Demonstrations persisted Monday across the Muslim world, after outrage over caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper last September became violent. In Afghanistan , armed clashes between police and protesters left at least four dead outside the US military base at Bagram. A mob of Iranian protesters attacked the Austrian Embassy in Tehran with stones and firecrackers. In the southern Iraqi city of Kut, thousands of demonstrators demanded an end to economic and diplomatic ties with Denmark and called for the withdrawal of a 530-strong Danish military force stationed nearby. Palestinian police beat back stone-wielding demonstrators outside EU offices in the Gaza Strip. A group of several dozen protesters burned tires and flags in the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir . In New Delhi, India , police used tear gas and water cannons to scatter university students. A teenage boy was killed in a stampede of dispersed protesters in Boosaaso, Somalia . The Lebanese government apologized to Denmark after an angry mobbed torched the Danish mission in Beirut over the weekend. Both European and Middle Eastern leaders called for calm.
Angry at authorities' continuing silence, hundreds of relatives of the victims of the Red Sea ferry disaster sacked the offices of the ship's owner in Safaga, Egypt, on Monday. Riot police used tear gas to quell the crowds. About 1,000 passengers aboard the Al-Salaam Boccaccio 98 are believed to be dead after the ferry sank on Friday, leaving around 400 survivors.
A top Hamas political official announced Monday that his newly elected party will not recognize Israel, but will nevertheless respect existing agreements made by the ousted Palestinian leadership. Moussa Abu Marzouk left room for future changes, stating that Hamas intends to review all past deals.
Japanese public opinion has cooled to the prospect of a female monarch, poll results revealed Monday. Some 21 percent of those polled were opposed to the idea of a woman monarch, compared with only 6 percent last month. The change in sentiment follows concerns voiced by conservative politicians. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced plans to introduce legislation that would alter imperial succession laws to allow women to take the throne. The current heir is a female, and Japan has only seen eight female emperors in its history.
Renewed talks between Catholic and Protestant politicians bolstered prospects for a power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland after a meeting between the two sides. The renewed discussions in Belfast on Monday followed 14 months of official silence, which sprang from allegations that the Irish Republican Army had robbed a Belfast bank of $50 million in December 2004. Over the past year, the IRA says it has handed over its weapons and sworn off violent methods.
Nigerian scientists were conducting bird flu tests on chickens in the northern state of Kano Monday. If the birds test positive for the disease, samples will be shipped to Italy to determine the specific viral strain. To date, the particularly threatening H5N1 strain of bird flu has not been discovered in Africa.
The leader of Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army appearsto be on the run. Joseph Kony and 15 of his soldiers fled his base in southern Sudan early on Sunday to neighboring Congo, a Ugandan Army spokesman said on Monday. The Sudanese government has allowed the Ugandan military to pursue the LRA in south Sudan. The LRA, which is notorious for its use of child soldiers, has been fighting the Ugandan government since the 1980s.
The teenage murderer of a Turkish Catholic priest was still at large Monday. The Rev. Andrea Santoro was shot on Sunday while praying at a church in Trabzon. On Monday, Vatican and Turkish officials implied the murder was related to the outrage surrounding caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper.