- - Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Diplomats in flurry to stem Nile crisis

CAIRO | Senior Egyptian officials left for Khartoum on Wednesday amid a diplomatic flurry that will see several African leaders in Cairo in the coming weeks seeking to contain the region’s water-sharing crisis.

Mohammed Nasredine Allam, Egypt’s minister for water resources and irrigation, was heading to Sudan for talks on Nile water sharing after five upstream countries signed a deal that Cairo and Khartoum rejected, the official MENA news agency reported.

Mr. Allam, accompanied by senior foreign ministry officials, is expected to discuss with his Sudanese counterpart, Kamal Ali, “ways for both countries to maintain their rights [to Nile water] based on international agreements.”

Under a 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan, they get most of the water flow.


Report: Police routinely kill, rape suspects

LAGOS | Nigeria’s police routinely carry out extrajudicial killings of suspects, and torture or rape them while in detention, according to a study released Wednesday by civil rights groups.

The report said the pattern emerging from its study is that the underfunded and ill-equipped police in Africa’s most populous country are “more likely to commit crimes than prevent them.”

The police “routinely carry out summary executions of persons accused or suspected of crime,” said the report by New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative and the Network of Police Reform in Nigeria.

The police also rely on torture as the main method of investigation with every major police station equipped with a “torture chamber.”


Purchased animals bound for North Korea

HARARE | Wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe on Wednesday defended selling two baby elephants and other animals to North Korea, and said veterinary experts sent to the Asian nation were satisfied it is suitably equipped to care for them.

The two 18-month-old elephants, in quarantine in holding pens in western Zimbabwe, were priced at $10,000 each. Officials said the animal airlift includes breeding pairs of giraffe, zebra, antelope, hyenas, monkeys and birds.

Conservationists, though, say the elephants are unlikely to survive the trip by air separated from their mothers.


Pirate’s mom appeals for his release

NAIROBI | The mother of a Somali pirate who pleaded guilty to charges of hijacking a U.S.-flagged ship and kidnapping its captain appealed to President Obama on Wednesday to pardon her son and grant him citizenship.

Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court on Tuesday to several charges, including hostage-taking and conspiracy. He faces a minimum of 27 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 19.

Reached by phone in the central Somali town where she lives, Muse’s mother asked Mr. Obama for leniency, saying her son is too young to have been tried as an adult.

Prosecutors say Muse led four pirates who stormed the Maersk Alabama in April 2009 as it carried humanitarian supplies 280 miles off Somalia’s coast.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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