News from around the World – 6/1/10

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on June 1, 2010

(The excerpts from World Scene and Briefly below are from – from wire dispatches and Washington Times staff reports)

UNITED KINGDOM – Britain reveals nuke-warhead levels

LONDON | Britain’s new government revealed Wednesday the planned size of its nuclear weapons stockpile, saying it will not exceed 225 warheads – a move cautiously welcomed by anti-nuclear campaigners.

In an announcement coinciding with the end of a U.N. nuclear nonproliferation treaty conference in New York, Britain said it will retain up to 160 operationally available warheads.

The statement makes public for the first time the maximum number of warheads Britain will stockpile.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the announcement posed no threat to British security, with the U.S. and France having made similar announcements.

JAMAICA – 44 reported dead in police-gang clashes

KINGSTON | Security forces claimed a tenuous hold over the slum stronghold of a gang leader sought by the U.S., but only after battles that killed at least 44 civilians, the country’s official ombudsman said Wednesday.

Officers and soldiers were still fighting holdout defenders of Christopher Coke, known as “Dudus,” in pockets of the Tivoli Gardens area. He was still at large after nearly three days of street battles.

Bishop Herro Blair, Jamaica’s most prominent evangelical pastor, told the Associated Press that independent evaluations have put the number of civilian dead at 44 in West Kingston alone. Police have said that at least four soldiers and police officers also have died in fighting in West Kingston and elsewhere around the capital.

Police earlier reported at least 26 civilian deaths and the country’s embattled prime minister, Bruce Golding, promised an independent investigation into all civilian deaths during the operation.

Bishop Blair and Jamaica’s public defender were escorted by security forces into Tivoli Gardens, where supporters of Mr. Coke began massing last week after Mr. Golding dropped his nine-month refusal to extradite him to the U.S.

Mr. Coke has ties to Mr. Golding’s Labor Party, which gets a large number of votes from the Tivoli Gardens area Mr. Golding represents in parliament.

MALAYSIA – Parents challenge exile of teenage son

KUALA LUMPUR | A Malaysian teenager banished by the government for supposedly possessing a stolen motorcycle sought a court order Wednesday for him to be returned to his parents.

Authorities arrested Jagendran Panir Selvam and two of his 16-year-old friends in central Selangor state in December under a law that lets crime suspects to be detained without trial or exiled to other districts. Jagendran was then 17, but recently turned 18.

Their arrest under Malaysia’s emergency ordinance sparked criticism by human rights activists, who urged the government to charge them in a court for minors or to release them unconditionally.

Jagendran lives at a relative’s house in a separate state just south of Selangor and no longer attends school. His parents, about 30 miles away, want him to be able to move back home.

SOUTH AFRICA – Doctors probe wave of infant deaths

JOHANNESBURG | The South African health department is investigating a spate of infant deaths at state hospitals, with 181 fatalities recorded in one facility since January, officials said Wednesday.

“A team of experts is to be set up to investigate the situation and come back with recommendations on how such incidents could be averted in the future,” Health Ministry spokesman Fidel Hadebe said.

Local health authorities have linked most of the 181 infant deaths to HIV, where mothers did not have access to anti-AIDS drugs during pregnancy.

South Africa generally has a high infant mortality rate, with 44 babies dying out of every 1,000 born. That is among the lowest rates in Africa, but very high compared to developed countries. In Sweden, the rate is 3.2 per 1,000.

CHAD – Official: U.N. exit will not leave vacuum

N’DJAMENA | The government in Chad insisted Wednesday the agreed withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers would not leave a security vacuum, after warnings it could endanger thousands of refugees and aid workers.

The U.N. Security Council voted Tuesday to order the withdrawal of the 3,300-strong U.N. force in Chad and neighboring Central African Republic – known as MINURCAT – as requested by the Chadian government.

Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat said the international forces would be replaced by Chad’s own police and integrated security detachments trained by the U.N. to protect refugee camps.

Amnesty International has said the move could leave large numbers of “vulnerable” people at risk in eastern Chad near the border with Sudan, where there are thousands of displaced Chadians and refugees from Sudan’s Darfur.

NOTE: The news blurbs above are from Briefly published at on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 and World Scene published at on Wednesday, May 26, 2010.

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