Leaders of European Union states were meeting Sunday on a strategy to hold the bloc together, even though some are far poorer than others and unable to offer rescue plans to their troubled industries. The leaders were expected to reject protectionist measures that could divide richer members such as France from eastern states such as Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania. Still, German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly opposed the idea of a multibillion-dollar bailout of the poorer states.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Basking in a lavish birthday party in his honor, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said farms confiscated from white landowners "will not be returned" and the few still operating "have no place here." Mugabe also told supporters at the $250,000 event that "I am still in control ... so nothing much has changed," even though his government now is a partnership with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. New Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC didn't attend the party.
Sharia law was agreed to by Somalia's new president Saturday as part of a cease-fire with the Islamist Al Shabaab militia. The decision was reached in negotiations mediated by tribal elders following some of the heaviest fighting in months. It still requires the endorsement of the transitional parliament, which now functions from the safety of neighboring Djibouti. But President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said there was "no problem" from the legislature's point of view if Somalis wanted the strict Islamic law.
Militants who've disrupted almost one-quarter of Nigeria's oil production warned that they will sabotage a planned $10 billion gas pipeline that would help diversify European energy sources. Such industry giants as Royal Dutch/Shell, Total of France, and Russia's Gazprom have expressed interest in participating in the 2,700-mile Trans-Sahara Project, slated to begin operating by 2015. But the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said it was "determined" to stop the project "from its inception."