News briefs from 1998

How religious, political and ideological beliefs spark violence, crime, intolerance and falsehoods

(News briefs abridged from various news server articles. Note, these articles present only a glimpse of the problems caused by belief-systems throughout the world. For more information, and full accounting, please refer to the Associated Press and UPI news sources on the internet.

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News: Israel Kills 7 in Lebanon

BAALBEK, Lebanon-- Israeli warplanes fired missiles at suspected guerrilla bases in eastern Lebanon today, killing a woman and six of her seven children, security officials said.

There was no word from Israel on the report.

Source: Associated Press, 22 Dec. 1998

 

News: Muslims threaten retaliation for U.S. British airstrikes

BAGHDAD, Iraq-- Baghdad renewed its claim of victory today, and an extremist Muslim group threatened retaliation for the four days of U.S.-British airstrikes against Iraq.

Iraqi officials confirmed that U.S.-British airstrikes killed 62 soldiers, demolished key missile factories and severed phone lines.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in his first public comments since the attacks ended late Saturday, said Iraq was victorious against ``enemies of God.'' ``God will repay well and crown your heart with clear victory,'' he said.

Source: Associated Press, 21 Dec. 1998

 


News: Iraq Reports 25 Killed in US Blasts

BAGHDAD, Iraq-- Deafening explosions rocked Baghdad today in the latest wave of U.S. and British air raids that Iraq says have killed at least 25 people. Damage was reported at government buildings, factories, a hospital and even a museum, where a missile punched a gaping hole through one wall.

There are 24,100 U.S. troops, 22 warships, 210 aircraft and the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the Gulf off the coast of southern Iraq. The forces are bolstered with 15 B-52 heavy bombers. [Gee, I wonder who'll win? Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 18 Dec. 1998

 

News: Catholics Riot in North Ireland

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland -- Catholic rioters burned at least eight vehicles and threw gasoline bombs at police Saturday after Protestants marched through a restricted route in Londonderry.

Riot police prevented a confrontation between the two groups in Northern Ireland's second largest city and arrested three people -- two Catholics and a Protestant -- but reported no serious injuries.

Source: Associated Press, 12 Dec. 1998'

 

News: Serbs Find 81 Bodies in 10 Days

KULA, Bosnia-Herzegovina-- Serb forensic experts searching for victims of wartime atrocities have recovered 81 bodies from various cemeteries in Sarajevo over the past 10 days, they said today.

Among the bodies are 27 presumed victims of Musan Topalovic, the Bosnian Muslim warlord known as Caco, the experts told reporters.

About 200,000 people were killed in the 3 1/2 year Bosnian war that ended in 1995 with the U.S.-sponsored Dayton peace agreement. An additional 20,000 went missing and are feared dead.

Exhumations have been conducted by all three sides -- Muslims, Croats and Serbs -- since 1995 in an effort to track down the fate of the missing. No totals exist on the number of bodies recovered since then.

Exhumations in both Bosnia and Croatia are continuing.

[Note: Bosnia's three factions include the Eastern Orthodox Christian Serbs, Roman Catholic Croats, and the Sunni Muslims]

Source: Associated Press, 03 Dec. 1998

 

News: 12 Die in Massacre in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria-- Twelve villagers were slaughtered in their sleep in a massacre early Wednesday in Algeria, an official communique and hospital sources said.

Violence in Algeria often comes in waves. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year begins Dec. 20, tends to be an especially dangerous time.

More than 75,000 people have died in an insurgency that erupted when the government canceled January 1992 elections the Islamic Salvation Front was expected to win.

Source: Associated Press, 02 Dec. 1998

News: Christians Burn Mosques in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A protest by thousands of Christians in eastern Indonesia turned into a riot Monday, and mobs angry about the recent burning of churches set fire to four mosques.

The rampaging crowds also burned a market, a Muslim school and a hostel for Islamic pilgrims in Kupang, a Christian-dominated city of 120,000, the military said.

The violence came in retaliation for the burning and ransacking of 22 churches by Muslim mobs in the capital, Jakarta, on Nov. 22, when 14 people were killed.

Source: Associated Press, 30 Nov. 1998

News: Seven Die in Attacks in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria - Algerian authorities blamed Muslim militants for attacks that have killed seven people on the eve of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that has come to herald a surge in rebel violence. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion fell on militants waging a nearly seven-year insurgency against the military-backed government.

More than 75,000 people have died since the government canceled January 1992 elections. The Islamic Salvation Front was expected to win the elections due to voter anger with high unemployment and corruption in this petroleum-rich North African nation.

Source: Associated Press, 29 Nov. 1998

 

News: 6 Killed in Rioting in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Deep-seated ethnic and religious tensions erupted in Indonesia on Sunday, when mobs of Muslim youths attacked or burned at least four Christian churches and then went on a riot spree.

At least six people were killed in violence that broke out less than a half mile from the presidential palace, a little more than a week after deadly clashes between students and security personnel also triggered rioting.

The military said Muslim residents were angered by unsubstantiated rumors that Christians had attacked a mosque.

Source: Associated Press, 22 Nov. 1998

 

News: 13 Die in Sri Lanka Fighting

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops clashed in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least 13 people and shattering a short lull in fighting, the military said today.

The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils, who claim they are discriminated against by the majority Sinhalese, who dominate the government and military. More than 56,000 people have been killed since fighting began in 1983.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 18 Nov. 1998

 

News: Catholic Paper Says Shooting has positive side effects

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Killing doctors who perform abortions ``might have some positive side effects,'' a Roman Catholic newspaper editor wrote.

The editorial on the shooting death of Dr. Barnett Slepian was signed by Paul Schratz in The British Columbia Catholic, the official paper of the archbishop of Vancouver.

``Fewer doctors are willing to face the stigma, and now the threat of personal harm, associated with performing abortions,'' Schratz wrote. ``It just goes to show that our all-powerful and all-loving God can bring good from any evil situation.''

Source: Associated Press, 04 Nov. 1998

 

News: N. Ireland Christian Gang Claims Killing

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- A new Protestant gang opposed to Northern Ireland's prevailing cease-fires claimed responsibility Sunday for killing a Catholic civilian. A caller from the Red Hand Defenders told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s office in Londonderry that the group shot 35-year-old Brian Service as he walked home alone early Saturday on Belfast's rough north side.

The killing demonstrates a new dissident threat to discipline within the ranks of Northern Ireland's outlawed pro-British groups: the Ulster Defense Association, Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando, which have observed a joint cease-fire since 1994, and the Loyalist Volunteer Force, which joined the truce after politicians struck a historic peace accord in April.

Source: Associated Press, 01 Nov. 1998

 

News: Anthrax Threat at Abortion Clinic

INDIANAPOLIS -- A week after an abortion provider was shot by a sniper, abortion clinics in several states received letters claiming to contain the deadly bacteria anthrax, sending at least 33 people to hospitals.

None of the 31 people treated in Indianapolis complained of any symptoms, but authorities took them to hospitals after they were decontaminated in a tent put up near the clinic. They were given antibiotics as a preventative measure and released.

Delbert Culp called the acts despicable. ``These are just political extremists who call themselves pro-life.'' he said. ``This is putting 29 people's lives at risk, and I just find that absolutely appalling. I think society just has to begin saying this is totally unacceptable.''

Source: Associated Press, 31 Oct. 1998

 

News: Supremacist Serial Killer Convicted

CINCINNATI-- A racist serial killer already on one state's death row received a life sentence today for each of the 1980 sniper murders of two black teens.

``You're just a representative of the satanic system and you'll be judged by Jesus Christ,'' Joseph Paul Franklin told the judge today before being sentenced.

Franklin is on Missouri's death row for the 1977 sniper killing of a Jewish man who was leaving a synagogue. He also has been sentenced to life in prison in other states for racially motivated shootings.

