tampabay.com

Ex-rebel leader claims victory in Kosovo vote

By Times Wires
Published November 18, 2007


PRISTINA, Serbia

Hashim Thaci, a former rebel leader who has promised to declare Kosovo's independence if mediation efforts fail, declared victory for his party in a parliamentary election Saturday. With most votes counted, Thaci's opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo led with 35 percent, according to an unofficial tally by Democracy in Action, a coalition of monitoring groups. The Democratic League of Kosovo, traditionally the province's largest political bloc, trailed with 22 percent. Official results were expected Monday.

TOKYO

Immigration rules worry foreigners

Japan will put in place one of the toughest systems in the developed world for monitoring foreign visitors. The system, launching Tuesday, requires foreign citizens to be fingerprinted, photographed and questioned every time they enter Japan. The screening will extend to Japan's 2.1-million foreign residents, many of whom fear they will face clogged immigration lines whenever they enter the country. People exempted from the checks include children under 16, diplomats, and Koreans and other Asians brought to Japan as slave laborers during World War II and their descendants.

TEHRAN, Iran

Book is banned, boosting demand

An Iranian government decision to forbid the second printing of a Farsi translation of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Memories of My Melancholy Whores has spurred interest in the book, booksellers said Saturday. It was banned after the Ministry of Culture received complaints from conservatives who believed the novel was promoting prostitution. Ahmad Abbasi, 28, had to pay $3.70 to buy the novel on the black market - more than twice the price tag. "I don't know what the book is about. But when the government bans a book, there is something interesting in it," he said while counting out his money for a book dealer.

LONDON

Phones on vibrate, iPods switched off

Life without music would be a mistake, Nietzsche said. But it's a mistake that many in Britain are prepared to make, at least for 24 hours on Wednesday, when the nation has been asked to knuckle down to a third annual No Music Day. According to the official Web site nomusicday.com, "iPods will be left at home," "rock bands will not rock," "choirboys will shut their mouths," "jingles will not jangle." No Music Day is the idea of maverick writer, thinker, conceptual artist and former rock star Bill Drummond.

Elsewhere

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: In his opening address of a rare OPEC summit, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned Saturday that oil prices would further surge if the United States contemplates an attack against his country or Iran.

New Delhi: The communist parties that support India's ruling coalition have backed off their strong opposition to a landmark nuclear deal with the United States, clearing the way for the pact to go forward after months of high-stakes political gamesmanship.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Standing water left over from Tropical Storm Noel last month is contributing to an outbreak of the waterborne disease leptospirosis, killing 19 people and sickening more than 130 others, Dominican Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez said Saturday.