Archive for Tuesday, July 12, 2005

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July 12, 2005

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UNITED NATIONS

Report: Conflict deaths vastly underreported

Global estimates have routinely underestimated the true number of people killed in armed conflict, including during the war in Iraq, according to a report released Monday.

The annual Small Arms Survey coincided with the start of a week-long conference at the United Nations to discuss efforts to stop the illegal spread of small arms and light weapons.

The survey said that it was possible that as many as 39,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq from May 2003 to October 2004, more than twice media estimates of between 10,000 and 15,000.

It derived its estimates from a study published in the Lancet medical journal last October, which estimated 98,000 more civilians had died in Iraq since March 2003 than would otherwise have been expected to have perished. The British government has rejected those findings, which were based in part on projections.

Kyrgyzstan

Acting president wins national election

International monitors on Monday offered encouraging assessments of Kyrgyzstan's presidential election, despite what the monitors called an obvious effort to inflate voter turnout figures in the first balloting since a March street revolt sent the last president into exile.

Official results for the voting Sunday showed acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev collecting 88 percent of the vote to remain in the office he has occupied since March 24, when President Askar Akayev abruptly fled protests after a 15-year rule.

While the magnitude of the win - the second-place finisher managed to win just 3 percent of the vote - evoked comparisons with the controlled outcomes of elections in the Soviet era, democracy activists and foreign observers here said Bakiyev's margin appeared to generally reflect the voting.

Kimmo Kiljunen, who headed the observer mission for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that the actual turnout appeared to be a comfortable 58 percent, yet jumped to the "implausible" 74 percent at the close of balloting.

Monaco

Prince Albert may face more paternity claims

Prince Albert II of Monaco, who acknowledged last week that he is the father of a child born to a former Air France flight attendant, said Monday that others may step forward with paternity claims.

A day before the bachelor prince formally accedes to the throne, Albert told the French TF1 television station that he was "extremely shocked" at the way the existence of his nearly 2-year-old son was made public by the press. The child's mother is former Air France flight attendant originally from Togo.

Asked if there might be other such cases, the prince said, "I know there are other people who have nearly the same cases." He refused to elaborate.

The 47-year-old prince, son of Prince Rainier III and the Hollywood beauty Grace Kelly, would not indicate whether there was any truth to "cases" that might come forward.

News that Albert had a child broke in the French magazine Paris Match while Monaco was officially mourning the April death of Rainier. The magazine showed personal photographs of the child, his mother Nicole Coste and also of the prince himself feeding his son, Alexandre.

Trinidad

Bomb wounds 14 in capital, police say

A bomb exploded in a trash bin in downtown Port-of-Spain on Monday, wounding 14 people, police said.

The commercial district was evacuated and the area checked for additional bombs, but none were located, Deputy Police Commissioner Glen Roach said.

"We have no idea of the kind of device used nor who is behind it," Roach said.

Lennox Alfred, chief fire officer for Trinidad, said the 14 injured included a 26-year-old street vendor and a passer-by who were in critical condition.

Police and soldiers with automatic rifles swarmed the downtown after the explosion as rescuers aided the victims.

Local media reported that a man was seen placing a package in the garbage bin shortly before the explosion around 2 p.m. The site of the blast is two blocks from the national Parliament, which was meeting at the time.

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