1 March 2007 Edition

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International news in brief

Senegal

Voting took place on Sunday, in Senegal’s presidential elections. The West African nation is frequently cited as an example of a stable democracy, but is racked by increasing poverty with many being driven from the land. Often, they end up on the beaches or in marooned boats in the waters of Europe. Presidential incumbent Abdoulaye Wade is up against 14 rivals as he seeks a second term. Other leading contenders are Moustapha Niasse and the youthful Idrissa Seck, who have both served as prime ministers in President Wade’s administration.

Guinea

Trade union leaders in Guinea say they will suspend a general strike that started six weeks ago, after President Lansana Conte agreed to replace his prime minister with one from a list compiled by unions and the opposition.
The strike began more than six weeks ago, as unions demanded the appointment of an independent prime minister to carry out wide-ranging reforms. Since then, more than 100 demonstrators have been shot dead by the security forces and martial law imposed.

Bolivia

International aid from Venezuela and Perú has begun to arrive in Bolivia which, in recent weeks, has seen its worst flooding in 25 years. The rising waters killed 40 people, with tens of thousands of people forced from their homes. Health officials have also reported outbreaks of dengue fever. President Evo Morales blames the floods on developed states failing to tackle climate change. Meteorologists say the El Nino phenomenon is the root cause. Issuing an appeal for $9.2m, the UN described the flooding as the country’s most devastating disaster ever, warning that water supplies have been severely contaminated.


East-Timor/ Guatemala

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta has formally announced his candidacy for the presidency of East Timor. The elections take place in April. Ramos-Horta has been prime minister since last year, when he was appointed following widespread riots and an alleged coup attempt. He previously served as East Timor’s foreign minister. Current president, former guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao has stated he will not be running for re-election. Ramos-Horta’s bid comes as another Nobel Peace Prize winner, indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchu, also announced she will be standing for presidency of Guatemala.


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