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BRAZZAVILLE | A leading human rights group in Congo charged Thursday that the regime is chronically violating democratic values.

With parliamentary elections due in 2012, the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights complained about shrinking freedoms under President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

“The OCDH is alarmed by repeated attacks on democracy and vigorously condemns the numerous arrests targeting people who want to express their opinions as well as the banning of opposition rallies,” the group said.

BRAZIL

Prison officials draft geese as new guards

SAO PAULO | An overcrowded prison in northeastern Brazil has added a new layer of security against escapes: two geese.

Sobral prison Warden Wellington Picanco told the G1 news website the geese make a lot of noise when they sense “strange movements.”

He said the geese roaming the prison grounds also will help alert guards to the outbreak of violence among rival gangs at the overcrowded facility.

The prison was built to hold 153 inmates. It currently holds 255.

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