The drifter from Mobile, Ala., also has admitted to wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, now a Washington lawyer and friend of President Clinton's, in 1980 and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who enraged Franklin by publishing pictures of interracial couples, in 1978.

Source: Associated Press, 22 Oct. 1998

 

News: 68 Arrested in Indonesia Kill Spree

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Police said today they have arrested 68 people in a killing spree in which the severed heads of some murder suspects were carried on poles through village streets.

Vigilante groups formed in the eastern end of the main island of Java after more than 150 people, many of them Muslim clerics and others accused of witchcraft, were mysteriously killed.

Source: Associated Press, 21 Oct. 1998

 

News: New Mass Grave Discovered in Bosnia

DONJA GLUMINA, Bosnia-Herzegovina-- Forensic experts have found more than 170 bodies in one of the biggest mass graves discovered from Bosnia's civil war, officials said Friday. The bodies were believed to be those of Muslims killed in 1992 at the beginning of the war.

Officials said about 1,800 bodies have been recovered from several mass graves in the eastern Bosnia region, most of them believed to have been residents of the town of Srebrenica, overrun by the Serbs in July 1995. Some 7,000 townspeople are missing and presumed dead, victims of mass executions by the Serbs.

Ivan Grujic, who heads a Croatian commission for prisoners and missing persons, told state-run HINA news agency that the victims were killed while the area was controlled by rebel Serbs following their rebellion against Croatian independence in 1991.

[Note: Bosnia's three factions include the Eastern Orthodox Christian Serbs, Roman Catholic Croats, and the Sunni Muslims]

Source: Associated Press, 09 Oct. 1998

 

News: New Reports of Kosovo Massacres

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Reports of massacres of ethnic Albanian civilians in the embattled province of Kosovo have heightened the likelihood of NATO airstrikes against military targets in Yugoslavia.

International efforts to halt the bloodshed took on new urgency after the reports of massacres of ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo, a province of Serbia where nine out of 10 people are ethnic Albanians. Hundreds have been killed since Serbs began cracking down on Albanian separatists in the province in February.

[Note: The Serbs represent Bosnia's Eastern Orthodox Christians. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 01 Oct. 1998

 

News: 1,300 Killed in Sri Lankan Fighting

NEW DELHI, India-- More than 1,300 Sri Lankan soldiers and Tamil rebels have died this week in the worst explosion of fighting in a year along a strategic highway in Sri Lanka, according to military and Red Cross figures released today.

The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the country's north and east, claiming that they are discriminated by the majority Sinhalese who control the government and the military.

More than 54,000 people have been killed in Sri Lanka's civil war since 1983.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 26 Sept. 1998

 

News: Afghan Religious Clerics Warn of Iran War

KABUL, Afghanistan-- Thousands of clerics summoned by Afghanistan's Taliban ruler issued religious edictS Thursday making it an Islamic obligation to go to war against Iran if it attacks Afghanistan.

The clerics ended a three-day convention by issuing six religious edicts, or fatwas warning Iran that a war with Afghanistan would not stop at the border. Rather, they said it would engulf the region.

Source: Associated Press, 24 Sept. 1998

 

News: Rockets Kill Civilians in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan-- The Taliban-run news agency reported Sunday that scores were killed when rockets blasted residential areas of Kabul. Other sources reported lower casualty figures.

Years of rocket and artillery attacks severely damaged about half of Kabul. The religious army now controls about 90 percent of Afghanistan, although an alliance of anti-Taliban forces continues fighting north of Kabul, and in the northern and central parts of the devastated country.

Source: Associated Press, 20 Sept. 1998

 

News: 4,600 Killed in Algeria This Year

ALGIERS, Algeria-- More than 4,600 people have died this year in violence in Algeria, a human rights group said today amid reports of new attacks that claimed 41 lives. Rural massacres accounted for 4,143 of the 4,643 victims. Attacks also occurred in mosques, cemeteries, cafes, theaters, and parking lots, the group said.

At least 75,000 people have been killed since an Islamic insurgency began in 1992 when Algeria's military-backed government canceled parliamentary elections that an Islamic party was set to win.

Source: Associated Press, 14 Sept. 1998

 

News: Foul Play Suspected in Priest Death

PITTSBURGH-- A Roman Catholic priest, Rev. Walter Benz, suspected of embezzling $1.3 million from church donations to pay for gambling junkets and fancy cars may have been murdered in his nursing home, police said.

Benz, 72, who suffered from leukemia, was accused of stealing the money over a 26-year period from two churches to finance gambling trips, lavish gifts and luxury cars. He was never formally charged because authorities who went to his sickbed for an arraignment last month found him unconscious with a brain virus.

Source: Associated Press, 09 Sept. 1998

 

News: Explosion in South Russia Kills 17

MAKHACHKALA, Russia-- An explosion probably caused by a car bomb killed at least 17 people, including two children, in the capital of a southern Russian region where religious groups are battling, officials said today.

Various religious and ethnic groups have been battling for power in Dagestan in recent months, resulting in bloody attacks and kidnappings. Violence also has spilled over from the breakaway republic of Chechnya on its western border. A car bomb recently killed Dagestan's top Islamic leader.

Source: Associated Press, 05 Sept. 1998

 

News: Kosovo Rebels, Serbs Report Deaths

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Serb police battled ethnic Albanian militants near a border town in the southern province of Kosovo today, with both sides reporting fighters killed and wounded.

Hundreds have died and estimated 265,000 people have become refugees in six months of fighting between government troops and KLA guerrillas. Ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs 9-to-1 in Kosovo, a southern province in Serbia, the main republic in Yugoslavia.

Source: Associated Press, 02 Sept. 1998

 

News: Explosion Rips Algiers Market

ALGIERS, Algeria-- An explosion in Algeria's capital killed at least 17 people Monday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion fell on militants waging an Islamic insurgency against the military-backed government.

Source: Associated Press, 31 Aug. 1998

 

News: Two Killed at Prayer Service

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.-- A leader of a Sikh temple opened fire after a prayer service, killing a man, wounding two others and taking his own life in an apparent dispute over whether to allow chairs in a worship area.

Source: Associated Press, 24 Aug. 1998

 

News: 25 Killed in Sri Lanka Clashes

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Recent clashes between government forces and Tamil guerrillas in the northeast have killed at least 20 guerrillas and five government soldiers, the defense ministry said Thursday.

Militant Tamils have been fighting for a separate homeland since 1983. More than 54,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

[Note, Sri Lanka has two major sects: the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 20 Aug. 1998

 

News: Islamic Groups Warn of More Attacks

NAIROBI, Kenya-- An Islamic coalition warned Wednesday of further attacks against American interests, and FBI agents and Kenyan detectives raided a Nairobi hotel seeking evidence that could lead to those who bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

A group founded by bin Laden -- the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders -- issued a defiant warning Wednesday in the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat: ``The coming days will guarantee, God willing, that America will face a black fate,'' the statement said. ``Strikes will continue from everywhere, and Islamic groups will appear one after the other to fight American interests.''

The Holy Shrines said it would ``continue shipping more American dead bodies to their unjust government ... until we humiliate America's arrogance and roll its dignity in the mud of defeat.''

Source: Associated Press, 19 Aug. 1998

 

News: Northern Ireland Car Bomb Kills 28

OMAGH, Northern Ireland-- A car bomb tore apart the crowded center of this bustling market town Saturday, killing at least 28 people, maiming more than 200, and dealing a barbaric blow to Northern Ireland's peace agreement.

Source: Associated Press, 16 Aug. 1998

 

News: Repress-Memory Doc Faces Rebuke

CHICAGO- Illinois has moved to discipline a prominent psychiatrist accused of convincing a patient that she was a cannibal who ate human flesh meatloaf, a child molester and the high priestess of a satanic cult.

