Speak Dutch: minister
Immigrants should comply with a national code of conduct including speaking Dutch in public and respecting women's rights, a government minister was quoted as saying on Saturday. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said she was interested in applying nationally the idea of a citizens' code proposed in the city of Rotterdam this week by the council led by the right-wing party founded by murdered anti-immigration populist Pim Fortuyn. Verdonk said immigrants were often unsure what was expected of them and said she planned to discuss the idea with experts.
Anthrax killing rare zebras
Outbreaks of deadly anthrax exacerbated by a searing drought that has hit east Africa has killed scores of rare Grevy's zebras in the country and is threatening the endangered species with extinction, wildlife officials and scientists said yesterday. The zebras, known for their narrow stripes and large ears, are dying of anthrax at an alarming rate in and around the nation's central Samburu National Reserve, one of their last remaining habitats, and more are feared to have perished further north, they said. "They have died in the dozens in the northern part of the reserve and their carcasses are littered all over," said Fred Perezo, who administers Samburu for the Kenya Wildlife Service. Fewer than 5,000 Grevy's zebras are believed to live in the wild.
Tax office bombed
A man died early yesterday when he tried to bomb the main tax offices in Aix-en-Provence, police and firemen said. The man's mangled body was found near the downtown offices, which suffered only minor damage in the blast at 2:40am, they said. A security perimeter was set up around the building in case other explosives had been left there.
US Navy nabs `pirates'
US Navy vessels pursued a suspected pirate ship in the Indian Ocean off Somalia's coast and fired warning shots to capture its crew on Saturday, US Navy Forces Central Command said. The guided missile destroyer Winston S. Churchill and other US naval forces located the vessel after receiving a report of an attempted act of piracy, but it failed to respond to orders to stop. "Churchill began aggressive maneuvering in an attempt to stop the vessel. The vessel continued on its course and speed. [Then] Churchill fired warning shots," said a navy statement. Members of the crew were seized and US Navy sailors who boarded the vessel discovered small-arms weapons on board, the statement said.
Batasuna ban draws outcry
Several thousand people protested a ban on a congress planned by outlawed Basque separatist party Batasuna in northern Spain on Saturday. The demonstrators, including Batasuna party leader Arnaldo Otegi, gathered in front of the conference center in the town of Barakaldo near Bilbao, where the assembly was due to take place, local radio reported. The national court in Madrid last Tuesday banned Saturday's meeting following calls from the public prosecutor and the families of victims of terrorism. Batasuna, the political wing of the militant organization ETA, was outlawed by the Supreme Court in 2003 for refusing to condemn ETA's terror tactics.
Bid to head AU stalled
African countries were split on Saturday over Sudan's bid to head the African Union (AU), a move that could scuttle AU-sponsored peace efforts in Darfur and damage Africa's drive to improve its image. Khartoum, under fire for human rights abuses, is hosting a two-day AU summit starting today. Sudan is seeking to take over from Nigeria as chairman, based on a tradition that the summit host becomes the next head. Sudan says it has East and North Africa's backing in the AU, where countries tend to work in blocs. However, diplomats said southern, central and western African states were working behind the scenes to encourage Sudan to withdraw its bid.