- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

NIGERIARuling party man declared winnerABUJA — The ruling party candidate was yesterday declared the winner of Nigeria’s presidential elections after a vote that international observers said was marred by widespread problems including ballot-box stuffing and phony results in Africa’s largest oil producer.As was widely expected, Umaru Yar’Adua, the 56-year old governor of northern Katsina state, won in a landslide. Elected vice president was Goodluck Jonathan, a governor from an oil-rich southern state.In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: “Based on the reports that we have seen, these were flawed elections and in some cases deeply flawed elections.”Turnout appeared low for Saturday’s vote to replace President Olusegun Obasanjo, who leaves office May 29 in Nigeria’s first transfer of power between elected, civilian leaders.IRANNuke talks with EU to resume in TurkeyLUXEMBOURG — Iran and the European Union will resume talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in Turkey tomorrow after the bloc endorsed sanctions against the Islamic republic going beyond U.N. resolutions.EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he would meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, in Ankara in a fresh attempt to persuade Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment, which the West fears is aimed at making an atomic bomb.However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dimmed the prospects of a breakthrough by ruling out a suspension of uranium enrichment.AFGHANISTAN200 Taliban fighters ringed, officials sayKANDAHAR — Afghan forces have trapped up to 200 Taliban fighters in a southern village, possibly including the militia’s military commander, demanding they surrender or come under attack, Afghan officials said yesterday.Afghan police and government officials said the suspected Taliban fighters were surrounded as they gathered for a meeting in the mountain village of Keshay in Uruzgan province on Saturday.Provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Khan said NATO troops were also involved in the siege, but NATO spokeswoman Lt. Col. Angela Billings said she had no such information.SUDANAid groups halt work in Darfur townKHARTOUM — Several international aid agencies said yesterday they were suspending their work in the town of Um Dukhun in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region because of attacks on them.The agencies, which include the British group Oxfam, Save the Children Spain and the U.S.-based Mercy Corps, said the decision would disrupt services to about 100,000 people in the area near the border with Chad and Central African Republic.NORWAY3 sentenced in theft of Munch’s ‘Scream’OSLO — Three men who worked together to steal Edvard Munch’s masterpieces “The Scream” and “Madonna” were sentenced yesterday to prison for their roles in the daylight heist by masked gunmen. Both paintings were recovered in damaged condition.One of the gunmen, the getaway driver and the mastermind of the 2004 theft at Oslo’s Munch Museum were convicted in late March. The second suspected gunman died in November before charges could be filed.From wire dispatches and staff reports

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