March 22, 2006 in Nation/World

UW professor killed by crocodile

The Spokesman-Review

A University of Washington medical professor who moved to Botswana to alleviate a doctor shortage was killed when a crocodile dragged him from a canoe, his family and colleagues said.

Richard K. Root, 68, was on a wildlife tour Sunday of the Limpopo River after visiting a clinic in the area.

He was in a lead canoe with tour guides when the crocodile thrust from the water, grabbed him and pulled him under, said Steve Gluckman, medical director of the Botswana program. He was not seen again.

The tour guides were wary of hippos, but there had been no reports of crocodile attacks in the area, Gluckman said.

Root was a nationally known expert in infectious disease and was the former chief of medicine at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

He had moved to the southern African nation this month to train health care workers to deal with AIDS.


Iran leader states approval of talks

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that he approves of proposed talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on Iraq, but he warned that the United States must not try to “bully” Iran.

It was the first confirmation that Khamenei, who holds final say on all state matters in Iran, supports the talks. His comments appeared aimed at calming criticism by hard-liners over a major shift in policy by the regime, which long shunned high-level contacts with a country Tehran brands “the Great Satan.”

Both the United States and Iran have said the talks will focus solely on stabilizing Iraq and not deal with the heated issue of Iran’s nuclear program. No time or place has yet been set for talks.

Minsk, Belarus

Belarus election protest continues

Thousands of Belarusians demonstrated on a central Minsk square for the third straight evening Tuesday, swelling the ranks of a core group that had spent the previous night to protest the extension of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko’s rule.

Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich, who has denounced the election that gave Lukashenko a new five-year term as a fraud and called for a new vote, urged demonstrators to keep up daily protests and called for a major show of strength Saturday.

International observers have said the vote was neither free nor fair, and Europe’s main human rights organization said it was a “farce.” The United States has called for a new election.

Police have harassed people entering the square but made no move to crack down on the unprecedented protest in this former Soviet republic.

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