World Briefs: Britain asks court to block airport strike

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LONDON — Britain’s Home Office is seeking an injunction to halt a strike on the eve of the Summer Olympics by immigration staff at U.K. airports.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff at British airports, voted last week for a 24-hour walkout over pay and job losses. The strike is set for Thursday, the day before the start of the London Games.

The Home Office said Tuesday the government believes there was a procedural error in the strike ballot and is seeking a High Court injunction to prevent the strike.

It urged the union to call off the strike and for its members not to walk out when “the eyes of the world” will be on Britain.

The union said it will “robustly defend” any legal challenge to the planned strike.

GHANA

President dies after sudden illness

ACCRA — Ghana President John Atta Mills died suddenly Tuesday at age 68 hours after being taken ill five months before an election in which he was to seek another term, his office said.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the republic of Ghana,” the statement said.

It added that Mr. Mills, who had traveled recently abroad for a medical checkup, died just hours after he got sick.

He died in a hospital in the capital Accra, his office said, without providing a cause.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama is to take over as interim leader.

Presidential elections are set for December in a country seen as a rare example of a stable democracy in West Africa that recently joined the ranks of the world’s large-scale oil producers. Mills was to be the ruling party’s candidate.

The late president had recently traveled to the United States for what had been described as a routine medical checkup.

RUSSIA

Villagers find fetuses in forest

MOSCOW — Villagers in Russia’s south Urals region have made a gruesome discovery — four barrels left in a forest containing 248 human fetuses, prompting an official probe, officials said Tuesday.

Police in the Sverdlovsk region said the fetuses, preserved in formaldehyde, were kept in barrels with tags marked with surnames and numbers.

The Russian Orthodox Church suspected the fetuses were the result of abortion, and church spokesman said they “highlighted the degradation of our society.”

The fetuses were found a few miles away from a highway linking the region’s capital, Yekaterinburg, with another big city, Nizhny Tagil. Police think they may have come from four local hospitals. They have started an investigation.

The fetuses were taken to a local morgue.

The Health Ministry said it had ordered a check of local hospitals to prevent such incidents occurring again.

GREECE

Prison pool shocks Justice Ministry

ATHENS — Greece’s largest maximum security prison won’t get to keep its waterfall-adorned, barbecue-equipped pool.

The Justice Ministry on Tuesday ordered the destruction of a 24-foot-long pool in the yard of Korydallos prison’s psychiatric wing, saying the structure was built without permission and did not comply with health and safety standards.

The pool’s existence at the jail near Athens was reported by a newspaper Sunday. The ministry said the structure, reportedly built last year, includes a small rock waterfall and poolside barbecue racks.

Greece’s Prison Officers Association said the pool was built using money raised by the association and was restricted to staff and inmates at the psychiatric wing. Korydallos houses some 2,300 inmates, with about 300 receiving some form of psychiatric care.

UNITED NATIONS

Six bombs dropped in South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations confirmed Tuesday that six bombs had been dropped inside South Sudan. That government has accused rival Sudan of staging an air raid.

South Sudan canceled planned talks with Khartoum government representatives after accusing its neighbor of carrying out the raid Friday.

“The mission has verified that six bombs were dropped” just south of the disputed frontier between the two countries, U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey told reporters.

The United Nations said the bombs were dropped about 11/2 miles south of the unofficial border, which has never been legally set since the two countries split in July last year. The spokesman did not say who was behind the attack.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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