- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Brazil’s Lula offers oil know-how, credit

HAVANA — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered Cuba millions of dollars in credit yesterday and committed Brazil to help the communist-run country explore for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

But it was not immediately clear whether the leftist former labor leader achieved his cherished goal of meeting ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro during a 24-hour visit, his second to Cuba as president of Latin America’s largest nation.

Mr. Castro, 81, has not appeared in public since undergoing stomach surgery that forced him to hand over the running of Cuba to his brother Raul in July 2006.


Opposition wins speaker’s post

NAIROBI — Parliament elected a speaker from the opposition yesterday, heralding serious legislative problems for President Mwai Kibaki after his disputed re-election last month unleashed a wave of bloodshed.

After three rounds of voting, Kenneth Marende, the candidate of the Orange Democratic Movement, achieved the required simple majority in Parliament’s first session since more than 600 people were killed in post-election violence. Mr. Marende won 105 votes compared with 101 for the government candidate, outgoing Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo.

In a new blow to prospects for ending the crisis, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, due in Nairobi yesterday to head mediation efforts, delayed his mission for several days because of illness.


Diplomatic row with Russia worsens

LONDON — Russia and Britain traded threats and recrimination yesterday as a diplomatic feud over the role of the British government’s cultural arm worsened.

Russia threatened further action against the operations of the British Council, while London hit out at Moscow’s crackdown on two of the cultural body’s offices, saying the move would only exacerbate the spat.

Moscow announced Monday it would impose visa restrictions against regional offices of the Council in St. Petersburg and the Urals city of Yekaterinburg that are defying a Kremlin order to suspend operations.


India denied uranium over nuke treaty

PERTH — Australia’s new government told an Indian envoy yesterday that it will not sell uranium to his country while it is not a member of the global nonproliferation treaty.

The comments uphold a policy that would scuttle the previous government’s plans to start negotiating a uranium trade with India to fuel the country’s skyrocketing demand for electricity.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith, appointed after the Labor Party ousted former Prime Minister John Howard’s government in November, held talks with Shyam Saran, a representative of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


Opposition presses for vote recount

TBILISI — Georgia’s opposition vowed yesterday to mount a legal challenge and keep up protests to force authorities to hold a recount of a presidential election which it says incumbent Mikhail Saakashvili rigged in his favor.

Mr. Saakashvili, a strongly pro-Western leader who wants to take the former Soviet state into NATO, claimed victory after official results showed he won 53 percent of the vote in the Jan. 5 election, just enough to avoid a second-round runoff.

An opposition spokeswoman said Mr. Saakashvili’s opponents would submit a complaint to a Tbilisi court demanding that the election results be declared void.

The government, meanwhile, pressed ahead with plans to inaugurate Mr. Saakashvili as president for a second term on Sunday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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