- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 17, 2003

ZIMBABWE

U.S. journalist expelled by Mugabe regime

HARARE — Defying court orders, Zimbabwe immigration officials deported yesterday a U.S. journalist accused of violating the country’s stringent new media laws.

Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent for the London-based Guardian newspaper who has lived in Zimbabwe for 23 years, was the fourth foreign journalist expelled from the country in the past two years.

Police blindfolded Mr. Meldrum and drove him around on dirt roads before taking him to the airport, despite a High Court ruling yesterday that found no justification for his detention.

FRANCE

Top Chirac aide ordered to stand trial

PARIS — A judge yesterday ordered the head of President Jacques Chirac’s political party to stand trial for a City Hall jobs scandal stemming from Mr. Chirac’s tenure as Paris mayor, judicial officials said.

Alain Juppe, considered a presidential contender in 2007, is one of dozens of Chirac allies targeted by judges investigating reports that some City Hall employees were working for the president’s party and cashing in on fake jobs during his time as mayor, from 1977 to 1995.

CONGO

Shaky cease-fire marred by tribal skirmishes

BUNIA — Sporadic gunfire echoed in the hills surrounding a troubled northeastern Congolese town yesterday, hours after rival factions battling for control of the area agreed to stop fighting.

The cease-fire deal between the rival Hema and Lendu tribes was to go into effect by the end of the day, but it wasn’t clear how long it would hold. Tens of thousands of people have fled Bunia since the latest fighting broke out May 7 after neighboring Uganda withdrew more than 6,000 troops as part of efforts to end five years of civil war.

BRITAIN

Epilepsy drug may help alcoholics kick the habit

LONDON — An epilepsy drug offers significant promise in helping alcoholics quit drinking and appears to be more effective than drugs in use for the problem, a study found.

Half the 55 alcoholics who took the antiseizure drug topiramate either quit drinking or cut back their drinking sharply.

Researchers found that those given the medication were six times as likely as those on a dummy pill to abstain from alcohol for a month, according to the report published yesterday in the Lancet.

GEORGIA

Court rules Chechens won’t go to Moscow

TBILISI — Georgia’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that two Chechens wanted by Moscow will not be extradited to Russia and instead will be tried in a Georgian court.

The court overturned a decision by the prosecutor general’s office earlier this year to extradite Khussein Alkhanov and Ruslan Gelogayev to Russia for illegally crossing the Russian-Georgian border.

The men belonged to a group of 13 suspected of being Chechen separatist rebels arrested in August in Georgia’s lawless Pankisi Gorge, which Moscow says is used by rebels to stage attacks into neighboring Russian territory.

VENEZUELA

Money controls keep pageant hopeful home

CARACAS — For the first time in four decades, Miss Venezuela won’t compete in the Miss Universe pageant because of strict foreign-exchange controls imposed amid a general strike earlier this year.

The Miss Venezuela Organization announced yesterday that it was not able to obtain the dollars needed to send a candidate to the June 3 pageant in Panama.

In the past 24 years, the Miss Venezuela Organization’s contestants have won the three most important international beauty contests 12 times, more than any other country.


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