5 July 2007 Edition

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International : News in Brief

Turkey

The European Union is risking an Islamic backlash in Turkey, according to the EU’s enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, as attitudes in the country sour towards the West. A survey by the Pew Research Centre revealed Turkish approval of Europe to be falling rapidly, and just 27% of Turks have a favourable opinion of the European Union, compared to 58% in 2004.

India

Authorities in India’s north-eastern state of Assam have threatened local oil refineries with closure unless they stopped polluting local rivers Brahmaputra, Bharalu, Dhansiri, Digboi, Buridihing and Tunia.
Assam’s Pollution Control Board has given five refineries a year to stop discharging effluents into rivers as they were dumping effluents at levels much higher than acceptable federal limits. Two of the five refineries have told the board that they have stopped discharging effluents into rivers.

South Africa

South Africa’s main trade unions have ended their four-week strike, which has closed most of the country’s schools and hospitals, after the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) decided to accept the government’s offer of a 7.5% pay rise - they had demanded 9%.

African Union

The African Union summit opened in Accra, Ghana, on Sunday 1 July, focusing this year on the idea of a pan-African government. Ghana’s President John Kufuor said in his opening speech that the question of unifying Africa was not in doubt, but the key issue was how to attain it. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi is promoting the idea of a united Africa, but many African leaders do not support his initiative because they fear it will will push the crises in Zimbabwe, Somalia and Darfur off the agenda.

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