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World in brief: Livestock found free of disease

Sun., Aug. 12, 2007

Livestock on an English farm that were tested after showing signs of possible foot-and-mouth disease do not have it, Britain’s chief veterinarian said Saturday. The result strengthens indications that the highly contagious livestock ailment has not spread beyond the small area where it was first discovered last week.

Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds announced late Thursday that cows in a second area of the southern England county of Surrey had shown “mild clinical signs of infections” and were being tested. Officials established an exclusion zone around a farm previously unlinked to the outbreak and some 10 miles from the two confirmed cases of the disease.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Saturday lifted restrictions around the farm, near the village of Wotton.

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Postwar election unfolds smoothly

Sierra Leone held its first presidential elections Saturday since U.N. peacekeepers withdrew two years ago, a historic poll that many hope will show this country can transfer power peacefully after being ravaged by coups and a long, diamond-fueled civil war.

Voters arrived before dawn, weathering a light drizzle and long lines, for a chance to choose from seven candidates. Electoral officials said balloting had gone smoothly and vote counting began after the polls closed.

The most crucial period for the war-battered nation may come months down the road, when the public begins expecting real change from a new government. Despite progress since the 10-year war ended in 2002, analysts say many of the root problems that caused the conflict – corruption, poverty and unemployment – remain.

Saturday’s victor must take more than 55 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff between the top two finishers. Final tallies are expected within 12 days of voting.

Cairo, Egypt

Carry-on bags yield snakes, crocs

It was very nearly a real-life version of “Snakes on a Plane.”

A man was stopped at Cairo’s airport just moments before he boarded a Saudi Arabia-bound plane with carry-on bags filled with live snakes, as well as a few baby crocodiles and chameleons.

Security officials became suspicious of the 22-year-old Saudi man’s bags when the X-ray machine at the departure gate gave odd readings. Police said they opened the bags and found a large number of reptiles, including at least one cobra, squirming to escape.

The animals were confiscated and turned over to the Cairo Zoo and the man was allowed to board his flight home.

Transporting live reptiles out of the country is illegal in Egypt, but the passenger said he was unaware of the ban and that the snakes, crocodiles and chameleons were needed by a Saudi university for scientific experiments, police said.


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