News briefs from 1999

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: 300 Die in Christian/Muslim Clashes

AMBON, Indonesia -- In the bloodiest religious violence in Indonesia in decades, fighting over five days between Christians and Muslims in the Spice Islands has killed more than 300 people, officials and media said today.

Fighting on the island of Halmahera in North Maluku province broke out Tuesday when 400 Christians attacked a Muslim village, said Lt. Col. Iwa Budiman, spokesman for the local military command. Some 250 people have been killed since, he said.

In the adjoining region of Maluku, 68 people, including three soldiers, have been killed in sectarian clashes that broke out Sunday, local newspaper Suara Maluku reported today.

The combined death toll is the highest in a year of savage fighting between Christians and Muslims in the two provinces that were known as the Spice Islands during Dutch colonial rule.

Source: Associated Press, 30 Dec. 1999

News: Wars Rage in Third of World Nations

WASHINGTON-- The century is coming to a close with a third of the world's 193 nations embroiled in conflict, nearly twice the Cold War level, a group that keeps track of battle zones reported Wednesday.

CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said the CIA list, which is classified, currently counts 31 conflicts.

Source: Associated Press, 29 Dec. 1999

News: 39 Die in Indonesia Religious Clash

AMBON, Indonesia-- Muslims and Christians clashed in Indonesia's troubled Spice Islands today, killing at least 39 people, witnesses said. The main church in the provincial capital was set on fire along with a mosque.

Source: Associated Press, 27 Dec. 1999

News: Holy Land overwhelmed with 'Messiahs'

Israel is beefing up its mental health services as it prepares for an outbreak of Jerusalem Syndrome, a condition which convinces thousands of tourists they are Jesus or another biblical figure.

It has been estimated about 40,000 people will suffer biblical delusions during their Christmas visit to the Holy Land.

Every year thousands of tourists become so affected by the Holy City's powerful religious icons they are overwhelmed by delusions that they are the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, or one of his disciples.

But 1999 has seen a100% increase in cases, and experts fear the Book of Revelations' prediction of Jesus' reign in the "second millennium" could spark widespread dementia and confusion.

The most frequent sufferers are British and American visitors.

Source: BBC News, 24 Dec. 1999

News: 9 Die in Latest Christian/Muslim Violence

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The latest religious and separatist violence in Indonesia's two main trouble spots left nine people dead, police and military spokesmen said Monday.

In Maluku province, at least five people, including a Christian clergyman, were killed Sunday when Christians and Muslims clashed in the provincial capital of Ambon, Maluku police chief Brig. Gen. Dewa Astika said.

Source: Associated Press, 20 Dec. 1999

News: 128 Die in Sri Lanka Rebel Attack

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Sri Lankan troops fought back an assault by rebels in boats on a strategic military base in the north, leaving 128 rebels and soldiers dead, the Defense Ministry said today.

The rebels accuse the Sinhalese majority of discriminating against Tamils in jobs and education. An estimated 61,000 people have been killed since the war began in 1983.

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

Source: Associated Press, 18 Dec. 1999


News: 11 Killed in Algeria Massacre

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Islamic militants have killed 11 nomads in a desert region of Algeria, the second known massacre since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began last week, local news media reported Tuesday.

The killings followed the massacre on Saturday of 15 people near a roadblock outside Blida, about 30 miles south of Algiers. Many of the victims were burned alive in a van.

Authorities had announced stepped up security at the approach of Ramadan, which began last week. The holy month has in the past been marked by a resurgence of violence in this North African nation wracked by an Islamic insurgency since 1992.

The Islamic insurgency began in 1992 after the army canceled parliamentary elections the Salvation Front was poised to win. More than 100,000 people have been killed since then.

Source: Associated Press, 14 Dec. 1999

News: Columbine Gunmen Sought Revenge, Fame, and a Better Afterlife

DENVER -- In home videos they recorded before their attack on Columbine High School, teen-age gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold said they hoped to kill hundreds in a bloodbath that would have Hollywood directors fighting over their story, Time magazine reports.

Both also expressed regret that their parents would have to live with their murderou actions.

On one tape Time reviewed for an article in the issue to hit newsstands Monday, Klebold said: "I hope we will kill 250 of you."

While the videos reinforce the idea that Harris and Klebold were motivated in part by a desire for what they saw as revenge, they also fill in details of the picture of the suicidal plot as a perceived route to immortality.

"Directors will be fighting over this story," Time quotes Klebold as saying in one video. He and Harris then discussed which director could be trusted with the script, mentioning Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino, the report said.

The killers made their final tape on the morning of the massacre, Time reports. "It's a half-hour before Judgment Day,"

Klebold said into the camera. "I didn't like life very much. Just know I'm going to a better place than here."

Source: Associated Press, 12 Dec. 1999

News: 31 Killed in Christian and Muslim Fighting

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- At least 31 people were killed in a fresh wave of fighting between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia's eastern province of Maluku, officials said Sunday.

The officer said fighting between the rival religious communities lasted until Saturday. Both sides used homemade guns and petrol bombs to attack dozens of houses in the district.

Source: Associated Press, 05 Dec. 1999

News: 21 Killed in Christian/Muslim Rioting

AMBON, Indonesia -- At least 21 people were killed and dozens injured as fresh Muslim-Christian clashes broke out today in Ambon, the capital of Indonesia's eastern province of Maluku, officials and witnesses said.

Paing Suryaman, chief of a hospital within the main Al Fatah mosque, said ten Muslims were killed and 46 others were injured. Meanwhile, eleven bodies, believed to be Christians, were taken to Haulusy public hospital along with more than 20 others who were injured, witnesses said.

Maluku, an archipelago province known as the Spice Islands during Dutch colonial rule, has been plagued by religious fighting since January.

Hundreds of people have been killed this year and more than 100,000 others have fled or lost their homes in the escalating violence.

Source: Associated Press, 26 Nov. 1999

News: Sri Lanka Pulls Army From Church

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- The military said today its troops have vacated a 17th century Dutch-built Catholic church where an artillery attack killed 44 people.

The church is known for a statue of "Our Lady of the Rosary," believed to have miraculous healing powers. More than 3,500 people had taken shelter in the church compound to escape fighting between the government and the rebels when the shells fell, killing 44 people, injuring dozens of others and damaging the church.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent homeland in Sri Lanka's north and east for the past 16 years. During the past four weeks, the war has intensified, with the guerrillas gaining control of new areas. The Tamil minority accuses the majority Sinhalese of widespread discrimination in education and jobs. The majority Sinhalese control the government and military.

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

Source: Associated Press, 22 Nov. 1999

News: 32 Killed in Philippines Fighting

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -- Fighting in the southern Philippines between Muslim separatist rebels and government troops on Thursday left at least 32 dead, threatening planned peace talks.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is battling the Philippine government for an independent Islamic state. The military says the group maintains about 8,000 armed men in Mindanao.

Source: Associated Press, 18 Nov. 1999

News: Taliban Executes Afghani Woman

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Thousands of people watched as a woman, cowering beneath a pale blue all-enveloping burqa, was shot and killed today in the first public execution of a woman in Kabul since the Taliban religious army took control three years ago.

The woman, a mother of seven children was found guilty of killing her husband, a "family dispute," according to a Taliban soldier, who didn't give his name.

A Taliban soldier shot her three times.

Afterward from the crowd several people shouted "God is great."

The Taliban have imposed their harsh brand of Islamic law in the 90 percent of Afghanistan under their control. The Taliban say their version of Islam is a pure one that follows a literal interpretation of the Muslim holy book, The Koran.

Source: Associated Press, 16 Nov. 1999

News: Kosovo Probers Exhume 2,108 Bodies

UNITED NATIONS -- In their first report on the extent of war crimes in Kosovo, U.N. investigators announced that they have exhumed the bodies of 2,108 people killed in the conflict ­ mostly ethnic Albanians.

The results, she said, should give an indication of the magnitude of killings, primarily of ethnic Albanians but also of Serbs, during NATO's 78-day bombing campaign.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia, which del Ponte heads, has received reports from witnesses and intelligence sources that 11,334 people were buried in 529 common graves in Kosovo.

Del Ponte cautioned that the number of bodies exhumed doesn't necessarily reflect the number of actual victims because there was tampering at some graves, and bodies were burned or dismembered at "a significant number of sites."

Source: Associated Press, 11 Nov. 1999

News: Militia Denies Massacre in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- A pro-government militia on Friday denied it massacred some 25 Sudanese fighters who had supposedly come to southern Sudan for peace talks.

