The Baltimore Sun

Nigerian militants call for cease-fire

LAGOS, Nigeria -- The main militant group responsible for attacks on foreign oil installations in Nigeria's lawless south announced a one-month cease-fire yesterday, giving the new president a chance to resolve the crisis that has helped cause global crude prices to spike. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta did not offer to stop kidnapping foreign oil workers, but it released six hostages who had been seized May 1, including one American, as a peace offering to the government. Hours earlier, however, gunmen abducted four other foreign oil workers from their compound in the southern Niger Delta region's main city.

Thousands rally to support Chavez

CARACAS, Venezuela --Thousands of red-clad supporters of President Hugo Chavez strode through the Venezuelan capital yesterday seeking to counter a national outcry over the government's removal of an opposition TV station from the air. The march was in response to a week of large, sometimes violent protests by students who warned that freedom of expression is threatened by Chavez's refusal to renew Radio Caracas Television's broadcast license, which forced it off the air May 27.

Ivory ban lifted in southern Africa

THE HAGUE, Netherlands --The oversight body on international wildlife trade agreed Saturday to a one-time sale of 60 tons of banned ivory from southern Africa to Japan, despite critics' fears it would lead to increased poaching of endangered elephants. The ivory comes from stocks gathered from elephants that have died naturally. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, said its officials would closely monitor the sale by South Africa, Botswana and Namibia from national ivory stocks and see if it affected the black market.

Man offers to take place of captive

BOGOTA, Colombia --A Colombian grandfather to the children of a U.S. defense contractor held by leftist rebels offered yesterday to take his place in captivity, saying the man's twin four-year-olds should finally meet their father. Campo Elias Medina said he will send a letter and photos of the children to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, asking if he can replace his daughter's boyfriend, Keith Stansell, who was kidnapped in February 2003. Latin America's largest guerrilla army took Stansell and two other U.S. defense contractors hostage after their plane crashed in the jungles of southern Colombia while they were on an intelligence gathering mission.

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