- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2005

ZIMBABWE

Voters stay away from election

HARARE — Most of Zimbabwe’s electorate, struggling with an imploding economy and uncertain about the balloting’s significance, chose not to vote in Saturday’s election for a new Senate won by the ruling party before a ballot was cast.

Observers said the average voter turnout in Saturday’s election could end up at about 15 percent of the country’s 3.2 million registered voters.

President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party began the election as a sure winner, with 35 of the 66 seats already reserved for them. The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change had called a boycott of the vote it said was aimed at solidifying Mr. Mugabe’s grip on power.



Results yesterday showed ZANU-PF had won 12 of the 17 seats announced.

CHINA

Mine explosion kills 40, traps others

BEIJING — An explosion at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province of northeastern China has killed 40 persons and trapped 138 others, the official Xinhua news agency reported today.

The explosion occurred at 9:10 p.m. yesterday at the Dongfeng Coal Mine, which is operated by the Qitaihe branch of Heilongjiang Longmei Mining (Group) Co. Ltd., Xinhua said.

About 220 miners were working underground at the time of the explosion, it said.

It did not specify a reason for the explosion.

IRAQ

Those abroad OK’d to vote for parliament

BAGHDAD — Iraqis living abroad will be able to take part in next month’s elections for a new parliament with voting set up in 15 other countries, the electoral commission said yesterday.

They will be able to vote from Dec. 13 to 15, the day when Iraq goes to the polls in the latest phase in the country’s political transition.

A principal out-of-country voting office will be set up in the capital of neighboring Jordan, and Iraqis will also be able to vote in Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

SWITZERLAND

Genetically modified plants banned

ZURICH — Switzerland voted in favor of a five-year ban on the use of genetically modified plants and animals in farming yesterday, putting in place some of the toughest measures in Europe.

The move, supported by farmers, ecologists and consumer groups, will force the government to impose a blanket ban on the cultivation of so-called “genetically modified organism” (GMO) crops and the import of animals whose genes have been modified in the laboratory.

SPAIN

Muslim leaders are summit no-shows

BARCELONA — A first-ever summit between European leaders and their Mediterranean-rim neighbors started yesterday, clouded by the absence of most of the mostly Muslim partner leaders.

The two-day gathering of the 25-nation European Union’s leaders with 10 of their southern neighbors began with a state dinner hosted by Spain’s King Juan Carlos in Barcelona.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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