A spokesman for Paulino Matep's militia told the pro-government Akhbar al-Youm newspaper that the fighters were killed in battle after launching a surprise attack in Benitu, about 500 miles southwest of Khartoum.

Sudan is torn by a 16-year-old civil war between rebels from the Christian and animist south and government forces of the mostly Arab and Islamic north. An estimated 2 million people have died, many from war-related famine, and hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes.

Source: Associated Press 05 Nov. 1999

News: Hundreds of Sri Lankan Soldiers Die

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Tamil rebels overran several military posts in northern Sri Lanka today, killing hundreds of soldiers and sending others fleeing into the jungle, a senior army official said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been fighting for an independent state for minority Tamils since 1983. The conflict has left more than 58,000 dead. The rebels control large areas in the north and east, and the army conducts intermittent campaigns to drive them back.

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

Source: Associated Press, 03 Nov. 1999

News: FBI Warns of Religious Extremist Violence to Mark Millennium

WASHINGTON-- An FBI report prepared for the nation's law enforcement officials says the threat of violence by extremists to mark the new millennium is "very real," The Washington Post reported.

"The threat posed by extremists as a result of perceived events associated with the Year 2000 is very real," the Post quoted the report as saying. "The volatile mix of apocalyptic religious and (New World Order) conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible."

The Post said that while most of the report focuses on domestic threats, one portion is devoted to Jerusalem, where the FBI says an influx of tourists making pilgrimages and millennial cults will add to the danger.

The FBI said earlier it would examine ideologies "which advocate or call for violent action beginning in the year 2000."

"Such ideologies motivate violent white supremacists who seek to initiate a race war; apocalyptic cults which anticipate a violent Armageddon; radical elements of private citizen militias who fear that the United Nations will initiate an armed takeover of the United States and subsequently establish a One World Government, and other groups or individuals which promote violent millennial agendas," the FBI said in its earlier statement.

Citing the report, the Post said agents have discovered that in preparation for the new millennium, certain individuals have been acquiring weapons, storing food and clothing, raising funds, procuring safe houses, preparing compounds, surveying potential targets and recruiting converts to their cause.

Source: Associated Press, 31 Oct. 1999

News: N. Ireland Militant Convicted

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- A militant Protestant was convicted today of murdering three young Catholic brothers in a firebombing last year, one of the most infamous attacks in Northern Ireland's three decades of conflict.

Garfield Gilmour, a 24-year-old farm equipment salesman, showed no reaction when Justice William McCollum called him "a resourceful liar" and gave him three concurrent life sentences for his role in the July 1998 gasoline-bomb attack on the boys' home.

Source: Associated Press, 29 Oct. 1999

News: Eight Palestinians Hurt In Bethlehem Unrest

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) -- Violence plagued the biblical birthplace of Jesus for a third consecutive day Wednesday, with eight Palestinians wounded in clashes following the funeral of a Palestinian killed by an Israeli soldier.

Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets at a crowd returning from the funeral of Musa Abu Ihaliel, killed Monday, after the crowd pelted the soldiers with rocks. Teargas hung over the entrance to the town as soldiers and demonstrators clashed near the tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel.Chanting ``Death to America and Israel,'' hundreds of mourners accompanied the body of Abu Ihaliel, which was draped in a Palestinian flag, from his house to a mosque in the village of Beit Sahour next to Bethlehem.

Bethlehem, set to be a showcase of millennium celebrations in the Holy Land, has been sprucing up for an expected influx of several million Christians on millennium pilgrimages. But security concerns in the wake of the recent violence have already deterred one high-profile visitor -- British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who
cancelled his trip to the town Tuesday.

Source: Reuters, 27 Oct. 1999

News: 150 Killed in Sri Lanka Fighting

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- A three-day battle between the army and Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka has left more than 150 combatants dead, the military said Sunday.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelamm, in a letter from their London office, said scores of Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and hundreds more injured when rebels resisted an attempt by the soldiers to overrun their front defense lines. They said 48 of their fighters were killed in resisting the attack.

The LTTE has been fighting for independence for the minority Tamils in this island nation off the southern tip of India. More than 58,000 people from both sides have been killed since the insurrection began in 1983.

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

Source: Associated Press, 17 Oct. 1999

News: 15 Killed in Muslim & Christian Clash

AMBON, Indonesia -- Muslims and Christians clashed today in eastern Indonesia, burning houses and a mosque and killing 15 people, including a soldier, the military and witnesses said today.

Witnesses said eight other bodies, believed to be Christians, were taken to the state-run Haulusy Public Hospital and the Christian GPM hospital.

More than 500 people have been killed in the conflict that broke out in January in Ambon,1,440 miles northeast of Jakarta, and spread to other islands in the province.

Source: Associated Press, 04 Oct. 1999

News: 9 Shiite Muslims Killed in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Gunmen stormed a Shiite Muslim mosque in southern Karachi on Friday, killing nine worshippers as they knelt in prayer and injuring dozens more, witnesses said.

No one has taken responsibility for any of the killings, but Shiite Muslim groups are blaming rival Sunni Muslim extremists and particularly the violent Guardians of the Friends of the Prophet. This group has been blamed for hundreds of attacks on Shiite Muslims in Pakistan in recent years.

Source: Associated Press, 01 Oct. 1999

News: Israeli Warplanes Raid Lebanon

MARJAYOUN, Lebanon -- Israeli warplanes struck southern Lebanon on Monday after a roadside bomb killed a top official of the pro-Israeli militia, Lebanese security officials said. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah group claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Israeli ground troops also shelled valleys in the Tuffah province, killing a Hezbollah guerrilla and igniting a fire. Security officials said at least three members of the Israeli-allied South Lebanon Army militia were wounded.

Source: Associated Press, 27 Sept. 1999

News: 28 Killed; the slaughter continues in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka --Tamil Tiger rebels are suspected of killing at least 17 soldiers and wounding 20 in an attack on an army convoy in eastern Sri Lanka, while 10 guerrillas and a civilian were killed in fighting elsewhere, a military official said Friday.

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

Source: Associated Press, 24 Sept. 1999

News: 38 Sri Lanka Massacre Victims Buried

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Thousands mourned Sunday as the bodies of 38 people -- the majority of the approximately four dozen killed in a massacre blamed on Tamil rebels -- were lowered into a huge grave in a mass burial, officials said.

Militants among Sri Lanka's 3.3 million Tamils accuse the Sinhalese majority, who number 14 million, of oppressing them. The Tamil Tigers have been leading a 16-year war to carve out a separate Tamil nation.

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

Source: Associated Press, 19 Sept. 1999

News: New Evidence in Bishop's Murder

GUATEMALA CITY-- FBI analyses show that blood found near the site of a Guatemalan bishop's slaying match that of a priest and two other men, the chief investigator said.

The new evidence seems to revive questions about the possible involvement of the Rev. Mario Orantes in the April 1998 murder of Roman Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi.

The priest who served as an assistant to Gerardi was arrested in June 1998 and held for eight months before murder charges against him were dropped for lack of evidence. He was never officially cleared as a suspect, however, and could still face charges.

Source: Associated Press 17 Sept. 1999

News: Indonesia Troops Attacking Refugees

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- The Indonesian army and their militia allies attacked refugees seeking shelter in an East Timor town Sunday, a U.N. spokesman said, citing refugee witnesses.

Carlos Belo, East Timor's Roman Catholic Bishop and joint winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, urged pro-independence supporters to use arms to defend themselves against the violence, the Portuguese daily Publico said Saturday.

``If others kill with weapons, why can't people defend themselves with weapons? There is self-defense, which even morals allow,'' said Belo, who is considered East Timor's spiritual leader.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 as the Portuguese were making a quick exit from their troubled colony. More than 200,000 people are estimated to have died in the quarter-century since then in one of the world's most ignored conflicts.

Source: Associated Press, 12 Sept. 1999

News: Hamas criticizes peace accord

GAZA, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, said that the peace agreement signed by the Palestinians and the Israeli government is weak and will not last long.

Yassin promised the Hamas supporters, who chanted "Alaho Akbar" (God is great), and "revenge revenge" that his movement will never join the final status talks between Israel and the Palestinians, due to begin Monday.

He said that Hamas will never forget that Jihad, or holy war, is the only way to free the "Palestinian occupied lands."

Source: UPI, 10 Sep. 1999

News: Christian Man Killed in East India

NEW DELHI, India-- A Christian man was attacked with bows and arrows and killed early today in a remote jungle village in eastern India, a local security official said.

