- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2005

KENYA

U.S. urged patience on court deal

NAIROBI — Kenya yesterday expressed irritation about “arm-twisting” by the United States over a deal that would give U.S. citizens immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Already faced with a loss in millions of dollars in U.S. military aid if it does not sign a so-called “Article 98 agreement,” Nairobi said Washington should stop haranguing it on the matter and be patient as the deal is considered.

“They are arm-twisting us to agree with them,” Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told reporters at a press conference. “Our position is that we shall not be pressured by anybody in order to do things that we are not ready to do.”

BOLIVIA

Protesters demand new constitution

LA PAZ — Demonstrators used a stranglehold of roadblocks yesterday to push for a rewrite of Bolivia’s constitution and for nationalization of the impoverished country’s vast natural gas wealth.

Marchers tried to cut off the capital in a bold confrontation with the legislature and the government of President Carlos Mesa.

They want lawmakers to approve a constituent assembly to overhaul the constitution in South America’s poorest country, where interests in the impoverished Andean highlands — where La Paz is located — increasingly clash with the less traditional, more prosperous tropical eastern plains.

SOUTH AFRICA

Former top aide convicted of fraud

DURBAN — A South African court found a former financial adviser to Deputy President Jacob Zuma guilty of corruption and fraud yesterday, raising pressure on the man who had been seen as the next president.

The decision immediately revived opposition calls for Mr. Zuma to resign and for parliament to reopen a probe into a multibillion-dollar arms deal at the center of the case.

Schabir Shaik, a friend of Mr. Zuma’s from the anti-apartheid struggle, was convicted of fraud and two counts of corruption.

RUSSIA

Beslan mothers consider pardon

VLADIKAVKAZ — Mothers of the 190 children killed in the Beslan school hostage massacre last year said yesterday that they were prepared to seek a pardon for the lone captured suspect, Nurpashi Kulayev, provided that he told the truth in his trial.

Mr. Kulayev, 24, is accused of being one of 32 hostage-takers who seized a public school in the southern Russian town of Beslan on Sept. 1. He was the only militant captured alive after the ferocious battle between the hostage-takers and Russian special forces, mixed with armed locals.

MEXICO

Police commander fatally shot

MONTERREY — Gunmen killed a Mexican police commander in front of his young daughter yesterday, the second attack on a senior officer in the violent city of Nuevo Laredo on the U.S. border in two days.

Municipal police Commander Enrique Cardenas was killed outside his house as he left to drive his daughter to school in the city, which lies south of Laredo, Texas, a police spokeswoman said.

Nuevo Laredo is a major transit point for both legitimate trade goods and narcotics entering the United States, and it is in the grip of a war between rival drug gangs.

At least 57 persons, including six police officers, have been killed in the city this year as traffickers from western Sinaloa state and a local cartel have battled for control of the lucrative cross-border trade in cocaine and marijuana.


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