World Digest: June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013
ETHIOPIA
Nile accord is ratified in defiance of Egypt

The Ethiopian Parliament on Thursday unanimously ratified an accord that replaces colonial-era deals under which Egypt and Sudan were awarded the majority of the world’s longest river.

The vote took place amid a dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt after Ethiopia last month started to divert Nile waters for a massive hydroelectric dam. Ethiopia’s growing economy requires expanded electrical capacity, but Egypt fears that the dam will mean a diminished share of the Nile, which provides almost all of the desert nation’s water needs.

The new Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement — already signed by Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi — was conceived to replace the 1929 treaty written by Britain that gave Egypt veto power over upstream countries’ Nile projects. Sudan and Egypt signed a deal in 1959 splitting the Nile waters between them without giving other nations consideration.

— Associated Press

CHINA
Detained journalist had reported abuses

Chinese state security officials have detained a journalist who recently disappeared after completing a documentary on labor camp abuses, the photographer’s sister and a close friend said Thursday.

The detention of Beijing-based video- and photojournalist Du Bin, 41, is probably related to his work, said democracy activist Hu Jia, who said he has been a close friend of Du’s for more than a decade. Du had recently completed a documentary exposing torture allegedly inflicted on detainees at a labor camp in northeastern China as well as a 600-page book about the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown on protesters in Beijing, published in Hong Kong.

The detention comes amid a broader crackdown on China’s small community of rights activists and dissidents launched under new Communist Party chief Xi Jinping. The campaign has dashed hopes that the new leadership might ease controls on civil society.

— Associated Press

AFGHANISTAN
6 policemen found slain at checkpoint

Six Afghan policemen were found fatally shot at their checkpoint in the country’s south and two other policemen were missing, along with vehicles and weapons, raising suspicions they killed their comrades, an official said Thursday.

District chief Nayamatullah Samim said the policemen’s bodies were discovered Wednesday night in Helmand province’s Musa Qala district after they did not check in with their superiors.

“Insider attacks,” in which Afghan forces open fire on their comrades or international forces, threaten to shake the confidence of the two sides as the 2014 withdrawal of most of the international troops approaches.

Taliban fighters have warned that they would infiltrate Afghan security forces to carry out such attacks, of which several have been carried out in the past year.

— Associated Press

Greeks strike over broadcaster’s shuttering: More than 10,000 protesters rallied outside Greece’s public broadcasting headquarters in support of fired staff, who for a third day occupied the building to continue broadcasts in defiance of the government. Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called a meeting Monday with center-left coalition partners who are demanding that Hellenic Broadcasting Corp., or ERT, be reopened. The government pulled ERT off the air late Tuesday, axing all 2,656 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive demanded by international creditors.

Iraqi governor escapes assassination: Iraqi police officials said the governor of Iraq’s northern, Sunni-dominated province of Nineveh survived an assassination attempt that left two people dead. In the Thursday night attack, a car bomb went off next to the motorcade of Atheel al-Nujaifi, who is also the brother of parliamentary speaker Osama al-
Nujaifi, in the volatile city of Mosul.

Argentine ex-president given jail term: Former Argentine president Carlos Menem was sentenced to seven years in prison for smuggling arms to Ecuador and Croatia in the 1990s in violation of international embargoes. The court also banned Menem from holding elective office and asked the Senate to vote to remove his immunity as a senator. Given his age, Menem, 82, would likely serve his sentence at home.

Vote date in dispute in Zimbabwe: Five years after bitterly disputed elections, Zimbabwe faced a new political conflict Thursday as President Robert Mugabe called elections for July 31 and his rival swiftly rejected the date. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he would not let Zimbabwe be rushed into “another illegitimate election.”

— From news services

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