The attack is the latest in a wave of violence against India's Christian community this year. The violence has been blamed on Hindu extremists, who claim missionaries buy or force conversions. Dozens of Christian churches and prayer halls have been damaged or destroyed.

Last January in a nearby area of Orissa, Australian missionary Graham Staines, 58, and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 8, were burned to death in their jeep. The Staines' killing was the most serious of the dozens of attacks on Christian property by Hindu radicals.

Christians are roughly 2 percent of India's nearly 1 billion people.

Source: Associated Press, 02 Sep. 1999

News: Muslim & Christian Violence Kills 8

AMBON, Indonesia -- Eight people were killed and several others were wounded Wednesday in two clashes between hundreds of Muslims and Christians in the Indonesian province of Maluku, police and witnesses said.

Wednesday's violence broke out after a week of calm in Ambon. Hundreds of people have been killed in sectarian clashes in the province this year.

Source: Associated Press, 01 Sep. 1999

News: `Hate Groups' Author in Spotlight

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- A reclusive, white-haired author in his 70s turns out books, newsletters and essays that experts on hate groups say contribute to racist violence around the nation.

Richard Kelly Hoskins' 1985 book, ``War Cycles, Peace Cycles,'' was found in the van of Buford O. Furrow Jr., the man accused of shooting up a Jewish community center in Los Angeles and killing a Filipino-American postal worker. Furrow told police his actions were ``a wake-up call to America to kill Jews.''

``War Cycles, Peace Cycles'' and other writings by Hoskins make him one of the chief ideologues behind the Christian Identity religious movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which tracks hate groups.

The Christian Identity movement teaches that white Christians are God's true chosen people and Jews are impostors. Its followers consider non-whites to be beasts, or ``mudpeople,'' who must be exterminated.

Among those believed to be a Christian Identity member is Eric Rudolph, suspected in the 1996 Olympic bombing and the 1997 bombings of an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub, all in Atlanta, and the 1998 bombing at a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic.

In his 1985 book, Hoskins denounces usury, or the charging of interest by banks. He blames Jews for society's economic problems, wars and other social ills. In his 1990 book, ``Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the Phineas Priesthood,'' Hoskins describes the Phineas Priesthood as Christian guerrillas who avenge Judeo-Christian traitors.

Hoskins published his first book, ``Our Nordic Race,'' in 1958. The book contends history demonstrates the inherent mastery of racially pure Nordics -- a euphemism for Northern European whites.

News: Muslim Militants Behind Yemen Blasts

DUBAI, A London-based Islamic activist said Sunday a Muslim militant group had told him its members were behind three bombings in Yemen, one of which reportedly killed six people in the capital.

Saturday, an explosion ripped through a supermarket in Sanaa near several foreign embassies. The blast killed six people, state television said.

Source: Reuters, 29 Aug. 1999

News: Russia Expects More Muslim Attacks

MAKHACHKALA, Russia-- Rebels recently driven out of a southern Russian region have not given up their quest for an independent Islamic state, Russian military commanders said Friday.

Chief of the armed forces general staff, Gen. Anatoly Kvashnin, said even though the first stage of fighting against the militants in the Caucasus Mountains region was over, Russia expected that they would strike again.

Source: Associated Press, 27 Aug. 1999

News: Religious Say Quake Is Divine

ISTANBUL, Turkey-- Outside his neighborhood mosque, the old man leans forward to explain why secular Turkey was hit with a killer earthquake.

``God is punishing us,'' Fevzi Kisioglu says. ``We've lost our way.''

The sentiment is not uncommon among devout Muslims who survived the 7.4-magnitude temblor that struck Turkey on Aug. 17, killing more than 12,000 people and leaving many more homeless.

A radical Islamic group, Hezbollah, smashed windows and bottles at a state-owned liquor store in Istanbul the day after the quake, blaming booze peddlers for bringing damnation on Turkey.

A construction worker blamed such things as the state's closing of religious schools, restrictions on Koranic courses and its ban on headscarves in public buildings.

``I believe God is punishing us because of that campaign,'' said the young man, who wouldn't give his name.

Source: Associated Press, 25 Aug. 1999

News: Catholic Bishop on Trial in Rwanda

KIGALI, Rwanda-- A Roman Catholic bishop in Rwanda went on trial Friday on charges that he failed to offer sanctuary to victims of the 1994 genocide.

Misago, the bishop of the diocese of Gigonkoro in southwestern Rwanda, is the highest-ranking Rwandan cleric to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

At least 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the 1994 bid by the then-extremist Hutu government to stay in power. More than 150,000 people are estimated to have been slaughtered in the Gigonkoro diocese alone.

Several priests and nuns are among tens of thousands awaiting trial for actively participating in the killings. In 1998, two priests became the first members of the clergy to be sentenced to death for organizing the killing of 2,000 Tutsis by bulldozing the church in which they had sought shelter.

Sixty-two percent of Rwanda's pre-genocide population of 7.8 million were practicing Catholics, making it the most Catholic country in Africa. The Roman Catholic hierarchy had close ties to the government before the genocide erupted.

Source: Associated Press, 20 Aug. 1999

News: Flights to Indonesia Halted Due to Christian, Muslim Clashes

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Commercial flights to Indonesia's strife-torn eastern Maluku province have been suspended following clashes among Muslim and Christian mobs, officials said today.

The violence has left more than 120 dead during the past two weeks. Some of the fighting flared near Ambon's airport, making it unsafe for workers at the airport.

Source: Associated Press, 19 Aug. 1999

News: 15 Die in Sri Lanka Attacks

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Suspected Tamil rebels killed six Sri Lankan police commandos and nine soldiers in two ambushes Wednesday, police and military officials said.

The rebels are fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils who say they face discrimination in Sinhalese-majority Sri Lanka. More than 58,000 people have died in the16-year insurrection.

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

Source: Associated Press, 18 Aug. 1999

News: Catholics Clash in Northern Ireland

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland-- Catholic militants fought with police, torched trucks and tossed fire bombs Saturday, protesting hard-line Protestant parades across Northern Ireland. Scuffles left dozens of officers and demonstrators injured in Belfast before culminating in protests in Londonderry, where Protestants celebrated the northern city's1689 defense from a besieging Catholic army. Groups traditionally start marching in other towns before gathering here for the main parade. Suspected Irish Republican Army members hijacked and burned four trucks and vans on the city's Catholic west side in Londonderry, while more than 10,000 Protestant members of the Apprentice Boys fraternal group paraded through the city center nearby.

Source: Associated Press, 15 Aug. 1999

News: Anti-Semitism Fans New Violence

Last week, Buford O. Furrow Jr. told police that his shootings in Los Angeles were ``a wake-up call to America to kill Jews.'' Last month, in a bloody rampage through the Midwest, Benjamin Smith took aim at blacks, Asians -- and Jews. Two weeks earlier, arsonists torched three synagogues around Sacramento, Calif., leaving behind leaflets that blamed Jews for the war in Kosovo.

Such groups are linked to the recent spate of spectacular hate crimes, in particular those targeting Jews. One is the Christian Identity movement, a religion that surfaced in the 1940s and gained more followers in the past 10 or 15 years.

Researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. estimate 50,000 followers for this movement, which promotes the idea that Jews are Satan's offspring. Adherents view nonwhites, Potok says, as soulless mudpeople'' and all other whites as God's chosen people.

Source: Associated Press, 14 Aug. 1999

News: Religious Violence Wrack Indonesia

AMBON, Indonesia-- Religious violence and protests shook Indonesia on Thursday, with Christians and Muslims fighting in one province while demonstrators demanded independence for another.

Violence in the eastern province of Maluku left 14 people dead Thursday, including an 11-year-old boy, when riot police dispersed rampaging gangs on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Ambon, witnesses said.

Nearly 400 people have died this year in a series of clashes and riots between Christians and Muslims in the province, 1,450 miles northeast of Jakarta.

Source: Associated Press, 12 Aug. 1999

News: L.A. Suspect Has Hate Group Ties

The man being sought in the shooting at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, Buford Oneal Furrow, has ties to hate groups in the Northwest and may have once lived with the widow of a man who started the white supremacist group the Order.

Furrow is listed in a database maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center of people connected with radical groups, said Mark Potok, a researcher with the center based in Montgomery, Ala.

Potok said Furrow was a member of Aryan Nations in 1995, and said he has a photo of Furrow in a Nazi uniform, taken that year at the Aryan Nations Compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

A van believed driven by Furrow contained a book, ``War Cycles, Peace Cycles,'' written by Richard Kelly Hoskins, who Potok called ``one of the principal ideologues of Christian Identity.''

