- - Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SOUTH AFRICA

Train hits van; 9 children dead

JOHANNESBURG | A driver taking children to school went around a closed railroad crossing gate Wednesday, then was hit by an oncoming train that killed at least nine students and injured five others, police and witnesses said.

Parents sobbed at the scene as grieving families stood near the completely smashed van, which had been transporting 14 children at the time of the collision in the Blackheath area of Cape Town.

Cape Town police spokesman Col. Billy Jones said three girls and six boys were killed.

Col. Jones said police are investigating a case of homicide against the van driver, who is at the hospital in critical condition.

The children were headed to two primary schools and two high schools north of Cape Town in Kuils River and Bellville South, Col. Jones said.

A preliminary investigation at the scene indicated that the crossing gate was down when the van crossed the railway track, police said.

NIGERIA

Power-firm workers go on strike

ABUJA | Nigeria’s worker union for the state-run power company has called a general strike, a day before the nation’s president is to announce his plans to privatize the industry.

The National Union of Electricity Employees called the indefinite strike Wednesday over unpaid allowances promised by the federal government. The strike will cripple the ability of the Power Holding Co. of Nigeria to provide electricity to Africa’s most populous nation.

Even when workers are present, Nigeria remains beset by blackouts and problems with its aging federal power grid, forcing the population to rely on private generators to provide electricity.

President Goodluck Jonathan is to outline a proposed $3.5 billion overhaul and privatization of the industry Thursday during a speech in Lagos.

UGANDA

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