- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2006

NIGERIA

Panic selling helps spread bird flu

KANO — The country’s top veterinary specialist warned yesterday that panic selling is fueling Africa’s first bird-flu outbreak as authorities banned backyard poultry from Abuja, the capital.

President Olusegun Obasanjo met with officials from donor agencies and foreign governments to appeal for more help to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease.

Dr. Lami Lombin, director of the National Veterinary Research Institute, said panic selling by poultry farmers is helping spread the infection, which threatens to spill over from the north into the densely populated south.

SOUTH AFRICA

Court discredits Zuma search warrant

JOHANNESBURG — Jacob Zuma, who was fired as deputy president in a major corruption scandal, scored a victory yesterday when a court declared that a search warrant that investigators used to seize documents was illegal.

The high court in Durban ruled that the search warrant was “unjustified” and its execution “unlawful,” said Mr. Zuma’s attorney Michael Hulley. The court ordered the return of documents seized at Mr. Zuma’s house and at the offices of his attorneys.

Once a front-runner to succeed President Thabo Mbeki when he steps down in 2009, Mr. Zuma faces two charges of corruption and is scheduled to go on trial in July. In a separate case, Mr. Zuma is facing a charge of rape; that trial has been postponed to March 6.

ALGERIA

Torrential rains flood desert refugee camps

ALGIERS — Tents, blankets and other emergency items are being rushed to refugee camps in the Algerian Sahara that were hit by rare torrential rains, causing severe flooding, the U.N. refugee agency said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday that floods last week left more than 50,000 Sahrawi refugees without shelter, destroying up to half the mud-brick houses at camps in Awserd, Smara and Laayoune in western Algeria’s Tindouf region.

The floods reportedly killed one woman and injured several other people, the agency said. The camps house refugees who fled Western Sahara in 1975 during a conflict with Morocco over the right to govern the vast, mineral-rich territory. A U.N.-brokered 1991 cease-fire called for a referendum on the region’s future, which has never been held.

Weekly notes …

Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema begins a two-day official visit to Angola today to develop economic cooperation in the oil sector. He was invited by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to discuss prospects for cooperation between Angola, sub-Sahara Africa’s No. 2 oil exporter after Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea, whose oil and natural gas outputs are growing. … Animist soothsayers in Niger predict floods and strong harvests during this year’s farming season in the impoverished West African country, state television reports. All forms of long-term weather forecasting are notoriously difficult, but the Azna soothsayers widely have been correct in the past two years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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