Patricia Burgus sought therapy from Dr. Bennett Braun. Burgus says the doctor, through repressed-memory therapy, led her to believe that she possessed 300 personalities, ate meatloaf of human flesh, sexually abused her children and served in the cult.

``I began to add a few things up and realized there was no way I could come from a little town in Iowa, be eating 2,000 people a year, and nobody said anything about it,'' Burgus told the Chicago Tribune.

Burgus won a $10.6 million settlement in a lawsuit against Braun, Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital to which his practice is connected.

Source: Associated Press, 14 Aug. 1998

 

News: India, Pakistan Clash in Kashmir

JAMMU, India-- Indian and Pakistani gunners pounded each other's positions today, killing at least four people in the latest clashes on the disputed frontier in Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, which is divided between them. Militants in the Indian-controlled part of the territory want to secede or unite with Muslim Pakistan. The Indian part of Kashmir is the country's only state with an Islamic majority.

Source: Associated Press, 04 Aug. 1998

 

News: Allegations of clergy sexual misconduct shake the faithful

Across South Florida and the nation, the faithful are grappling with the uncomfortable realities that church leaders once kept from them as they ignored or hid clergy sexual misconduct. Among the recent allegations of clergy sexual misconduct in South Florida:

The Rev. Jan Malicki is under criminal investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with a minor girl. The girl says he frequently gave her alcohol and sexually abused her.

The Rev. Lex Rivers of St. John's on the Lake United Methodist Church left the pulpit amid allegations that he had sex with women who had come to him for counseling.

Rev. John K. Brackett, faces church trial for misspent church money and engaging in sexual misconduct with five women in the congregation.

Source: Miami Herald, 02 Aug. 1998

 

News: Algeria Violence Claims More Lives

ALGIERS, Algeria-- An armed group attacked an isolated house and then struck a military outpost, killing at least 13 people, Algerian newspapers reported Wednesday.

The attacks occurred in an area where the Armed Islamic Group, which has been linked to the slaughter of hundreds of people in recent months, is known to be active.

The violence came as a U.N. mission began the second week of its inquiry into violence in Algeria that has left some 75,000 people dead in the last six years.

Source: Associated Press, 29 July 1998

 

News: Two Women Accuse Priest Of Rape

(MIAMI) -- A Catholic Archdiocese in Miami says one of its priests is facing accusations of sexually assaulting at least two women. The first allegations against the Reverend Jan Malicki surfaced last December... and a second woman came forward a month later. One of the two women says she was a minor when the attack occurred. The Archdiocese says Father Malicki denies the allegations, but was suspended from his duties and sent for evaluation last January. The Broward Sheriff's Office says an investigation is ongoing... and an arrest warrant is pending for sexual assault on a juvenile.

Source: Reuters, 23 July 1998

 

News: Catholic Diocese Pays $30 Million for Priest sexual abuse

STOCKTON, Calif.-- Two brothers who accused the Catholic Diocese of Stockton of covering up sexual abuse by a parish priest for more than a decade have won a $30 million court award.

The Howards had accused the diocese of concealing the Rev. Oliver Francis O'Grady's history of abusing children, The trial in Stockton, 65 miles east of San Francisco, did not address O'Grady's guilt -- he was convicted earlier -- but whether his superiors knew about the abuse.

O'Grady was convicted in 1994 of molesting Joh, now 19, and James, 23. He is serving a 14-year prison term.

Source: Associated Press, 17 July 1998

 

News: 3 Catholic Children Die in Protestant Clash

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- Three Catholic children died in an arson attack early Sunday and Protestant protesters once again clashed violently with police blocking their march down a predominantly Catholic road.

Violence broke out in Belfast and others areas of the province after the Orangemen were first blocked from marching last Sunday. But the situation in Portadown has grown in intensity and tension each night.

Source: Associated Press, 12 July 1998

 

News: Ethnic Violence Escalates in Lagos

LAGOS, Nigeria-- In an indication the death of a prominent political prisoner may be leading to deepening ethnic strife, the bodies of nine members of the Hausa ethnic group have been discovered in a neighborhood of the Nigerian capital dominated by their rivals.

Riot police and paramilitary troops have been ordered to protect mosques, which could become targets for attacks by the predominantly Christian and animist southerners.

Nigeria's horrific 1960s Biafran war flourished out of ethnic hatreds and attacks between northern and southern tribes. More than a million people died in that civil war, as southern Ibos waged a futile battle to establish an independent homeland in southeastern Nigeria.

Source: Associated Press, 10 July 1998

 

News: Protestants Riot in N. Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- Protestants attacked police, hijacked cars and blocked roads in many parts of Northern Ireland after British authorities blocked the province's most controversial Orange Order march.

Several hundred Protestants were camped early today outside Drumcree Anglican church on the outskirts of Portadown, 30 miles southwest of Belfast, where barbed-wire barricades blocked the Protestant fraternal group's annual parade before it reached the nearby Catholic section, Garvaghy Road.

Police reported similar scenes in other Protestant public-housing projects and villages across Northern Ireland in a demonstration of substantial opposition to a peace process that has meant conceding ground to the north's large Catholic minority.

Source: Associated Press, 06 July 1998

 

News: 11 Die in Karachi Ethnic Violence

KARACHI, Pakistan-- Rival factions of a militant ethnic group terrorized this southern port city today, killing 11 people, including two policemen and two soldiers.

As many as 200 people have been killed in violent clashes between rival MQM factions in the past month. The movement claims to represent Indian Muslims, or a mohajirs, who settled in Pakistan after the Asian subcontinent gained its independence in 1947.

Source: Associated Press, 02 July 1998

 

News: Fighting Intensifies in Kosovo

PANTINA, Yugoslavia-- The intensifying fighting comes amid signs of Serb movements that hint at a possible crackdown in the works. It was a Serb police offensive against secessionist ethnic Albanian militants in March that unleashed the current round of fighting, which has killed 300 people.

[Note: Serbs represent the Eastern Orthodox Christian faction]

Source: Associated Press, 28 June 1998

 

News: Henry Lee Lucas Nears Execution

HUNTSVILLE, Texas-- Time is running out for Henry Lee Lucas, the one-eyed drifter once considered among the most prolific serial killers the nation ever has known.

Lucas told the Associated Press: ``It don't scare me. I know what I'm facing. Besides, God's waiting on the other side. That's all I'm concerned with.''

Source: Associated Press, 21 June 1998

 

News: 25 Hindus Dead in Kashmir Attack

BATOTE, India (AP) -- Five men armed with automatic rifles ambushed a newlywed couple and their wedding guests in India's Kashmir state, killing 25, including the groom.

Another six people were injured in the attack, which police blamed on Pakistan-backed Muslim separatists. The victims were Hindu.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim region divided between the two countries. They have fought two wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Source: Associated Press, 19 June 1998

 

News: Teen Convicted in Miss. Shootings

HATTIESBURG, Miss.-- Jurors deliberated for five hours Friday night before convicting 17 year old Luke Woodham of killing Lilly's granddaughter, 16-year-old Christina Menefee, and 17-year-old Lydia Dew on Oct. 1 at Pearl High School. Seven others were wounded.

``I am sorry for the people I killed and the people I hurt,'' he told the courtroom after his sentence was announced. ``The reason you don't see any more tears is I have been forgiven by God.''

Source: Associated Press, 13 June 1998

 

News: Priest defrocked for molestations

BOSTON-- Cardinal Bernard F. Law revealed Saturday that he has defrocked John J. Geoghan, a retired priest accused of sexually molesting more than 50 children over three decades.

Law said that he decided to announce it Saturday after it was revealed last week that the church had paid millions to settle claims against Goeghan brought by dozens of his alleged victims.

Source: Herald Wire Services, Miami Herald, 07 June 1998

 

News: Thai Monk Charged With Murder

BANGKOK, Thailand-- A Buddhist monk in Thailand has been defrocked and charged with murder for allegedly playing a variation of Russian roulette that resulted in the death of a man. Two other monks were defrocked in connection with the incident.

