■ United Kingdom
Woman seeks constable
When Britain introduced its new freedom of information laws, Angela Wright seized on them as a chance to find an unattached man in uniform. Wright sent an email to her local police force asking about "eligible bachelors within Hampshire constabulary between the ages of 35 and 49 and details of their email addresses, salary details and pension values." But police said the names and addresses were personal and exempt from the laws, which came into force in January. They were prepared to tell her, however, that the Hampshire force had 266 eligible bachelors, of whom 201 were in uniform. Wright said she had two reasons for making her request. "The first was to amuse the [freedom of information] team. The second was to see what response I could get."
■ East Timor
Two expelled for abuse
Australian and Jordanian troops serving together in the intervention force in East Timor faced off at gunpoint in a 2001 incident over the sexual abuse of boys by the Middle Eastern soldiers. A UN report into the incident said two Jordanian soldiers had been expelled from East Timor and the Australian peacekeeper who raised the issue with the UN East Timor headquarters in Dili was evacuated. The Australian reported claims by a group of children that Jordanian soldiers had offered local boys, the youngest of them 12 years old, money and food in exchange for oral sex and intercourse. Human rights workers in East Timor confirmed the account.
■ West Bank
Tulkarem talks break down
Israeli and Palestinian commanders were trying to iron out the last disputes over the handover of a second West Bank town to Palestinian security control, but the disagreements over security issues signaled trouble ahead for peace efforts. Israeli officials doubted whether the town of Tulkarem would revert to Palestinian control yesterday, as originally planned, after a meeting of security commanders on Sunday evening broke up in disagreement.
■ United Nations
Security Council may grow
There is broad international support for widening membership of the UN Security Council and giving the organization more power, according to a BBC World Service poll published yesterday. The poll surveyed 23,518 people in 23 countries, and found a majority of people in 22 countries support an expansion of the UN Security Council to include new permanent members. Germany and Japan were the most popular choices for new member countries, with 56 percent of all respondents supporting the inclusion of Germany and 54 percent in favor of including Japan.
New parliament sworn in
With a new parliament sworn into office, the country's founding father Sam Nujoma was set to hand over power to his designated successor yesterday after a 23-year independence war and three terms as president. Before a packed public gallery on Sunday, 72 lawmakers came forward and pledged to be faithful to Namibia, its Constitution and its people. Former Prime Minister Theo Ben Gurirab was elected speaker of parliament, and said he would focus on democracy and fighting poverty. Nujoma's South West Africa People's Organization won 55 of Parliament's 72 seats in legislative and presidential elections in November.
Cocaine sales reach US$7bn
Drug smugglers buy cocaine worth an estimated US$7 billion per year from Peru, which is half of the national budget, Peru's anti-drug agency Devida said on Sunday in the capital Lima. The area of cultivation is more than 60,000 hectares, with 90 percent of the harvest going to the illegal production of cocaine, according to Devida director Jorge Valencia. The production capacity of Peru corresponds to approximately 25 percent of the world consumption, Valencia said. Most cocaine worldwide originates from neighboring Colombia.