Continued from page 2

According to presidency Secretary-General Laure-Olga Gondjout, the new government consists of 29 ministers, including Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima, who was named by President Ali Bongo Ondimba on Monday.

The presidency announced the appointment of the 56-year-old outgoing agriculture minister two months after Gabon’s ruling party swept to a landslide victory in December polls marred by fraud accusations and low turnout.

One of the most notable changes in the new lineup is the ouster of Paul Toungui as foreign minister. He had served in the government since 1990 and is the son-in-law of the president’s late father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the oil-rich West African former French colony from 1967 to 2009.


Carpenter arrested over balloon comment

HARARE | A lawyers group said police arrested a carpenter who questioned whether Zimbabwe’s president still has the strength to blow up balloons at his 88th birthday celebrations.

The independent Lawyers for Human Rights said Wednesday the carpenter was arrested after watching Saturday’s celebrations on television in a bar.

The group says the man has been charged under laws making it an offense to insult President Robert Mugabe and is to reappear in court March 12 to face a fine.

Such arrests for remarks seen as undermining Mr. Mugabe’s authority are frequent.

Loyalists of Mr. Mugabe said they overheard the carpenter referring to Mr. Mugabe’s ailing health and doubting he could inflate a balloon.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports