Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 2000

World briefs

December 20, 2000

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Turkey

Inmates killed in prison takeover

At least 17 people were killed Tuesday when Turkish security forces stormed prisons across the country in a bid to end a widespread hunger strike. Most of the dead were inmates who set themselves ablaze to protest the raids.

Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said 15 of the dead were inmates who immolated themselves in the raids, which the government called "Operation Bring Back to Life." Leftist prisoners have been participating in the hunger strike to protest government plans to transfer them from overcrowded wards to new maximum-security prisons, where they would be placed in small cells. Nearly 300 are on a death fast and have consumed only sugared water for two months.

Bolivia

Coca crop destroyed, president claims

Declaring most of the coca crop destroyed, Bolivia's president on Tuesday claimed victory in an often violence-plagued campaign to rid the nation of drug-growing plantations.

President Hugo Banzer had promised that by the end of this year his government would eradicate plantations growing coca leaf, the base material of cocaine, from the main drug-producing region in central Bolivia.

About 106,000 acres of coca leaf have been destroyed in the last three years in Chapare, Banzer said. Only 1,500 acres remain in the area, he said.

Banzer said that about 5,000 acres of coca still exist elsewhere, pledging to destroy those plants before 2002.

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