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Digest

Rights groups accuse Israel of prison torture

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 7, 2007


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JERUSALEM

Israeli interrogators frequently beat Palestinian suspects, shackle them in painful positions and deprive them of sleep, defying a 1999 court ruling outlawing torture, two Israeli human rights groups said Sunday. Israel's Justice Ministry said in response that Shin Bet interrogations are "performed in accordance with the law." The report by B'Tselem and the Center for the Defense of the Individual is "fraught with mistakes, groundless claims and inaccuracies, " the ministry said, without elaborating. The report was based on affidavits from 73 Palestinians detained between July 2005 and January 2006.

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP

Muslim extremists attack school

Muslim extremists attacked a children's festival at a U.N.-run elementary school Sunday, killing a bodyguard and wounding seven people in the latest incident of lawlessness engulfing the Gaza Strip. The homemade bomb and gun attack in Rafah began with a protest by Muslim extremists who said the school's sports festival was un-Islamic. The top U.N. official in Gaza, John Ging, was in the school at the time, but he was not hurt. New statistics show that during the first three months of the year, 147 Gazans, including 10 children, were killed by fellow Palestinians, according to the Palestinian human rights group Al-Mezan. Factional fighting killed 57 people in 2004, followed by 101 in 2005 and 252 last year.

DOUALA, CAMEROON

Plane wreckage found near airport

The wreckage of a missing Kenya Airways jetliner was found Sunday in a dense mangrove forest 12 miles southeast of Douala, aviation officials said. The chief executive of Kenya Airways said he had no news about the plane's condition or about the 114 people who were on board. The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737-800 had departed from Douala airport early Saturday, an hour late because of rain, before issuing a distress call and losing contact with the radio tower. Because of the swamp, vehicles could not drive all the way to the crash site and rescue workers had to complete the trip on foot in the dark.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Islamic candidate backs out of race

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Sunday he is withdrawing his candidacy for president amid a wrenching nationwide upheaval over the role of Islam in public life. Turkey is headed for early elections in July after a bitter confrontation over whether the ruling party, which has its roots in political Islam, should put forward a candidate for the presidency. The post has been held by avowed secularists since the republic's founding more than eight decades ago. He withdrew after Parliament failed again to reach a quorum to elect its candidate.

Elsewhere

Kyoto, Japan: Japan pledged $100-million in grants to the Asian Development Bank on Sunday to combat global warming and promote greener investment in the region and called for a stronger international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

El-Nakhl, Egypt: A plane carrying foreign peacekeepers on a training mission across the Sinai desert crashed Sunday near a stretch of highway where it had tried to make an emergency landing, killing eight French soldiers and a Canadian, officials said.

[Last modified May 7, 2007, 00:49:35]


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