- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 5, 2007


Taylor surfaces for crimes trial

THE HAGUE — Former Liberian President Charles Taylor made a surprise appearance at the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone on Tuesday after having boycotted his war-crimes trial since it began in early June.

Mr. Taylor, who is charged with directing atrocities in Sierra Leone and instigating murder, rape and mutilation in a quest for the country’s diamonds, had argued he had inadequate funds to mount a proper defense and had refused to show up to court.

However, after judges ordered that Mr. Taylor be assigned a new defense team and postponed the trial until Aug. 20 to allow them time to prepare, Mr. Taylor walked in late to the procedural hearing in which judges outlined their ruling.


United Africa plan being considered

ACCRA — African leaders have vowed to speed up the economic and political integration of their continent to pursue the goal of a United States of Africa, but they also agreed to study more closely how to achieve it.

The decision, announced Tuesday, followed three days of often heated debate at an African Union summit in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, that overran its scheduled closing time by half a day.

It represented a face-saving compromise between some leaders who wanted to set up a continental African government immediately, and others who favored a more gradual, step-by-step approach.


Darfur dangerous despite peace treaty

KHARTOUM — European parliamentarians said yesterday that Sudan’s troubled Darfur region had become no safer since a peace treaty was signed a year ago.

Widespread insecurity in the remote Western region was preventing any development there, the 10-member delegation from the European Parliament’s development committee said after a three-day visit there.

They blamed fragmentation of rebel groups and the failure to disarm militias, some of which were being for the continued conflict.


Economic crisis hits wildlife preserves

JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe, once one of Africa’s premier safari destinations, has suffered severe wildlife losses on private game ranches and conservancies owing to forced farm seizures and the country’s economic crisis.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, an animal-welfare group, said the farm seizures ordered by President Robert Mugabe’s government in 2000 triggered an estimated 83 percent slump in wildlife on private farms and conservancies.

The drop also closely followed a dramatic decline in the number of Zimbabwe’s private wildlife ranches and conservancies, which the group blamed largely on government land policy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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