Dozens of Bosnians disabled in war receive wheelchairs...

FOREIGN DIGEST

April 25, 2001|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Dozens of Bosnians disabled in war receive wheelchairs

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Mirza Alihodzic was badly wounded in heavy machine-gun fire during one of the Bosnian war's scores of unsuccessful cease-fires in 1995. Buying his own wheelchair was out of the question - the cheapest models cost about $250, and he, his mother and sister barely get by on $300 a month.

Yesterday, Alihodzic, 20, was one of dozens of disabled Bosnians who benefited from a shipment of 240 wheelchairs from the Wheelchairs for the World Foundation.

American philanthropist Ken Behring, who founded the wheelchair foundation with a goal of donating 1 million chairs worldwide over the next five years, donated the wheelchairs. In its first nine months, the charity has delivered more than 25,000 wheelchairs to 68 countries, including Vietnam, China, Botswana, Guatemala and Mexico.

Albanian rebels list demands, reject split

TIRANA, Albania - Ethnic Albanian guerrillas who staged a monthlong rebellion in Macedonia published a manifesto yesterday calling for minority rights but rejected the division of the former Yugoslav republic.

The National Liberation Army charter called on Macedonia to change its constitution to recognize local Albanians as equal to Macedonian Slavs. The demands, the most explicit political declaration yet by the rebels, differ little from claims of legitimate Albanian parties, which are demanding changes in Macedonia to ease ethnic tension.

Macedonia's Slav-dominated government, fearful of a nationalist backlash, has rejected calls for amendments to the constitution, suggesting instead better language rights, more powerful local government and access to state jobs. Albanians make up about a third of the population.

Yugoslav army officers, soldiers facing charges

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia - Nearly 200 Yugoslav army officers and soldiers have been charged with committing war crimes in Kosovo and the trials of some have already started, military officials said yesterday.

The military previously said that 24 soldiers are facing - or have faced - legal action on similar charges.

The increased numbers reflect growing acknowledgment on the part of the army that its members committed atrocities against Kosovar Albanians during their crackdown in the southern Serbian province.

Canadian right drops support for its leader

OTTAWA - Senior politicians in the official opposition Canadian Alliance yesterday abandoned leader Stockwell Day, whose position looked increasingly untenable amid growing unhappiness with his performance.

Day's chief of staff resigned Monday and two other top officials quit their posts yesterday. A fourth legislator, Art Hanger, called for him to step down after a disappointing election performance last November and a series of internal crises since then.

But Day, 50, who swept to the leadership of the new conservative party last summer as a fresh face, declared that he intended to stay on. Referring to Queen Elizabeth II's decision to stay as monarch, he said: "If you're looking for any hints, I like what her majesty said - she's 75 years old and no plans of retiring."

1,000 elephants to move to trans-frontier park

PRETORIA, South Africa - South Africa said yesterday it would relocate 1,000 elephants to Mozambique in the biggest transfer of wildlife since thousands of animals were moved for Zimbabwe's Kariba dam in the 1960s.

The elephants will be transferred from the Kruger National Park to an area in neighboring Mozambique known as Coutada 16, which is slated to become part of a 13,510-square-mile trans-frontier park also straddling a region of Zimbabwe.

"You cannot simply drive these animals across the border [with Kruger]. ... You must remove whole family units," South Africa's Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa told reporters. He said the operation would begin later this year and would take three years.

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