Police charged Samart Phakphum, the temple's vice abbot, with murder on Friday. The death is the latest in a series of scandals involving the normally revered clergy in this overwhelmingly Buddhist country.

Source: Associated Press, 06 June 1998

 

News: Rebels Say 100 Sri Lankans Killed

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels claimed today to have killed at least 100 soldiers in the latest fighting in northern Sri Lanka, and army officers said over 400 soldiers were wounded.

The rebels, who are fighting for a separate homeland in the north and east, accuse the Sinhalese majority of oppressing the Tamil minority. The war has claimed 52,000 lives since it began in 1983.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 05 June 1998

 

News: Teen Shooting Suspect Blames Demons

PHILADELPHIA, Miss.-- A teen-ager accused of fatally stabbing his mother and gunning down two classmates testified Thursday that he was driven by demons who told him he would be ``nothing'' if he didn't kill.

Woodham is on trial in the slaying of his mother, Mary Woodham, who was found dead in her bedroom Oct. 1, the same day he allegedly killed two classmates and wounded seven others at his school. He will stand trial next week in the school shootings, the first in a string of similar rampages around the country.

A defense medical expert testified that Woodham suffered from a variety of psychological problems. ``It's my opinion that as a result of the vulnerability of this very psychologically disturbed young man, Grant (Boyette) was able to exploit him,'' said Dr. Michael Jepsen, a forensic psychologist from Santa Fe, N.M.

Source: Associated Press, 04 June 1998

 

News: Bishop Admits Molesting Boys, Quits

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.-- A Roman Catholic Bishop resigned Tuesday after admitting to molesting five boys in three Florida churches early on in his 40-year career as a priest.

The allegations surfaced five weeks ago when a now-middle aged man told church officials Symons had sexually molested him while he was a teen-age parishioner.

Source: Associated Press, 02 June 1998

 

News: Dozens Reported Dead in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Thousands of refugees from Serbia's Kosovo province streamed into neighboring Albania on Monday to escape some of the deadliest fighting in months. Dozens of people were reported killed.

Ethnic Albanian leaders said 37 Albanians were killed over the weekend. Twenty-seven died in clashes in Decani while 10 were killed when Serb police stormed another village, they said.

The Kosovo Information Center said Serb police burst into the homes in Poklek, pulled out villagers and told them to, ``Go to Albania and never return.'' Afterward, Serb police allegedly set 26 homes ablaze.

[Note: Serbs represent the Eastern Orthodox Christian faction]

Source: Associated Press, 01 June 1998

 

News: Convicted Killers Executed in Egypt

CAIRO, Egypt-- Two brothers convicted of killing nine German tourists and their Egyptian driver outside the Egyptian Museum were hanged Sunday inside a prison. Before the execution, both men called the massacre a defense of Islam, police said.

Before the hanging, Saber declared the attack was part of his crusade for God, that the people he killed were infidels and that he would have killed more if he had the chance, police said. His brother said the attack avenged Muslims killed in Bosnia and Chechnya, police said. Both men recited verses from the Koran, the Muslim holy book, as they awaited the hanging at dawn, police said.

Source: Associated Press, 24 May 1998

 

News: Christians Protest Pakistan Law

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan-- The suicide of a Roman Catholic bishop to protest Pakistan's Islamic blasphemy law has galvanized the Christian minority, who fear they are being targeted by the measure.

For the first time, young Pakistani Christians have formed a militant organization called Sipa-e-Masih or Guardians of the Messiah, to defend religious rights. It is organized along the same lines as Muslim extremist groups that have resorted to violence in religious disputes.

A surge of militancy among Christians does not bode well for Pakistan, already battered by bitter sectarian fighting among rival Islamic sects. On Friday, the religious conflict boiled over.

A demonstration against the blasphemy law by thousands of Christians in Lahore turned violent as police fired tear gas into the crowd of protesters. The protesters retaliated by rampaging through the Punjab capital, destroying more than 100 shops and setting cars on fire.

Source: Associated Press, 16 May 1998


News: Israel Gunfire Kills 5 Palestinians

QARARA, Gaza Strip-- At least five Palestinians were killed and nearly 200 injured in clashes with Israeli troops that erupted as Palestinians commemorated what they call ``al nakba'' -- the catastrophe -- of Israel's founding and their own uprooting a half-century ago. It was the worst Israeli-Palestinian fighting in 20 months.

Thursday's commemorations climaxed with a siren that wailed for two minutes while marchers stood in silence. As the sound faded, chants of ``God is great!'' rose from the crowds, and marching bands played the Palestinian national anthem ``My homeland, my homeland.''

Source: Associated Press, 14 May 1998

 

News: 8 Palestinians Die in Israel Attack

TAANAYEL, Lebanon-- Israeli warplanes attacked a training camp for radical Palestinian guerrillas in eastern Lebanon early today, killing eight guerrillas and wounding at least 20 as they slept, Lebanese security officials said.

Source: Associated Press, 13 May 1998

 

News: Mob Attacks Mourning Pakistanis

FAISALABAD, Pakistan-- A mob of Muslim extremists terrorized a Christian neighborhood in northeastern Pakistan as thousands of mourners gathered Sunday to bury a bishop.

Roman Catholic Bishop John Joseph had killed himself to protest the death sentence given to a Christian accused of insulting Islam.

His suicide last Wednesday has caused violent protests by both minority Christians and extremists Muslims divided over Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, which provide the death penalty for insulting Islam or its prophet, Mohammed.

Source: Associated Press, 10 May 1998

 

News: Fighting Continues in Yugoslavia

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Serbs and ethnic Albanian separatists clashed Monday along Kosovo's border with Albania, where more than 100 separatists were apparently trapped after fighting that killed 10 Albanians and wounded four policemen.

The Bosnian Serb news agency, SRNA, cited Croatian media as saying that radical Muslim fighters from the Middle East who had helped Bosnia's Muslims during the war there were now being sent to Kosovo to fight the Serbs. The report could not be confirmed.

More than 150 people have died since a Serbian police crackdown began two months ago against the Kosovo Liberation Army militant group.

[Note: Bosnia's three factions include the Eastern Orthodox Christian Serbs, Roman Catholic Croats, and the Sunni Muslims]

Source: Associated Press, 04 May 1998

 

News: Sri Lankan Troops Kill 17 Tamil Rebels

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Sri Lankan troops ambushed and killed 17 Tamil rebels near a northern town that the government has had under siege for months, the military said today.

The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority, who accuse the majority Sinhalese of oppression. Since 1983, the conflict has killed more than 52,000 people.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 02 May 1998

 

News: 'Sorcerer' Convicted of Killing 42

LUBUKPAKAM, Indonesia-- A self-proclaimed sorcerer, Ahmad Suradji, 47, was sentenced to death today after an Indonesian court found him guilty of killing 42 females, purportedly in order to increase his magical powers.

The victims, aged 12 to 30, were believed to be seeking Suradji's help to make their husbands or boyfriends faithful. Police said he lured each one to the field, buried her up to the waist and strangled her before reburying the body with the head pointing toward his home.

Source: Associated Press, 27 April 1998

 

News:  Two Protestants Arrested

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- Police arrested two Protestant militants Saturday after a Catholic man was shot fatally through the head, the second such sectarian killing this week in Northern Ireland.

Source: Associated Press, 25 April 1998

 

News:  23 Killed in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Yugoslav troops killed 23 ethnic Albanian militants in the latest offensive against separatists in the province of Kosovo, the Yugoslav army said today.

The clash -- along with a referendum in which Serbs voted overwhelmingly against foreign mediation in the crisis -- heightened tensions in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs by 9-to-1. Serbia, the dominant republic in Yugoslavia, is determined to quash rising independence sentiment in the southern province.

