President Evo Morales issued a decree nationalizing Bolivia’s vast natural gas industry Monday, sending soldiers to occupy gas fields and threatening to evict foreign companies unless they give the Andean nation control over the entire chain of production. The move fulfills an election promise by the leftist president to increase state control over Bolivia’s natural resources, which he says have been “looted” by foreign companies.
Japan: Plan for Iraq withdrawal
Japan will withdraw its noncombat troops deployed in southern Iraq at the same time that British and Australian troops are pulled out, whenever that may be, Kyodo News agency said today. Japan has about 600 noncombat troops in Iraq to help with humanitarian projects.
Sweden: May Day turns ugly
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world turned out for May Day, with protests in Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey and Chile turning violent on the traditional workers’ holiday. In Sweden, police detained about 130 people after demonstrators smashed shop windows and attacked police with chairs as they marched through Stockholm. Video showed protesters in Istanbul fighting with police. About 40 protesters were detained, police said. In Berlin, youths pulled several large trash cans into the street and set them on fire toward the end of a daylong street festival and some threw bottles at police. About 100,000 workers took to the streets across Indonesia, protesting a labor law that would cut worker security.
Iran: Denounces U.S. to U.N.
Iran denounced the United States on Monday for contemplating possible nuclear strikes against Iranian targets and urged the United Nations to take urgent action against what it called a dangerous violation of international law. Also Monday, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, on Monday said Tehran was “ready for any kind of negotiation to achieve our rights,” renewing a call for further talks on the Islamic republic’s atomic program.
Switzerland: Species threatened
Polar bears and hippos are among more than 16,000 species of animals and plants threatened with global extinction, the World Conservation Union said today. According to the Swiss-based conservation group, the list includes one in three amphibians, a quarter of the world’s mammals and coniferous trees, and one in eight birds. The total number of species on the planet is unknown, with 15 million being the most widely accepted estimate. Up to 1.8 million are known today.
From Herald news services