- The Washington Times - Monday, December 11, 2000

Violence fears keep many from voting

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast Bored electoral officials watched over almost empty polling stations yesterday in much of this West African nation where an opposition boycott and fears of violence kept many from electing a new legislature.
Turnout figures were not immediately available. But lines were short in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, and nonexistent in some strongholds of the opposition Rally of the Republicans, whose leader, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, was barred from running by the Supreme Court.
President Laurent Gbagbo dismissed threats by some northern leaders to secede from the country over Mr. Ouattara's exclusion.

Canada allows tanker to dock for repairs

TORONTO Canada said yesterday it gave a damaged oil tanker, caught in rough seas off the Atlantic coast with 1.9 million barrels of oil, permission to enter domestic waters after it was satisfied there was no major seepage.
The 1,200-foot Singapore-operated tanker, Eastern Power, was damaged in rough seas, but Canada refused to allow the ship near its shores for fear of any spillage.
Transport Canada said the ship would dock in Placentia Bay in Newfoundland province after a plan was submitted by the vessel's owners, Worldwide Shipping Agencies, over the weekend and strict conditions were in place.

Hunger strikers vow to continue

ANKARA, Turkey Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said yesterday that Turkey's inmates eventually will be moved from dormitory-style open wards to small cells, despite a 52-day-old hunger strike by hundreds of inmates.
The inmates say they will maintain their so-called "death fast" until transfer is scrapped or the government agrees to move them only to smaller wards instead of cells. Human rights groups say torture occurs in Turkey's prisons, and prisoners fear they will be more vulnerable to abuse by authorities in cells.

Police crack down on demonstrators

RABAT, Morocco Riot police arrested four family members of the head of the country's leading Islamist group in Rabat yesterday after breaking up a sit-in by hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists.
Less than 24 hours after a similar police action in which 41 human rights activists were arrested, Reuters news agency correspondents saw police beating scores of young protesters and arresting dozens of them aged between 19 and 24.
The protesters were all members of the outlawed Justice and Charity Muslim fundamentalist group, who had gathered in the capital's central Alawite square.

U.N. workers seized in Abkhazia

TBILISI, Georgia Two members of a U.N. observer mission were kidnapped yesterday in a breakaway province of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, officials said.
The men, one Polish and one Greek, were patrolling the Kodor Gorge in Abkhazia province when they lost contact with the mission office, said Veselin Kostov, political adviser at the U.N. office in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi.
They had been traveling in a jeep in convoy with another U.N. vehicle when they were accosted near a dilapidated bridge by a group of armed men, Mr. Kostov said on Georgian television. The other vehicle escaped.

Chavez promises land 'revolution'

CARACAS, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez vowed yesterday to give every Venezuelan peasant land and government credits in a forthcoming "agrarian revolution" in the South American oil-exporting country.
The former paratrooper said he had no intention of abolishing private property, but was determined to redistribute vast estates owned by the ruling elites.
The populist leader said thousands of Venezuelans were living like paupers in the countryside without enough land to sow crops, while rich city-dwellers owned gigantic, empty estates in the interior.

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