Source: Associated Press, 24 April 1998

 

News:  2 Catholic Priests Get Death Sentence

KIGALI, Rwanda-- A Rwandan court sentenced two Roman Catholic priests to death for their roles in the nation's 1994 genocide, state-run Radio Rwanda reported today.

The Revs. Jean Francois Kayiranga and Edouard Nkurikiye are the first church officials convicted in the state-sponsored massacres, which killed a half-million minority Tutsis.

Some priests and church officials in Rwanda are known to have collaborated with the Hutu extremists, often luring people to seek shelter in churches and then leaving them to the killers.

Source: Associated Press, 18 April 1998

 

News:   Domestic Terrorism Fueled by Religious Sects Seen on Rise

MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- The Oklahoma City bombing has led to an alarming growth in the anti-government movement, according to an organization that monitors hate groups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said the FBI was investigating about 100 domestic terrorism cases before the April 19, 1995, bombing. The FBI is now working on more than 900 such cases, the organization said Wednesday.

The report said the anti-government movement has been fueled by racist religious sects, propaganda forums such as the Internet and the approach of the year 2000, with the Oklahoma City bombing termed the ``opening shot.''

Source: Associated Press, 16 April 1998

 

News:   Rev. Paisley Pushes to Nix NIreland Pact

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- The Rev. Ian Paisley stepped to the front of hard-line Protestants opposed to compromise Wednesday, launching a campaign against the Northern Ireland peace accord that could mark the last great ``No!'' of his stormy career.

Perhaps his greatest hurrah came in 1974 when he destroyed a Catholic-Protestant power-sharing agreement by orchestrating a Protestant general strike that crippled parts of the province for two weeks.

On the Catholic side this weekend, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will be facing those in his ranks who do not want to give up the Irish Republican Army's violent campaign for a united Ireland.

Source: Associated Press, 15 April 1998

 

News:   Mecca Pilgrims Stampede; 150 Dead

MECCA, Saudi Arabia-- A stampede broke out today on a crowded bridge near Mecca, killing more than 150 Muslim pilgrims on the last day of the hajj, Saudi officials said. Some were trampled and others fell to their death.

The disaster occurred on a desert plain in the searing heat of midday as pilgrims at Mecca performed a ritual laden with symbolism known as ``stoning the devil'' -- hurling rocks at pillars symbolizing the temptations of Satan.

``We seek God's mercy for those who died and patience for their families,'' the agency said.

The stampede was the latest tragedy to befall the hajj, which in the past has been marred by other stampedes, fires and political protests that turned violent. In the worst tragedy, 1,426 pilgrims, many of them Malaysians, Indonesian and Pakistanis, were killed in 1990 in a stampede in a crowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites in Mecca.

Source: Associated Press, 09 April 1998

 

News:   16 Die in Violence in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria-- Sixteen people were slain -- many of them killed in their sleep -- in Algeria's latest violence, state radio reported Wednesday.

The mountainous Medea region has been highly unstable since the start of an Islamic insurgency in 1992, which has caused an estimated 75,000 deaths. The radical Armed Islamic Group is believed to have its main base there.

Algeria has been plagued by violence since the army forced the cancellation of 1992 elections the now-outlawed Islamic Salvation Front looked set to win.

Source: Associated Press, 08 April 1998

 

News:   Palestinians Vengeful After Funeral

RAMALLAH, West Bank-- Chanting ``Revenge! Revenge!'' and shaking their fists, thousands of Palestinians marched in a funeral procession today for a top Hamas bombmaker whose death they blame on Israel.

``We want to hear explosions in Tel Aviv. Blow them up! Blow them up!'' chanted a group of women, slapping their faces in grief. Young men, some crying and others shaking their fists, shouted ``Revenge, revenge!'' Marchers carried green Islamic flags.

Source: Associated Press, 02 April 1998

 

News:   Ex-Priest Convicted of Sexual Abuse

DALLAS-- A former priest was convicted Saturday of sexually abusing three altar boys in a case that already had produced the nation's largest civil judgment for clergy sex-abuse allegations.

At the beginning of the trial earlier in the week, Rudolph Kos, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child.

Jurors deliberated 7 1/2 hours over two days before finding Kos guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one of indecency with a child.

According to testimony during an 11-week civil trial last summer, Kos sexually abused boys from 1981 to 1992 at churches in Dallas, Ennis and Irving. That trial led to a record $119.6 million judgment against Kos and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

Source: Associated Press, 29 March 1998

 

News:   IRA Rival Group Claims Cop Killing

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- An IRA rival group opposed to peace talks claimed responsibility Saturday for shooting dead a retired policeman in front of his wife.

Two gunmen ambushed Stewart, a 52 year old Protestant, as he and his wife, Joan, walked to their car outside the Safeway supermarket late Friday. He was shot several times pointblank and died at the scene.

Such killings are designed to upset peace talks which are supposed to conclude by April 9 with a compromise agreement on governing this Protestant-dominated British province.

A dozen people, mostly Catholics, were killed in a spasm of violence that lasted until Feb. 10 and handicapped the peace talks.

Source: Associated Press, 28 March 1998

 

News: Dozens Killed in Sri Lanka Attack

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Sri Lankan warplanes bombed a flotilla of separatist Tamils, killing at least 60 guerrillas, a newspaper reported today. Government troops killed 22 more rebels in ground attacks.

The rebels are demanding a separate homeland, accusing the Sinhalese majority of oppressing the Tamil minority. The war began in 1983 and has so far claimed 51,000 lives.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 27 March 1998

 

News: God a No-Show on TV

GARLAND, Texas-- Onlookers, satellite trucks and legions of reporters streamed Tuesday into a Dallas suburb where a Taiwanese religious group awaited God's appearance on television -- an event they say presages his return to Earth next week.

But the appointed hour passed early Wednesday without the promised TV appearance. The group's leader said his faith was not shaken. [Once again showing that belief proves stronger than evidence and reality, Ed.]

Church leader Chen Heng-ming, known as "Teacher Chen," had said God will appear on Channel 18 across the country at 12:01 a.m.Wednesday to mark the beginning of his return. In Garland, Channel 18 offers religious-oriented programming; in nearby Dallas, it is a home-shopping channel. After midnight, the cable channels continued with their scheduled programs. The broadcast channel had only white noise.

The group's prophecies come almost exactly a year after the Heaven's Gate sect committed mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Heaven's Gate members said they believed that, if they "shed their containers," they would be picked up by a spaceship hidden by a passing comet. Thirty-eight people died.

Source: Associated Press, 25 March 1998

 

News: Truths of Bosnian War Are Realized

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina-- The memory of the dozens of innocents he killed keeps Miro Bajramovic, a Croat, awake nights. A Sarajevo woman is ashamed of the blood spilled by Muslims. Serbs confess to murdering and dismembering victims.

More than two years after the fighting stopped, a more subtle and truer picture is starting to replace the sanitized versions of events that people on all sides were fed during the wars that broke up Yugoslavia.

Serbs, Croats and Muslims long believed that the people on their sides were only the victims of murder, rape and ethnic purges and not perpetrators.

But a string of revelations -- a result of independent journalism, outside pressure and the toll of time on the human psyche -- is challenging that belief. They are forcing people in all camps to look again at what their sides did.

The biggest shock so far has been for Muslim-dominated Sarajevo. The deaths of more than 10,000 people in 3 1/2 years of siege had left residents with a self-image of righteous victims.

Croats, meanwhile, saw themselves as victims of a Serb land grab. But Bajramovic jolted Croatia by revealing how in 1991 his unit entered villages and killed Serbs and tortured and executed prisoners.

If enough Serbs, Muslims and Croats strip away the myth of victimization, they may reach some common understanding of what actually happened.

