- - Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Cholera now in capital; rapid spread feared

PORT-AU-PRINCE | A cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 600 people in Haiti has gained a foothold in earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince and is expected to spread widely and quickly in the sprawling city of 3 million people, health authorities said Tuesday.

The three-week-old epidemic, which had mostly hit Haiti’s rural central regions so far, now menaced crowded slum areas of the capital, as well as tent and tarpaulin camps there housing more than 1.3 million survivors of the Jan. 12 quake.

The spreading epidemic, which experts predict will be worsened by flooding caused by Hurricane Tomas earlier this month, has piled another humanitarian emergency on the Western Hemisphere’s poorest state as it struggles to recover from the devastating earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people.


New violence reported in Western Sahara

RABAT | New clashes erupted in the Western Sahara on Tuesday between Moroccan security forces and local people seeking independence for the vast, resource-rich desert region, activists said.

People in the regional capital used rocks and sticks in street battles with Moroccan police conducting house-to-house searches, said Brahim Ahmed, an activist for the native Saharawi people.

Violence exploded Monday after Moroccan forces using tear-gas and high-pressure water cannons tore down a tent camp set up by some 20,000 Saharawi outside of the territory’s main city, Laayoune, to protest discrimination and deprivation at the hands of the Moroccan government, activists said.


Party congress to chart economic future

HAVANA | Communist Party leaders say Cuba should balance its budget, repay billions of dollars in debt and stop propping up failing state-run companies, according to a document being circulated ahead of a major summit designed to save this cash-strapped island from financial ruin.

The 32-page paper, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press, was handed out to local party activists Monday during a speech by President Raul Castro, in which he announced that Cuba would hold a make-or-break Communist Party Congress in April.

The document also recommends ending an unusual dual-currency system and seeking new ways for individuals to buy and sell private property.


18 prisoners dead in prison rebellion

RIO DE JANEIRO | Authorities negotiated an end to a rebellion in an overcrowded Brazilian prison Tuesday after fighting between rival gangs left 18 inmates dead - including six who were decapitated - officials said.

A prison employee who was overpowered and shot twice with his own weapon during the initial uprising was in a stable condition in a Sao Luis hospital, according to Ribamar Cunha, spokesman for the northeastern state of Maranhao. Five hostages, all prison workers, were released unharmed.

Inmates behind the 27-hour standoff complained that the penitentiary, built to house 2,000 prisoners, was holding twice that number.


Cabinet reshuffle likely in coming days

PARIS | President Nicolas Sarkozy could reshuffle his Cabinet as early as next week, government sources said Tuesday, as he seeks to move on from an unpopular pension reform and look ahead to a 2012 election.

Sources say he will retain Francois Fillon, a capable ally who appeals to his core conservative electorate, as prime minister, and could bring in Alain Juppe, a former prime minister and heavyweight of the ruling center-right UMP party.

Mr. Sarkozy is still fine-tuning his choices for ministries like finance and foreign affairs, the sources said, but will serve up a trimmer Cabinet with a better gender balance and redraw some ministry lines as he aims to put a messy showdown with unions over pension reform behind him.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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