- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2006


127 feared dead as ferry sinks

YAOUNDE — Fishermen searched the seas off Cameroon yesterday for 127 persons feared dead after a ferry sank.

The boat was bound for the central African nation of Gabon from a town in Nigeria near Cameroon’s border. First word of the accident came when fishermen found bodies floating off the port town of Kribi on Wednesday, an official said.

Survivors said 150 persons from Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast were on board, and 23 were rescued.


Japan’s monthly loans to China shelved

TOKYO — Japan said yesterday it was freezing its loans to China through the end of this month because of worsening relations between the two nations, which increasingly have become economic rivals.

Criticism is mounting in Japan that China’s booming economy no longer needs the handouts. The two also are squabbling over natural resources and the bitter legacy of World War II.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Japan won’t give any more of the loans to China during the current fiscal year, which ends next Friday. He said the government may release the loans again next month if the situation improves.


Colonial pet tortoise dead at 250

CALCUTTA — A giant aldabra tortoise thought to be about 250 years old has died in the Calcutta zoo of liver failure, Indian authorities said .

The tortoise had been the pet of Robert Clive, the famous British military officer in Colonial India during the 18th century, a West Bengal state official said.

Local authorities say the tortoise, named “Addwaitya,” or “the One and Only” in Bengali and Sanskrit, was gifted to Clive by British sailors, who brought it from the Seychelles islands.


Gandhi resigns from Parliament

NEW DELHI — The chief of India’s ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, quit yesterday as member of Parliament and a key advisory body, after accusations that she had violated the constitution by holding both posts.

But the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was under no danger, analysts said, adding that the Italian-born Mrs. Gandhi likely would return to Parliament in six months after a fresh election.

India’s constitution bars members of Parliament from holding what it calls an office of profit.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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