[Note: Bosnia's three factions include the Eastern Orthodox Christian Serbs, Roman Catholic Croats, and the Sunni Muslims]

Source: Associated Press, 21 March 1998

 

News: Palestinians Bury Boy Killed in Clash

HEBRON, West Bank-- Hundreds of mourners, including teen-agers with school backpacks, clamored for revenge today as they buried a 13-year-old Palestinian boy killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

`With our blood and our soul, we will redeem Samer and Palestine,'' the crowd shouted. Others chanted``Izzedine, Izzedine,'' a reference to the military wing of the Islamic militant group Hamas, which has carried out more than a dozen suicide bombings in Israel since 1994.

``Stop screaming, he is a martyr,'' one man admonished the women. Martyrs or those killed in a jihad, a holy war, against infidels, are believed to go straight to paradise.

Source: Associated Press, 17 March 1998

 

News: Tamil Rebels Blow Up Truck, 5 Dead

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Tamil Tiger guerrillas have blown up an army truck in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least four soldiers and a civilian, the military said today.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for Tamils, who make up 18 percent of Sri Lanka's population. They allege discrimination by the majority Sinhalese, who control the government and military. At least 51,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 14 March 1998

 

News: West Bank Clashes Erupt Over Deaths

HEBRON, West Bank-- Palestinians hurled stones and firebombs at Israeli soldiers today in a third day of violent West Bank protests over the killings of three Palestinian workers at an Israeli army roadblock.

During the holiday four years ago, a Jewish settler from nearby Kiryat Arba opened fire on Muslim worshippers in a Hebron mosque, killing 29 people before being bludgeoned to death.

Source: Associated Press, 12 March 1998

 

News: Tensions Erupt in Kosovo Bloodshed

Two masked men jumped out of the bushes, their submachine guns spitting a deadly hail of bullets. Police said the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army had struck again, leaving two policemen dead and two injured.

Within an hour, Serb police struck back, staging a major crackdown on ethnic Albanian villages where at least 74 residents were killed.

[Serbs represent Eastern Orthodox Christians, Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 10 March 1998

 

News: Six Killed in Algerian Attack

ALGIERS, Algeria-- Attackers slit the throats of six people, including four blind women, in a village south of Algiers, the security forces said in a statement Sunday.

Nobody claimed responsibility, but the attack was carried out a few hundred meters away from the native village of Antar Zouabri, a leader of the Armed Islamic Group, which comprises the country's most radical Islamic militants.

An estimated 75,000 people have been killed in an insurgency that began in 1992 after the army canceled legislative elections that Islamic fundamentalist parties were poised to win.

Source: Associated Press, 08 March 1998

 

News: Serbs Kill 20 Albanians

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Heavily armed Serb police resumed their crackdown today on ethnic Albanians seeking independence for Serbia's tense Kosovo province, where at least 51 people have been killed in the past week.

The siege has left the southern part of Serbia perilously close to civil war.

[Serbs represent Eastern Orthodox Christians, Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 06 March 1998

 

News: Serbs Attack Albanians

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Serb police attacked ethnic Albanians in Serbia's restive Kosovo province today, an Albanian leader said. His aides called it a massacre, with houses burning and residents fleeing into the forest.

It was impossible to immediately confirm the reported killings -- Serb police armed with assault rifles turned back reporters from new checkpoints on roads leading into the region, Drenica.

Serb police said they moved in on the region after an early morning attack on a police station there wounded two policemen. The same region was the scene of another retaliatory Serb attack last weekend that killed at least 25 ethnic Albanians.

[Serbs represent Eastern Orthodox Christians, Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 05 March 1998

 

News: 2 Killed in Ireland Attack

POYNTZPASS, Northern Ireland-- Masked gunmen have killed two friends -- one a Catholic, the other Protestant -- and wounded three others at a country pub in this religiously mixed village.

Politicians blamed Protestant extremists for attacking the Catholic-owned pub in a bid to poison the atmosphere for Northern Ireland's peace talks, which continue today in Belfast, 25 miles to the north.

Northern Ireland's police chief, Ronnie Flanagan, said ``it is absolutely clear that extremists from both sides are intent on, literally, killing off the efforts of those who are working for a better way forward.''

Source: Associated Press, 04 March 1998

 

News: 68 Bodies Unearthed From Graves

DALJ, Croatia -- Forensic experts unearthed 68 bodies Tuesday from mass graves in Croatia and Bosnia, continuing the long-delayed process of recovering victims executed in wars in former Yugoslavia.

The bodies are believed to be mostly Croatian civilians killed after minority Serbs rebelled against Croatia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Exhumations in both Bosnia and Croatia are continuing.

[Note: Bosnia's three factions include the Eastern Orthodox Christian Serbs, Roman Catholic Croats, and the Sunni Muslims]

Source: Associated Press, 03 March, 1998

 

News: Bombs Terrorize Pakistan City

KARACHI, Pakistan-- Two explosions less than 20 minutes apart killed at least eight people and wounded dozens more today in this port city torn by ethnic violence, authorities and witnesses said. One bomb was planted in a hardware store and the other in a music shop on the ground floor of an apartment building, they said.

The apartment complex was inhabited by ethnic Pathans, who clashed with Karachi's majority Mohajirs earlier this month, leaving two dead and at least eight wounded, including six policemen.

Mohajirs are Indian Muslims who migrated to Pakistan when the Asian subcontinent gained its independence from Britain in 1947. They dominate Karachi, Pakistan's largest city of 14 million people.

Ethnic Pathans originate in Pakistan's rugged Northwest Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan. About 2 million Pathans live in Karachi, most of whom traveled there in search of employment.

More than 500 people have died in ethnic and religiously motivated killings in Pakistan in the past year.

Source: Associated Press, 28 Feb. 1998

 

News: 39 Killed in Algerian Raids

ALGIERS, Algeria-- Thirty-nine Islamic militants have been killed in Algeria this week, mainly during raids by the army in the western part of the country, witnesses said.

Suspicion fell on the Armed Islamic Group, the most radical Muslim organization trying to overthrow the military-backed government.

Source: Associated Press, 26 Feb. 1998

 

News: 28 Die in Sri Lankan Sea Battle

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Sri Lankan warships and aircraft searched today for 38 soldiers and sailors missing after Tamil suicide bombers sank two navy ships, killing at least 28 people.

The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for Tamils, who account for 18 percent of Sri Lanka's 18 million people. They claim they are discriminated against by the majority Sinhalese, who control the government and military.

More than 51,000 people have been killed since the war began in 1983.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect.]

Source: Associated Press, 24 Feb. 1998

 

News: Car Bomb Explodes in N. Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- A car bomb exploded in a staunchly pro-British Protestant town today, a few hours after peace talks on Northern Ireland's future resumed.

David Trimble, leader of the largest Protestant party, the Ulster Unionists said the bombing ``underscored the silliness'' of plans to let Sinn Fein return to the talks within two weeks.

Source: Associated Press, 23 Feb. 1998

 

News: Six Plead Guilty to Killing Family

GREENEVILLE, Tenn.-- Six young Kentuckians, including one who claimed to be Satan's daughter, pleaded guilty to murdering a couple and their 6-year-old daughter as the family returned from a Jehovah's Witnesses conference.

The defendants were immediately sentenced to 25 years for kidnapping and theft charges. They are to be sentenced on three murder charges and one attempted murder charge at a hearing to begin March 2.

Source: Associated Press, 21 Feb. 1998

 

News: Men Held in Possible Anthrax Plot

LAS VEGAS-- Two men suspected of possessing deadly anthrax were under arrest Thursday and their car, sealed in plastic, was taken to an air base for tests to see whether the substance was the dangerous biological agent.

One of the pair is an Ohio man who was given probation after pleading guilty to illegally obtaining bubonic plague bacteria through the mail in 1995. He is also author of a self-published book called``Bacteriological Warfare: A Major Threat to North America.''

