statement as "highly significant."

Detroit: Agent suspended for anti-Islamic slur

A U.S. Secret Service agent on a Detroit anti-terror task force has been suspended after he admitted scrawling an anti-Islamic epithet on a Muslim prayer calendar during a search of a suspect's home last week, authorities said Thursday.

The agent, a 10-year veteran whose name has not been released, was removed from the U.S. Attorney's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Detroit Wednesday and placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation, the U.S. Secret Service said Thursday.

The agent admitted writing "Islam is Evil, Christ is King" on a calender posted on the refrigerator in the Dearborn home of Omar Shishani, authorities said. The agent was part of a team executing a search warrant July 18.

A day earlier, Shishani, 47, was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and charged with possessing $12 million in bogus cashier checks.

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