- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

Madagascan leaders agree to meet

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar Madagascar's two rival leaders agreed to meet in Dakar, Senegal, this weekend to discuss the crisis on the island, hours after saboteurs blew up two bridges in the north, state radio and U.N. sources said yesterday.

A U.N. source in the capital, Antananarivo, said the two leaders who have been struggling for control of the giant Indian Ocean island since December would fly to Senegal by Saturday to take part in talks mediated by the presidents of Senegal, Zambia and Gabon.

"They are going, by Saturday at the latest," said Adama Guindo, coordinator for the U.N. Development Program.

Madagascar has been split between two leaders veteran ruler Didier Ratsiraka and his younger rival Marc Ravalomanana since disputed elections in December.

Mr. Ravalomanana was sworn in as president on May 6 and controls the capital and one province in the southeast, but Mr. Ratsiraka retains the loyalty of governors in the remaining four provinces.

Lesotho assembles new government

MASERU, Lesotho Lesotho's prime minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, began assembling his new government yesterday, the day after he was sworn in for a second five-year term.

Mr. Mosisili leads the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy, which overwhelmingly won the May 25 general election in this small, mountainous southern African country.

Two opposition parties that protested the results boycotted an inauguration ceremony Tuesday, where Mr. Mosisili said he would continue working toward stabilizing democracy in Lesotho.

With a new electoral system, several opposition parties will sit in parliament for the first time.

Pregnant Nigerian flees Sharia beating

KANO, Nigeria A pregnant woman has fled her village to escape a sentence of 100 lashes with a cane imposed by an Islamic court, a Nigerian lawyer said yesterday.

The woman, identified only as Sadiya, ran away last week after the Sharia court in the northern town of Bakori found her guilty of adultery, Hauwa Ibrahim of the Nigerian Bar Council said.

The sentence was to be carried out after the birth of her child, said to have been fathered by a married man.

In a separate case, Mr. Ibrahim's colleagues on Monday intervened to win a postponement in the punishment of two young nomads sentenced to lose their hands for stealing a cow.

Meeting on Africa's rescue plan opens

DURBAN, South Africa A three-day World Economic Forum on the ambitious New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) opened here yesterday, with two of NEPAD's main architects taking center stage.

South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo were to explain their vision of NEPAD to about 700 participants during the forum's first plenary session.

Apartheid leader becomes premier

CAPE TOWN, South Africa Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the leader of the party that ruled South Africa under apartheid, was sworn in yesterday as premier of South Africa's Western Cape province after colleague Peter Marais quit following sexual-harassment charges.

The New National Party (NNP), which ruled before 1994 as the National Party, governs the province in conjunction with the ruling African National Congress in a power-sharing deal under which the NNP may choose the premier.

The NNP's Western Cape provincial council voted unanimously yesterday to choose Mr. Van Schalkwyk, 42, to replace Mr. Marais.

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