The men were identified as Larry Wayne Harris, 46, of Lancaster, Ohio, and William Leavitt, 47, of Las Vegas and Logandale, Nev.

[In a past television interview, Harris described himself as a white separatist, an ex-member of the Aryan Nation and a follower of the far-right Christian Identity movement. Ed.]

Source: Associated Press, 19 Feb. 1998



News: 21 Killed in Algeria Massacre

ALGIERS, Algeria-- Attackers killed 17 people by slitting their throats and wounded seven others early Sunday near a town 275 miles southwest of Algiers, security forces said. Four other people were killed in a separate weekend attack, the security forces said in a statement on state-run radio.

An estimated 75,000 people have been killed since the start of violence in 1992, triggered by an army decision to cancel legislative elections to thwart a likely victory by the Islamic Salvation Front, the main Muslim fundamentalist party, now outlawed.

Source: Associated Press, 15 Feb. 1998

 

News: India Bombings Kill 32

MADRAS, India-- Thirteen explosions rocked southern India town Saturday, killing at least 32 people and injuring 120, shortly before a Hindu nationalist leader was to address an election rally, police said.

The bombings sparked clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs, and police were ordered to shoot to kill the rioters in Coimbatore, 1,500 miles south of New Delhi, said police Commissioner Nanjil Kumaran.

Source: Associated Press, 14 Feb. 1998

 

News: Cops Say IRA Committed Two killings

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- Northern Ireland's police chief has concluded that the Irish Republican Army killed two people this week, violating the cease-fire that allows its political allies to participate in peace talks.

Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan's judgment that the IRA killed drug dealer Brendan Campbell on Monday and Protestant militant Bobby Dougan on Tuesday opens the way for Sinn Fein's possible expulsion from the talks.

Source: Associated Press, 13 Feb. 1998

 

News: 58 Are Hacked to Death in Rwanda

KIGALI, Rwanda-- Hutu rebels armed with farming tools hacked 58 people to death after sneaking into northwestern Rwanda, a government official said today.

The rebels attacked the village of Ngugo, near the border town of Gisenyi in western Rwanda, on Friday and started massacring people in their homes, Gisenyi Gov. Jean-Baptiste Muhirwa said.

Thousands of people have been killed since Hutu rebels stepped up attacks in northwestern Rwanda more than a year ago, following the return of more than 1 million Rwandan Hutu refugees.

Source: Associated Press, 10 Feb. 1998

 

News: Three Die in Algiers Cafe Bomb

ALGIERS, Algeria-- A bomb exploded today in a packed cafe in central Algiers, killing three and injuring eight. Similar attacks have been blamed on the Armed Islamic Group, which is seeking to overthrow Algeria's military-backed government.

The government says 26,500 people have been killed since the insurgency began in 1992; independent estimates have said as many as 75,000 or more have been killed.

Source: Associated Press, 07 Feb. 1998

 

News: Supremacist Admits 2 More Killings

PITTSBURGH-- Joseph Paul Franklin admits to shooting Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in 1978, though he was never prosecuted. He also says he shot former civil rights leader Vernon Jordan in the back two years later, even though a jury acquitted him. Now Franklin, a former white supremacist, has admitted to killing two more people, an interracial couple as they walked down a street in 1980.

He is imprisoned -- heavily guarded and wearing shackles -- in Chattanooga, Tenn., and is awaiting transfer to Missouri, where he is to be executed for shooting a man attending a Jewish function in St. Louis in 1977.

Franklin's first known attack was the bombing of Beth Shalom Synagogue in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July 1977. From then until September 1980, he is believed to have killed 17 people -- three interracial couples, seven black men and boys, three female hitchhikers and a Jewish man.

Source: Associated Press, 06 Feb. 1998

 

News: Vampire Cult Leader Pleads Guilty

TAVARES, Fla.-- A self-styled 17-year-old vampire cult leader who believed murder would open the ``gates to hell'' interrupted opening statements at his trial today to plead guilty to killing the parents of a cult member.

Richard Wendorf and Naoma Ruth Queen were bludgeoned to death on Nov. 25, 1996, in their home in Eustis, 35 miles northwest of Orlando. Ferrell had told a friend that he needed to kill people to open the ``gates to hell,'' according to a police report.

The couple were beaten with a crowbar and the letter ``V'' surrounded by circular marks was burned into Wendorf's body as a cult symbol.

Source: Associated Press, 05 Feb., 1998

 

News: 'Army of God' Says It Bombed Clinic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- Letters signed by the ``Army of God'' say the group carried out last week's abortion clinic bombing, a year after it took responsibility for bombing a clinic and gay nightclub in Atlanta.

The letter also said anyone who makes, markets, sells or distributes the abortion pill RU-486 will be targeted by the Army of God.

The Army of God is a name that has been circulating since the early 1980s as a force for radical anti-abortion actions, including circulating a manual that contains information on how to make bombs. It's not clear who makes up the organization, though various anti-abortion activists have either been linked to it or claimed to be part of it.

Source: Associated Press, 03 Feb. 1998

 

News: 1 Killed in Abortion Clinic Bombing

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- An explosion caused by a bomb ripped through an abortion clinic this morning, killing an off-duty police officer and critically injuring a nurse.

The blast at the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic came just a week after the nation marked the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Five people have been shot to death at abortion clinics, one in 1993 and four in 1994.

Source: Associated Press, 29 Jan. 1998

 

News: Assassinations in India's History

Three Indian leaders have been assassinated since the country gained independence from Britain in 1947:

--Mohandas Gandhi, who led the nonviolent campaign for Indian independence, shot Jan. 30, 1948, by a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi's overtures to Muslims. The assassin was hanged after a trial that lasted almost two years.

--Indira Gandhi, prime minister for 17 years, shot Oct. 31, 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards after she sent Indian troops to flush separatists from Sikhism's holiest temple. One of the assassins was killed by other guards, and the second was convicted and hanged. Indira Gandhi was not related to Mohandas Gandhi.

--Indira Gandhi's son, Rajiv Gandhi, who sent Indian troops to help Sri Lanka put down a Tamil uprising during his 1984-89 tenure as prime minister, was killed by a suicide bomber May 21, 1991. Conspirators in the killing, including the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, were convicted today.

Source: Associated Press, 28 Jan. 1998

 

News: 23 Die in India Massacre

WANDHAMA, India-- Suspected Muslim separatists dragged Hindu villagers from their homes and slaughtered 23 in the troubled northern state of Kashmir, police said today.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming Muslim militants fighting an insurgency in Kashmir that has killed more than 15,000 people since 1989. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it lends only moral support.

Militants in Kashmir, India's only predominately Muslim state, want independence or a union with Muslim Pakistan.

Source: Associated Press, 26 Jan. 1998

 

News: 11 Die in Sri Lanka Bomb Attack

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Rebel suicide bombers crashed through the gate of Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist temple Sunday, setting off a truck blast that killed 11 people and sparked ethnic rioting, the military and police said. No one claimed responsibility for the bombing in Kandy.

The ethnic Tamil rebels accuse the majority Sinhalese, who are predominately Buddhist, of sometimes brutal discrimination against the Tamil minority, who are Hindus. Religion has not been a central issue in the war.

Hours after the attack on the Temple of the Tooth, which houses what Buddhists believe is a tooth of Buddha, a mob of enraged Sinhalese burned down a Hindu cultural center Kandy, but no-one was hurt, said a police official, who asked not to be named. Police fired tear gas to disperse the mob.

[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect.]

Source: Associated Press, 25 Jan. 1998

 

News: German Nazi Exhibit Causes Clashes

DRESDEN, Germany-- Hundreds of leftists and neo-Nazis brawled Saturday on a train to Dresden, where demonstrators massed in the heavy snow for competing protests linked to an anti-Nazi exhibit.