Christian Identity is a religious group that considers white people the true Israelites and superior to Jews and nonwhites.

``Identity is a post-millennial religion,'' Potok said. ``That means that hard-line Identity adherents believe that in order for Christ to return to Earth, the globe must be swept clean of satanic forces -- meaning Jews, homosexuals and a whole laundry list of other enemies. So it's a belligerent religion. It's a religion that demands that its followers take up the gun.''

Eric Rudolph, the man accused of the Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic and Atlanta Olympic bombings, also is believed to be an Identity member, Potok said.

Source: Associated Press, 11 Aug. 1999

News: Indonesia Religious Clash Kills 18

AMBON, Indonesia-- Muslim and Christian mobs fought street battles in eastern Indonesia, killing at least 18 people and injuring about 120, police and hospital workers said today.

The violence has been sparked by simmering resentment between Christians and Muslims. More than 300 people have died.

Source: Associated Press, 10 Aug. 1999

News: Hatred Persists in Kosovo

ZITINJE, Yugoslavia-- Surrounded by the charred hulks of other homes deserted by Serbs, flames and smoke poured from a house Monday in the Kosovo village of Zitinje.

The burning of every Serb remnant in the village except for a small church -- along with a third day of scuffling between French soldiers and ethnic Albanians trying to march to the Serb part of the town of Kosovska Mitrovica -- showed the hatred that persists in Kosovo eight weeks after the end of NATO's bombing campaign.

Source: Associated Press, 09 Aug. 1999

News: Islamic Militants Attack India Camp

SRINAGAR, India-- Islamic militants rained rockets and mortar fire on an Indian army camp near the Pakistan border Sunday, the third major attack in Kashmir in three days. One soldier was killed and six others wounded, initial police reports said.

The Hezbul Mujahideen, the largest of several Islamic militant groups operating in Kashmir, claimed responsibility for the attacks both Friday and Saturday.

India says about 1,300 combatants have been killed in the 11-week undeclared war.

Source: Associated Press, 08 Aug. 1999

News: Taliban Bombs Opposition Positions

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan-- The ruling Taliban militia's war planes have bombed positions held by opposition forces in northern Afghanistan, an opposition spokesman said today.

At least one woman was killed and two other villagers wounded when a Taliban fighter plane bombed the Dara-i-Suf district, said Usttad Atta Mohammad, a spokesman for the northern-based opposition alliance.

The Taliban, who adhere to a harsh version of Islam and rule almost 90 percent of Afghanistan, are fighting the opposition alliance to extend their rule to all of the country. The opposition, which comprises ethnic and religious minorities, controls the remaining 10 percent of Afghanistan.

Source: Associated Press, 07 Aug. 1999

News: Sri Lanka Suicide Bomber Kills 14

VAVUNIYA, Sri Lanka-- A suspected Tamil rebel suicide bomber blew up an army truck on Wednesday, killing herself, a civilian and 12 Sri Lankan commandos.

The bomber peddled an explosives-laden bicycle up to the truck carrying members of Sri Lanka's elite anti-terrorist force, and set off the blast, the military and witnesses said.

The attack was the second suicide bombing in a week in this island nation off India's southern coast.

The rebels claim that Tamils, who make up 3.3 million of Sri Lanka's 18.5 million people, are discriminated against by the Sinhalese majority. More than 58,000 people have died in the insurrection.

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

Source: Associated Press, 04 Aug. 1999

News: Mixed Portrait of Atlanta Gunman

A father who loved to play with kids. An easy-going Scout master. A churchgoing man who worked all day at his computer.

Mark O. Barton shattered the gentle images held by some of his former neighbors in a burst of gunfire at two office buildings in Atlanta.

Barton, 44, who ran a chemical consulting business out of his home before becoming a securities day trader, shot himself to death in his minivan as police closed in on himThursday. Earlier, he opened fire at two brokerage firms, killing nine workers and wounding a dozen more.

Barton wrote that he killed his children -- 11-year-old Matthew and 8-year-old Mychelle --to spare them the pain of living without parents.

In other excerpts from his last letter, he wrote:

" I know that Jehovah will take care of all of them in the next life."

"Please know that I love Leigh Ann, Matthew and Mychelle with all of my heart. If Jehovah is willing, I would like to see all of them again in the resurrection, to have a second chance. I don't plan to live very much longer, just long enough to kill as many of the people that greedily sought my destruction."

"I give you my wife, Leigh Ann Vandiver Barton. My honey, my precious love. Please take care of her. I will love her forever."

"I give you Matthew David Barton. My son, my buddy, my life. Please take care of him."

"I give you Mychelle Elizabeth Barton. My daughter, my sweetheart, my life. Please take care of her."

[ Read the letter. Ed]

Source: Associated Press, 30 July 1999

News: 14 Dead in Violence in Indonesia

AMBON, Indonesia-- At least 14 people were killed and one was missing today as rampaging mobs clashed and set fire to dozens of buildings in Indonesia's eastern Maluku province, officials and witnesses said.

On Monday, four people died in rioting between rival Muslim and Christian gangs in a town near Ambon, the provincial capital of Maluku, said Lt. Col. Gufron, the local chief of police.

Source: Associated Press, 28 July 1999

News: New Massacre Victims in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Hatred and violence in Kosovo are claiming new victims even as old ones are just being documented by international investigators gathering evidence of atrocities during the brutal Serb clampdown on the province.

Four ethnic Albanians killed over the weekend near Klina, in western Kosovo, provide stark evidence that the ethnic hatreds that led to the brutal Serb-Albanian conflict are continuing despite attempts by NATO-led peace forces to cap tensions.

Source: Associated Press, 21 July 1999

News: 30 Die in Religious/Ethnic Clash in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria-- Ethnic clashes in the southwestern town of Sagamu left at least 30 people dead Sunday and dozens of homes, shops and a mosque destroyed. At least 50 people were injured, authorities said.

The violence began Sunday just after midnight during a masquerade festival held by the city's Yorubas, the mostly Christian tribe that dominates Nigeria's southwest. During the festival, known as an Oro, Yoruba custom forbids anyone else to see the people dressed in costumes.

But the festival turned violent when the masqueraders came across two prostitutes -- both of them Hausas from the Muslim north of Nigeria -- and attacked them, police said.

One of the women was killed, but the other ran back to a Hausa neighborhood, setting off rampaging fighting by both groups, local officials said on condition of anonymity.

Nigeria, a patchwork of ethnic groups and religions, has long been driven by ethnic violence.

Source: Associated Press, 19 July 1999

News: Sri Lanka Troops Kill 12 Rebels

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Sri Lankan troops killed 12 Tamil Tiger rebels in four separate gunbattles, and three soldiers were also killed, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.

All the fatalities occurred Wednesday in the country's north, where militants among Sri Lanka's 3.3 million ethnic Tamils are fighting for an independent homeland.

More than 58,000 people have died in Sri Lanka's insurrection since 1983. Militant Tamils say their community faces discrimination by the Sinhalese majority, which numbers about14 million.

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

Source: Associated Press, 15 July 1999

News: Ill. Files Suit Against Supremacists

CHICAGO-- The state today filed a lawsuit against the World Church of the Creator, the white supremacist group to which racial spree killer Benjamin Smith belonged.

Ryan's Charitable Trusts Bureau launched an investigation of the World Church of the Creator after Smith's two-state shooting spree over the Fourth of July weekend, in which two people were killed and nine others injured. All the victims were black, Jewish or Asian. The rampage ended when Smith killed himself as police tried to arrest him.

Source: Associated Press, 14 July 1999

News: Ill. Shooting Suspect Kills Self

SALEM, Ill.-- A white supremacist who targeted minorities in a deadly Fourth of July weekend shooting spree in two states fatally shot himself as officers grappled with him after a chase, investigators said.

Authorities believe Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, 21 began his drive-by killing spree in Chicago on Friday, when a black former college basketball coach was fatally shot and six Orthodox Jews were wounded. The shooter also fired at Asians and blacks in two Illinois cities, on Saturday, seriously wounding one man, and fatally shot a Korean man, Ind., police said.

Two guns found with Smith were consistent with the shootings and the body had a tattoo on the chest that said ``Sabbath Breaker'' -- which Smith was said to have sported.

Smith was a member of the World Church of the Creator, a white supremacist organization, and distributed anti-minority and anti-Semitic literature while a student at Indiana University.

