- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2002

Zimbabwe to modify bill curbing vote news

HARARE, Zimbabwe Changes will be made to a bill seen as curbing media freedom ahead of the March 9-10 presidential election, the justice minister announced yesterday after the government came under international pressure.

The decision by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party to amend the bill came after President Robert Mugabe met southern African leaders on Monday and promised to allow a fair election and let international observers and foreign journalists attend.

"After some lengthy consultations with objective-minded media organizations and deliberation with honorable members on my side, I have suggested some amendments to the Access to Information and Privacy Bill," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament.

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, the California Republican who chairs the House International Relations Committee's Africa subcommittee, said while visiting South Africa that the United States would "ratchet up" pressure on Mr. Mugabe.

U.N., Sierra Leone agree on tribunal

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone The government and the United Nations signed an agreement yesterday setting up a Special Court to try people accused of war crimes and other serious abuses during the country's 10-year civil war.

The agreement was signed by Justice Minister Solomon Berewa and Hans Correll, U.N. undersecretary-general for legal affairs.

The court which unlike similar tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda will have domestic as well as foreign judges will rule on horrific acts committed mainly against civilians during a war that saw mass rape, murder and acts of mutilation.

White South African held in shooting spree

JOHANNESBURG A 42-year-old white man was arrested after he reportedly shot at cars carrying black passengers, injuring at least 14 persons, police said yesterday.

Senior Superintendent Pieter du Plessis said the man, armed with a .303 hunting rifle, who was apparently drunk, shot at passing motorists outside the northwest town of Rustenburg about 60 miles west of Pretoria on Tuesday. Four persons were hit by bullets and were hospitalized in critical condition, Superintendent du Plessis said.

Weekly notes

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says camps housing up to 400,000 refugees in northern Uganda could be closed by April as a result of improved relations with Sudan, long accused of backing Ugandan rebels. He told a press conference a deal had been reached with Sudan over the fate of Joseph Kony, leader of the guerrilla Lord's Resistance Army. The 15-year rebel conflict has claimed thousands of lives and severely curtailed development of the north. Richard Buteera, Uganda's chief prosecutor, asked police yesterday to investigate further before charges are brought against three police officers, one high-ranking, arrested after the fatal shooting of a trainee reporter outside the offices of the Uganda People's Congress. Police had been ordered not to take live ammunition to the scene when the opposition party tried to hold a banned rally Saturday. Former Ugandan President Godfrey Binaisa announced yesterday he will become a primary school English teacher when schools resume next month. Mr. Binaisa, 84, who was president for less than year starting in June 1979 and returned from exile in the United States in July, said he plans to teach English as a volunteer at a primary school near his home on the outskirts of Kampala.

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