- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 4, 2007

UKRAINE

Thousands protest government standoff

KIEV — Thousands of flag-waving supporters of Ukraine’s prime minister set up a camp near the parliament building yesterday to protest a decision by the pro-Western president to dissolve the legislative body and call for early elections.

The two leaders, whose rivalry dates to the 2004 Orange Revolution that swept President Viktor Yushchenko to power, met in Mr. Yushchenko’s office for a four-hour talk to try to resolve the standoff.

Mr. Yushchenko stood by his order Monday dissolving Ukraine’s parliament and calling for elections, and appealed for support as hundreds of his supporters set up their own tents on Independence Square.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said the majority coalition in the 450-seat legislature would continue meeting until the Constitutional Court rules on the validity of Mr. Yushchenko’s order.

NIGERIA

Courts deepen electoral confusion

ABUJA — Nigerian courts yesterday deepened the confusion surrounding this month’s elections by delivering two apparently conflicting judgments on whether Vice President Atiku Abubakar can run for president.

The Court of Appeal ruled in the morning that the electoral body had powers to exclude candidates without reference to the courts, dealing an apparently terminal blow to Mr. Abubakar’s presidential ambitions in this month’s elections.

But the Federal High Court — a lower court — in the afternoon ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to include Mr. Abubakar’s name on the list of candidates for the April 21 vote.

SOMALIA

Pirates hijack ship, demand ransom

NAIROBI, Kenya — Somali pirates armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades hijacked an Indian cargo ship for ransom as it was preparing to dock at Mogadishu port, officials said yesterday.

The vessel, the MV Nimatullah, was delivering nearly 900 tons of cargo, when about 10 pirates in a speedboat overpowered 14 crew members early Monday.

On Feb. 25, Somali pirates seized a U.N. chartered vessel that had just delivered food aid.

ITALY

Bishop targeted after gay comment

ROME — The head of the Italian Bishops Conference was under police guard yesterday after someone spray painted “shame” on the doors of his cathedral over his comparison of homosexual rights to incest and pedophilia.

Police said Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco was being accompanied by an escort after graffiti reading “Shame On You Bagnasco” appeared at the San Lorenzo Cathedral in the northern city of Genoa on Monday.

Archbishop Bagnasco has been vocal in the church campaign against legislation that would grant rights to unmarried couples, including homosexuals.

ITALY

4-million-year-old whale skeleton found

ROME — Italian researchers have found the skeleton of a 33-foot prehistoric whale in the Tuscan countryside, a discovery that could shed light on the ancient environment of the sea, officials said.

The skeleton dates to 4 million years ago, to the Pliocene epoch, said paleontologists with the Museum of Natural History in Florence who are studying the fossil.

The skeleton was found a few weeks ago in Orciano Pisano, in the countryside about 50 miles west of Florence and 6 miles east of the Mediterranean. It was found about 100 yards below ground in what used to be the sea occupying most of today’s Tuscany.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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