The church, based in East Peoria, Ill., is led by Matt Hale, who said Smith was a member from June 1998 until May 1999 and never showed any predilection for violence.

Source: Associated Press, 05 July 1999

News: Shooter Motivated by Hate

CHICAGO-- A gunman wounded several Orthodox Jews walking home from synagogue, and within a few hours apparently the same attacker killed a black former college basketball coach and shot at Asian Americans.

A white man, motivated by hate, appeared to have carried out the attacks over a distance of about 10 miles in Chicago and its suburbs, police said Saturday.

Source: Associated Press, 03 July 1999

News: 250 Killed in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Sri Lanka's Defense Ministry said Tuesday its troops killed 250 rebels and captured new northern areas in an offensive against Tamil insurgents fighting for an independent homeland.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, is fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils since 1983. The rebels accuse the Sinhalese majority of discrimination in education and jobs, a charge the government denies. More than 58,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

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

Source: Associated Press, 29 June 1999

News: Two More Killed in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Separatist rebels killed two soldiers and wounded at least four civilians in three attacks in Aceh province, the military and the official Antara news agency said today.

Violence has heightened in recent weeks in Aceh, a province 1,100 miles northwest of Jakarta.

At least 10 people, including a soldier, were killed earlier this week as a rebel band intensified a campaign for a separate Islamic state, police and witnesses said.

Source: Associated Press, 26 June 1999

News: Kosovo Rebels Raped Serb Nun

BELGRADE - Three days after NATO troops refused a mother superior's pleas for protection, Kosovar rebels looted her monastery and raped a young nun, officials said yesterday.

The Post reported Monday how Mother Macaria drove to Pristina on Sunday to plead with arriving British troops for protection for herself, a priest and nine nuns at Devic.

"Please come and save us. You have the guns, all I have is a cross," she told an Irish Guard lieutenant.

But she was told that no protection was possible until NATO reinforcements arrived. Three days later the unguarded medieval monastery was raided by KLA members, French officers confirmed yesterday.

Source: New York Post, 19 June 1999

News: Sixty Killed in Sri Lanka Civil War

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Backed by artillery fire and airstrikes, government forces launched a major offensive against separatist rebels in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least 60 insurgents and wounding 100 others, the Defense Ministry said Sunday. The rebel Voice of Tigers admitted the Tamil Tiger guerrillas were under a severe attack.

The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of widespread discrimination in education and jobs, a charge the government denies. More than 58,000 people have been killed since the insurgency erupted in 1983.

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

Source: Associated Press, 13 June 1999

News: Fourteen Killed in Algeria Attack

ALGIERS, Algeria-- An armed group killed 14 people in an attack early Friday in a village south of the Algerian capital, security forces said.

No one claimed responsibility for the killings in Sidi Naamane, located in a mountainous region considered to be a stronghold of Islamic insurgents fighting to topple the government since 1992. The Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, is often blamed for violence in Algeria.

The Islamic Salvation Army is the armed wing of the Islamic Salvation Front, once Algeria's most popular political party. The army banned the Salvation Front after canceling 1992 legislative elections the party was poised to win, triggering the insurgency. More than 75,000 people are estimated to have been killed.

Source: Associated Press, 11 June 1999

News: N. Ireland Pipe Bomb Kills Woman

PORTADOWN, Northern Ireland-- A pipe bomb tossed into a house exploded Saturday, killing a woman who tried to throw the bomb out of her shattered living room window, police and neighbors said.

The unclaimed attack was one of two overnight blamed on Protestant extremists in the Corcrain neighborhood of Portadown, Northern Ireland's most hard-line pro-British Protestant town.

Source: Associated Press, 05 June 1999

News: India Strikes Guerrillas in Kashmir

DRAS, India-- Indian air and ground offensives intensified against guerrillas in the Himalayan region of Kashmir today, with little hope here for diplomatic efforts by Pakistan to defuse the hostilities.

For the 10th straight day, Indian jets struck the mountain positions seized by the Islamic guerrillas, who New Delhi claims are backed by Pakistan in their incursion across the cease-fire line dividing Kashmir. Pakistan denies the accusations.

Control over Muslim-majority Kashmir has been the cause of two wars between Pakistan and India. Muslim militants have been fighting for years for independence from primarily Hindu India.

Source: Associated Press, 04 June 1999

News: India Continues Kashmir Air Strikes

DRAS, India-- Indian air force helicopter gunships fired rockets at Kashmir's mountains for the second day Thursday, as the government vowed to dislodge Pakistan-backed guerrillas who seized Indian posts vacated in winter.

The move -- the first use of air power in 20 years in the long-running conflict over the Himalayan border region -- raised the stakes between two bitter rivals who are the world's newest nuclear powers.

Indian officials said Wednesday that at least 160 Afghan guerrillas and Pakistani soldiers have been killed since the two countries exchanged mortar and artillery fire in the last two weeks. Thousands of residents of the region have fled.

Ten years ago, a Muslim insurrection broke out in Kashmir. Guerrillas fighting for independence of Kashmir have been fighting with Indian security forces and more than 15,000 people have been killed.

Source: Associated Press, 27 May 1999

News: Indonesia Says Rebels Killed Six

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Separatist rebels killed six people in two related incidents in northern Aceh province, the Indonesian military said today.

The six victims included a doctor and a nurse shot to death as they rode a police truck into an ambush Tuesday near the village of Peudada, 1,100 miles northwest of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

A small rebel group has been fighting for an independent, Islamic Aceh state since the 1970s. About 90 percent of Indonesia's 210 million people are Muslim, making it the world's most populous Islamic nation.

Source: Associated Press, 26 May 1999

News: Bosnian War Victims Bodies Found

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina-- Forensic experts have discovered 36 bodies believed to be those of Muslim victims from the Bosnian war in two mass graves near Sarajevo, media reported today.

An estimated 200,000 people were killed in the 1992-95 Bosnian war and international experts say more than 24,000 people are still missing. Forensic teams found 1,700 bodies in 1998.

Source: Associated Press, 25 May 1999

News: Explosion in Pakistan Kills 9

LAHORE, Pakistan-- A bomb ripped through a small town in Pakistan's Punjab province today, killing nine people and injuring 35 others, state media reported. No one took immediate responsibility for the explosion.

In recent months, eastern Punjab province has been wracked by relentless religiously motivated killings. Hundreds of people have died in bomb explosions and target killings involving militant members of rival Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups.

Source: Associated Press, 24 May 1999

News: Blast Hurts Three in Belfast

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- A grenade lobbed by a suspected Protestant extremist exploded outside a pub in Catholic west Belfast at closing time today, wounding three people in the latest bid to undermine Northern Ireland's peace accord.

Source: Associated Press, 21 May 1999

News: Diocese Settles In Molestation Case

(STOCKTON) -- After ten months of negotiations, two men molested as children by a priest in Stockton have agreed to a settlement of seven-point-five Million dollars. John and James Howard were molested by Father Oliver O'Grady who pleaded guilty and is serving time in state prison. The settlement ends the diocese's appeal of a San Joaquin County jury verdict that awarded the men 29-Million dollars in July.

Source: UPI, 17 May 1999

News: 7 Killed in S. Lebanon Violence

MARJAYOUN, Lebanon-- Guerrilla and Israeli attacks today killed a total seven people, the highest single-day toll this year coming just days before Israeli elections that could alter the course of the occupation of southern Lebanon.

A roadside bomb exploded, setting a passing vehicle ablaze and killing four occupants. There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing, but it bore the hallmarks of guerrillas fighting the Israeli occupation. Hezbollah, or the Party of God, leads the guerrilla war to oust 1,500 Israeli soldiers and 2,500 Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army militiamen from southern Lebanon.

Hours after the Houla attack, two Israeli jets fired five missiles on the outskirts of Majdal Silim, a village two miles across the front line, the Lebanese security officials said. They said a single-story house was destroyed in the air raid, killing two guerrillas and wounding a third, they said.

Source: Associated Press, 13 May 1999

News: Nostradamus Fever Grips Japan

TOKYO-- Every week, millions of Japanese TV viewers tune in to watch a couple of men building a bunker for the end of the world. It's a race against time. They have to finish before July. As the end of the century nears, Japan has come under an odd spell -- the apocalyptic preachings of the 16th century soothsayer Nostradamus.

Bookshelves are lined with Nostradamus spinoffs. Celebrities comment earnestly on his predictions. The Internet is awash with thousands of Japanese Web sites devoted to the French prophet of doom. ``Will mankind be extinguished in 1999?'' one typical Web site says. ``This is not an issue to be taken lightly.''

