- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

Macedonia to revive Western peace bid

SKOPJE, Macedonia Macedonian and ethnic Albanian leaders agreed to revive a Western-sponsored peace plan yesterday after warnings by NATO to honor commitments or risk renewed ethnic warfare.

Under the August accord, ethnic Albanian rebels ended six months of fighting and handed in more than 4,000 weapons to NATO in exchange for promised reforms in parliament that would broaden rights for ethnic Albanians, who account for a third of Macedonia's 2 million people.

But Macedonia's parliament has failed to even begin debating constitutional amendments aimed at upgrading minority rights, and ethnic Albanian parties have boycotted the sessions.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson and Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, urged both sides to get on with the peace process.


Rights panel to hear Ortega sex case

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission announced yesterday it will hear a sexual-abuse complaint filed by an adopted daughter of Nicaraguan ex-president and current presidential candidate Daniel Ortega against him.

"The decision on admissibility was approved unanimously, and makes no prior judgment on the grounds for the complaint," Chilean-American commission Chairman Claudio Grossman said.

Zoilamerica Narvaez, 33, daughter of poetess Rosario Murillo, Mr. Ortega's wife, filed criminal charges against Mr. Ortega in 1998 claiming long-standing sexual abuse. Mr. Ortega has refused to appear before the court, citing the immunity he enjoys as a lawmaker.


Drug dealers seize bombing moment

RIO DE JANEIRO Rio de Janeiro's drug dealers used U.S.-led air raids on Afghanistan to promote their cocaine, printing "Afghanistan Bombing" on bags with the white powder, Brazilian police said yesterday.

"We haven't analyzed the substance yet, but it could be some stronger cocaine, if they associate it with bombs," said a duty police officer with the drug enforcement authority.

Some analysts estimate that Brazil has become the world's No. 2 cocaine consumer after the United States. Shantytown "favelas," where drug gangs dwell, are responsible for most of the trade.


Gambia begins count on presidential vote

BANJUL, Gambia Vote counting started late yesterday in Gambia's presidential election, which took place peacefully despite rising tensions during the campaign.

Polling stations had been due to close at 4 p.m., but voting in many parts of the West African country ended much later because of delays in the transport of electoral material.

Gambians turned out en masse for the election, in which president and former coup leader Yahya Jammeh faced four challengers.


3 Nigerian strongmen condemned on rights

ABUJA, Nigeria "History will pass judgment" on three former Nigerian dictators who failed to respond to the summons of a human rights panel that wrapped up a year of hearings yesterday, the body's chairman said.

"History, not the commission panel, will pass judgment" on the former military rulers, retired Supreme Court Judge Chukwudifu Oputa told journalists.

Former dictators Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar ignored summons to appear before the panel to testify on charges of human rights abuses committed during their rule.


Trinidad dissident claims death threats

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad Deputy political leader of the United National Congress (UNC), Ramesh Maharaj, dismissed by Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, said yesterday he had received death threats because of his alliance with the opposition.

Mr. Maharaj said other members of his faction of the UNC also had received threats, adding that the police had been notified.

Mr. Panday, who leads the other faction of the UNC, announced Tuesday he had formed a new party for the general elections Dec. 10.

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