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02/07/2006 World News: Muslims Protests Against Prophet Cartoons Spread Across Asia, Middle East


Islam Cartoon Protests: More protests erupted today (Tuesday) across Asia and the Middle East over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, despite pleas for calm from world and Muslim leaders. Five-thousand Pakistani Muslims in the northwestern city of Peshawar burned effigies of the prime minister of Denmark, where the satirical cartoons first appeared. Protesters also gathered outside the Danish diplomatic post in Kabul. In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, Denmark's diplomatic staff urged all Danes to leave the country for their own safety.

Thailand - Offensive Rap Song: Thai muslims say that an eight-year old local rap song insults the Quran because it includes a verse from the Islamic holy book. The charge comes as a wave of fury spreads across the Muslim world over cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Mohammed. Thai rapper Joey Boy apologized to Muslims today (Tuesday) for the verse in his song "Choey". The Thai musician told the Bangkok Post newspaper that he was unaware that some of the lyrics in his song came from the Quran. He said he would immediately recall all existing albums.

Philippines Stampede: Philippine investigators say television executives could be charged with criminal negligence in connection with a stampede at a game show venue that left 74 people dead. A Philippine official leading an inquiry into the incident today (Tuesday) accused television network ABS-CBN of treating the large crowds who lined up for days to take part in the game show ("Wowowee") like "animals."
They surged towards the entrance when organizers handed out tickets, triggering the stampede that injured more than 400 people.

Chinese Police Beating: A Chinese newspaper
editor who was severely beaten by police several months ago has died of his injuries. Human-rights investigators say the 41-year-old editor was attacked by about 50 police in October, one day after his newspaper published a report about police forcing bicycle owners to pay illegal and inflated license fees. Wu Xianghu was deputy editor of the Taizhou Evening News in the eastern province of Zhejiang. Official Chinese news media reported extensively about the original attack on the editor, but no announcement of his death has been published -- prompting speculation that government officials banned such reports.

Cambodia Pol: The United States has hailed the release of a Cambodian opposition politician who spent a year behind bars on subversion charges. A State Department spokesman (Sean McCormack) said the United States hopes the decision "represents movement toward a strengthened democracy in Cambodia." Cheam Channy walked free Monday after he was pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni. Channy, a former parliament member of the Sam Rainsy Party, was sentenced last year to seven years in prison on a conviction of trying to form an illegal armed group to topple the government. Diplomats and human rights groups said the government had fabricated the charges. The United States says it is looking forward to Rainsy's return to Cambodia.

Afghanistan - Blast: Afghan officials say a suicide bomber on a motorcycle has killed at least 13 people and wounded 13 others in the southern city of Kandahar.
An Interior Ministry spokesman (Yousuf Stanezai) says the explosion demolished a guard post outside the city's heavily-guarded police headquarters. He says seven of those killed were police and the rest were civilians. The dead and wounded were moved to a nearby hospital as Afghan and Canadian forces cordoned off the area. A man claiming to represent the Taleban (Qari Mohammad Yousuf) said the hard-line Islamic group was responsible for the attack.

Indonesia Species: Scientists say they have discovered a "lost world" of previously unknown animal species and plants in eastern Indonesia. Explorers from the United States, Australia and Indonesia say they found scores of exotic new varieties of birds, frogs and butterflies during a recent trip to a high-altitude jungle on (the western side of) New Guinea island. The so-called "lost world" in the Foja mountains -- about one million hectares of unspoiled tropical forest -- is accessible only by helicopter. Indonesia has declared the area a wildlife preserve and prohibited mining or timber operations.

Listen to our audio report for more detail information.

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