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Briefs (right)

Attack at Temple in India
Leaves Six Dead

By Somini Sengupta

A brazen attack on India’s best-known tinderbox of Hindu-Muslim strife, the heavily fortified Hindu temple compound in the northern town of Ayodhya, left six suspected gunmen dead on Tuesday and raised the specter of a fresh bout of sectarian tension in this country.

After a two-hour firefight in the morning, the police said the temple compound had been secured, six men killed and six weapons, mostly AK-47 assault rifles, recovered. Neither the identities of the men nor their motives have been established.

The compound at Ayodhya, less than 400 miles southeast of the capital, was the source of deadly riots between Hindus and Muslims that shook the nation in the early 1990s and ultimately helped carry the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to power in 1998.

A statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose secular, left-of-center Congress Party defeated Bharatiya Janata in elections last year, urged calm and called the attack “a threat to our security and polity.” The government said several cities, national monuments and religious sites had been put on high alert in anticipation of potential clashes.

Right-wing Hindu political groups immediately seized on the attack, alternately calling for the resignation of a cabinet member responsible for domestic security and calling for Indian military action against Pakistan. Lal Krishna Advani, the leader of Bharatiya Janata, called for a nationwide strike to be held on Wednesday.

Psychologists See Ethics Risk
At Guantanamo

By Neil A. Lewis

The American Psychological Association, responding to reports that some of its members may have advised officials on how to conduct harsh interrogations of detainees, issued a report Tuesday telling its members of the ethical dangers of such activities.

The report by a special group convened to study the ethical boundaries for psychologists at places like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, concluded that it was acceptable to act as behavioral consultants to interrogators of the prisoners from Afghanistan who are held there.

The report said the psychologists should not use a detainee’s medical information “to the detriment and safety of an individual’s well-being.” It also said that psychologists serving as consultants to interrogations involving national security should be “mindful of factors unique to these roles and contexts that require special ethical consideration.”

The new report thus appears to avoid explicit answers to questions as to whether psychologists may advise interrogators on how to increase stress on detainees to make them more cooperative if the advice is not based on medical files but only on the observation of the detainees.

The report comes after accounts from former interrogators at Guantanamo who said that doctors had advised them on how to “break” the detainees and make them more cooperative. The New York Times reported last month that former interrogators said in interviews that doctors, who may have been either psychiatrists or psychologists, counseled them on how to use a detainee’s fears and longings to increase distress.

Central Asians Call On U.S. To Set A Timetable for Closing Bases

By C.J. Chivers

Russia, China and four Central Asian states called Tuesday for the United States to set a deadline for withdrawing from military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

The wording in their declaration, made by members of a regional alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, was veiled but clear, and it marked anew the shifting diplomatic ground in Central Asia since mid-May, when Uzbekistan used gunfire to put down an uprising and anti-government demonstration in Andijon.

The declaration came on the eve of a meeting of the Group of Eight industrial nations in Scotland. At the meeting, President Bush, whose administration has signaled that it wishes to remain a military presence in Central Asia, is expected to meet the leaders of two nations that backed the declaration, Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Hu Jintao of China.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is composed in large part of nations that have both defended Uzbekistan and been critical of the revolutions over the past two years that have swept away corrupt governments in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

9,000 Employees Are Idled
By Minnesota State Shutdown

By Michael Wilsonl

The first partial government shutdown over a budget dispute in Minnesota’s 147-year history, entering its sixth day on Wednesday, has kept 9,000 of the 48,000 state employees home as lawmakers remain divided along party lines over financing for education and health care.

The effects of the shutdown on the public seemed minor on Tuesday and through the holiday weekend. A court order kept services deemed critical to health and safety open, leaving the transportation department with the most closings, affecting 4,000 workers. All but eight highway rest stops were closed, and people could not get new drivers’ licenses.

But parks remained open over the weekend, and the centennial celebration for the Minnesota state Capitol went off as planned on Monday. Colleges and universities remained open, as did historic sites.

The partial shutdown began last Friday, when the previous budget expired without a replacement. Officials say there is a $200 million gap in the $30 billion, two-year budget. Talks resumed Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol, with representatives of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s office and four legislative caucus leaders receiving a report from the tax working group of the Legislature.