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WORLD IN BRIEF

Wednesday, March 9, 2005; Page A17

President of Bolivia Withdraws Resignation

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivian President Carlos Mesa withdrew his threat to resign on Tuesday, defying warnings by indigenous leaders of a new wave of street protests.

"We have been given a new opportunity. The country is clamoring for us to work together," Mesa told Congress. "I want Bolivians to support their president."

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Disarming Northern Ireland

Mesa submitted his resignation Monday, citing ongoing indigenous-led protests against his policies that threaten to paralyze the nation.

Bolivia's main opposition party, the Movement Toward Socialism, rejected Mesa's resignation but refused to call off protests and highway blockades.

Indigenous groups have opposed government efforts to entice foreign oil and gas operations and have been demanding lower fuel prices and higher taxes on foreign oil corporations.

EUROPE

DUBLIN -- The Irish Republican Army said it offered to kill four people -- including two expelled IRA members -- involved in killing a Catholic man in Belfast in its latest effort to defuse criticism over the case, which has cast a long shadow over Northern Ireland's peace process. Family members of the victim, Robert McCartney, rejected the offer during a meeting with an IRA representative and said they wanted the four to account for their actions in court.

AFRICA

BUNIA, Congo -- Nearly 4,000 fighters in eastern Congo handed in their weapons this week, more than doubling the number disarmed in the lawless region since September, an army officer said. The militiamen are not from groups blamed for the killing last month of nine U.N. Bangladeshi peacekeepers.

KAMPALA, Uganda -- A 16-foot-long crocodile said to have eaten more than 80 people over the past two decades has been caught alive in Uganda and transferred to a sanctuary, officials said. The animal, weighing about a ton, was captured by wildlife experts who spent three nights camping in the bush before locating it.

PRETORIA, South Africa -- In a symbolic break with apartheid, officials in South Africa's capital voted to rename the city Tshwane, retaining the name Pretoria for the city center only. The city of 2 million, established by white settlers in 1855, was named after Andries Pretorius, a leader in the Afrikaners' "Great Trek" into the interior of the country. Tshwane, which means "we are the same," was the name used by some of the region's earliest African settlers.

THE AMERICAS

HAVANA -- Louisiana's governor began a trade-promotion visit to Cuba, at a time when U.S. food exporters are seeking to boost sales to the communist-run island despite new Bush administration restrictions. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco arrived with a delegation of 30 business leaders, state officials and legislators intent on boosting exports for Louisiana's farmers.

-- From News Services


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