- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2000

Bolivian chief cancels trip amid protests

LA PAZ, Bolivia Bolivia's President Hugo Banzer called off a one-week official visit to Japan yesterday to deal with a wave of protests including roadblocks by peasant coca-leaf farmers that have led to five deaths.

The five have been killed since Sunday when security forces tried to break up roadblocks by poor farmers protesting the government's U.S.-backed program to severely restrict cultivation of coca plants the raw material of cocaine.

The 10 days of roadblocks have caused shortages of some products in major cities. They have been accompanied by separate protests by 130,000 teachers demanding a 50 percent wage increase, and by demonstrators demanding the repeal of a water-rights law, land rights for indigenous groups, the preservation of forests and new social-development efforts.

Mr. Banzer, a former military dictator who was democratically elected in 1997, decided he could not afford to leave the country Oct. 1-8 to visit Japan, said Information Minister Manfredo Kempff.

Sudan sets elections for Dec. 11-20

KHARTOUM, Sudan Africa's largest country, Sudan, will hold presidential and legislative elections in December, the electoral commission announced yesterday.

Voting will take place Dec. 11-20 in the country's 26 regions, commission President Abdel Monem Zain Nahha said.

Election results will be published on Dec. 24.

The legislative vote was originally due to take place in March, but President Omar Bashir dissolved parliament in December 1999 and decreed a state of emergency for three months. That decree was renewed in April until the end of the year.

Plans to eradicate polio honed at U.N.

NEW YORK Polio topped the list of priorities at the United Nations yesterday as humanitarian agencies and business leaders laid plans and established a countdown for eradicating the virus from Earth by 2005.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has raised $550 million of the $1 billion it will take to carry out the final phase of the eradication plan, first disclosed by the World Health Assembly in 1988.

WHO and UNICEF, the U.N.'s Children's Fund, expect the number of countries where the polio virus is transmitted to drop to 20 countries from 30 countries by the end of this year.

Jordanian airliner flies into Baghdad

BAGHDAD A Royal Jordanian airliner with officials, doctors and medicines on board landed in Baghdad yesterday, marking the first Arab flight to Iraq in 10 years.

A large crowd greeted the Airbus 320 plane when it arrived at Baghdad's airport at 7:10 p.m.

Jordan had notified a U.N. sanctions committee of the humanitarian flight, which comes amid a wave of challenges to the embargo imposed against Iraq for invading Kuwait in August 1990.

"This trip is humanitarian," said Jordanian Health Minister Tareq Suhaimat.

Blast rips rights office amid Suharto trials

JAKARTA, Indonesia An explosion shook a leading Indonesian human rights office in Jakarta yesterday, the day before former President Suharto's graft trial resumes and just hours after a court sentenced his favorite son to prison.

No one was hurt by the blast, which caused little damage. But it stoked fears about security and President Abdurrahman Wahid's grip on power in the world's fourth-most-populous nation.

Pinochet mental test appealed by lawyers

SANTIAGO, Chile Lawyers for Chile's Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who is facing trial for human rights abuses in his 1973-1990 regime, yesterday appealed a judge's order demanding the former dictator undergo psychological tests.

The son of the former military ruler said his 84-year-old father, who ran the South American nation with an iron fist after sweeping to power in a coup, was being persecuted by those intent on demeaning the retired general by certifying him "mad."

Attorneys for Gen. Pinochet have argued he should have a full independent medical examination because his physical state not his mental condition impedes him from mapping a defense strategy.

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