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World Scene

- - Sunday, June 27, 2010

ECUADOR

Proposed law gives oil revenue to state

QUITO | Ecuador wants 25 percent of gross income from the country's key oil sector to go to the state, according to a law proposed by the government aimed at increasing revenue from natural resources.

The bill, sent to Congress late Friday, is marked urgent, meaning it must be acted on by the legislature within a month or it automatically becomes law.

The smallest member of OPEC, Ecuador has been trying to renegotiate contracts with private oil companies for two years in a bid to boost state control over the oil sector.

Companies that do not sign contracts governed by the new law will be paid for the investments they have made in the country and their operations will be taken over, President Rafael Correa has warned.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Right-wing leader new prime minister

PRAGUE | Petr Necas has been named the Czech Republic's new prime minister and will be tasked Monday with forming a deficit-cutting new coalition government, the president announced.

President Vaclav Klaus announced on television that the Civic Democrats leader will be asked to form a center-right government ahead of a parliamentary vote of confidence to be held within 30 days.

Mr. Klaus is to receive Mr. Necas at 10 a.m. Monday. The appointment was widely expected after the president asked Mr. Necas to lead talks on forming a new Cabinet this month following May's general election.

GUINEA

First democratic vote since independence

CONAKRY | Guineans voted in droves on Sunday in the west African nation's first democratic election since independence in 1958, hoping to end half a century of military and civilian dictatorships.

Early reports from individual voting stations indicated a massive turnout in the crucial election just nine months after the army massacre of at least 156 opponents of a military junta in a Conakry stadium.

Similar reports emerged from outside the capital as Guineans chose their president from among 24 civilian candidates, including one woman. About 4.2 million Guineans were eligible to vote at 8,261 polling stations.

ISRAEL

Parents freed in segregation dispute

JERUSALEM | Israel's Supreme Court has freed a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish parents who were jailed for violating an order banning segregation in a West Bank girls' school.

A court spokeswoman said Sunday that under a compromise, the girls will study together until the end of the school year, which is Wednesday.

The sides pledged to work out their differences over the summer.

Parents of European, or Ashkenazi, descent at the school in the West Bank settlement of Emanuel don't want their daughters to study with girls of Mideast and North African origin, known as Sephardim. They claim the Sephardic families are not religious enough.

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews turned out to protest against the court when more than two dozen parents were jailed on June 17.

From wire dispatches and staff reports