Iraq's Shi'ite Muslims have held demonstrations to protest today's (Wednesday's) attack on the Askariya shrine in Samara -- one of the most scared shrines of Shi'ite Islam. Demonstrations were held in Samara, the Shi'ite areas of Baghdad, as well as cities and towns across predominantly Shi'ite southern Iraq. In Najaf, the office of Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, declared seven days of mourning, called for "peaceful protests" and urged protesters not to travel to Samara.
The Danish ambassador to Indonesia has returned to Jakarta after withdrawing earlier this month because of violent protests over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Ambassador Niels Erik Andersen flew back to the Indonesian capital Tuesday. Officials say he will reopen the embassy there as soon as possible. Denmark closed the embassy on February 11th after the building housing it was stormed by Indonesian demonstrators, who smashed lamps and burned the Danish flag .
Officials in Bangkok say a small bomb went off at a Buddhist meditation center associated with a prominent critic of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Police and Buddhist representatives said today (Wednesday) the explosion caused minor damage and no injuries. The center is affiliated with the prime minister's influential political mentor and recent critic, Chamlong Srimuang. Mr. Chamlong has called for Mr. Thaksin's resignation and announced plans to join a major anti-government rally on Sunday.
An Indonesian health ministry official says an East Jakarta woman who died this week was infected with the deadly strain of bird flu. The official (Hariadi Wibisono) said today (Wednesday) local tests show the victim had the H5N1 virus. She died Monday after handling sick chickens. If laboratories affiliated with the World Health Organization confirm the result, the woman will be the 20th Indonesian to die from bird flu.
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