- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2006

BRITAIN

Large rise predicted in childhood obesity

LONDON — The number of overweight children worldwide will increase significantly by the end of the decade, and scientists expect profound effects on everything from public health care to economies, according to a study published today.

Nearly half of the children in North and South America will be overweight by 2010, up from about 28 percent today, according to a report published by the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.

In the European Union, about 38 percent of all children will be overweight if present trends continue, the study said. The percentages of overweight children also are expected to increase significantly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

THAILAND

Thaksin’s resignation sought by marchers

BANGKOK — Tens of thousands of protesters demanding the prime minister’s resignation marched to his office last night after a boisterous rally accusing Thaksin Shinawatra of corruption and abuse of power.

Leaders vowed the crowds would camp out in the streets until Mr. Thaksin quit.

No major violence was reported, although some demonstrators broke through the police line before permission to pass was negotiated. A large number of police rushed to guard the perimeter of Government House, but Mr. Thaksin was believed to be in northeastern Thailand.

BENIN

Outgoing president decries election

COTONOU — Benin’s outgoing president criticized a lack of transparency in elections held yesterday to determine who will succeed him after nearly three decades as head of this tiny West African nation.

President Mathieu Kerekou said he was “surprised” at the reported disappearance of 1.3 million of the country’s 5.3 million printed voter cards.

“Based on what we’ve learned and seen, the elections that we wished to be transparent will indeed not be,” Mr. Kerekou said.

FRANCE

Nuclear-power deal with Libya is near

PARIS — France will sign a pact with Libya in “the next two to three weeks” to help develop its civilian nuclear-energy program, leading French legislator Patrick Ollier said yesterday on his return from Tripoli.

France, home to Areva, the world’s largest maker of nuclear reactors, expressed interest last May in developing peaceful atomic energy in Libya, after it had voluntarily agreed to give up internationally banned weapons.

In 2003, Libya promised to give up nuclear, chemical and biological arms. Leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi said at the time that he still hoped to develop a nuclear program for peaceful purposes.

BRITAIN

Nation’s top cleric rips Gitmo detainment

LONDON — The Church of England’s senior clergyman said in comments broadcast yesterday that he worried that the U.S. prison camp at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for Afghan and Iraq war detainees has set a dangerous precedent in international law.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the detention camp went against existing legal norms and had created a new category of custody, in which prisoners were held without proper legal assistance and without being found guilty of specific crimes.

That example “is going to be very welcome to tyrants elsewhere in the world, now and in the future,” he said. “What in 10 years’ time are people going to be able to say about a system that tolerates this?”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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