WORLD IN BRIEF
K JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister said he’s not ready to order a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, despite the military’s warnings of a Hamas arms buildup in the coastal territory.
Israel fears that the Islamic militant group Hamas is trying to copy the tactics of the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a draw in last summer’s war in Lebanon.
Hamas has exploited a period of relative calm to smuggle large numbers of antitank missiles and 30 tons of weapons-grade explosives into Gaza, using tunnels under the border with Egypt, Israeli security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue.
Hamas dismissed the claims as Israeli propaganda. K HANOI — Vietnam’s prime minister has ordered a global investigation into mysterious oil spills that have blackened some of the country’s most popular beaches after ruling out the country’s oil rigs.
“We have run thorough checks using vessels and aircrafts on our seas and found that our oil wells are safely operated and are not the culprit of the oil spills,” Nguyen Tan Dung told delegates at the National Assembly in a live television broadcast. Dung was referring to two spills that occurred this year, one in January that hit beaches along the central coast and the second detected
MADRID — Police found more than 300 pounds of explosives Saturday in the Basque and Navarra regions in northern Spain, the second such haul in four days, officials said.
Basque police are on maximum alert following the arrest of eight suspected members of the armed separatist group ETA and the discovery of explosives and other bombmaking equipment Wednesday.
ETA has waged a campaign for independence for the Basque region over four decades, killing about 800 people. Spain’s government is working to end the violence but froze contacts with ETA in December after the group broke a nine-month cease-fire by blowing up a Madrid airport parking garage, killing two people.
THE MIDDLE EAST
ASIA Spanish Police Uncover New Explosives Cache
March 11 along the southern coast. K NEW DELHI — Women who survived the December 2004 South Asian tsunami face heightened risks of violence, impoverishment and lack of privacy at relief camps in several nations, a new report says.
In many places, women were more vulnerable to abuse by men after the tsunami uprooted their traditional way of life, according to the report, issued by 174 organizations, including ActionAid International.
More than 7,000 women were interviewed for the study, which looked at conditions in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand, India and Somalia. K LAGOS, Nigeria — Gunmen in two speedboats abducted a British oil worker in a pre-dawn raid on a drilling rig 40 miles off the coast of Nigeria, officials said.
The Foreign Office in London confirmed the abduction.
Kidnappings of foreign workers for ransom or to press political demands are common in the lawless delta, which accounts for all of Nigeria’s roughly 2.5 million barrels a day in crude oil production. K BREMEN, Germany — The Czech foreign minister said that he would listen to Russian concerns over a planned U.S. missile shield but that they were of marginal importance.
The United States wants to deploy a radar system in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland by 2011 or 2012. It says the missile shield would counter threats from “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea.
Russia regards the missile shield as an encroachment on its former sphere of influence and says it could undermine global nonproliferation. K AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam’s sex workers came to work early to offer a free look at the city’s famed redlight district.
Hundreds of wide-eyed visitors lined up in the sunshine to enter the dimly lit sex clubs and peep shows and to snoop around prostitutes’ neon-lit boudoirs.
Organizers staged the event to counter bad publicity surrounding the 800-year-old district after reports of forced prostitution, human trafficking and organized crime.
More than 30 brothels are fighting closure after officials revoked their licenses last year over suspected links to money laundering and drug dealing.