- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Sao Paulo police hit back at gang

SAO PAULO — Violence eased in the Brazilian business capital Sao Paulo yesterday after police struck back against gangsters who terrorized the city in a bloody five-day conflict that has killed at least 115 persons.

Police sources said units mounted overnight operations, mostly in slums and rough areas of the sprawling city of 20 million. About 90 people were arrested.

State Civil Police Chief Marco Antonio Desgualdo said that at least 71 gangsters, 32 policemen and civil guards, eight prison guards and four civilians have been killed since Friday.


Senate vote blocks Obasanjo bid

ABUJA — Nigerian senators yesterday threw out a bill to amend the constitution, ending a campaign by supporters of President Olusegun Obasanjo to let him stand for a third term in elections next year.

The surprise move was greeted with dancing, shouts of joy and hugs among many senators, who had argued that the amendment was a threat to democracy in Africa’s biggest oil-producing country.

“The Senate has said clearly and eloquently that we will discontinue further processes on this amendment bill,” Senate President Ken Nnamani said after senators resoundingly voted against giving the bill a second reading.


Annan presses Seoul involvement

SEOUL — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday called for the prompt resumption of six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs and urged South Korea to play a greater role in international affairs.

During a meeting with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, Mr. Annan “showed support for the six-party talks aimed at resolving the North Korea nuclear issue and expressed hope they will resume soon,” Mr. Roh’s office said.

“I hope as we move into the future we are going to deepen even further our relationship,” Mr. Annan said. “We expect you to play a greater role in international affairs.”


Web writer gets 12-year sentence

BEIJING — A freelance writer was sentenced to 12 years in prison yesterday, receiving an unusually harsh penalty under one of China’s most severe press crackdowns since the 1980s.

The sentencing of Yang Tianshui on subversion charges was one of a flurry of court actions against Chinese reporters. In Beijing, prosecutors filed a new indictment against a Chinese researcher for the New York Times who has been in custody since 2004 on state-secrets charges. In southern China, a journalist went on trial and pleaded not guilty to extortion charges.

Mr. Yang was convicted after being accused of posting articles on foreign Web sites, receiving money from abroad and helping a would-be opposition party, said his attorney, Li Jianqiang.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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