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World in brief

Cuba jails dissidents, restricts U.S. envoys

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 19, 2003


HAVANA -- Cuba's communist-run government announced Tuesday night it had rounded up several dozen opponents and confirmed new restrictions on U.S. diplomats amid worsening relations between the two countries.

An official statement read on state television's evening news accused the chief of Washington's diplomatic mission in Havana, James Cason, of trying "to foment the internal counterrevolution."

Gunman in Yemen kills 3, himself at oilfield

SANA, Yemen -- A Yemeni man shot four oil company co-workers Tuesday -- killing an American, a Canadian and a Yemeni -- before shooting himself dead, the Interior Ministry said.

A second Canadian was wounded. The attack occurred in an oil field in the oil-rich northern province of Marib, about 100 miles northeast of the Yemeni capital Sana, a ministry statement said. It said terrorism was not suspected.

The American victim was a Hunt Oil Co. superintendent, while the two Canadians and the Yemeni man, in addition to the killer, were Nabors Oil employees, a Hunt statement said.

Serbian Parliament picks pro-Western leader

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- Serbian lawmakers elected a new national leader Tuesday who pledged to carry out the pro-Western reforms and anticrime efforts spearheaded by assassinated Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

"I shall be decisive in carrying out Djindjic's vision," said Zoran Zivkovic, a close associate of Djindjic's.

Judge voids warrants for strike leaders

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Seven former oil executives emerged from weeks of hiding Tuesday after a judge struck down warrants for their arrest on charges stemming from a two-month strike that sought President Hugo Chavez's ouster.

The executives hugged one another in front of the Caracas offices of the state oil monopoly, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. Hundreds of supporters cheered and waved flags.

Antigovernment strike violent in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Angered by food shortages and alleged government repression, anti-government protesters called a national strike Tuesday that disrupted business activity and public transportation.

The protests turned violent in some areas and more than 50 people were arrested, police said. The army was deployed in some neighborhoods of the capital, Harare.

In human rights . . .

EGYPT: Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the Egyptian-American democracy advocate whose imprisonment in Cairo drew widespread international condemnation, was cleared Tuesday of all the charges against him.

At a retrial ordered by Egypt's highest court, a nine-judge panel of the court acquitted Ibrahim of defaming Egypt and illegally accepting money from foreign sources through the research center he founded, the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. The court voided an earlier seven-year prison sentence.

CHECHNYA: A Chechen human rights activist was released from captivity Tuesday, three days after being seized by masked gunmen in the war-ravaged Russian republic, his colleagues said. Imran Ezhiyev of the Moscow Helsinki Group human rights organization was left unhurt on a roadside, said chairwoman Lyudmila Alexeyeva.

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