- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Ivory Coast leader plans independent run

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast Military ruler Gen. Robert Guei will not seek the nomination of the Democratic Party (PCDI) in forthcoming presidential elections but will run outside the party, top aide Balla Keita said yesterday.

The party's Aug. 9 announcement of Gen. Guei's planned candidacy for the September elections had sparked widespread concern from the supporters of the party's former leader, Henri Konan Bedie, who was ousted by the general last December.

While cracks appeared within the party in recent days, the U.S. State Department also expressed its "deep concern" at his political ambitions.

Mr. Keita said the general's candidacy was above party politics as he is a "disciple of the father of the nation, Felix Houphouet Boigny."

"His candidacy is not partisan, all those who support Houphouetism can back him. He will stand in the name of all the regions, all religions and all political formations," said Mr. Keita.

Both Paraguay parties claim vote victory

ASUNCION, Paraguay Both parties in Paraguay's vice-presidential race claimed victory yesterday as election officials declined to release additional tallies until all votes were counted.

Though initial results released by the nation's electoral agency showed opposition candidate Julio Cesar Franco headed for a narrow victory over the Colorado Party's Felix Argana, the ruling party said it expected to emerge victorious.

"The Colorado Party vindicates and ratifies its faith in a legitimate victory," said a statement released by the party that has ruled Paraguay for 53 years.

Beijing cuts term of jailed dissident

BEIJING Without explanation, China has unexpectedly knocked 20 months off a pro-democracy campaigner's 10-year jail term and released him, a human rights group said yesterday.

Liu Wensheng, 32, was freed Aug. 9 from a prison in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu and has returned home to the city of Yinchuan in the neighboring province of Ningxia, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

Former wife accuses Fujimori of nepotism

LIMA, Peru Peruvian Congresswoman Susana Higuchi yesterday accused her former husband, President Alberto Fujimori, of having introduced "a law to benefit his brother" on the importation of used cars from Japan, by way of Chile.

Mrs. Higuchi made the accusation before the Industries Commission of Congress and later at a press conference, saying she could prove her accusations.

"Go and see who are the biggest sellers of used cars that come from Chile," she challenged reporters, saying they would find "someone who has three hangars full of cars" at a border town.

Mr. Fujimori quickly denied any wrongdoing.

Brazil wetlands a World Heritage site

RIO DE JANEIRO The world's largest freshwater wetlands, stretching across two Brazilian states, will be declared a World Heritage site, UNESCO's representative here said yesterday.

Covering an area about the size of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal put together, the Pantanal is one of Brazil's most important natural resources, with some 650 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, 260 different types of fish and 50 species of reptiles.

"The classification of World Heritage site is important for Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states, but it also means their responsibilities will increase," said Jorge Werthein, the local representative of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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