- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2002

Swazi mom vetoes king's bride choice
JOHANNESBURG A Swaziland feminist went to the country's high court this week to charge courtiers of King Mswati III with abducting her daughter to be trained as his 13th wife. Under Swazi law, the monarch himself cannot be prosecuted.
Arguments broke out between Swazi traditionalists, human rights workers and women's rights activists Tuesday in and outside the tiny high court building in the capital, Mbabane. The landmark case challenges Mswati's status as Africa's last absolute monarch.
The king chose three schoolgirls from hundreds at the umhlanga (reed dance) ceremony last month. One of them, Zena Mahlangu, 18, was picked up from her school in Mbabane by two female courtiers two weeks ago and taken to one of the king's lodges for royal-bride training.
Her mother, Lindiwe Dlamini, an executive of Swaziland's post and telecommunications company, got help from human-rights groups that claimed in court the reputed abduction was a violation of the United Nations Charter and of the U.N. declaration of the Rights of the Child.

U.S. applies pressure for peace in Sudan
KHARTOUM, Sudan Peace talks between the Sudanese government and southern rebels to end 19 years of civil war should lead to a lasting peace, thanks to strong U.S. pressure, analysts said yesterday.
"A new dynamic in favor of peace has been set in motion," said Ibrahim al-Nour, a Sudan specialist at the American University in Cairo. Washington brokered a cease-fire between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Recently, it has resorted to threats to push the peace process forward. President Bush signed a law specifying sanctions against Sudan if its government does not negotiate in good faith.

Ivory smuggling rises amid rising poverty
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo The illicit sale of ivory is on the rise in west Africa's Congo Basin countries, says a study for the European Union.
In the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon and the Central African Republic, ivory-poaching rings have been set up by businessmen working with security forces and people who live near tropical forests, the study said. It blamed financial difficulties among the rural population and rising unemployment among the educated classes.
Many villagers in the region earn the equivalent of 75 U.S. cents a day. The ivory from one elephant tusk, on the other hand, can fetch $22 on the black market.

Weekly notes
Nigeria said yesterday it rejects a World Court ruling granting an oil-rich peninsula to neighboring Cameroon. In the first comprehensive government statement since the Oct. 10 ruling, Transport Minister Ojo Maduekwe said Nigeria disagrees with the judgment because it is based on colonial treaties that Nigeria does not consider legitimate. The court failed to recognize rights of traditional kings and chiefs as true owners of the land, Mr. Maduekwe told reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting. France and Libya have reached a settlement over the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger, with Libya agreeing to pay reparations in accordance with decisions by the French courts. The deal was announced in Paris Tuesday at the close of a two-day meeting attended by French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and his Libyan counterpart, Abdel Rahman Shalgham.

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