World briefs 12/2/4

Thursday, December 2, 2004

U.S. Embassy in Suriname closed after threat

PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- The U.S. Embassy here was closed to visitors Wednesday and security increased after officials received credible threats of an attack on the building, a spokesman said. Cliff Djamin, the spokesman, refused to disclose the nature of the threats, but said the mission would be closed through today. The embassy increased the number of security guards patrolling the building, and Suriname's government posted more police officers around the perimeter of the compound, Djamin said.

Worlds AIDS Day spotlights women, girls

GENEVA -- From Armenia to Zambia, thousands of activists turned out to sing in mighty cathedrals, light candles in city squares and march and hold dance-athons on World AIDS Day as the United Nations focused on protecting women and girls, often sidelined in the fight against the disease. Nearly half the 39.4 million people infected with HIV worldwide are female. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said three-quarters of all HIV-positive women live in sub-Saharan Africa. About 57 percent of the adults with HIV are women, he said.

Jailed Palestinian to run for president

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Jailed Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti declared his candidacy for president Wednesday, a stunning last-minute reversal that shook up Palestinian politics ahead of the Jan. 9 vote for Yasser Arafat's replacement. Adding to the uncertainty, the militant group Hamas said it would boycott the election. It was the first sign of open divisions between the interim Palestinian leadership and the Islamic opposition group since Arafat's death Nov. 11.

Mozambique to choose first president in 18 years

MAPUTO, Mozambique -- Mozambique's poor, many carrying small children, trudged along narrow dirt roads in oppressive heat Wednesday to pick a replacement for the president who has ruled this downtrodden African country for the past 18 years. Over two days of voting, Mozambique will pick a successor to retiring President Joaquim Chissano, who is stepping down after two elected terms, opening the possibility that an opposition candidate will win power in this impoverished African country after 30 years of rule by the Frelimo party.

-- From wire reports

U.N. verifies Rwandan invasion of Congo

GOMA, Congo -- U.N. observers encountered what they believed to be about 100 Rwandan troops in eastern Congo, a U.N. official said Wednesday, marking the first reported U.N. sightings since Rwanda threatened to send in its forces against Rwanda Hutu rebels sheltering here. The suspected Rwandan forces withdrew toward Rwanda after Tuesday's encounter, said M'hand Ladjouzi, head of the U.N. mission at Goma. He spoke at a news conference in Goma, the largest city of the east.

-- From wire reports

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