News in Brief April 2008

USA - The credit crunch has hit the US economy hard. Loans that looked rock-solid a year ago now look shaky and banks are folding up. US house prices fall for the first time since the Depression in the 1930s. (BBC , Mar 18)
COMOROS - Soldiers from Comoros (99% Muslim) clashed with forces on Anjouan island loyal to a renegade leader. Comoran troops took all major towns. Anjouan wants to break away from the Comoros. (BBC, Mar 25)
ZANZIBAR - Tanzania's ruling party will share power with opposition Civic United Front on the semi-autonomous islands of Muslim Zanzibar. Zanzibar has a political union with Tanzania, but its own parliament and president. (BBC, Mar 18)
GUANTANAMO BAY - 17 Chinese Muslims held at the US concentration camp for 6 years were approved for release in 2004. They are Uighurs from Muslim Xinjiang province in China. Xinjiang is seeking autonomy from China and there’s sporadic fighting there. The 17 wrote in a letter that they are held in small, window-less cells, in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day. (BBC, Mar 20)
IRAQ - 4,000 US troops killed since the occupation. Officially 29,451 have been wounded but estimates range up to 100,000. (, Apr 2)
SAUDI ARABIA - Middle East's first women-only hotel opens in Riyadh with 25 rooms, conference facilities and health and beauty treatments. Owned by 20 Saudi princesses and businesswomen, it’s the first Saudi hotel available to women all the time. It’s women-owned and run with no men on the premises. (BBC, Mar 19)
PALESTINE - US presidential hopeful McCain approved Israel's brutal onslaught on Gaza in March, which killed 120 civilians including 25 children. He affirmed his commitment to Israel and attacked liberation groups Hamas and Hezbollah. (BBC, Mar 19)
TURKEY - Directorate for Religious Affairs says the state spends R12bn each year funding 85,000 Musjids and paying Imams’ wages. (BBC, Mar 19)
KOSOVO - Croatia and Hungary joined 30 countries in officially recognising Muslim Kosovo's independence from Serbia. Serbs clashed with UN police in Mitrovica, killing a UN officer. (BBC, Mar 19)
UK - The Court of Appeal ruled that a marriage recognised in Bangladesh under Sharia law is not legal in the UK and thus refused to allow a Muslim man’s wife to come to the UK. (BBC, Mar 19)
SAUDI ARABIA - Vatican holding talks with Saudi on building the first church there. The last Christian priest was expelled in 1985. This comes after the first Roman Catholic church in the Qatari capital, Doha, was opened. (BBC, Mar 18)
YEMEN - Guard killed in mortar explosion near the US embassy in Sanaa. (BBC, Mar 18)
KUWAIT - The Emir dissolved parliament after cabinet resigned. Elections in 2006 saw Islamists getting nearly two-thirds of the seats. (BBC, Mar 19)
INDONESIA - Parliament passed a bill criminalising those who visit pornographic internet sites. Anyone guilty could be jailed up to 3 years. (BBC, Mar 25)
EGYPT - US navy ship killed an Egyptian civilian and injured 2 when it fired shots at boats in the Suez Canal. (BBC, Mar 26)
SOMALIA - Polio eliminated from Somalia says UN World Health Organisation. (BBC, Mar 25)
PAKISTAN - Musharraf swore in Yusuf Gillani as PM, leading a govt opposed to him. (BBC, Mar 25)
IRAQ - Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Mahdi Army fighters to withdraw from the streets of several provinces after 6 days of fighting with Iraqi forces following an Iraqi army crackdown in Basra which sparked fighting across the country. 270 people died. (Radio Islam, Mar 31)
CHINA - Protesters in Hotan in Xinjiang, a mostly Muslim region which wants independence, demanded authorities scrap a proposed headscarf ban and that China stop using torture to suppress Muslim demands for greater autonomy. (BBC, Apr 2)
UZBEKISTAN - A big demonstration took place, the first since protests were crushed by forces 3 years ago. Hundreds of market traders took to the streets to oppose relocation of a bazaar. In 2005, troops killed over 1,000 Muslim civilians. (BBC, Apr 1)
SWEDEN - Archaeologists discovered a hoard of Viking-age silver Arab coins near Stockholm's Arlanda airport. They date from the 7th to 9th Century, when Viking traders travelled widely. Most of the coins were minted in Baghdad and Damascus. (BBC, Apr 4)
SAUDI ARABIA - A 12th century key of the Ka’bah auctioned for R140m at Sothebys. There are 58 keys, all besides this one in museums. (BBC, Apr 10)
USA - Mandela and ANC leaders still listed as terrorists by the USA. They need special waivers to gain entry to the US. (BBC, Apr 10)

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