``There has been a big surge in the popularity of Nostradamus with the last year of the millennium,'' said Fumiko Takahashi, a spokeswoman for the Japan's Publishers Association. Nostradamus predicted millennium doom, writing that ``the great king of terror will fall from the sky in the seventh month of the year 1999.''

Many of the beliefs espoused by Japan's Aum Shinri Kyo ``Supreme Truth'' cult -- which killed 13 people in a 1995 subway gas attack -- appear to have been inspired by Nostradamus' writings. The cult, which has been increasing in popularity lately even though most of its leaders have been arrested, is preparing for an Armageddon that it claims will come in early September. ``More and more Japanese are turning to superstition,'' he said. ``People's anxieties are pushing them to search for answers in the supernatural.''

Source: Associated Press, 11 May 1999

News: At Least 19 Indonesians Killed

PULO RUNGKOM, Indonesia-- Indonesian soldiers opened fire on villagers in a northern province today, killing at least 19 people and injuring scores more, doctors and witnesses said.

``God is great!'' the Muslim protesters shouted in Arabic as gunfire crackled. Ambulances soon rushed to the scene and wailing sirens mixed with the screams of the wounded.

Source: Associated Press, 03 May 1999

News: Protestant Militant Claims Attack

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- A Protestant militant jailed for ordering the murders of Catholics in Northern Ireland says he survived an assassination attempt over the weekend while out on parole. Johnny ``Mad Dog'' Adair said an unidentified gunman shot at him during an open-air concert Friday night, grazing him once in the back of the head but causing no serious injury.

Adair earned his nickname while commanding a particularly vicious unit of the outlawed Ulster Defense Association, UDA. He was convicted in 1994 of ``directing terrorism'' -- an unprecedented charge in Northern Ireland -- after boasting to undercover police about the many Catholic civilians slain on his orders.

Source: Associated Press, 02 May 1999

News: More Christian and Muslim Violence

TUAL, Indonesia-- Police fired shots Tuesday to disperse battling mobs of Muslims and Christians in a region of eastern Indonesia that has been plagued by religious violence this year. At least four people were killed.

Rioters with knives and bows and arrows set afire nine houses in Cansas village on Kei Island, 1,750 miles northeast of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

Source: Associated Press, 27 April 1999

News: Britain Racist Bomb Campaign Feared

LONDON-- Police said Sunday they fear Britain's ethnic minorities face a campaign of racially motivated bombings after the second bomb in eight days exploded in a high-immigrant London district, injuring seven people.

A neo-Nazi organization, Combat 18, claimed responsibility for Saturday afternoon's car bomb explosion on a busy street in Brick Lane, home to a large Bangladeshi community.

Source: Associated Press, 25 April 1999

News: Indonesia Christians, Muslims Clash

TUAL, Indonesia-- Christians and Muslims in eastern Indonesia battled each in other with spears, knives and gasoline bombs, leaving at least seven people dead.

The violence in the city of Tual was the latest outburst of religious unrest in Maluku province, where more than 300 people have died in fighting this year. Dozens of churches and mosques have been burned.

Residents said by telephone that Christian attackers hurled gasoline bombs at homes and fought Muslim gangs with spears and knives. Some Muslim women took part in the fighting. Witnesses said they saw the bodies of five Muslims and two Christians. At least 19 people suffered bullet or knife wounds.

Source: Associated Press, 23 April 1999

News: India Sees Caste Massacre

NEW DELHI, India-- Nearly 100 members of a private militia raided two villages in eastern India today, killing 11 lower-caste villagers, a domestic news agency reported.

Members of the Ranbir Sena private militia attacked two neighboring villages in the Gaya district, 530 miles southeast of New Delhi, the Press Trust of India news agency said. The Ranbir Sena is suspected of receiving arms and funding from upper caste landowners.

The illegal militia has targeted Dalits, which means ``oppressed ones,'' the lowest group in the hierarchy of Hinduism. Most Dalits are poor, uneducated farm laborers.

India's caste system is an age-old Hindu social structure that can determine anything from where a lower-caste person works to where he lives, worships or drinks water. Though India's constitution outlaws discrimination by caste, the system remains prevalent in rural areas.

Source: Associated Press, 22 April 1999

News: 15 Dead in Colorado School Shooting

LITTLETON, Colo.-- Worried about bombs and booby traps, specially trained officers painstakingly checked thousands of lockers and castoff backpacks today in a suburban high school where 15 people were killed. Close to 30 explosive devices were found.

Most of the bodies were found in the library. The attackers marched in with guns and pipe bombs, demanding that ``all jocks stand up. We're going to kill every one of you,'' student Aaron Cohn said.

Cohn said one killer put a pistol to his head but did not shoot him. Instead, he said, the shooter turned his attention to a black student, saying, ``I hate niggers.'' Cohn heard three shots but couldn't see what happened.

While the motive was unclear, several students said Harris and Klebold were members of a group calling itself the ``Trenchcoat Mafia,'' outcasts who bragged about guns and bombs and hated blacks and Hispanics, as well as athletes.

Student Andrew Beard said members of the group often came to school in steel-toed combat boots, some of them wearing Nazi crosses. Tuesday was the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday, and student Aaron Cohn said that was a significant day for Trenchcoat members,who would make references to 4-20. He said they often made anti-Semitic comments.

Source: Associated Press, 21 April 1999

News: Man Charged With 10 Church Fires

ATLANTA-- An Indiana man charged with 10 church arsons could face the death penalty for a Georgia blaze that killed a volunteer firefighter.

Federal grand juries in Atlanta and Indianapolis on Tuesday indicted 36-year-old Jay Scott Ballinger, whom Indiana police say dabbled in satanic rituals. Ballinger is accused of seven church arsons in Indiana and three in Georgia.

In 1994, parents complained Ballinger was recruiting teen-agers into a cult. Police confiscated from his home about 50 contracts signed in blood by teen-agers who agreed to give their souls to the devil and do ``all types of evil'' in exchange for wealth, power and sex.

Source: Associated Press, 21 April 1999

News: Blast Rocks Jakarta Mosque

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- A bomb ripped through the basement of Southeast Asia's largest mosque today in what Indonesia's president condemned as an attempt to worsen religious violence plaguing Indonesia. Three men were injured.

The explosion followed months of escalating religious violence between the Muslim majority and Christian minority across Indonesia. Hundreds have been killed in recent months.

Source: Associated Press, 19 April 1999

News: 100 Skulls Unearthed in Japan

TOKYO-- Tucked behind railroad tracks in an industrial corner of Tokyo's gray sprawl, a huge stone Buddha stands guard over a quiet, lonely graveyard. The Buddha has stood for centuries. It is known as the ``beheading Buddha,'' and it marks the site of an execution ground where as many as 200,000 people were killed and buried in centuries past.

All told, 105 skulls were dug up. Many bore the telltale marks of the samurai swords.

Historians say as many as 200,000 people were beheaded by samurai sword and their heads buried in a shallow mound without cremation. Their bodies apparently were buried elsewhere since only skulls have been found at the site.

``There is a deep-rooted notion that the dark side of history should be erased as quickly as possible,'' said Hideaki Iyoku, curator of the Criminal Museum of Tokyo's Meiji University. ``But if we turn away from the negative side of the past, we won't be able to grasp history well.''

Source: Associated Press, 14 April 1999

News: Sri Lanka Bomb Kills Two

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- A time bomb exploded inside a bus Sunday in a Sri Lankan town that is home to the country's most important Buddhist temple, killing two people and wounding 15 others, police and hospital sources said.

An ethnic Tamil girl placed the bomb on the bus and got off minutes before it blew up in the town of Kandy, police said. Police blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

In January 1998, a bomb killed 22 people in Kandy outside the Buddhist shrine, the Temple of the Tooth, which many people believe houses the tooth of Buddha. That attack was also blamed on the Tamil Tigers.

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

Source: Associated Press, 11 April 1999

News: 2 Killed in Christian/Muslim Riot

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- New fighting between Christians and Muslims killed at least two people Friday in an east Indonesian province where hundreds people have died this year in sectarian violence.

More than 300 people have died so far this year in unrest in Maluku province, at least 103 of them in the last few weeks in southern Maluku.

Source: Associated Press, 09 April 1999

News: 60 Die in Indonesia Religious Riots

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Indonesian soldiers found 20 bodies Monday in houses that had been burned down by rioters, bringing the death toll from days of religious violence in the Spice Islands to 60 people.

