- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 2, 2003

NIGERIA

Dozens hurt in protest over rise in fuel costs

ABUJA — Scores of people were injured during a stampede here in the capital after troops fired live rounds and tear gas into the air to disperse strikers demonstrating against huge fuel-price increases.

Militants from the Nigeria Labor Congress had tried to force traders in a central market to obey a stay-home order. Police had been unable to disperse the NLC protesters, who had arrived in a motorcade flanked by hundreds of motorcycle taxis, and troops had been called to restore order, a witness said. Reports suggested that dozens had been hurt, but it was not known whether anyone had been shot.



MAURITANIA

Illegal immigrants barred from using nation as hub

MADRID — Spain and Mauritania have signed an accord to discourage would-be immigrants from using the northwest African country as a transit hub on their way to Spain and, eventually, the rest of the European Union.

The accord was signed Tuesday on the first day of a visit here by Mauritanian President Maaouiya Sid Ahmed Ould Taya. Signing the agreement with her Mauritanian counterpart, Mohamed Ould Tolba, Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio said the deal follows EU directives on immigration policy.

Mauritania is not a significant source of illegal immigration to the European Union, but it serves as transit territory for would-be immigrants from such other countries as Senegal and Mali, who go from there to Spain’s Canary Islands. The new agreement ensures that illegal West African immigrants are returned to Mauritania even if they are not nationals of the country.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

U.N. seeks money to combat AIDS

GENEVA — The U.N. food agency yesterday appealed for $308 million to prevent millions of people from starving in southern Africa, where farmers often die from AIDS.

AIDS threatens to wipe out much of southern Africa’s economically active population, with life expectancy expected to fall below 30 years by 2010 if existing trends in deaths from the disease continue.

James Morris, executive director of the World Food Program, said 6.5 million people could starve next year in southern Africa owing to agriculture being stifled by AIDS. Mr. Morris said it is important that AIDS victims be well-fed so that antiretroviral drugs could work effectively.

Weekly notes …

Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change is to send senior members to South Africa and Mozambique to urge international leaders to pressure President Robert Mugabe’s government to engage in talks, an MDC official said yesterday. The announcement came as MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai called on Mr. Mugabe to step down. … South Africa’s last white president, F.W. de Klerk, was subpoenaed to testify on behalf of 13 white defendants in the country’s first post-apartheid treason trial. Defense lawyer Paul Kruger says Mr. de Klerk could supply evidence of the defense team’s contention that South Africa’s post-apartheid government and courts have no legal jurisdiction over whites. Mr. Kruger represents 13 of 22 white men accused of plotting to overthrow South Africa’s black-led government and assassinate Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president, who retired in 1999.

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