The main opposition candidate was leading in the presidential race yesterday with about a third of votes counted. Ernest Bai Koroma had 297,206 votes, compared to 227,353 votes for the ruling party's Vice President Solomon Berewa, electoral commission chief Christiana Thorpe said late on Wednesday. The election is the first to be held in the diamond-rich African nation since UN peacekeepers withdrew two years ago.
Seal cull to continue
The government said on Wednesday it would continue culling seals after a meeting with animal rights activists failed to halt the mass killings. The ministry of fisheries and marine resources met last week with Seal Alert, which has been outspoken in opposition to the hunting of the endangered Cape Fur seal for their pelts, as well as other animal rights organizations, including the World Society for Protection of Animals and the Humane Society International for Animals UK.
Garbage men win lottery
A duo of garbage men who emerged victorious in a recent strike demanding bonus pay for handling toxic muck have now won something bigger: 440,000 euros (US$593,000) in lottery booty. Joaquin Ligero, a 56-year-old driver, and Vito Marquez, a 42-year-old trash collector, shared a ticket and won the second prize on Sunday in the EuroMillions sweepstake, the newspaper El Mundo reported. Their stroke of luck came a day after they and about 80 colleagues ended a five-day strike that left 700 tonnes of garbage rotting in the hot streets of Almunecar, a southern beach town of 24,000 that sees its population quintuple in summer.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Protest hits Biggin Hill
Environmental activists said yesterday they had chained themselves to the gates of a small English airport to protest the impact of private air traffic on climate change. The group said about 10 protesters had shut Biggin Hill airport, south of London, by blocking the only passenger entrance. The airport confirmed the protest but said Biggin Hill was operating normally. Richard George, spokesman for the demonstrators, said the action was a protest against the growth in the number of people using private jets as opposed to scheduled flights.
Farrow leads torch relay
Actress Mia Farrow joined genocide survivors in a torch-lighting ceremony on Wednesday at a school where thousands died in a 100-day frenzy of killings in 1994. Farrow is leading an Olympic-style torch relay through countries that have suffered genocide to press China, host of the 2008 games, to help end abuses in its ally Sudan's Darfur region. More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been chased from their homes in Darfur since 2003 when tribes of ethnic African farmers rebelled against the Arab-dominated central government, accusing it of neglect and discrimination. "We welcome China's recent UN vote to allow a peacekeeping force into Sudan," said Jill Savitt, director of Dream for Darfur, the group that organized the ceremony. "However, China now must continue to press Sudan to ensure that the words on paper translate into action."
■ UNITED STATES
Dead animals found in home
A rotten odor seeping from a home in an upscale Trenton, New Jersey, neighborhood led to the discovery of dozens of dogs and cats, many of them dead, inside the feces-ridden mansion, authorities said. "Behind a mansion door there's a horror house," said James Lagrosa, head of the Bergen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. At least 80 live cats and six dogs were removed on Wednesday from the Saddle River house, although one kitten died later, he said. In the garage, authorities found 23 separate plastic bags that contained the remains of dead animals, some so decomposed it could not be determined what type of animal they were.