Austerity protests stall European nations
BRUSSELS – Hundreds of thousands of Europe’s beleaguered citizens went on strike or snarled the streets of several capitals Wednesday, at times clashing with riot police, as they demanded that governments stop cutting benefits and create more jobs.
Workers with jobs and without spoke of a “social emergency” crippling the world’s largest economic bloc, a union of 27 nations and half a billion people.
The protests were met with tear gas in Italy and Spain, but largely were limited to the countries hardest hit by the austerity measures designed to bring government spending into line with revenues. Wealthier nations such as Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark saw only small, sedate demonstrations.
UN: Congo rebel groups kill 264 since April
GOMA, Congo – While the international community is focused on the M23 rebellion, other armed groups have taken advantage of the security vacuum in eastern Congo, and killed more than 260 people since April, a United Nations report said Wednesday.
A series of six investigations by the U.N. has determined that the Raia Mutomboki and Nyatura armed groups were responsible for most of the 75 massacres in which at least 264 people died, including 83 children.
The actual number of victims is likely to be higher as not all massacres were investigated.
New Ebola outbreak in Uganda kills two
KAMPALA, Uganda – Ugandan officials say a new outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever has killed at least two Ugandans in a district near the capital.
Health Minister Christine Ondoa said Wednesday that investigators had found conclusive evidence of Ebola in Luweero, about 40 miles from Kampala, the capital.
Last month, Uganda declared itself Ebola-free after an earlier outbreak of the disease killed at least 16 people in a remote district of western Uganda. It was not clear if the new outbreak and the previous one are related. In 2000, an Ebola outbreak in Uganda infected 425 people, killing more than half.
Russia expands treason law, crackdown feared
MOSCOW – Adding to fears that the Kremlin aims to stifle dissent, Russians now live under a new law expanding the definition of treason so broadly that critics say it could be used to call anyone who bucks the government a traitor.
The law took effect Wednesday, just two days after President Vladimir Putin told his human rights advisory council that he was ready to review it.
Putin opponents say a series of measures enacted since he returned to the Kremlin in May for a third term show he is determined to intimidate and suppress dissidents.