- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006


Pressure forces papers to close

BAKU — Editors of two popular newspapers in Azerbaijan have closed their publications, citing what one said yesterday was pressure from authorities.

Shahvalad Cobanoglu, of the 11,000-circulation Gundelik Azerbaycan (Daily Azerbaijan), said that staff at his newspaper and a sister publication, Real Azerbaijan, have been threatened, along with their families, by unknown people. One journalist faced an attempted kidnapping, he said.

Both newspapers published their last issue Tuesday. The weekly Real Azerbaijan has a circulation of 29,000.

Also yesterday, a journalist from a newspaper critical of the government was sentenced to three years in prison on drug possession charges.


Official resigns; paid U.S. mistress

ACCRA — Ghana’s transportation minister has resigned after an inquiry found him guilty of abuse of office in connection with payments to his American mistress, a government spokeswoman said yesterday.

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, which acts as an ombudsman in the West African state, had recommended on Sept. 22 that Richard Anane be fired. Mr. Anane stepped down late Tuesday after 18 months of investigations into how he could afford to send $100,000 to the woman in the United States.

Mr. Anane’s troubles began after his relationship with U.S. health worker Alexandria O’Brien turned sour. Miss O’Brien lives in Virginia and had a son with Mr. Anane. The two met at an HIV conference in 2001 when Mr. Anane was health minister.


Turkey withdraws welcome mat

BRUSSELS — Turkey has caused outrage among European parliamentarians by canceling a long-planned visit because the delegation includes a Cypriot.

“We do not let Turkey dictate the membership of our delegations,” the chairman of the European Parliament’s environment committee, Karl-Heinz Florenz, said yesterday.

The delegation to Turkey planned to hold talks with Turkish ministers on environmental, health, agriculture and energy matters.


Mosquito-borne diseases kill dozens

NEW DELHI — Health officials struggled yesterday to cope with outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases in northern and southern India that have killed at least 87 persons and overwhelmed hospitals and clinics.

The dengue outbreak began in late August, and the death toll in New Delhi and surrounding areas of northern India rose to 16 yesterday when a patient at the institute died.

The situation was even worse in the state of Kerala, where 71 persons have died from a mosquito-borne viral fever known as chikungunya.


Militants raise fight at pumping station

PORT HARCOURT — Security forces battled militants in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta yesterday after attacks on an oil company convoy and a pumping station, officials said.

An e-mail from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said nine persons were killed in 90 minutes of fighting with government forces at the pumping station belonging to a Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary about 25 miles west of Port Harcourt.

The group also said it captured two government gunboats in fighting at the station, which handles about 70,000 barrels a day. The army gave no casualty figures and it was not possible to confirm the militants’ claim.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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