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Protests in Nazareth


Published: Sat, March 4, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Protests in Nazareth
NAZARETH, Israel -- Thousands of Israeli Arab protesters marched through the streets of this biblical town Saturday demanding better protection for holy sites after a troubled family set off firecrackers inside a major Christian shrine. The emotional reaction to the attack on the Basilica of the Annunciation reflected the fragile status of Israel's Arab minority, which has long claimed it suffers discrimination at the hands of the Jewish majority. Many protesters accused the government of failing to prevent the attack, and rejected the official claim that Friday's attack was driven by personal distress, and not politically motivated. Police said the man involved in the attack, Haim Eliyahu Habibi, has financial problems and apparently is not a Jewish extremist. Habibi's Christian wife, Violet, and their 20-year-old daughter were treated at a hospital before being taken into custody early Saturday. Late Saturday, a judge extended the family's detention by 15 days. At the hearing, the parents said they meant no harm, had no hate for Christians or Muslims and merely sought to draw attention to their plight. Haim Habibi said authorities had recently placed three of his children into foster care.
City bids farewell to bears
RICHMOND -- This city said good-bye to two of its most prominent citizens Saturday, 350-pound black bears Buster and Baby, whose deaths at the hands of their human captors have plunged residents into mourning so deep that hundreds called the police to report their distress, thousands posted to online bulletin boards and the city's famed mayor ordered an investigation. Two weeks ago, one of the bears was accused of biting a 4-year-old boy who had stuck his hand through the 10-foot-high, chain-link fence of their enclosure at Richmond's Maymont Park. The child was not badly hurt. But with his mother unable to peg which bear did the biting, park and health officials decided five days later to euthanize both animals. The episode became public Feb. 23 only after both bears were dead and their carcasses had been dumped at a local landfill. The outrage was immediate and extreme. Dozens called 911 upon seeing the first news report. City hall was flooded with calls, as was the park. Mayor L. Douglas Wilder promised quick action, including consequences for officials involved in the decision to kill the bears and possible criminal charges against the child's mother. He ordered workers to find the bears and prepare a fitting memorial site. After three hours of sifting through garbage last week, landfill employees recovered the bodies. The bears were laid to rest at Maymont. About 500 attended the funeral.
Penguin book reclassified
SAVANNAH, Mo. -- A children's book about two male penguins that raise a baby penguin has been moved to the nonfiction section of the Rolling Hills' Consolidated Library's branches in Savannah and St. Joseph after two parents complained it had homosexual undertones. "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson is based on a true story of two male penguins, named Roy and Silo, who adopted an abandoned egg at New York City's Central Park Zoo in the late 1990s. Barbara Read, Rolling Hills' director, said experts report that adoptions aren't unusual in the penguin world. However, moving the book would decrease the chance that it would "blindside" readers, she said.
Arrest in British robbery
LONDON -- Detectives investigating Britain's largest cash robbery arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of robbery in south London on Saturday, police said. Earlier Saturday, a 43-year-old man arrested during a raid on an industrial estate in southeast London was released on bail. He had been arrested Friday, when police found a number of bags filled with notes in a yard behind the car repair business where he worked. Press reports have speculated that up to $12.3 million was found during the police raid. Police have refused to confirm the figure, saying only that it amounted to "several million pounds." The robbery of the Securitas Cash Management warehouse in Tonbridge, about 30 miles southeast of London, netted $92 million after the thieves kidnapped the cash depot manager, his wife and their 9-year-old son on Feb. 21-22. Five people have been charged.
Food shortage in Kenya
EL WAK, Kenya -- The U.N. food agency will soon run out of food needed to feed some 3.5 million Kenyans facing prolonged drought because it has received a fraction of the required funding, officials said Saturday. The World Food Program has enough cereal to last until April but will run out of other staples by month's end, program spokesman Peter Smerdon said. The program needs $225 million to buy more than 33,000 tons of food each month until February 2007 but has received only $28 million, he said. Dozens of people have died of hunger in drought-stricken parts of northeastern and eastern Kenya, according to local press.
Combined dispatches


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