- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 30, 2005

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

Island quarantines arrivals from Angola

SAO TOME — The West African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe has taken preventive measures at the airport and harbor in its capital to prevent an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus, akin to the Ebola virus, that has ravaged Angola, health officials said yesterday.

“All passengers who arrive in Sao Tome from Angola will remain under medical control for the incubation period of the virus, which is three to 10 days,” said Health Ministry official Gilberto Frota.

An airline flight and two monthly ship sailings connect the island nation with Angola.

SOUTH AFRICA

Surfer survives attack by great white shark

CAPE TOWN — A British surfer attacked by a great white shark at Noordhoek on a stunning stretch of beach about 12 miles from Cape Town described yesterday how he kicked wildly to free his leg from the creature’s jaws, which sliced his flesh “like a knife through butter.”

Chris Sullivan was surfing with friends Monday when the 13-foot shark grabbed his leg. “I started lashing out, hitting it. I think I kicked it. I pulled the leg out … and I thought ‘oops,’” said the schoolteacher, who has traveled the world with his surf board.

BENIN

HIV/AIDS patients to get free drugs

COTONOU — Six thousand people in Benin living with HIV/AIDS will be given anti-retroviral drugs free of charge by the end of the year under a government program, the Health Ministry announced yesterday.

Doctors in the West African state welcomed the move. More than 71,900 people were estimated to have the AIDS virus in 2003, according to Health Ministry statistics. More than 48 percent were women ages 15 to 49. The illness has killed more than 41,000 people in this country since it appeared here in 1985.

“This decision will permit a stabilization in the state of health of people living with HIV/AIDS, bring back patients lost to treatment, and create a keen interest within the population for voluntary testing campaigns,” immunology specialist Dr. Jean Luc Mintchedji told Agence France-Presse.

Weekly notes

A new book describes South African President Thabo Mbeki as a paranoid control freak whose ruthless silencing of critics of his policies on Zimbabwe and AIDS risks a backlash from the left and disenfranchised poor. In an uncompromising critique, South African journalist William Gumede paints a picture of a highly effective cut-and-thrust politician behind the urbane, pipe-smoking statesman who charms Western leaders and businessmen. … Togo’s four presidential candidates have signed a code of conduct before elections set for April 24, calling on the Economic Community of West African States to monitor their adherence to the code during the elections. It will be the first time in more than 40 years that voters among Togo’s 5.5 million population will cast ballots, after the death Feb. 5 of strongman Gnassingbe Eyadema.

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