Bremer may block Islamic law in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq

Iraq’s U.S. administrator suggested yesterday he would
block any move by Iraqi leaders to make Islamic law the backbone of
an interim constitution, which women’s groups fear could
threaten their rights. Roadside bombs killed two more American
soldiers.

The U.S. military also said yesterday that gunmen killed an
American Baptist minister from Rhode Island and wounded three other
pastors in a weekend ambush south of the capital.

A grenade exploded yesterday in an elementary school playground
in Baghdad, killing one child and wounding four others. The
children apparently triggered the explosive while they were
playing, Iraqi police said.

During a visit to a women’s center in Karbala,
administrator L. Paul Bremer said the current draft of the interim
constitution, due to take effect at the end of this month, would
make Islam the state religion and “a source of inspiration
for the law.”

Mohsen Abdel-Hamid, the current president of the Iraqi Governing
Council and a Sunni Muslim hard-liner, has proposed making Islamic
law the “principal basis” of legislation.

 

Brief claims gay marriage licenses illegal

SAN FRANCISCO

As hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up at City Hall for
the historic chance to wed with the city’s blessing,
opponents filed legal papers yesterday arguing that only judges can
declare California’s prohibition on same-sex marriages to be
unconstitutional.

In a brief submitted for a court hearing yesterday, lawyers for
one of two groups seeking to block the unprecedented wedding march
said Mayor Gavin Newsom was in blatant violation of state law when
he directed the county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay
couples.

Newsom has argued that the equal protection clause of the
California Constitution makes denying marriage licenses to gay
couples illegal. But lawyers for a group formed to defend
Proposition 22 — a 2000 ballot initiative that says the state
will recognize only marriages between a man and woman as valid
— contend the mayor lacks the authority to make that
decision. “What the mayor and his cronies have attempted to
do is short-circuit the legal process by being both judge and jury
themselves,” said Alliance Defense Fund attorney Benjamin
Bull.

 

Official offers radical West Bank proposal

JERUSALEM

A hawkish minister is trying to rally support in the Israeli
Cabinet for a more extreme alternative to Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon’s plans to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and parts of
the West Bank.

The plan floated by Transport Minister Avigdor Lieberman would
confine the Palestinians to four isolated districts in the West
Bank.

Lieberman, from the far-right National Union, on Sunday sent
letters to 10 ministers from Sharon’s Likud Party and another
hardline coalition party calling on them to unite around his plan
and provide suggestions.

“The issue is not to torpedo the prime minister’s
initiative, but to present an alternative,” Lieberman told
Israel Radio.

Coming from a small, hawkish party, Lieberman’s plan has
little chance of success.

 

Street riots erupt in Aboriginal ghetto

SYDNEY, Australia

Mainly Aboriginal rioters set fire to a train station and pelted
police with gas bombs yesterday during a nine-hour street battle
that began after a teenager died, allegedly while being chased by
officers.

The overnight rioting in the Redfern neighborhood, an Aboriginal
ghetto of Australia’s most populous city, left 40 officers
injured and highlighted continuing tensions between authorities and
the nation’s original inhabitants.

The street battle followed the death of a 17-year-old Aborigine,
Thomas Hickey, who was impaled on a fence when he fell from his
bicycle. His mother claimed officers were chasing the teen, an
allegation that police deny.

“It’s got to stop, the way they treat our
kids,” Gail Hickey said.

 

Dean campaign loses national chairman

LA CROSSE, Wis.

Howard Dean yesterday pushed his beleaguered Democratic
presidential bid across Wisconsin amid the departure of his
national chairman, a fresh sign of internal upheaval on the eve of
a critical primary with 72 national convention delegates at
stake.

Dean said little substantively about the circumstances
surrounding Steve Grossman’s exit.

But the former Vermont governor’s national campaign
manager, Roy Neel, said he thought Grossman would soon join the
campaign of front-runner John Kerry.

“He’s made clear in his on-the-record comments to
the press he has another agenda at work now,” Neel said.

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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