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In brief: Zimbabwe recounts confirm power shift

Sun., April 27, 2008

Zimbabwe’s opposition appeared set to retain its gains in parliament Saturday, as pressure mounted for the release of results from the presidential vote that longtime leader Robert Mugabe is believed to have lost.

Mugabe has been accused of using delays, fraud and violence to retain power. Early results showed his party losing control of parliament for the first time since independence in 1980.

His regime reacted by calling for recounts in 23 seats; so far the recounts have only confirmed the original tallies.

On Saturday, the electoral commission confirmed results in 10 disputed parliamentary votes: six seats were taken by the opposition and four by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

Original results from the March 29 election showed that opposition groups won 110 seats to Mugabe’s 97.

The electoral commission also said Saturday that the long-awaited presidential results would be released in the coming days, unless any of the tallies were challenged.

SEOUL, South Korea

Police set for torch protests

The Olympic torch arrived today in South Korea on the latest leg of its world tour, with demonstrators vowing to disrupt its run through the city that hosted the 1988 Summer Games.

The torch relay was to begin later today from a park built for the Seoul Olympics and make a 15-mile journey to City Hall, although organizers have refused to reveal the course because of security concerns.

Some 8,000 riot police were being deployed to guard the flame, along with some 100 officers with marathon-running experience to follow the torch in shifts. Officials say they will arrest anyone who tries to interrupt the relay. Activist groups say they will try to block the torch as a protest against Chinese policies on North Korean refugees and its crackdown in Tibet.

Following Seoul, the torch will be flown to North Korea for its first-ever run in the communist country Monday. The North is an authoritarian state that tolerates no dissent.


Residents asked to report ships

In an effort to boost Japan’s territorial security, the government is considering creating a system under which residents who live on remote islands would cooperate in spotting and reporting suspicious-looking ships, sources said Saturday.

The government will ask residents on remote islands situated in the farthest reaches of Japan’s territorial waters, such as those in the Sea of Japan or the East China Sea, to work together to locate unidentified ships or boats illegally fishing in Japan’s waters as well as foreigners who are attempting to illegally come ashore on Japan’s coast, according to the sources. To ensure the continuous cooperation of island residents, the government will create a manual for residents and will compensate those whose work commitments are affected by their surveillance duties.

Meanwhile, the government will conduct a survey on how residents have been dealing with poaching, foreigners attempting to illegally enter Japan by coming ashore and other past incidents. Based on the results of the survey, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Construction and Transport Ministry will draw up guidelines for the new system.

From wire reports


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