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Lawyers for jailed Zimbabwean cabinet nominee Roy Bennett were dismayed by a Supreme Court ruling that prosecutors may appeal his release. The case is a source of growing tension in the new unity government. Bennett was ordered freed on bail earlier this week although he remains in custody. He is the Movement for Democratic Change's choice to be junior agriculture minister, but prosecutors have charged him with plotting terrorism. A conviction at trial could result in a life sentence.Skip to next paragraph
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A Palestinian backhoe operator was shot to death in Jerusalem Thursday amid a rampage in which his vehicle crushed a police cruiser, rammed other cars and a bus, and injured two officers. The incident was the fourth of its type there since last July. In a statement, Hamas praised it as "a natural response to [Israeli] aggression against our people."
An order by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to nationalize rice mills does, indeed, cover one owned by US agribusiness giant Cargill, reports said. But it wasn't clear whether other Cargill properties involved in food production would be included in the decree. Also seized: mills belonging to Empresas Polar CA, Venezuela's largest privately owned company and distributor of a wide range of other food products. Chávez warned he would expropriate the entire company "if they get funny with us."
While Kyrgyzstan won't reverse its decision to close a vital US airbase, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said "the doors are open" to negotiations for a continued American presence there. The US must vacate the base, which funnels troops and materiel to Afghanistan, within six months. However, Bakiyev said, "We are ready for any new proposals from the US government aimed at stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan." Critics suggested his remarks were a gambit to extract higher rent for any new US facility.
Labor leaders on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe called a halt Wednesday night to the general strike that had brought commerce to a standstill. They said most of their demands – chiefly a wage increase for low-paid employees – have been met. Negotiations on the rest are ongoing. But the union chiefs warned that they'll order a resumption of the strike if the government or employers renege on any agreements.