- - Thursday, February 10, 2011

RUSSIA

Road construction foe detained with her children

MOSCOW | A Russian environmental activist was detained Thursday with her children, colleagues said, claiming she is the latest victim in a campaign to silence opponents of the construction of a Moscow-St. Petersburg highway that is tearing up the old-growth Khimki forest.

After a wave of public protests, President Dmitry Medvedev in August ordered the highway construction suspended so the route could be reassessed, but the Kremlin decided in December to allow the highway to proceed along the original route.

Those involved in the construction are reported to have high-level government connections, and highway construction is one of the most corrupt industries in Russia.

Alla Chernysheva was detained with her daughters, ages 3 and 6, on the same day as authorities announced that highway construction will begin in March.

WEST BANK

Israeli woman gives birth in Palestinian hospital

RAMALLAH | An Israeli woman gave birth in a Palestinian hospital - a rare occurrence that won her flowers and a handwritten note from the Palestinian president.

Nisreen Chayedri, who grew up Jewish but converted to Islam, said she was shopping in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Wednesday when she went into labor. Her husband, an Arab citizen of Israel, rushed her to the nearest hospital, where she delivered a baby boy.

Israel bars its Jewish citizens from visiting Palestinian areas because of security concerns. Its Arab citizens can, though few use the Palestinian medical system, which is far less developed than Israel’s. In contrast, Palestinians often seek treatment at more advanced Israeli hospitals for specialized procedures.

TANZANIA

Study finds Serengeti road will hurt wildlife migration

NAIROBI, Kenya | An environmental impact study on a road that Tanzania wants to build through the Serengeti found that it may affect the famed wildebeest migration and threaten endangered species, according to a copy of the leaked report.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, though, says his government will continue with plans to build the 33.5-mile road through the park. Mr. Kikwete said the road will remain unpaved and that Tanzania “will do nothing to hurt the Serengeti.”

Environmentalists are fighting the planned road, saying it will jeopardize the 2 million wildebeests and zebras that migrate in search of water from the southern Serengeti north into Kenya’s adjacent Masai Mara reserve.

EUROPEAN UNION

Britain backs scrapping two-seat EU parliament

BRUSSELS | Austerity-driven Great Britain on Thursday supported a campaign to end the dual sittings of the European Parliament in Brussels and the French city of Strasbourg.

Leading European lawmakers issued a report criticizing the cost and carbon impact of the two-seat parliament as an “anachronism” for the thousands forced into monthly shuttles from Brussels to Strasbourg.

“In today’s climate, the economic and environmental cost of two seats can no longer be justified,” said Edward McMillan-Scott of Britain, vice president of the 736-seat European Parliament.

Mr. McMillan-Scott said the monthly trek of lawmakers, assistants, interpreters and truckloads of paper costs an extra $245 million a year.

IVORY COAST

U.N. on the air despite Gbagbo loyalists’ order

ABIDJAN | United Nations radio was ordered off the air in Ivory Coast by a regulatory board loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, though the station refused to comply Thursday.

The national council on audiovisual communication revoked the U.N. radio’s permit to broadcast in a decree Wednesday, saying the decision would take effect immediately.

However, work continued as normal at the station’s headquarters Thursday, said U.N. radio director Sylvain Semilinko, adding that preparations were being made in case their signal was jammed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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