World Briefs – 4/20/10

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on April 20, 2010

(World Scene  and Briefly from, from wire dispatches and Washington Times staff reports)

CUBA – Authorities block opposition march

HAVANA | Cuban security agents denied the wives and mothers of jailed dissidents permission to hold their weekly march Sunday, setting off a long, strange standoff under the hot Caribbean sun that ended with the women being led away by officials.

After seven years of peaceful – mostly uneventful – Sunday protests, officials first stopped the women, known as the “Ladies in White,” on April 11, and informed them they would need permission to hold future demonstrations.

The group, composed mostly of the wives and mothers of about 75 dissidents arrested in a 2003 crackdown, had been the only one whose protests were tolerated by Cuba, and members had never requested or received permission previously.

JAMAICA – Washed out roads strand hundreds

KINGSTON | Heavy rain washed out roadways in mountainous eastern Jamaica and marooned hundreds of people, emergency authorities said Sunday.

Rain has lashed the Caribbean island since Thursday. Flooding and mudslides were reported in six parishes, including Kingston, which only days previously was facing a drought that authorities called the worst of the century.

In the eastern parish of Portland, famed for its Blue Mountain coffee, roadway collapses cut off several areas from the rest of the island and left residents stranded.

TURKEY – Navy captures 13 pirating suspects

ANKARA | A Turkish frigate intercepted 13 suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, destroying their two boats and seizing their equipment, the Turkish military said.

The pursuit began when the frigate Gelibolu, part of a NATO force in the region, detected a ship and two skiffs, “considered to be used in piracy,” following the route of a Turkish commercial vessel sailing to Kenya, 250 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles, the statement said.

Thirteen suspected pirates “were rendered ineffective,” their equipment was seized and the two skiffs “were destroyed so that they cannot be used again for activities of piracy,” it said.

Since 2008, an international flotilla of warships has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the globe’s busiest maritime trade routes, to stop Somali pirates from hijacking commercial vessels.

SENEGAL  – Government criticized for abusive schools

DAKAR | A leading international rights group called on Senegal’s government Thursday to crack down on Islamic schools whose leaders are subjecting tens of thousands of children to forced begging and daily beatings in conditions it says are “akin to slavery.”

Powerful religious leaders known as “marabouts” hold enormous political influence in this mostly Muslim West African nation. Parents often send their children to traditional Koranic schools run by marabouts because they hope their children will receive a religious education and because the schools are free.

But some marabouts have turned the schools into an exploitative, unregulated private industry, banking tens of thousands of dollars in annual profits by forcing droves of children as young as 4 into the streets to beg for change, according to a new report released by New York-based Human Rights Watch.

ISRAEL – Israel bans import of Apple iPad

JERUSALEM | Israel has banned imports of Apple Inc.’s most popular new product, the iPad, citing concerns that the strength of its wireless receivers and transmitters are incompatible with national standards and could disrupt other wireless devices.

Customs officials said Thursday they already have confiscated about 10 iPads since Israel announced the new regulations this week.

The blanket ban prevents anyone – even tourists – from bringing an iPad into Israel until officials certify that the computers comply with local transmitter standards.

Currently, the iPad is only available for sale in the United States. Apple announced on Wednesday that it would delay international pricing and sales until May 10 – a date that is expected to include several European countries, but not Israel.

NOTE: The news blurbs above are from World Scene published at on Monday, April 19, 2010 and Briefly published at on Friday, April 16, 2010.

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