- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

SUDAN

WHO helps Khartoum deal with bird flu

CAIRO — Specialists from the World Health Organization arrived in Sudan yesterday to assist authorities after the first confirmed cases of a bird-flu strain that is deadly to humans. WHO said it is providing technical assistance for surveillance and confirmation of diagnosis and supplying protective equipment.

The Health Ministry announced Tuesday that the H5N1 strain of bird flu had been detected in dead poultry in the central states of Khartoum and Gezira. Health Minister Tabita Sokaya said a poultry farmer who had been hospitalized with bird-flu symptoms had tested positive for the disease.

WHO said that the patient was in stable condition and that its team carried out further tests on him yesterday. Sudan shares a long border with Egypt, which has had more bird flu cases than any other country outside Asia since the virus began its worldwide spread this year.

ZIMBABWE

Blair slams Mugabe over people’s woes

LONDON — British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a strongly worded attack yesterday on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, calling his regime a “disgrace” that had brought his country to its knees.

Asked during a weekly question-and-answer session why Western governments seemed powerless to prevent a human tragedy in the southern African country, Mr. Blair told Parliament: “There are people suffering there in a country that is potentially wealthy.

“We have had ourselves as a nation to actually give humanitarian assistance to people and food aid assistance in circumstances where if the country were properly run the people could be looked after there and looked after properly.” He agreed that more needs to be done for Zimbabwe, where inflation is running at 913 percent and female life expectancy is the lowest in the world, at 34 years, according to a recent World Health Organization assessment.

Weekly notes …

Up to 16 people in western Ethiopia were fatally shot in a weekend cattle raid by rival herders from neighboring Sudan as a searing drought grips East Africa, relief workers said yesterday. The Defense Ministry in Addis Ababa confirmed the incident but said only two persons were killed when hundreds of Nuer tribal warriors from Sudan attacked Ethiopian Nuer villagers in the western Gambella region early Sunday. … International safeguards for refugees are under threat from tighter asylum restrictions, growing intolerance and terrorism fears, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said yesterday. It issued a report showing that refugee numbers fell to a 25-year low last year but that the number of people displaced in their countries by conflict remains about 25 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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