More than 250 people have been killed and hundreds of buildings burned in Maluku -- most on the island of Ambon -- since bloody clashes first erupted between Christians and Muslims in January.

Source: Associated Press, 05 April 1999

News: Christians & Muslims Continue to Clash in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Christian mobs attacked Muslim worshippers in a mosque in an escalation of religious fighting in eastern Indonesia, local media reported today.

At least 18 people have died this week in and near Tual, a city in the troubled province of Maluku, which has been hit by chronic rioting since January. Until now, the center of the violence has been in the provincial capital, Ambon, where at least 200 people have died.

The attack during prayers at noon Friday at a mosque in the district of Kei Besar, which neighbors Tual, forced hundreds of Muslims to seek refuge in the forest, Republika newspaper reported.

Most of Indonesia's 210 million people are Muslims, but Maluku province has a large Christian population.

Source: Associated Press, 03 April 1999

News: Ukrainian Gets Death for Killing 52

KIEV, Ukraine-- The worst serial killer in Ukraine's modern history was sentenced to death today for killing 52 men, women and children in a ruthless rampage that shook this former Soviet republic.

Onoprienko, meanwhile, says he is not afraid of death.

``I've been close to death so many times that it's even interesting for me now to venture into the afterworld, to see what is there, after this death,'' he said.

Source: Associated Press, 01 April 1999

News: India Lovers Stoned to Death

NEW DELHI, India-- Fifteen villagers have been charged with stabbing and stoning to death a young couple who ran off together and refused to disavow their ties, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Des Raj, 23, and Nirmala, 17, ran away last week and sought shelter in the house of a relative, the newspaper said. The man reportedly informed their families, who pressured them to split up and return to their respective homes.

When Raj refused to leave Nirmala, the matter was put before the village council.

Raj was summoned to a village assembly and, with the approval of his family, beaten to death with stones and sticks in front of hundreds of people. Then Nirmala was brought and repeatedly stabbed. By the time the police arrived, they found only charred remains, the paper said.

India's official judicial system has little standing in tradition-bound villages where local justice often prevails.

Source: Associated Press, 31 March 1999

News: Mass killings in Kosovo reported

BELGRADE, March 26 -- Disturbing reports of mass killings trickled out of Kosovo on Friday, as NATO claimed it shot down two Yugoslav warplanes over Bosnia on day three of air strikes against Serbian military targets.

"There are increasing reports of atrocities, "US State Department spokesman James Rubin said, as refugees trekking into Albania told of massacres and shellings.

Source, Agence France-Presse (AFP), 27 March 1999

News: Americans Unfamiliar With Kosovo

As President Clinton sought the nation's support for bombing in Kosovo, Americans had a few questions: Is that in Europe? Or is it the name of the local gas station? And the conflict -- it has to do with the whole Yugoslavia thing, right?

Many Americans weren't clear on the basics as American B-52 and B-2 bombers joined NATO airstrikes Wednesday on Serb targets in the separatist-minded province.

Across the country, many people admitted they needed a refresher course on the conflict in Kosovo that has killed more than 2,000 people and left over 400,000 homeless.

Some Americans, of course, are very familiar with the bitter struggle between Serb-led Yugoslavia, which is predominantly Orthodox Christian, and the largely Muslim Albanian separatists. People like Judy Cook, 52, who owns a Phoenix coffee shop:

``They've been fighting the same war for hundreds of years,'' she said. ``I don't know if (U.S. intervention) will do any good. The war will go on and on. ... It's a religious war just like the Irish and in the Middle East.''

[Note: the Serbs represent Eastern Orthodox Christians, Kosovo villagers and Abanians represent Muslims. Ed. ]

Source: Associated Press, 25 March 1999

News: Religious Violence Rocks Indonesia

AMBON, Indonesia-- Thousands of homeless Muslims shelter at a mosque. Displaced Christians huddle inside a Roman Catholic school. Many had been neighbors for generations on Ambon island, but an eruption of sectarian violence left their houses in ashes and their relatives dead or maimed.

Since January, more than 200 people have been killed on Ambon island, where rival mobs have fought savage street battles with swords, spears and gasoline bombs in the name of Allah or Jesus.

``It is a human tragedy,'' said the Rev. John Ruhulessin, a Roman Catholic priest and theologian in Ambon city. ``The tolerance of generations is lost. I don't know the reasons why.''

Source: Associated Press, 22 March 1999

News: Indonesia Ethnic Clashes Kill 43

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Ethnic groups armed with knives and swords clashed for a second day Thursday in a remote area of Borneo known for its brutal communal violence. At least 43 people have been killed, police said.

More than 200 people have been killed since January in weeks of clashes between Christians and Muslims in the Maluku Islands in the country's east.

Source: Associated Press, 18 March 1999

News: Serbs Murder Albanian Civilians

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- A forensic team investigating the January slayings of dozens of Kosovo Albanians -- whose deaths spurred an international push to end the war -- concluded today the victims were unarmed civilians, all killed at about the same time.

The findings, while short of conclusive evidence of a massacre by Serb forces as the head of international monitors alleged, challenge government claims that the victims were ethnic Albanian rebel fighters or civilians accidentally caught in crossfire.

Source: Associated Press, 17 March 1999

News: NIreland Catholics' Lawyer Killed

LURGAN, Northern Ireland-- An attorney in Northern Ireland who represented Catholic clients in several high-profile cases was killed by a car bomb Monday, authorities said.

Rosemary Nelson represented residents of Garvaghy Road in Portadown in a long-running and often violent dispute with the Orange Order, a Protestant group that has insisted on marching down the predominantly Catholic road each July.

Source: Associated Press, 15 March 1999

News: More Christian and Muslim Violence

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Religious violence on riot-torn Ambon Island claimed more victims after outnumbered troops opened fire on Muslim and Christian mobs fighting each other with spears, knives and gasoline bombs. The violence flared late Wednesday and residents said security forces continued to fire shots early this morning.

The latest killings triggered a new series of protests by Muslims in other parts of Indonesia. There are fears that religious strife might spread.

Fierce fighting among Muslims and Christians erupted in Ambon on Jan. 19. Since then violence has spread to five neighboring islands and has left more than 200 people dead in Maluku province.

Source: Associated Press, 11 March 1999

News: Fighting Intensifies in Yugoslavia

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Yugoslav forces firing from tanks swept through an area along the Macedonian border today. Renewed fighting between Yugoslav army and Serb police and ethnic Albanian rebels in the south sent an estimated 250 refugees moving down the mountains away from the clashes, on foot and on horseback.

About 2,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in a year of clashes in Kosovo.

[Note: the Serbs represent Eastern Orthodox Christians, Kosovo villagers and Abanians represent Muslims. Ed. ]

Source: Associated Press, 09 March 1999

News: Four Killed in Christian/Muslim Fight

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- At least four people were killed and 11 severely wounded in new clashes on the riot-torn eastern Indonesian island of Ambon today, officials and witnesses said.

A mob of Christians attacked and burned a truck with 28 people aboard, killing two and wounding four others, in the town of Paso on the eastern side of the island, said Hasanussi, an official at a local mosque.

And in Air Salobar, a western neighborhood of Ambon city, Christian and Muslim gangs clashed. At least two people were killed and seven others were wounded, said witnesses, without specifying the religion of the victims.

Source: Associated Press, 08 March 1999

News: Christians and Muslims Clash in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Security forces fired on a Christian mob and killed at least one man in an eastern Indonesian city that has been plagued by ethnic and religious violence, a newspaper reported today.

The clash occurred Friday after assailants threw several gasoline bombs at a Muslim housing complex in Ambon and troops moved in to prevent a clash between Muslims and Christians.

About 90 percent of Indonesia's 210 million people are Muslim, making it the world's most populous Islamic state. Much of Ambon's population, however, is Christian.

Source: Associated Press, 06 March 1999

News: Friars Defy Vatican in Bosnia

CAPLJINA, Bosnia-Herzegovina-- Ignoring orders to leave their parishes, Franciscan friars in the south of Bosnia are leading their flocks in rebellion against the Vatican.

Threats, physical resistance and guards posted outside churches mark the battle in nine parishes in the southern Herzegovina region. Some Bosnians say a very earthly reason lies behind it: access to the lucrative profits from a pilgrimage site.

As with many disputes in this war-riven nation, centuries of religious tradition and warnings of violence are tied in with this conflict within the Roman Catholic Church.

If the friars are forced out, the parishioners say they will use force.

