World briefs 12/8/03

Monday, December 8, 2003

Zimbabwe withdraws from Commonwealth

ABUJA, Nigeria -- A defiant Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies on Sunday, hours after the 54-nation bloc upheld its 18-month suspension of the southern African nation for alleged abuses of civil liberties. "It's quits, and quits it will be," President Robert Mugabe's government said in a statement from Zimbabwe. In a major defeat for Zimbabwe's leader, Commonwealth heads of state had declared earlier Sunday that Mugabe's outcast status would stand until he made demanded human rights and democratic reforms.

Students rally for freedom; vigilantes under fire in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran -- President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday ordered Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi and Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari to provide security and protection for participants and speakers at authorized rallies, saying he won't tolerate further attacks by hard-line vigilantes as the country prepares for parliamentary elections slated for Feb. 20. Meanwhile, about 1,500 pro-reform students at Tehran University rallied Sunday inside the campus, chanting slogans against Iran's leadership and saying the 1979 Islamic revolution failed to fulfill its promise of freedom.

Eisenhower's vision is ElBaradei's goal today

VIENNA, Austria -- Fifty years after President Eisenhower's landmark "Atoms for Peace" speech on Dec. 8, 1953, the U.N. nuclear agency born of his address is still struggling to contain the threat and move the world "out of the dark chamber of horrors into the light." Nuclear weaponry poses even more of a danger than it did during the arms race between the United States and the former Soviet Union, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, conceded in an interview marking today's anniversary of the speech.

-- From wire reports

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