- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Turkish prison battles kill 17

ISTANBUL Turkey's attempt to regain control of its prisons ended in bloodshed yesterday, with two soldiers killed while storming the prisons and at least 15 inmates dead many from choosing to burn themselves alive rather than surrender.

The government, pressing to break up wards controlled by inmates, raided the prisons to prevent some 250 hunger strikers from starving themselves.

Inmates linked to outlawed leftist groups launched the hunger strike more than two months ago to protest government plans to transfer them from their wards to new prisons equipped with small cells, where they fear they will be more vulnerable to abuse by authorities.

Archer's drama ends run prematurely

LONDON "The Accused," the courtroom drama written by and starring millionaire novelist Jeffrey Archer, will end its West End run six weeks early, London's Theater Royal said yesterday.

It will end its run on Jan. 20, rather than March 3 as originally planned. Poor ticket sales have been blamed.

The play which puts Mr. Archer's character on trial and asks the audience to vote on whether he is innocent or guilty was widely panned by British critics. One said that to describe Mr. Archer's acting as wooden was an insult to furniture.

S. Africa denies targeting photos

PRETORIA, South Africa South Africa's defense minister said yesterday that reports soldiers had been ordered to shoot at a picture of President Thabo Mbeki were incorrect.

Photographs of Mr. Mbeki and other government leaders had been used to familiarize members of the National Ceremonial Guard with the people they had to protect, Mosiuoa Lekota told a news conference in Pretoria.

The photos were interspersed with others to simulate a real-life situation. Some of the soldiers, however, were not the most accurate shots and hit the pictures, Mr. Lekota said.

Somalia loses battle for key town

MOGADISHU, Somalia Somalia's new government flexed its military muscle for the first time yesterday, taking a strategic town from a faction leader only to retreat when attacked later in the day.

About 400 government troops rolled into the town of Balad at dawn, in trucks bristling with heavy weapons, residents said. The town, about 20 miles north of the capital, Mogadishu, has been held by a private militia loyal to Muse Sudi Yalahow, a Mogadishu-based faction leader.

Initially, Mr. Yalahow's outnumbered forces appeared to have fled, leaving Balad to the government troops. But later in the day, Mr. Yalahow told the Associated Press that his militia had retaken Balad.

Thailand bans import of Rottweilers

BANGKOK Thailand banned the import of Rottweilers yesterday after one of the dogs killed a 3-year-old girl.

A 6-year-old Rottweiler belonging to Ornjira Suksawat's uncle escaped from its cage Sunday and attacked the girl, police said. Charges of negligence will be filed against the uncle, police said. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Rottweilers are the second dog breed barred from Thailand. Pit bulls also are banned.

Wildebeest diagnosed with foot-and-mouth

ARUSHA, Tanzania An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed for the first time among wildebeest in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park.

In wildebeest herds affected by the outbreak, up to a fifth of the animals are lame, Dr. Titus Mlengenya, chief veterinary officer for Tanzania National Parks said yesterday.

Foot-and-mouth, which does not pose a risk to humans, infects cloven-hoofed animals and has a mortality rate that ranges from 5 percent for adult animals to 75 percent for newborns.

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