- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2004

CUBA

Jailed dissident suffers heart attack

HAVANA — One of 75 political dissidents arrested in a crackdown last year was in the hospital yesterday after suffering a heart attack behind bars.

Margarito Broche, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for working with U.S. diplomats to undermine Cuba’s communist government, was transferred to Salvador Allende Hospital late Wednesday, said his wife, Maria de la Caridad Noa.

There was no official word on his condition.

NIGERIA

Wife-swappers battle police

BIRNIN-KEBBI — A clash between a wife-swapping Islamic sect and Nigerian police killed at least three persons in northern Nigeria, witnesses said yesterday.

Sect members armed with guns, daggers and bows and arrows attacked police and government workers who were sent to destroy the group’s base in Birnin-Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi state.

“They were debasing the morality of our community and the teachings of Islam by prostituting their wives in such a way,” said Kebbi police spokesman Ibrahim Sa’ad Muhammad.

FRANCE

Fire at riding school kills seven teens

LESCHERAINES — Fire struck an equestrian school before dawn yesterday in the mountains of eastern France, killing seven teenagers as they slept. Two adults were also believed dead, and a riding instructor was severely burned.

The charred, wooden dormitory was 100 yards from the stables, which were untouched by the blaze.

The seven youngsters, ages 13 to 15, were from the area but stayed at the school overnight, local authorities said.

ISRAEL

Accreditation ordered for Palestinian press

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday upheld a ruling that requires government authorities to grant qualified Palestinian journalists accreditation to work in Israel.

The decision was a victory for foreign news organizations, many of whose Palestinian reporters have not been granted press cards needed to cover official events since Israeli-Palestinian violence broke out in September 2000.

PAKISTAN

Troop-ferrying chopper crashes in mountains

ISLAMABAD — A military helicopter ferrying troops to a tribal region that is a suspected hide-out for top al Qaeda terrorists crashed into a mountainside yesterday, killing all 13 Pakistani soldiers on board.

Authorities believe a technical problem was to blame for the crash of the MI-17 helicopter, but said the dead were martyrs in the war on terror.

Killed were 10 soldiers, a colonel and two majors, Pakistan’s army said in a statement from Rawalpindi, a garrison city near the capital, Islamabad. The helicopter was taking the men from Rawalpindi to Bannu, a dusty town on the edge of North Waziristan, when it crashed and burst into flames.

MAURITANIA

Blazing tires used to fight locusts

NOUAKCHOTT — Residents burned tires and trash in the streets yesterday to drive off swarms of locusts descending on the region, which a U.N. agency called the worst sub-Saharan invasion in more than a decade.

The flying swarms reached densities of 50 million locusts per half square mile and began landing on the Mauritanian capital Wednesday.

Flying south from hatching grounds in North Africa, the swarms eat their weight each day from scarce trees and crops, researchers say.

SWEDEN

Laid-back prisons make escape easy

STOCKHOLM — Sweden announced plans to build its first maximum-security prison yesterday after the second jailbreak in a week highlighted failings in its famously relaxed prison system.

Swedish prisons, where inmates are officially known as “clients,” have such a soft reputation that last year Bosnian Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic asked to be sent to one — and is in a jail with a sauna, horseback riding and dance classes.

There have been three high-profile escapes this year, including one last week by three men wielding guns that had been smuggled into Hall prison. The opposition has called for Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom’s resignation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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