16 March 2006 Edition

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International: News in Brief

Italy

Milan's attorney general has called for Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and British lawyer, David Mills, husband of British Culture secretary Tessa Jowell, to be brought to court. Berlusconi could face charges for involvement in bribing witnesses taking the stand in one of his trials for corruption, while Mills may be charged with committing perjury.

Srebenica

As the first trial for the Srebenica massacre opens, with eleven former Serb-Bosnian policemen charged for their participation in the killing of about 1,000 Bosnian Muslims, former Serb president Slobodan Milosevic, who presided over the country during the Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian and Kosovo wars, was discovered dead in his cell in the Hague.

Up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed after Serb-Bosnian troops took over Srebenica, a safe enclave for war refugees protected by UN troops.

Bolivia

Bolivia's courts are investigating Spanish-Argentinean oil company Repsol-YPF for the possible smuggling of equipment into the country. Two of the company's senior officers, Julio Gavito and Pedro Sánchez, cannot be found to be questioned.

This new investigation could jeopardise the company's future in Bolivia, as the courts are already investigating the possible smuggling of up-to 230,000 barrels of oil, with a value of 9.2 million, out of the country last month.

France

A move by French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, to force a measure through parliament, making it easier to fire workers aged under 26, has provoked a vigorous backlash.

More than 400,000 people joined street demonstrations across France against the move and half of the country's 88 universities have been shut down by student sit-ins. Riot police using tear gas and batons confronted 200 students in the Sorbonne.

Brazil

A group of about 2,000 rural activists, linked to Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST), invaded a eucalyptus plantation in Aracruz Celulose in the early hours of Wednesday 8 March, tearing up bulbs and destroying 15 years of genetic research, according to the company. Those responsible said they were opening up a new front in the fight for justice in rural areas and against multinational agricultural businesses, that displace small farmers and make the land useless for agriculture purposes.


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