Wikinews Shorts: May 22, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, May 22, 2007.

Kazakhstan: term limit exemption for Nazarbayev

Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1997.

A new constitution for Kazakhstan, which was passed overwhelmingly by parliament, will let President Nursultan Nazarbayev run for re-election infinitely.

Nazarbayev, who has been president for 17 years, has led the Central-Asian nation through an economic boom that has given the country a higher standard of living than its neighbors.

No election in Kazakhstan has been deemed fair and free by international observers.


US and China to hold high level trade talks

Wu Yi with Colin Powell in 2004

This week the United States and China will be holding talks called the Strategic Economic Dialogue. China has sent 16 ministers, nearly half the cabinet, whom were received at Andrews Air Force Base by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

The Chinese delegation is led by Vice-Premier Wu Yi and includes Finance Minister Jin Renqing. Wu Yi is expected to meet with President George W. Bush on Thursday.

It is the second meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue series.


Uganda forest gets reprieve

Mabira forest, Uganda

The government of Uganda has said that it will look to find other land for the Sugar Company of Uganda Ltd (SCOUL), which wants to expand its sugar plantations.

In April, there was civil unrest after a proposal to cut down 7000 acres of forest. Two Asian employees of SCOUL's parent company Mehta Group were killed.

Ultimately, it seems that it was warnings from environmental experts about soil erosion, watershed for streams that feed Lake Victoria and the threat to endangered species such as the rare Tit-hylia bird, that changed the government's position.

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US funding bill compromise

The US Capitol building
Image: Kevin McCoy.

In a compromise, that some see as a victory for United States President George W. Bush, Democrats dropped their demand for a withdrawal date from Iraq.

"The president has made it very clear that he is not going to sign timelines," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland. "We can’t pass timelines over his veto."

"Democrats have finally conceded defeat in their effort to include mandatory surrender dates in a funding bill for the troops," said House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

"We don’t have a veto-proof Congress," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

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