Seven killed in dam failure
Families were swept away in a torrent of water and witnesses said at least seven people died in a flood after a dam collapsed in the northwest part of the country. Surveyors began trying to determine on Sunday whether to blame the heavy downpour or structural neglect for the collapse. Area resident Johnson Enokola, 39, said he counted seven bodies floating in the water. He said most of the houses around the bank of the Gusau Dam had been washed away. Police confirmed three deaths, while state-owned Radio Nigeria said up to 40 were feared dead.
Death sentences commuted
More than 100 people condemned to death had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment on Sunday as part of independence day celebrations in the West African country. Justice Minister Bayo Ojo said in a statement that the decision was meant to commend the ``courage and patriotism'' of prisoners who refused to escape during jailbreaks at two prisons in June last year. One hundred and seven death row prisoners were reprieved with life sentences and 23 prisoners who had committed minor offenses were released. Sunday was the 46th anniversary of Nigeria's independence from Britain.
■ United Kingdom
Police quiz millionaire
A leading donor to the main opposition Conservative Party has become the latest person to be questioned under caution by police investigating allegations of "cash for honors," a newspaper reported yesterday. The Times said that Robert Edmiston, who made millions from importing cars and loaned the party ?2 million (US$3.7 million) which he has said he does not want back, was quizzed. Police are probing allegations that wealthy individuals were nominated for seats in the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of parliament, after contributing to Labour's general election warchest last year.
■ United Kingdom
On-the-spot fines slammed
Police and legal representatives denounced proposals being considered by the government to issue on-the-spot fines to offenders for a range of serious crimes such as assault or theft. The Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents constables and lower-ranking officers, described the Home Office draft proposals, which were leaked to the Times newspaper, as "disgusting." The Times said the document included plans to extend the issuing of fixed-penalty notices to include 30 offenses including threatening behavior, shoplifting and assaulting a police officer.
Authorities have issued arrest warrants against the Djibouti state prosecutor and the head of the country's secret services in connection with the 1995 death of a French judge. The cause of judge Bernard Borrel's death has remained unsolved since his burned corpse was discovered in Djibouti in 1995. Djiboutian authorities initially said Borrel, who had been working as a consultant to the country's Justice Ministry, had committed suicide, but his widow has accused high-ranking local officials of involvement in his murder. French investigators have tried to obtain information from Djiboutian officials and last year even summoned the country's president to testify in the case, although he refused to do so.
■ United States
Frost poem found by student
A poem by one of the US' best-loved poets, Robert Frost, has been discovered 88 years after it was written by hand in the front of a book and will be published next week. The poem was found by a graduate student looking through unsorted books and manuscripts bought by the University of Virginia and once owned by Frost's friend, Frederic Melcher, founder of the publishing industry trade journal Publishers Weekly. The 35-line poem, called War Thoughts at Home and dated 1918, was apparently inspired by the death of a fellow poet in World War I. Student Robert Stilling said he was alerted to the poem by a 1947 letter by Melcher in which he referred to an unpublished poem written in a copy of Frost's book North of Boston.