World briefs 12/11/06

Monday, December 11, 2006

Haitian leader says his cancer may have returned

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- President Rene Preval, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer five years ago, said Sunday the disease may have come back and that he would soon leave the country for treatment and more tests. Speaking to reporters after returning from a four-day trip to Cuba for medical exams, a fit-looking Preval said blood tests in Havana showed possible signs of cancer.

At least 30 civilians killed in Darfur refugee convoy

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Militiamen on horseback ambushed a refugee convoy in Sudan's western Darfur region, killing some 30 civilians, the United Nations and aid workers said Sunday, and African Union peacekeepers called to investigate were briefly taken hostage by other refugees. With violence in the region worsening, aid workers in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, and the U.N. said pro-government janjaweed militiamen ambushed a truck Saturday outside Sirba on a road near the border with Chad and executed about 30 civilians. "Some of the passengers were shot by the attackers and others were burnt to death," a U.N. statement said. The governor of West Darfur denied the attack was carried out by janjaweed, blaming anti-government rebels he claimed are seeking "to make citizens lose confidence in the African Union." More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been forced from their homes since ethnic African rebels rose up against Sudan's Arab-dominated government in early 2003. The regime in Khartoum is accused of responding by unleashing the janjaweed militias of Arab nomads, who have been blamed for most of the atrocities.

U.S., allies close to calling for vote against Iran

VIENNA, Austria -- The United States and its Western allies may soon call a vote on U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, even at the risk that Russia and China may abstain or veto the measures, officials said Sunday. "They're talking about a vote as soon as possible," a U.S. official said of plans by the Americans, French and British. He and other representatives of Western governments spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge Western strategies on Iran. The decision to risk a Russian and Chinese veto would reflect recognition by the five permanent Security Council members that they cannot agree on a common approach to dealing with concerns that Iran might be seeking to develop nuclear arms.

-- From wire reports

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