``The people are determined not to allow the Franciscans to go,'' said Vladimir Ilic, a member of the Franciscan Youth group.

``No other priest will even get to Capljina or any other parish'' listed on the Vatican decree, he said. ``If he tries, he will be beaten up.''

Source: Associated Press, 05 March 1999

News: Kosovo Killing Breaks Out Again

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-- Suspected Kosovo Albanian rebels killed three Serbs, including a policeman on an evening patrol in northern Kosovo, Serb sources said today.

Scattered violence in the Serbian province, where ethnic Albanians form a strong majority and demand independence, has continued while both sides consider a standing peace offer made during talks last month in Rambouillet, France.

Some 2,000 people have been killed and over 300,000 displaced in a year of war for control of Kosovo.

Source: Associated Press, 04 March 1999

News: Christians and Muslims riot: 50 Dead

AMBON, Indonesia-- Soldiers patrolled nearly empty streets today in an eastern Indonesian town after riots between Muslims and Christians left as many as 50 people dead this week.

The unrest came after a more widespread outbreak of riots between Muslims and Christians last month. More than 150 people have been killed this year in the region, known in Dutch colonial times as the Spice Islands. Two dozen mosques and churches as well as several thousand homes were burned in January.

Source: Associated Press, 27 Feb. 1999

News: Church Fire Suspect Confesses

MUNCIE, Ind.-- As many as 50 church fires in the Midwest and South over the past five years may have been solved all at once with the arrest of a man fascinated with the satanic.

Paramedics became suspicious of Jay Scott Ballinger, 36, because he waited two days before seeking treatment for severe burns he claimed to have suffered in a bonfire. Agents said they aren't certain of a motive, but Ballinger's interest in the occult is clear.

Police said a few years ago, he persuaded 50 teen-agers to sign contracts in blood pledging their souls to the devil.

In an affidavit this week, Ballinger said he burned churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama and four other states that authorities refused to identify.

Source: Associated Press, 26 Feb. 1999

News: Attackers Kill 7 at Hindu Wedding

JAMMU, India-- Gunmen stormed a Hindu wedding party and shot at its guests in a remote mountain village in Kashmir, killing seven people and wounding six others, police said today.

Muslim guerrillas were suspected of the attack on Baljarana village, 120 miles north of the state capital Jammu, but no group immediately claimed responsibility.

Another group of militants killed four other Hindus in a nearby village an hour later, police said.

Source: Associated Press, 20 Feb. 1999

News: Christian and Muslim Death Toll, Now 20

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- The death toll from religious riots in eastern Indonesia over the weekend rose to 20 today as troops patrolled two islands, police said.
Fighting between Christians and Muslim gangs from rival villages broke out Sunday on Haruku and Saparua Islands, about 1,400 miles northeast of Jakarta.
Last month, at least 105 people were killed and almost 3,000 homes and buildings were burned when Muslims and Christians clashed during a three-week period on three islands in Maluku province.
Source: Associated Press, 15 Feb. 1999

News: Sri Lanka to Excavate Mass Grave
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-- Sri Lanka's government announced today it would begin excavating the site where 300 Tamil civilians believed killed by the military may be buried, and invited human rights groups and journalists to witness it.
Tamils say they face discrimination by the majority Sinhalese, who control the government and military. More than 57,000 people have died in the insurrection since 1983 in this country off India's southern coast.
[Note, the Tamils represent a Hindu sect and the Sinhalese, a Buddhist sect. Ed.]
Source: Associated Press, 11 Feb. 1999

News: Christian and Muslim Death Toll Rises
JAKARTA, Indonesia-- At least 105 people have been killed in a month of religious riots in the eastern Indonesian province of Maluku, police said Monday.
Over 100 others were seriously injured and 2,960 houses were burned in the violence between Muslims and Christians in the past three weeks, said police spokesman Cap. Jekriel Philips.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Islamic nation. Maluku, which was known in Dutch colonial times as the Spice Islands, has a large Christian population.
Source: Associated Press, 08 Feb. 1999

News: Six Civilians Wounded in Lebanon
MARJAYOUN, Lebanon-- Israeli and allied gunners shelled southern Lebanon on Saturday in retaliation for an earlier bomb attack by Muslim guerrillas, wounding six Lebanese civilians, Lebanese security officials said.
Source: Associated Press, 06 Feb. 1999

News: Muslims, Christians Join in Protest Against Hindus

NEW DELHI, India-- Christian and Muslim clergymen led thousands of protesters down busy thoroughfares today, accusing India's Hindu nationalist government of failing to protect them and demanding that it step down.

Led by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Delhi and a leader from the country's biggest mosque, the rally was prompted by the killing of an Australian Baptist missionary and his two young sons.

Source: Associated Press, 29 Jan. 1999

News: 21 killed in Hindu Caste Conflict

SHANKARBIGHA, India-- Armed men believed to be members of an upper caste militia stormed into the houses of poor villagers in northern India, killing 21 people and wounding 12 others in a revenge massacre, police said Tuesday.

The ancient tradition of caste restricts a person's station in life and their occupation according to their family's social status. The practice is outlawed in India, but it persists.

Source: Associated Press, 26 Jan. 1999

News: 10 Die in Indonesia Christian and Muslim Riot

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Christians and Muslims carrying machetes, spears, and crow bars clashed on a remote Indonesian island in a riot that killed least 10 people, a news report said today.

The violence today and Tuesday was the latest in a series of religious-related clashes to hit the sprawling Southeast Asian nation as it grapples with its worst economic crisis in three decades.

Local police chief Col. Karyono S.M. said two mosques were set on fire and dozens of vehicles were damaged during Eid al-Fitr, one of the holiest feasts on the Islamic calendar.

Source: Associated Press, 20 Jan. 1999

News: Serb Forces Fire on Kosovo Village

RACAK, Yugoslavia-- In a hail of machine gun and mortar fire, Serb forces moved Sunday into this Kosovo village where 45 ethnic Albanians were massacred, sending terrified civilians and international monitors fleeing to safety.

Villagers said they wanted to bury the bodies quickly, as is the Muslim custom, but feared Serb forces, deployed on a hill above the village, might fire on the mourners.

[Note: the Serbs represent Eastern Orthodox Christians and the Kosovo villagers, Muslims. Ed. ]

Source: Associated Press, 17 Jan. 1999

News: 51 Killed in Stampede in India

NEW DELHI, India -- Thousands of barefoot pilgrims jostling for space atop a holy mountain caused part of a hill to collapse, triggering a stampede that killed 51 people during a Hindu holiday Thursday in southern India, police said.

The cave-in took place on a hill where thousands of people had crowded to watch what pilgrims believe is the celestial light -- visible deep in a forest facing the hill -- on a route leading to the popular Sabarimala shrine in the mountains of south India, police said.

Sabarimala is a deeply revered Hindu pilgrimage site in India. Tens of millions of pilgrims each year climb the 9-mile route up the mountain in traditional black robes to worship at its temple to the Hindu god Ayappa.

Source: Associated Press, 14 Jan. 1999

News: Christian Doomsday Cult Members Deported

LOD, Israel-- Members of an American doomsday cult suspected of plotting attacks in Jerusalem to hasten the return of Jesus Christ were expelled from Israel early today.

There is growing concern in Israel that the Denver-based group, the Concerned Christians, could be a forerunner of hundreds of fanatics who will be drawn to Israel at the close of the millennium for what they expect to be the second coming of Christ. On Friday, at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque, prayer leader Hayan al Idrisi referred to the cult in his sermon to more than 250,000 worshipers. ``We think this is a dangerous group,'' he said.

Source: Associated Press, 09 Jan. 1999

News: N.Ireland Protestants Claim Bombing

BELFAST, Northern Ireland-- An extremist Protestant organization claimed responsibility for a bomb Wednesday that slightly injured a man in a Roman Catholic sports club.

In a statement to Belfast news media, the Orange Volunteers said they planted the explosives in the Gaelic Athletic Association club in Magherafelt, 40 miles west of Belfast.

Protestant extremists have previously killed several members of the predominantly Catholic sports association.

Associated Press, 06 Jan. 1999

News: Algeria Forces Killed by Islamic Insurgents

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Islamic insurgents killed at least a dozen members of Algeria's security forces in two ambushes, and a Muslim extremist ``emir'' was killed in a third ambush, newspapers reported Saturday.

More than 75,000 people are estimated to have been killed in seven years of violence since the army canceled legislative elections that a Muslim fundamentalist party was poised to win.

Source: Associated Press, 02 Jan. 1999