Nigerian Unions Call for Oil Strike

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Unions protesting a 23 percent increase in domestic fuel costs declared Royal Dutch/Shell, the top multinational oil company here, "an enemy of the Nigerian people" and called a Nov. 16 nationwide strike targeting oil exports.

The strike call on Sunday in Nigeria, the world's seventh-largest oil exporter and the fifth-largest supplier to the U.S. market, could send new shocks through oil markets.

A general strike over the fuel price increases in October paralyzed businesses here but left petroleum exports unaffected. The strike helped push global oil prices past the $50-a-barrel mark.

AFRICA

* GABORONE, Botswana -- The ruling Botswana Democratic Party has won a majority of seats in Parliament, the chief justice announced. In general elections Saturday, the party of President Festus Mogae, a former International Monetary Fund economist, won 29 seats, giving it a majority of the 57 seats contested.

* MONROVIA, Liberia -- Armed U.N. troops arrested dozens of men on the last day of a nationwide disarmament program after a fresh burst of violence in the war-battered West African nation.

At least five people were reported killed in fighting Friday. Five churches and an unknown number of mosques were burned.

The U.N. mission denied police accounts that three of the victims died when they were run over by a U.N. armored personnel carrier.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* TEHRAN -- Defiant lawmakers shouting "Death to America" unanimously voted to approve the outline of a bill requiring the government to resume uranium enrichment, a move likely to deepen an international dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hossein Mousavian, said that a compromise could still be reached with European negotiators to avert possible U.N. sanctions.

Britain, France and Germany have offered commercial nuclear technology, including a light-water research reactor, in return for assurances that Iran would indefinitely stop enriching uranium. Uranium enriched to a low level is used for nuclear fuel; highly enriched uranium can be used in nuclear weapons.

Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said the vote by the conservative-dominated parliament sends a message "that the parliament won't give in to coercion." Another vote is expected on any final bill, which would also require approval by the cleric-run Guardian Council.

EUROPE

* PARIS -- France ordered inquiries into the desecration of two cemeteries, one Jewish and one Catholic. In one attack Saturday night, tombstones and crosses on 30 Catholic graves were overturned or broken near the central French town of Limoges. Nearly 100 graves were desecrated with anti-Semitic and Nazi inscriptions at a Jewish cemetery near the eastern city of Strasbourg on Friday.

* VENICE -- Unusually high tides sent seawater sweeping through Venice, covering 80 percent of the city. St. Mark's Square and other landmarks were inundated, forcing tourists and residents to don rubber boots and use elevated walkways.

St. Mark's Square, one of the city's lowest points, was covered by at least 16 inches of water. A canoeist was spotted in the square. City officials installed raised wooden walkways, but in some places the water rose above them, the ANSA news agency said.

-- From News Services