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11/01/05 World News: 500 Detainees Freed in Iraq for Ramadan's End


The U.S. military says it has released 500 detainees from the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Officials say the prisoners were freed today (Tuesday) at the request of the Iraqi government in the spirit of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr -- the day of thanksgiving that comes at the end of Ramadan.

A United Nations official is warning that fighting the spread of bird flu in Southeast Asia could cost more than 100 million dollars over the next three years. The official (Subhash Morzaria of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's Asia-Pacific regional office in Bangkok) said another 75 million dollars will be necessary for emergency support if the disease spreads from eastern Europe to Africa. The warnings came as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group ended a two-day meeting in Australia (today/Tuesday) on how to fight a potential epidemic of avian flu.

President Bush met at the White House Monday with Burmese human rights activist Charm Tong. In an interview with Voice of America's Burmese service, Charm Tong said she expressed her concerns to President Bush about what she called the desperate human rights situation in Burma -- including forced labor and extra judicial killings.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says Saturday's bombings in New Delhi are linked to foreign elements. During a phone conversation Monday with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, he urged Mr. Musharraf to act against terrorism directed at India. Mr. Musharraf said Pakistan stands with India against what he called a "dastardly terrorist attack." The bombings killed almost 60 people and wounded more than 150 others as Hindus prepared for the Diwali festival.

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