The exhibit, which shows that Hitler's regular soldiers committed atrocities alongside notorious units such as the SS, has incensed Germans who maintain that ordinary soldiers only fought the enemy.

Hundreds of radical-rightists opposed to the exhibit gathered in downton Dresden, while a counter-demonstration picked up momentum in another part of town.

The ``War of Extermination: Crimes of the Wehrmacht from 1941 to 1944'' has been traveling to German cities for nearly three years. It uses photographs and documents to prove that even rank-and-file German soldiers killed Jews and other civilians.

Many older Germans still view the Wehrmacht as an honorable force that fought for the homeland. Thousands of neo-Nazis demonstrated against the exhibit in March, during its Munich showing.

Source: Associated Press, 24 Jan. 1998

 

News: Catholic and Protestant Violence Continues

Seven Catholics and one Protestant have been killed since Protestant extremist Billy ``King Rat'' Wright, commander of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, was ambushed and killed at Belfast's Maze Prison on Dec. 27. Three imprisoned members of an Irish Republican Army offshoot are accused in Wright's slaying.

The latest Catholic victim, Liam Conway, 39, was shot in the head Friday while laying pipes in a Protestant area of north Belfast. Police blamed the Loyalist Volunteers. The IRA-allied Sinn Fein party said Conway lived with his two blind brothers and was the family's main breadwinner.

Source: Associated Press, 24 Jan. 1998

 

News: N. Ireland Sees More Bloodshed

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- A lone gunman shot dead a Roman Catholic man Wednesday within hours of the funeral for another victim of Northern Ireland's rising tide of sectarian bloodshed.

Three Catholics and a Protestant have been shot dead this week, while multiparty negotiations on Northern Ireland's future were continuing in east Belfast.

Source: Associated Press, 21 Jan. 1998

 

News: Catholics Kill Protestant Man

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- Hours before a meeting between the British prime minister and IRA-allied Sinn Fein leaders, gunmen from an IRA offshoot today killed a Protestant shopkeeper in apparent retaliation for the slayings of four Catholics.

The Irish National Liberation Army, which precipitated the current round of violence by killing the jailed leader of a renegade Protestant gang, claimed responsibility in a coded call to the BBC.

Rising violence in the past three weeks combined with Sinn Fein's objections to the peace plan are fueling doubts about the future of the talks -- and about the durability of cease-fires on both sides.

Source: Associated Press, 19 Jan. 1998

 

News: Protestant Gang Kills Catholic Man

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- A renegade Protestant gang opposed to Northern Ireland's peace talks claimed responsibility Sunday for killing a Catholic man, its fourth murder in three weeks, and warned: ``This is not the last.''

Police found the body of the man beside a Catholic church in Maghera, a mostly Catholic town 25 miles northwest of Belfast, but didn't identify the victim pending notification of relatives. He had been shot in the head. Residents said he was in his late 20s and had recently returned home after working in the United States.

The Loyalist Volunteers have been blamed for killing at least 10 Catholic civilians -- including four since Dec. 27, when the outlawed group's founder, Billy ``King Rat'' Wright, was gunned down inside the top-security Maze prison by an Irish Republican Army dissident gang.

Source: Associated Press, 18 Jan. 1998

 

News: Waiting for God

GARY, Ind.-- Next year the shores of Lake Michigan will be the main ``loading dock'' to the next dimension, according to the leader of a Taiwanese religious group.

Hon-Ming Chen preaches that a nuclear war will ravage the Earth, and flying saucers will rescue the survivors. There will be other loading docks, but Gary's Lake Street Beach will be the main boarding area.

``After the great tribulation happens in 1999, God's flying saucer will carry off the survivors that come here,'' the religious leader of God Salvation Church said through an interpreter.

Members of the Garland, Texas, sect prayed in the sand, anointing the site as a rescue area. Some wore white cowboy hats, a conduit for God's spirit to enter the body.

``We just followed God's instructions,'' said Chen, whose disciples say he speaks to God through his hand.

Their religion combines aspects of Christianity, Buddhism and science fiction. It was started in California in 1995, after followers used their life savings to come to the United States. Last year, they moved to Garland, which Chen calls ``God's office.''

Source: Associated Press, 15 Jan. 1998

[Let's hope none of these nut-cases gets into political power. Imagine a CSC president preaching nuclear war to speed up the "great tribulation." Ed.]

 

News: Report: Algeria Death Toll Tops 400

ALGIERS, Algeria-- Two weekend massacres left at least 400 people dead -- a figure almost four times the official toll -- Algerian newspapers reported Tuesday, as survivors recounted the terror of the assaults from their hospital beds.

Despite a government denial of the higher death toll -- the military-backed regime stands by its figure of 103 killed -- the reports fueled a growing sense around the capital that a 6-year-old Muslim insurgency has spawned an anarchic state where anybody could be targeted and at any time.

Source: Associated Press, 13 Jan., 1998

 

News: Catholic Killed in N. Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- Two men shot and killed a Catholic bouncer at a Belfast nightclub early Sunday, police said. Protestant gunmen were believed responsible, but it wasn't clear whether the killing was linked to the resumption of peace talks.

Sinn Fein, political ally of the Catholic-based Irish Republican Army, blamed Protestant paramilitaries seeking to maintain British rule in Northern Ireland.

Some members of the two Protestant groups are impatient over the slow pace of the talks, and have threatened to break October 1994 cease-fires.

Already the Loyalist Volunteers, a splinter gang composed of members from both groups, have claimed responsibility for two murders of Catholics since Dec. 27.

Source: Associated Press, 11 Jan. 1998

 

News: Taliban Accused of Slaughtering 600

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan-- Soldiers killed at least 600 civilians, lining people up and shooting them, during a two-day massacre in northwestern Afghanistan, opponents of the Taliban regime claimed today.

Most Taliban soldiers belong to Afghanistan's majority Pashtun ethnic group and follow the Sunni sect of Islam. The opposition is made up of smaller groups largely representing the country's ethnic minorities -- Uzbeks, Tajiks, Shiite Muslims and Ismaili Muslims.

The Taliban religious army controls about 85 percent of Afghanistan, including Kabul, where it has imposed a strict brand of Islamic law that bans women from work and forces men to grow beards. Its opponents control the remaining 15 percent.

Source: Associated Press, 07 Jan. 1998

 

News: Report: Algerian Death Toll Reported at 392

ALGIERS, Algeria-- The daily bloodshed of Algeria's 6-year-old Islamic insurgency has killed at least 392 more men, women and children -- including 200 in one remote village --news reports and survivors said today.

Source: Associated Press, 06 Jan. 1998

 

News: Report: 412 Killed in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria-- Gangs armed with knives, axes, hoes and shovels methodically slaughtered 412 peasants in four poor western villages in a night of horror, the worst massacre of a nearly 6-year-old Muslim insurgency.

The aftermath of Tuesday night's attacks showed how the gangs had grouped their victims together before killing them.

``I can't get rid of the smell of blood,'' said a nurse, her blouse splattered with gore, before breaking out in tears. She spoke on condition of anonymity.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but suspicion fell on the Armed Islamic Group, the insurgency's most violent movement, which has claimed responsibility for past bombings and massacres.

Ramadan marks God's revelation of the Koran, Islam's holy book, to the Prophet Mohammed some 1,400 years ago. During the holy month, Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex during daylight hours as an act of sacrifice and purification.

Source: Associated Press, 03 Jan. 1998

 

News: Burundi: 300 May Have Died in Attack

BUJUMBURA, Burundi-- Burundi's army sealed off a military base and nearby village that were stormed by Hutu rebels, refusing Friday to let outsiders into the scene of an attack that killed as many as 300 people.

Burundi's majority Hutus and its minority Tutsi-led military government have been locked in battle since the 1993 killing of Burundi's first Hutu president by Tutsi paratroopers. More than 150,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since then.

Source: Associated Press, 02 Jan. 1998


 

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