- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2000

New law allows seizure of 841 white farms

HARARE, Zimbabwe Zimbabwe's government, facing parliamentary elections in June, yesterday enacted a new law to allow President Robert Mugabe to seize as many as 841 white-owned farms without paying compensation for the land.

In response to a reporter's question, Mr. Mugabe issued his second call yesterday for an end to political violence that has claimed at least 23 lives and seen hundreds assaulted.

"We are all appealing for nonviolence, for peace and stability in this country. We don't want the divisions and disharmony to continue to exist," he said when asked about attacks on political opponents of his ruling party.

Mr. Mugabe has blamed white farmers and his political foes for violence linked to the occupation of white-owned farms by veterans of the former Rhodesia's 1970s liberation war.

Export curbs eased on arms sales

FLORENCE, Italy Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright yesterday offered America's NATO allies a gift in perhaps the biggest shift in U.S. arms export policy since the end of the Cold War.

She announced a program to streamline and ease export restrictions that would make it easier for NATO countries, as well as Japan and Australia, to buy sophisticated U.S. arms.

It could also boost business for U.S. defense contractors, who now sell NATO countries about $10 billion worth of weapons a year.

Fujimori pressed for an election delay

LIMA, Peru President Alberto Fujimori faced growing pressure from the opposition and international vote monitors yesterday to delay Sunday's presidential runoff, which the rival candidate is boycotting.

Monitors for the Organization of American States (OAS) have called for a delay and were set to supervise final tests later in the day of the election organization, plagued by problems such as faulty computers since the first round in April.

If the tests fail, the monitors will withdraw backing for the runoff, stripping the election of international legitimacy and probably damaging Mr. Fujimori's bid for a third term in power in this Andean nation of 25 million people.

Outbreak of E. coli hits Ontario town

TORONTO An infant and two elderly persons are dead, 20 others have been hospitalized and a further 500 may be infected in Canada's worst outbreak of E. coli bacteria, health officials said yesterday.

Authorities said the outbreak in Walkerton, Ontario, a town of about 5,000 people about 125 miles northwest of Toronto, had reached "epidemic proportions."

"There has never been this kind of number of cases [in Canada]," Murray McQuigge, chief medical officer at the Bruce and Grey counties' health unit, told Reuters.

War crimes prosecutor blasted by Yugoslavia

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia Yugoslavia's justice minister, abandoning the measured language of diplomacy, yesterday accused the chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor of being a prostitute for the United States.

In a 25-page open letter laced with obscenities, Justice Minister Petar Jojic said the chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, used "tricks, kidnapping and murder" to get hold of indicted men and said the entire court was "illegal."

Mr. Jojic said Yugoslavia will never extradite suspects living here, including President Slobodan Milosevic.

"You are running the dungeon which, like the worst whore, you have sold out to the Americans and to which you bring innocent Serbs by force, by kidnapping and murder," the justice minister said of Mr. del Ponte in the letter.

Nigeria mopping up after religious riots

KADUNA, Nigeria About 100 victims of Muslim-Christian religious riots were dumped into a mass grave and anguished residents salvaged belongings from burned-out homes yesterday in northern Nigeria.

Authorities have been reluctant to give an exact death toll, fearing it will only further inflame the rival groups. However, police and hospital sources said more than 100 people had died.

Witnesses and journalists who visited the worst-hit areas said the actual toll could be two or three times as high. In addition, hundreds of homes were badly damaged or destroyed in three residential parts of the city that saw heavy fighting Monday and Tuesday.

Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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