Security forces in Ivory Coast shot dead at least one demonstrator yesterday as marchers gathered for a banned opposition protest against President Laurent Gbagbo in the main city, Abidjan, witnesses said. \nThe body of a man with gunshot wounds to the chest was lying on the ground in the suburb of Yopougon yesterday. People standing by the body said anti-riot police had earlier fired into a small gathering of opposition protesters. \n"They arrived. They said, `go away, go away,' and then they fired into the crowd. They are stopping us from marching," said a man standing by the dead body, which had a T-shirt with "National Reconciliation" written on the front. \nThe march organizers and witnesses said two had died in the shooting and another two had been injured. There was no independent confirmation of the second death or the injuries. \nSecurity forces had fired into the air and lobbed tear gas at hundreds of people in the northern suburb to break up crowds gathering for the march into the commercial capital's tank-guarded center. \nGbagbo's government, which has banned all demonstrations, accuses rebels who control the north of plotting a coup together with opposition parties -- charges both groups deny. \nAuthorities have stepped up security in Abidjan as a result of the planned march. \nMI-24 helicopter gunships clattered overhead and groups of paramilitary and anti-riot police blasted tear gas into the streets. \nThe downtown business district, where the palace and key ministries are located, has been declared off-limits by presidential guards who've warned they would defend the area at all costs. It was quiet there yesterday morning. \nIn a bid to keep residents home, the government declared yesterday a public holiday and ordered all schools closed. The US Embassy warned of possible violence, and called on its citizens to stay home. \nThe march, called to press Gbagbo to fully implement a peace deal signed last year, would be the first large-scale protest against the government since the end of a nine-month civil war last year. \nGhana's President John Kufuor flew to Abidjan Wednesday in a last-minute bid to resolve the rising tensions, meeting with Gbagbo and opposition leaders. Kufuor came as head of the 15-country Economic Community of West African States, but his trip appeared to have no immediate impact. \n"The march is still on," Bjedje Mady, a senior official of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast said late Wednesday at the end of Kufuor's visit. \nIvory Coast has been divided between a rebel-held north and a loyalist south since the civil war broke out in September 2002. \nA French-brokered peace agreement in January last year brought an end to fighting, and the war was officially declared over in July.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
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