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Archive for Monday, August 23, 2004

Briefly

August 23, 2004

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Singapore

New leader eases free-speech rules

Singapore's new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined his vision for the city-state Sunday, vowing to deliver on his call for a more open society by easing restrictions on free speech in the famously strait-laced country.

Lee, who was sworn in as leader 10 days ago, said public speakers would no longer be required to get police permits to express themselves inside buildings, unless they wanted to talk about religion or race.

Lee -- the elder son of Lee Kuan Yew, modern Singapore's founding father -- also said activists would be allowed to mount exhibitions at the country's so-called Speakers' Corner, a limited free-speech venue in a downtown park set up in 2000.

Bangladesh

Mob sets train on fire in political protest

An angry mob set fire to a passenger train and protesters clashed with police Sunday across Bangladesh, leaving dozens of people injured, as violence spread a day after a grenade attack on an opposition rally killed 19 people and wounded hundreds.

The Subarna Express train was attacked as it was entering a station in the town of Bhairab, 50 miles east of its destination of Dhaka, the capital, said Mostafa-e-Jamail, a spokesman for state-run Bangladesh Railways.

The violence came amid anger over Saturday's attack outside the opposition Awami League party's headquarters in Dhaka, which allies claimed was an attempt to kill the party's leader, Sheikh Hasina.

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