- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Protesters demand paramilitary withdrawal

TIZI OUZOU, Algeria — At least half a million people demanding the withdrawal of paramilitary gendarmes marched through Algeria´s main Berber city of Tizi Ouzou yesterday, clashing with riot police, eyewitnesses said.

Rally organizers said the number of protesters was more than a million, calling for the withdrawal from the area of the elite gendarmerie, which they accuse of killing scores of people during riots in April and earlier this month.

Eyewitnesses said police and gendarmes generally kept a low profile as demonstrators chanted, "Terrorist gendarmes out of our region." But when hundreds of marchers pelted police and gendarmes with stones, the riot police fired tear gas canisters in retaliation.

Chavez 'negligent,´ over graft, say foes

CARACAS, Venezuela — Opponents of President Hugo Chavez announced a plan yesterday to bring him to trial for failing to prevent official corruption, but a senior government minister ridiculed the proposal as "folklore."

A coalition of individuals and small political groups opposed to the left-leaning leader announced the proposed legal action while Mr. Chavez, 46, was visiting Iran as part of a three-week foreign tour of seven countries.

The Comptroller-General´s Office is investigating accusations of extensive embezzlement of state funds in the government´s $180 million Plan Bolivar 2000, which aims to restore basic social services to the poor in the oil-rich South American nation.

Boesak´s release slated for today

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Allan Boesak, the jailed anti-apartheid leader and cleric, will be released from prison today after serving a third of his three-year sentence for fraud and theft, a prisons spokeswoman said yesterday.

Mr. Boesak, a flamboyant former leader of the African National Congress in the Western Cape province, in 1999 was convicted of fraud and theft involving foreign donor funds destined for victims of apartheid.

The money had been given by Scandinavian donors and U.S. singer Paul Simon to an organization Mr. Boesak headed during the 1980s when he was at the forefront of the struggle against white rule.

British farms warn of new disease outbreak

LONDON — Farmers warned of a new hot spot in Britain´s battle against foot-and-mouth in northeastern England yesterday, saying 17 farms had been hit in just 10 days in the previously disease-free area.

Rob Simpson, spokesman for the National Farmers´ Union in the region, said the highly infectious livestock disease, also known as hoof-and-mouth, was spreading like wildfire across the region in north Yorkshire.

"This could definitely be a new hot spot. I think the figure is 17 now in the Settle/Skipton area. It is extremely worrying, not least because the disease is not staying in a very small area," he said by telephone from the area.

The Agriculture Ministry said the outbreak was localized. More than 1,600 premises have been confirmed with cases of the disease and almost 3 million animals have been slaughtered to contain it.

Firm gets $16 million advance to raise Kursk

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — A Dutch consortium hopes to raise a Russian nuclear submarine and the remaining bodies of its 118-man crew from the seabed in September, 13 months after it exploded and sank in the Barents Sea, the company manager said yesterday.

Russia will pay a $16 million advance to the Mammoet Transport BV to lift the 18,300-ton Kursk from a depth of 356 feet, said Frans van Seumeren.

The full cost of the task was not disclosed, but Mr. van Seumeren said Russia will make more payments at various times. The advance was to be paid this week.

Two nuclear reactors are aboard the vessel, which exploded Aug. 12.

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