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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 3, 2000

Ebola virus surfaces in new area

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Health officials confirmed Thursday that the deadly Ebola virus has claimed a victim hundreds of miles from the Ugandan town where they had hoped to confine a recent outbreak.

Experts had been sent to investigate the Oct. 26 death of a 20-year-old soldier in the town of Mbarara in southern Uganda. Late Thursday, the chairman of a national task force on the Ebola outbreak in the country's north said doctors have confirmed that the soldier was the latest victim of the contagious disease.

"This soldier is suspected to have had some contact (with the virus) in Gulu during the burial of an Ebola victim, and we suspect he may have touched the body," said Sam Okware. He did not release the soldier's name.

Gulu, a region 225 miles north of the capital, Kampala, is the site of an outbreak that experts confirmed Oct. 14. So far it has claimed 82 lives, including the soldier, and 263 other people have been infected.

It could be days before experts know whether other cases of Ebola will pop up in Mbarara. The virus can take up to two weeks to incubate.

Ebola, which is spread by bodily contact, can cause severe hemorrhagic fever and is often fatal.

Peru's Congress votes itself out of business

LIMA, Peru -- Peru's Congress approved constitutional changes Thursday that will cut short its mandate and Alberto Fujimori's presidency, clearing the way for elections on April 8.

Approval of the amendments was a major step toward resolving a crisis that began in mid-September when Fujimori said he would step down and call new elections in which he would not be a candidate.

On Thursday, the legislature voted 109-2, with five abstentions, for both Fujimori and the 120 congressmen to leave office four years ahead of schedule. Fujimori's early exit would cut short his third term resulting from an election tainted by allegations of vote fraud.


ANGOLA CRASH: Angolan rebels claimed Thursday to have shot down a chartered plane that crashed just after takeoff in a diamond-mining region, killing all 48 people aboard. The claim, which could not be independently verified, said that UNITA rebels shot down the twin-engine turboprop because it was loaded with diamonds "stolen from our land."

FIJI VIOLENCE: Elite soldiers who apparently feared being drummed out of the army over a May coup seized Fiji's main military barracks Thursday and took hostages but were flushed out by regular army troops in gunbattles. Eight people were killed, including five rebellious soldiers.

IRAQI PLANT: A Chinese company has completed a major power station in Iraq, the first such facility built there since the Gulf War. The gas-powered 222-megawatt station, near the northern oil center of Kirkuk, is expected to ease a chronic electricity shortage.

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