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Zimbabwe refuses human rights visits

Zimbabwe has refused to let Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and a South African human rights advocate visit the impoverished country for a humanitarian mission, the three said Saturday.

The former U.N. secretary general, the ex-U.S. president and rights advocate Graca Machel had planned to assess the southern African country’s needs. They are members of The Elders, a group formed by former South African President Nelson Mandela to foster peace and tackle world conflicts.

Annan said no official reason had been given for the refusal, but Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper reported that the group had been asked to “come at a later date” to accommodate the crop-planting season. It quoted an unnamed source as saying they were seen as antagonistic toward Zimbabwe’s government.

Zimbabweans are suffering from disease and hunger while a political crisis over a power-sharing government occupies its politicians.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Scientists seek remains of meteor

Scientists say they hope to find remnants of a meteor that brilliantly lit up the sky before falling to earth in western Canada.

University of Calgary planetary scientist Alan Hildebrand called it one of the largest meteors visible in the country in the last decade.

Widely broadcast video images showed what appeared to be a speeding fireball Thursday night over Saskatoon that became larger and brighter before disappearing as it neared the ground.

Hildebrand said Friday that he received about 300 e-mail reports from witnesses.

“It would be something like a billion-watt light bulb,” said Hildebrand, who co-ordinates meteor sightings with the Canadian Space Agency.

Hildebrand suspects it broke up into pieces and he plans to investigate around Macklin, Saskatchewan, near the Alberta border.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ex-commander kills himself on TV

An ex-Argentine police commander committed suicide in front of rolling television cameras as he was about to be arrested for alleged human rights violations during the country’s dictatorship.

“Maria, goodbye,” Mario Ferreyra said to his wife before lifting the .45-caliber revolver and shooting himself in the temple.

Ferreyra, 63, took his life on Friday as national authorities arrived at his home to arrest him on charges in connection with the disappearance, torture and death of dissidents during Argentina’s 1976-’83 dictatorship.

He had just finished an interview with cable TV station Cronica, whose cameras were still rolling when he took out the gun and fired it.

The TV station later broadcast the images.

From wire reports


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