Israel-Sharon: Doctors treating Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon say his life is in danger as he undergoes emergency surgery for digestive complications. A spokesman for Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital (Ron Krumer) said today (Saturday) a routine examination revealed that Mr. Sharon's digestive tract was seriously damaged. He said the discovery prompted immediate surgery.
Iran-Nuclear: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if the West continues to pressure Tehran over its disputed nuclear program. Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran has worked within the framework of the non-proliferation treaty. But he warned that Tehran would change that policy if the West tried to use the treaty to violate Iran's right to nuclear technology.
Cartoons-Protests: Denmark says its diplomatic staff has temporarily left Syria after its embassy was ransacked a week ago by protesters angry at cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist in Danish newspapers. A Foreign Ministry statement (today/Saturday) says the ambassador and staff left because of an unacceptably low level of official Syrian protection at the mission. The statement says the German Embassy in Damascus will temporarily handle Denmark's consular services.
Thailand Pol: Thailand's prime minister says there will be a national referendum in April on whether to amend the constitution.Responding to public discontent with his government, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on this weekly radio program today (Saturday) that the referendum will be held simultaneously with the next Senate election on April 19th. Critics of Thailand's constitution say it concentrates too much power in the hands of the ruling party.
Cambodia-Rights March: More than 100 Cambodian human rights activists have begun a three-day march to demand the Cambodian government guarantee freedom of expression. The march today (Saturday) comes a day after Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy returned home after a year in self-imposed exile in France. He had been convicted of defamation after accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of being involved in a political bombing.
Italy Confirms Bird Flu: Italian officials have confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in the country after testing two dead swans found on the island of Sicily. Health Ministry officials said today (Saturday) the swans were found between the cities of Catania and Ragusa.
Elsewhere, China and Indonesia each reported Friday one new human death from the H5N1 strain. Authorities in Azerbaijan and Nigeria are taking steps to contain newly reported H5N1 cases in birds.
Avian influenza has killed nearly 90 people worldwide since 2003.
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