May 26, 2006 in Nation/World

Harper says he won’t talk to press

The Spokesman-Review

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declared he won’t talk to the national media because they are biased against him, his latest move in a spat with the parliament’s press corps.

After reporters walked out of a news conference this week when he refused to answer any questions, Harper said no Liberal prime minister had faced such effrontery and decided to deal only with more friendly local press.

“Unfortunately, the press gallery has taken the view they are going to be the opposition to the government,” the newly elected Conservative leader told a Canadian television network on Wednesday.

“We’ll just take the message out on the road. There’s lots of media who do want to ask questions and hear what the government is doing for Canadians, or to Canadians. So we’ll get our message out however we can,” Harper said.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Soldiers fire on police in E. Timor

Soldiers in East Timor opened fire on unarmed police officers Thursday, killing nine people and injuring 27, as Australian commandos arrived in an effort to quell surging violence on the tiny island nation.

The soldiers launched an hour-long attack on a police headquarters in Dili, the capital, in the deadliest clash since violence flared in East Timor several weeks ago. The unrest has been fueled by veterans angry over their dismissal from the army.

The violence jeopardized attempts by the government to assert control and represented a major setback for the United Nations, which had cited East Timor’s independence in 2002 as one of the organization’s greatest achievements of the past decade.

Mexico City

World’s forests still unprotected

Almost all the world’s tropical forests remain effectively unprotected even though two-thirds have been designated for some sort of preservation over the past two decades, according to a report released Thursday.

The study of tropical forest management by the International Tropical Timber Organization surveyed 2 billion acres – two-thirds of the world’s tropical forests – in 33 countries.

All of those forests were designated by the governments and landowners overseeing them as being under “sustainable management,” meaning they were completely protected as conservation areas, or designated as sites where economic activities such as logging were only allowed if they didn’t destroy the forest.

However, the group said that what it called “the most extensive survey ever” found that less than 5 percent of these forests were managed in a sustainable way last year.

The timber organization, a Yokohama, Japan-based group with 59 members representing most of the world’s countries with tropical forests, was formed under the auspices of the United Nations in 1986 amid global concern about disappearing tropical forests.

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