Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

InterWorld Radio News Bulletin

Iraqis have approved their country's new constitution, according to official results from their referendum. Sunni campaigners had hoped to block it by taking two-thirds of the vote in at least three provinces, in line with electoral rules. But they won in only two, with the swing province of Nineveh returning 44% "Yes" votes. A large body of Sunnis rejected a constitution they saw as enshrining their own loss of power. A number of militant attacks have been reported across Iraq in the run up to the results.
Refugees in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region have released 34 aid workers seized on Tuesday. The kidnappings of workers from three different agencies took place at the Kalma camp, Darfur’s largest refugee camp which houses almost 90,000 people. The kidnappers demanded the release of a local tribal leader who was arrested by the authorities at the weekend. Some two million people have been forced from their homes since fighting between Darfur's largely black African rebels and Arab militias began early in 2003.
The United Nations team investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri reports it has received a number of threats. UN chief investigator Detlev Mehlis told the Security Council he considered the threats credible but later told reporters they had not been traced to any official sources. Last week the UN released a report implicating Syrian and Lebanese officials in the assassination of Mr Hariri in February. Mr Mehlis has invited the Syrian authorities to carry out their own investigation into the bombing that killed Mr Hariri and twenty others. Both Syria and Lebanon denied the allegations contained in the UN inquiry.
Up to 10 000 African women are to take part in a three to four year trial of a gel that could help prevent the spread of HIV. Trials of Microbicide PRO 2000 will begin on women in South Africa and Uganda and then extend to Tanzania and Zambia later in the year. Laboratory tests have shown the gel can help to block sexually transmitted infections in women. Doctors in South Africa say, if effective, the microbicide could represent a tremendous breakthrough in the fight against the spread of HIV/Aids.
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is to be investigated over 2.5 million dollars it is alleged to have received from foreign funders. A spokesperson for the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed the accusations. However another MDC member Job Sikhala claimed that the party had received donations from Ghana, Nigeria and Taiwan. He said that disagreements over control of the funds were behind infighting threatening to split the six-year-old opposition party. Under Zimbabwe's Political Parties Finance Act it is illegal for local parties to receive foreign funding.
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