FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – An outbreak of cholera in West Africa has infected more than 13,000 people and killed at least 258 people in Sierra Leone and Guinea, authorities said as they appealed for international assistance.
Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared the outbreak there an “emergency issue,” and has set up a task force to prepare the budget that will be needed to stem the outbreak.
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine, contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food or liquids. It can cause acute diarrhea and vomiting and can kill within hours.
Mali announces government change
BAMAKO, Mali – Mali’s interim leaders announced a new government late Monday, months after a military coup unleashed political chaos that allowed an Islamist takeover of the north and forced nearly half a million people to flee their homes.
The government has 31 ministers, including five who are viewed as close to coup leader Capt. Amadou Sanogo, who nominally handed over power to a civilian interim government months ago but still has not completely relinquished control.
None of the ministers in the new government is closely linked to the democratically elected president who was ousted in March, according to the announcement made on state television.
West African regional leaders had threatened to expel Mali from the regional bloc and impose sanctions if the country failed to assemble a unity government as promised.
Myanmar softens censorship rules
YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar abolished direct censorship of the media Monday in the most dramatic move yet toward allowing freedom of expression in the long-repressed nation. But related laws and practices that may lead to self-censorship raise doubt about how much will change.
Under the new rules, journalists will no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication as they for almost half a century. However, the same harsh laws that have allowed Myanmar’s rulers to jail, blacklist and control the media in the name of protecting national security remain unchanged and on the books.
Prison gunbattle kills 25, injures more
CARACAS, Venezuela – Twenty-five people were killed during a prison riot and dozens were wounded when two groups of inmates waged a gunbattle inside the penitentiary while hundreds of relatives were visiting, Venezuelan officials said Monday.
The violence erupted at Yare I prison south of Caracas on Sunday, and at least one of those slain was a relative of an inmate, said Iris Varela, the government’s prisons minister.
Libya plans own trial for Gadhafi’s son
TRIPOLI, Libya – Libya will put deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son on trial, defying a demand by the International Criminal Court, the Libyan representative to the Hague court said Monday.
Ahmed al-Jehani said the trial of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi will begin next month. One possible venue is Zintan, a town in the western mountains, where he is being held.
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi was considered his father’s political heir. The ICC issued an arrest warrant and demanded to try him on war crimes. Libya has argued that its new regime should try him.