Opposition leaders in Zimbabwe have urged voters to boycott legislative elections today and instead prepare to take to the streets and challenge President Robert Mugabe after 25 years of increasingly authoritarian rule.
Although it appeared unlikely that street protests would begin soon, analysts predicted an extremely low turnout at the polls, which come at a time of increasing economic problems, public discontent and tensions between the Mugabe government and the United States.
Opposition leaders said a very low turnout would signal the end of a six-year period in which they attempted to bring political change through elections. During that time, however, there was recurring evidence that Mugabe was manipulating the results.
Mugabe has called for a heavy turnout to demonstrate the vibrancy of Zimbabwean democracy.
Call for boycott doesn’t stop Tijuana shoppers
Tijuana, Mexico Tijuana residents ignored calls to boycott U.S. stores in protest over American volunteer patrols along the California-Mexico border and poured into San Diego to take advantage of Friday’s Thanksgiving Day sales.
Motorists waited for up to three hours at the San Ysidro bridge to head northward on one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the United States. Lines of up to 200 people snaked into stores on the U.S. side.
The boycott was urged by a Tijuana group calling themselves the Zapatista Front. The group objects to the Minutemen project, in which volunteers have converged on California and other border states to watch for migrants trying to sneak into the United States.
Egypt detains members of Muslim Brotherhood
Cairo, Egypt Police on Friday detained at least 50 members of Egypt’s largest Islamic movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, on the eve of run-off elections to parliament, officials said.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that detainees had planned to deploy “thugs” at polling stations to disturb today’s elections.
U.S. soldiers trying to save cheetah cubs
Gode, Ethiopia U.S. soldiers discovered two endangered cheetah cubs being held captive and abused in a restaurant in this dusty, remote Ethiopian village and have launched a campaign for the animals’ rescue.
The 3-month-old cubs were being forced to fight each other for the amusement of patrons at a Gode restaurant; one cheetah was blind.
The soldiers, part of the U.S. counterterrorism task force for the Horn of Africa, discovered the cubs last month. They provided medical treatment to the blinded cub, fed both animals and tried to persuade the restaurant owner to hand them over to wildlife officials. The soldiers also contacted U.S.-based cheetah experts and Ethiopian authorities.
AIDS activist dropped from Vatican concert
Rome A Brazilian singer who promoted the use of condoms in an anti-AIDS campaign has been dropped from the lineup of next month’s Christmas concert at the Vatican, organizers said Friday.
Daniela Mercury was dropped after Vatican authorities read statements by her in the Brazilian press that went “against the moral doctrine of the church,” said Eligio Ermeti, a spokesman for the agency organizing the event.
The singer participated in a government campaign to fight AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases during this year’s carnival celebrations in Brazil. Mercury also appeared in TV ads promoting the distribution of free condoms.
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