- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

SOUTH AFRICA

Homicide rate drops, but rapes increase

PRETORIA — South African police yesterday reported a drop in homicides and attempted killings during the past year but said rape and drug-related offenses were up.

It was the fourth year in a row that the national crime statistics showed a decline in the number of homicides in South Africa, which has been battling a high level of crime since the 1990s.

According to the latest figures, about 18,793 homicides were reported in the country of 46 million over the past year, a 5.2 percent drop from 2003 through 2004.

The incidence of rape rose by 4 percent to 55,114 cases from 2004 to 2005, while indecent assault reports went up by 8.8 percent to 10,123 cases. About 40 percent of rape victims and 47.7 percent of indecent assault victims were children.

UKRAINE

Speaker accused in journalist’s slaying

KIEV — A commission investigating the kidnapping and killing of a journalist five years ago has accused the parliament’s speaker of instigating the slaying, a Web site with the panel’s findings said yesterday.

Heorhiy Gongadze, an Internet journalist who wrote about high-level corruption, was kidnapped and killed in 2000. His decapitated body was found in a forest outside Kiev.

Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn had “instigated the abduction,” said the legislative commission. Its findings stemmed from recordings in which voices resembling those of Mr. Lytvyn, former President Leonid Kuchma and other officials reportedly are heard conspiring against Mr. Gongadze, said a report posted on a parliamentary Web site yesterday.

NORTHERN IRELAND

IRA told to stand, deliver

BELFAST — The outlawed Irish Republican Army must deliver soon on its July 28 promises to disarm and cease all threatening activities, the British secretary of state for Northern Ireland said yesterday in his first major speech about the peace process.

Peter Hain, who was appointed to the post in May, said widespread Protestant rioting earlier this month was fueled, in part, by fears about the province’s Good Friday peace accord of 1998.

The British and Irish governments expect the IRA in the next few weeks to confirm it has scrapped its stockpiled weapons in cooperation with a retired Canadian general, John de Chastelain, in what would be a major breakthrough for Northern Ireland’s 12-year-old peace process.

NETHERLANDS

Talk show host to use drugs on air

AMSTERDAM — A field reporter for a new Dutch television talk show plans to use heroin and other illegal drugs on the air during the weekly program on issues that concern young people, producers said yesterday.

The announcement of “Shoot Up and Swallow,” scheduled to premiere as a late-night show Oct. 10, sparked an outcry. Even in the liberal Netherlands, where marijuana is sold and used openly, the proposed drug use by reporter Filemon Wesselink is illegal.

Justice Ministry spokesman Ivo Hommes said it was not clear whether Mr. Wesselink could be prosecuted. Possession of any amount of heroin is illegal, but police usually do not arrest anyone with less than a half-gram of the addictive narcotic.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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