20 April 2006 Edition

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International news in brief

EU cannot rule out cancer link to GM foods

Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace say they have documents which show how the EU Commission has serious concerns over the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms consumption despite telling the public it is safe to eat them and feed them to farm animals. The two groups are citing a report submitted by the commission to the World Trade Organisation that warns that there are still large areas of scientific uncertainty and disagreement, and that based on current data there is no way to rule out the development of cancer or allergies as a result of GMOs.

Balkans flooding

Emergency teams in the Balkans had to shore up flood defences along the River Danube and its tributaries, but several thousand people have already been evacuated from their homes in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. The floods were caused by melting snow and heavy rainfall.

The Danube has reached its highest level since 1895 in Romania, where some farmland and forest areas have been deliberately flooded to protect towns.

Nepal protests continue

Security forces in Nepal are reported to have shot dead another anti-monarchy protester as an opposition general strike enters its twelfth day. Witnesses said troops opened fire on protesters in the town of Nijgadh, 200km (125 miles) south of Kathmandu.

Nepal is experiencing food shortages and price rises because of the strike called by the opposition which has led protests against King Gyanendra, who disband parliament and decided to come back to authoritarian rule last year. The king says he needs direct powers to tackle the Maoist insurgency, but rebel violence has increased under his rule.


A Palestinian suicide bomber killed nine people along with himself and injured about 50 more in Tel Aviv. The bombing, which came during the festival of Passover, was the first suicide attack in Israel since January.

Since the start of April, Israeli forces say they have fired more than 2,000 artillery shells into the northern Gaza Strip. Sami Abu Zuhri, the official spokesman for Hamas, said the attack was "a natural result of the continued Israeli crimes" against Palestinians.

British doctor jailed over Iraq war

An RAF doctor who refused to serve in Iraq because he thought that the war was illegal has been sentenced to eight months in prison. Flight Lieutenant Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith, 37, was also dismissed from the RAF by a panel of fellow officers after he was found guilty of disobeying five lawful orders for refusing to travel in Basra last year. During his case, Flight Lieutenant Kendall-Smith, who served with distinction in Afghanistan and was twice deployed to Iraq, argued that he had become convinced that the war in Iraq was an act of aggression and that he would be complicit in an illegal war if he went to the country for a third time.

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