- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 3, 2006

Gaza Strip

Massive strike challenges Hamas

RAMALLAH — Tens of thousands of Palestinian government employees went on strike in the West Bank and Gaza Strip yesterday to protest unpaid salaries and the perceived failings of the Hamas-led government.

It was the first major work stoppage of its kind since Hamas, an Islamist militant group, came to power in March and amounted to a challenge to the government’s authority by the rival Fatah movement, which supports the strike.

Most schools across the West Bank, home to 2.4 million Palestinians, were closed on the first day of the new academic year, with teachers among the strongest backers of the strike, called for by a major workers union.


Morales confronts new gas protests

LA PAZ — President Evo Morales sent troops yesterday to break up a demonstration by Guarani Indians who threatened to shut the valves at one of Bolivia’s largest natural gas pipelines to protest a lack of investment in the region.

It was the second time in less than a week the Bolivian leader dispatched soldiers to break up demonstrations at pipelines in the country.

The demonstrations have proved a politically sensitive issue for Mr. Morales, pitting demands from his poor Indian base against businesses worried about his decision to nationalize the country’s energy sector May 1.


River ship sinks; eight missing

LA PAZ — Eight persons are missing after a storm sank a Bolivian navy river ship with 22 persons aboard, the head of Bolivia’s navy said yesterday.

The ship was sailing on the Paraguay River, in southeastern Bolivia near the border with Brazil, when it ran into a storm late Friday, said Rear Admiral Ernesto Roca.

The Brazilian navy later said that 65-foot Suarez Arana sank around midnight Friday 44 miles from the Brazilian port of Corumba.


Aid workers warn of humanitarian crisis

COLOMBO — Aid workers yesterday warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if the United Nations and Red Cross pull out of Sri Lanka, where agency staff are facing mounting restrictions and threats to their safety amid a worsening civil conflict.

U.N. agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross are the only relief groups with access to some parts of the north and east, where the government is locked in fierce battles with Tamil Tiger rebels. Hundreds of thousands of mostly ethnic Tamils in those areas are facing food, water and other shortages.


No charges for rebel if truce deal holds

KAMPALA — President Yoweri Museveni pledged to intervene to prevent notorious guerrilla leader Joseph Kony from facing international war crimes charges if his group agreed to end one of Africa’s longest insurgencies.

Under a truce agreed on a week ago, Lord’s Resistance Army fighters and Kony, their leader, have three weeks to move to two camps in southern Sudan while talks continue.

But Kony and his top deputies are wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which named them in its first warrants in October.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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