- - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

UKRAINE

Chernobyl conference falls short of goal

KIEV | A donors conference seeking $1.1 billion to clean up the Chernobyl disaster site fell well short of its goal Tuesday, but officials remained optimistic that money will be found to make the world’s worst nuclear accident site environmentally safe.

Pledges from nations and organizations at the conference totaled about $785 million, along with $41 million from Ukraine.

The money is being sought to complete the construction of a gargantuan long-term shelter to cover the nuclear reactor that exploded April 26, 1986, and to build a facility to store waste from the plant’s three other decommissioned reactors.

Japan had been one of the top donors in previous years, contributing $103 million in total. But this year, after last month’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant crisis, Japan held back from pledging money.

TURKEY

Kurds angry after candidates barred from election

ANKARA | Armed with firebombs and slings, Kurdish protesters clashed with Turkish police in two cities Tuesday, and the main Kurdish party threatened to boycott the upcoming election because of a decision to bar some Kurdish candidates.

The ruling by the High Election Board was a serious blow to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, which is backing independent candidates in the June 12 national election in order to overcome a 10 percent threshold for political parties to enter the 550-seat Parliament.

The election board’s decision outraged party members and even drew criticism from Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin from the ruling Justice and Development Party.

“It is a decision that has weakened the mission of Parliament,” Mr. Sahin said. “It is not a decision that can be accepted by the country’s democratic conscience.”

TUNISIA

Court drops case at heart of protests

TUNIS | A Tunisian court dropped charges Tuesday against a police officer whose dispute with a fruit vendor sparked a chain of events that unleashed uprisings around the Arab world.

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