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World in brief: Serbia will oppose Kosovo secession

Fri., Feb. 15, 2008

Serbia will use economic, political and diplomatic measures to stop Kosovo from declaring independence Sunday, but will avoid violence, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told an emergency Security Council session Thursday.

Jeremic said at the closed-door meeting that allowing the province to secede would do “irreparable harm” to the notion of sovereignty, and would trigger secession by other disaffected territories. He called on the Security Council to prevent the province from breaking away and asked the U.N. secretary-general to direct U.N. administrators of the province to dissolve the Kosovo Assembly, although the U.N. is unlikely to step in.

“We shall never recognize Kosovo’s independence,” Jeremic said. “Not now. Not in a year. Not in a decade. Never.”

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Jeremic refused to specify whether Belgrade would cut off electricity to the province or block transit to Europe, as some Serbian leaders have threatened.

“It is a state secret,” he said. “I can just say that each and every measure is fair play.”


Museum poster deemed too sexual

London’s transport authority has refused to display a poster featuring the 16th-century “Venus” by German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, saying it is overtly sexual.

The painting, which depicts a golden-haired, milky-skinned woman cocking her hips behind a transparent veil, is one of 70 works due to go on display at London’s Royal Academy of Arts on March 8.

Transport for London, which runs the British capital’s subway system, refused to display a poster of the work unless the bottom half was cropped out, the academy said.

“I think it is because she’s totally nude as opposed to say she’s topless,” academy spokeswoman Jennifer Francis said, noting the painting was completed in 1532. “We’re shocked. We wouldn’t have put a poster design forward if we thought it was offensive.”

She said “Venus” was chosen because it best represents Cranach’s work, and the academy would be uncomfortable altering the artist’s work by cropping it.

Transport for London said they turned the poster down out of respect for commuters’ varied tastes.

N’Djamena, Chad

President declares state of emergency

Chad’s president declared a nationwide state of emergency Thursday, telling citizens that tightened controls are needed to restore order after recent rebel attacks.

In a speech broadcast on national radio and television, President Idriss Deby said he signed a decree increasing the government’s powers for 15 days, beginning today, as provided for in Chad’s constitution.

Deby said the decree instituted “measures important and urgent to maintain order, guarantee stability and assure the good functioning of the state.”

Forces loyal to Deby battled rebels Feb. 2-3 in and around the capital of this former French colony in Central Africa.

The Red Cross said more than 160 people were killed and 1,000 wounded in the fighting, which reached the edge of the presidential palace before the rebels were driven out of N’Djamena and back toward Chad’s eastern border with Sudan.

Asuncion, Paraguay

Yellow fever vaccine arrives

Brazil flew 50,000 doses of yellow fever vaccine into Paraguay on Thursday and Peru promised 250,000 more doses next week, as the government said it was expanding a vaccination campaign against the first outbreak of the disease here in 34 years.

Five cases of yellow fever detected in a remote Paraguayan farm community have touched off unease in South America’s second-poorest country and prompted public health officials here to make international appeals for vaccine stocks. None of those infected has died.

“We are making additional requests” with Taiwan and Cuba, said Paraguay’s public health minister, Oscar Martinez.

On Wednesday, some 4,000 people blocked a highway near Asuncion for hours to demand a widespread vaccination program. The protest came after authorities said they only had 100,000 vaccine doses on hand.


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