- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2000

Nigeria arrests militant nationalists

LAGOS, Nigeria Security forces yesterday arrested leaders of a banned nationalist group, which has been accused of instigating recent ethnic violence that left more than 100 dead in Lagos.

Frederick Fasehun, the most prominent leader of the Odudua Peoples Congress, and at least two other officials in the militant Yoruba movement were arrested, police said. Calm returned to neighborhoods watched by joint police and military patrols.

The ban followed days of rioting sparked by the killing of a Hausa guard in Lagos on Sunday.

Virus identified in Uganda

GULU, Uganda The highly contagious virus that has killed 41 persons in Uganda has been identified as a strain of Ebola last seen in southern Sudan in 1979, U.S. experts said yesterday, raising speculation it may have been brought by Ugandan rebels based in Sudan.

Pierre Rollin, the leader of a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the virus was Ebola Sudan, one of three strains of the deadly hemorrhagic fever that can infect humans.

The finding raised the possibility that rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army may have introduced the disease during their regular attacks around Gulu, 225 miles north of Kampala, the capital.

Mir space station likely doomed

MOSCOW Russian officials said yesterday that the Mir space station, an aging symbol of Soviet space glory, is likely to be discarded soon for lack of money.

But officials also said no decision has been made, and the fate of the 14-year-old station was not even discussed at a meeting of space experts.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, the Cabinet official responsible for the space program, reiterated what the government has said before: It cannot afford Mir.

Canada gears up for election

OTTAWA Prime Minister Jean Chretien yesterday confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in Canadian politics by making it clear he was about to call an early election for this autumn.

Responding to a challenge from the opposition Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day to visit a local coffee shop and defend his new tax-cutting budget, Mr. Chretien told Parliament: "There will be a lot of coffee shops that I might be visiting in the next few weeks. And I'm very confident, because we're going into an election."

Leading members of the ruling Liberal party already have made it crystal clear that Mr. Chretien will call an election for Nov. 27.

Foreigners kidnapped by criminals

QUITO, Ecuador Ten foreign oil workers kidnapped from Ecuador's Amazon jungle last week were most likely abducted by common criminals and not Colombian guerrillas, presidential spokesman Alfredo Negrete said yesterday.

The 10 workers five from the United States, two from France, a New Zealander, a Chilean and an Argentine were kidnapped by gunmen at dawn Oct. 12 from an oil field in the heart of Ecuador's eastern Amazon region.

The two Frenchmen managed to escape after flying the kidnappers' stolen helicopter to a river near the Andean nation's northern border with Colombia.

Protestant dies in Chinese jail

BEIJING A Chinese Protestant arrested while worshipping at an illegal service has died in a central China jail after being beaten and then denied medical care, a rights group reported yesterday.

Police detained Liu Haitong in a raid on a private home serving as an underground church in Henan province's Xiayi county on Sept. 4, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

Beaten by police and left weakened by the prison's inadequate food and poor hygiene, Mr. Liu began vomiting and developed a high fever, the center said. It reported that the 19-year-old died in the county jail on Oct. 16 after police refused to provide medical care.

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