29 September 2005 Edition

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International News in Brief

International News in Brief

IMF agrees debt cancellation

The International Monetary Fund has agreed to cancel the debt owed to it by some of the world's poorest countries. The deal, to erase €45 billion of debt, was agreed at a summit of the G8 leading industrialised nations in July, but needed the approval of the leading institutes.

Coup plotters seek asylum in Colombia

Four generals and five colonels who participated in the 2002 coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have applied for political asylum in Colombia. The army officers evaded the courts just as they were to be processed for the rebellion.

Saharawi prisoners in coma

Thirty-seven Saharawi political prisoners, who oppose Moroccan occupation of their homeland, remain on hunger strike and their situation continues to deteriorate. Six of them have now have gone into a coma.

Meanwhile, the Saharawi cause was ignored once again during the UN summit in New York, as the Moroccan representative to the international forum referred to the Saharawi refugees in Algeria as "Moroccan citizens". Only the Algerian representative defended the validity of Plan Baker to implement a self-determination referendum in the area.

Puerto Rican activist killed

Filiberto Ojeda Rios, a Puerto Rican nationalist on the run for 15 years has died after a gunfight with FBI agents on Saturday 24 September.

In 1992, he was convicted in absentia for the 1983 robbery of $7m from a bank depot in the US state of Connecticut — the US considers the robbery an act of domestic terrorism because it allegedly was carried out by nationalists from the self-governing US commonwealth. Ojeda Rios, leader of the Macheteros (or Cane Cutters) nationalist movement, went on the run in 1990 while awaiting trial for the robbery.

The US seized Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Puerto Ricans are US citizens but cannot vote in US Presidential elections and do not pay US income tax.

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