Nigerians go to polls to choose civilians for National...

Foreign Digest

February 21, 1999

Nigerians go to polls to choose civilians for National Assembly

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigerians voted yesterday in landmark parliamentary elections, marking the latest step in their country's transition to civilian rule and greater democracy.

An estimated 40 million voters in this West African nation were given their first chance in 15 years to select civilians for a two-chamber National Assembly. However, there was little fanfare here in Nigeria's commercial capital and second city.

Political observers attributed the lack of outward enthusiasm to pent-up excitement in anticipation of a hotly contested vote Feb. 27 for a civilian president to lead this nation of 108 million.

Olivetti bids $58 billion for rival Italian company

MILAN, Italy -- Italian company Olivetti Spa announced a $58 billion hostile takeover bid yesterday for rival Telecom Italia in what would be Europe's richest telecommunications deal ever.

Telecom Italia, a former state monopoly, is the world's sixth-largest telephone company but has endured three management shake-ups in the past 18 months.

Group of Seven endorses plan to avert financial crises

BONN, Germany -- The world's richest nations pledged yesterday to strengthen their early-warning system for financial crises such as those that have rocked Asia, Russia and Brazil. But the United States rejected the regulation of currency exchange rates requested by Germany and Japan.

The Group of Seven countries adopted long-awaited proposals by German central bank chief Hans Tietmeyer for ways to better coordinate surveillance of global finance, with the aim of detecting shocks before they hit home.

Germany failed to sway its partners, though, with its campaign for stronger measures to stabilize markets after the financial crises over the past two years.

Delegation fails to negotiate Eritrea-Ethiopia cease-fire

ASMARA, Eritrea -- A European Union delegation has failed to broker a cease-fire between Eritrea and Ethiopia after meeting with the leaders of both countries on the Horn of Africa, the leader of the team said yesterday.

Black U.S. legislators meet with Castro in Cuba

HAVANA -- A group of black U.S. lawmakers who traveled to Cuba to familiarize themselves with the Communist country and the U.S. embargo against it have met with President Fidel Castro.

Led by Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the members of the National Black Caucus arrived Wednesday in Havana and were to stay in Cuba through the weekend, government officials said.

Thousands in Buenos Aires endure sixth day of blackout

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Nearly 60,000 people in the Argentine capital remained without power for a sixth consecutive day yesterday as electrical distributor Edesur struggled to restore service after a substation fire, a city official said.

Pub Date: 2/21/99

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