World Digest: July 6, 2013

MALI
Separatists want soldiers out of Kidal

Tuareg separatists who drove the Malian military out of Kidal 16 months ago protested Saturday against the army’s return to the northern town, gathering outside the camp where soldiers are staying.

The West African country’s army is overwhelmingly made up of soldiers of southern Malian ethnicities, who are accused of carrying out reprisal killings against Arab and Tuareg civilians in the other northern towns they retook this year.

The military’s presence in Kidal removes a major obstacle to the presidential election, scheduled to take place in three weeks. Many had wondered how a national election could be held with an important provincial capital in the hands of rebels.

In preparation for the campaigning, Mali’s government on Saturday also lifted the state of emergency that had been reimposed in January after al-Qaeda-linked militants began attacking towns farther south in the country.

But many fear that the Tuareg separatists will not accept the army’s presence, a concern underscored by Saturday’s demonstration.

— Associated Press

HAITI
Report ties Nepalese to cholera outbreak

The United Nations sent Nepalese peacekeeping troops to bring relief to Haiti after it was devastated by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010. A study published last week in mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, concludes that the peacekeepers also brought cholera, triggering an epidemic that has sickened hundreds of thousands of Haitians and killed more than 8,000.

After sequencing the DNA of 23 samples of the cholera-causing bacterium from Haiti and comparing them to the DNA of strains found elsewhere, researchers said the outbreak could be traced to Nepal, where the disease is endemic. They also concluded that the outbreak in Haiti came from a single source, undermining the hypothesis that the disease was repeatedly introduced to the country over the past three years.

— Los Angeles Times

Italian crime boss arrested in Colombia: A fugitive Italian organized crime boss, who prosecutors allege arranged monthly shipments of tons of South American cocaine to Europe and was one of the world’s most powerful drug brokers, has been captured in a shopping mall in Bogota, Colombia, Italian and Colombian authorities said. Roberto Pannunzi, who fled while under arrest in a private Rome clinic in 2010, was reportedly captured Thursday and was to be returned to Italy on Saturday night.

Protesters dispersed near Istanbul square: Turkish police fired volleys of tear gas at protesters who tried to enter a cordoned-off park near Istanbul’s landmark Taksim Square, hours after the city’s governor warned that the demonstration was illegal and participants would be dispersed. A few thousand people converged on the square, with the aim of entering Gezi Park, whose redevelopment plans sparked anger and morphed into nationwide anti-government protests in June.

Tibetans mark Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday: Thousands of Tibetans waved banners and danced, and schoolchildren sang prayers at a Tibetan university in Bylakuppe, southern India, to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday. Speaking after an interfaith meeting, the Tibetans’ spiritual leader, who has lived in exile in India since 1959, called for love and compassion and said the real meaning of jihad was “to combat our negative emotions,” not engage in “beating or killing.”

Bombing in eastern Pakistan kills 4: A bomb exploded in a busy market street in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, killing at least four people and wounding 40, police said. Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, is also the home city of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

— From news services

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