Foreign Digest

FOREIGN DIGEST

February 28, 2005

Complaints raised over elections in ex-Soviet republics

FAIZOBOD, Tajikistan - Parliamentary elections yesterday in two of the former Soviet Union's most remote and impoverished republics, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, were met early by complaints of violations and irregularities of the kind that led to contested votes in Ukraine and Georgia.

Preliminary results here and in Kyrgyzstan are not expected until today, but initial reports from international observers seemed to suggest that both governments were continuing on authoritarian paths.

Nepalese communists suspected in 14 deaths

KATMANDU, Nepal - Suspected communist rebels in southern Nepal ambushed an army truck, shot a police chief and attacked villagers yesterday, killing at least 14 people one day after lifting a highway blockade that crippled the flow of essential supplies in protest of the king's recent power grab.

The rebels ambushed an army truck carrying soldiers on patrol near Patlaiya, about 160 miles south of Katmandu, killing eight, police said.

In nearby Butwal, suspected rebels shot and killed the town's police chief and his assistant before escaping.

Togo protesters march against interim president

LOME, Togo - Demonstrators protested against Togo's new president yesterday, lighting flaming barricades in the capital's streets and throwing rocks at riot police who fired tear gas to keep crowds from moving toward government buildings.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched toward central Lome's administrative offices from the opposition stronghold of Be, where burning truck tires closed roads. There was no immediate report of casualties.

Demonstrators said the unannounced march was prompted by anger at Friday's selection of Bonfoh Abbass as interim president of Togo until nationwide elections can be held.

Hundreds protest killing blamed on IRA

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Hundreds of people gathered yesterday to protest the killing of a Belfast man whose death has pitted the Irish Republican Army against its Roman Catholic support base.

The family of Robert McCartney urged those involved in his murder to surrender to authorities. The perpetrators are believed to be IRA members.

The IRA said Saturday it was expelling three members it blames for McCartney's death. The knife attack outside a Belfast pub Jan. 30 has fueled unusual Catholic hostility toward the underground organization.

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