World Digest


April 07, 2006

Blair and Ahern warn parties to elect N. Ireland government

ARMAGH, Northern Ireland -- The British and Irish prime ministers, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, issued an ultimatum yesterday to Northern Ireland's divided politicians: Elect a power-sharing administration by November - or your legislature will be disbanded.

Their declaration followed 3 1/2 years of diplomacy that has failed to revive a Catholic-Protestant administration, the intended centerpiece of the Good Friday peace accord that the two prime ministers oversaw eight years ago. A previous coalition collapsed in October 2002 over an Irish Republican Army spying scandal.

Blair and Ahern stood side by side to announce that the Northern Ireland Assembly would reconvene May 15.

The end result, they said, must be an administration led by the province's extremes of opinion: the Democratic Unionists, who represent most of the British Protestant majority, and Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party that represents most Roman Catholics.

Associated Press

At least 69 dead in ship accident

NAIROBI, Kenya -- A boat ferrying passengers to a traditional festival overturned off the coast of Djibouti yesterday, killing at least 69 people, an official said. Ismael Tani, an adviser to Djiboutian President Ismail Umar Guelleh, said more than 200 people were on board the vessel, which he said was headed for a traditional fair. A U.S. public affairs officer from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, based in Djibouti, said the United States had offered assistance to the government. Djibouti borders Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

U.N. laments lack of medical workers

GENEVA --A global shortage of doctors and nurses is hampering the fight against AIDS and other fatal diseases and could leave the world vulnerable to a flu outbreak or major disaster, the U.N. health agency is announcing today. Doctors and nurses are urgently needed in the 57 worst-affected countries to immunize children against illness and to treat AIDS-related ailments, malaria and tuberculosis, the World Health Organization says in its annual report. "The global shortage approaches 4.3 million health workers," the report says.

Italy announces terror plot foiled

ROME --The Italian government announced yesterday that police had foiled a planned terrorist attack on a Bologna basilica and the Milan subway, a disclosure that came just days before Italians vote in a bitterly contested national election. While government and opposition forces praised the police work that thwarted the alleged plot, some of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-left opponents sought to play down any political impact of the disclosure. Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said the alleged terrorist plot involved seven people.

Body of Ark. dentist found in Nicaragua

MANAGUA, Nicaragua --Rescue crews have found the body of an Arkansas dentist who disappeared after a small boat sank in Lake Nicaragua, police said yesterday. Crews recovered the body of Jack Logan, a dentist from Conway, Ark., late Wednesday, said Ramon Calderon, a spokesman for the police in Juigalpa, 60 miles east of Managua. Authorities said they were still searching for Bert Alexander, a pharmaceutical sales manager, also from Conway. Relatives of the men were helping in the search, officials said.

Cuban coast guard kills suspect in boat

HAVANA --The Cuban coast guard shot at three suspected migrant smugglers from the United States who refused orders to halt their boat as it neared the island, killing one, official media reported yesterday. The Communist Party daily Granma said the confrontation occurred Wednesday near Cuba's southern coast in the western province of Pinar del Rio. The coast guard official in charge ordered officers to open fire after the three-man crew aboard the 40-foot boat failed to stop and instead launched "violent sudden attacks" on the coast guard vessel, damaging it, the report said. Two men aboard the U.S.-based boat were wounded by gunfire and taken to a hospital, where one died, the report said.

Associated Press

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