End to anti-Israel broadcasts proposed

The interim Palestinian leader has ordered government-controlled media to halt broadcasts of material that could incite hatred against Israel, Palestinian officials said yesterday.

The directive by Mahmoud Abbas meets a key demand by Israel, which has long accused the Palestinian media of fomenting hatred, and adds to the tentative signs of goodwill that have emerged since the death of Yasser Arafat on Nov. 11.

Radwan Abu Ayyash, head of Palestinian radio and television, said that at the request of Abbas, widely known as Abu Mazen, he has instructed all departments to make sure they don’t broadcast inflammatory material.

“Abu Mazen asked us to be sure that the material we broadcast does not contain any material that could be considered incitement,” he said.

Israel has long complained of incitement in the Palestinian media, citing fiery anti-Israel broadcasts by Muslim preachers and programs praising the killing of Jews. It blamed Arafat for the objectionable content.

A senior Israeli official cautiously welcomed the reported gesture but said the government was waiting to see changes in the Palestinian media.



U.S. treatment of terror suspects criticized

The International Committee of the Red Cross said yesterday it has given the Bush administration a confidential report critical of U.S. treatment of terror suspects detained at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But the Red Cross, which is the only independent monitor allowed to visit the facility, refused to confirm or deny a New York Times account that the ICRC report described the psychological and physical coercion used at Guantanamo as “tantamount to torture.”

A prominent New York attorney working closely with Defense Department lawyers who have seen the report, however, confirmed the characterization and said it raised new concerns about doctors violating medical ethics in pointing out prisoners’ weaknesses to interrogators. “The military lawyers by and large don’t agree with the conclusion that it’s tantamount to torture,” said Scott Horton, chairman of the international law committee of the New York City Bar Association.

But, Horton told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, the military lawyers “think it’s correct for the ICRC to be aggressive.



Iran claims it still has right to enrich uranium

Iran claimed victory in its nuclear dispute yesterday, saying it has isolated the United States while preserving its right to enrich uranium.

Iran said it has not abandoned its right to enrich uranium, in spite of U.S. pressure, noting the agreement it struck this week with the U.N. nuclear agency will only suspend processing for several months.

Speaking to reporters, Iran’s top nuclear official, Hasan Rowhani, hailed the resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday authorizing IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei to monitor Iran’s commitment to freeze uranium enrichment activities.

Such enrichment can produce either low-grade fuel for nuclear reactors or the raw material for atomic weapons.



Bush seeks to mend strained ties with Canada

President Bush tried yesterday to repair U.S.-Canada relations strained by years of bickering over trade and Iraq, although he stood by policies that have irritated Canadians. He did promise Prime Minister Paul Martin to work toward easing a U.S. ban on Canadian beef.

Even as thousands of Canadian protesters thronged the streets to protest his visit, Bush brushed aside suggestions that his decisions had damaged U.S.-Canada ties. Asked about polls that show Canadian opposition to his policies runs high, Bush pointed to his own re-election this month as the survey that mattered.

“We just had a poll in our country when people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to stay in place for four more years,” Bush said.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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