International news roundup
Russia-Ukraine gas row: 'If there are no obstacles,' the flow of Russian natural gas to customers in Europe will resume at 2 a.m. Tuesday, its supplier announced. Gazprom, the state-owned monopoly, stopped sending the fuel through pipelines that cross Ukraine last week, accusing the latter of siphoning off much of it for its own use. The two sides signed a deal last weekend under which the flow would resume, but it collapsed when Ukraine submitted handwritten amendments that were rejected by the Kremlin. The deal was reapproved after the amendments were withdrawn.
S. Africa's future president - or not? New problems arose for South African political star Jacob Zuma Monday when a senior court in South Africa reinstated graft charges against him. The ruling overturned a lower court, which had dismissed the charges, and clears the way for the ruling African National Congress chief to be tried. However, he remains the ANC candidate and presumptive favorite for president in an election that could be held as soon as April.
Indonesia ferry update: Hard rain and heavy seas were complicating efforts to search for survivors from a ferry that sank off Indonesia, and the Transport Ministry said it wasn't optimistic that additional passengers would be found alive. The Teratai Prima capsized early Sunday about 30 miles from port; so far, only 23 of the estimated 267 people aboard have been rescued.
Thai politics: Political allies of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra lost most of the seats at stake in a parliamentary election in Thailand Sunday, strengthening the grip on power of his latest successor. The Elections Commission projected that the Democrat Party of current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva would win up to 20 of the 29 seats at stake, most of them previously held by legislators disqualified by the courts. If confirmed by the official vote count, expected later Monday, Abhisit's majority in Parliament would increase to 48 seats.
A bailout for the 2010 Olympics, please: A public meeting was scheduled in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday to detail the risks of completing the athletes' village for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in the current economy. City officials "quietly" are seeking a federal bailout, reports said, because Mayor Gregor Robertson has warned that taxpayers otherwise could be "on the hook" for $875 million in building costs and interest, plus $193 million for acquisition of the land on which the facility is being built. After the Games, the village is expected to be sold as condominiums, but with no guarantee that the real estate market will have recovered by then. In 1976, the Summer Olympics in Montreal ended up losing billions of dollars that took a generation to pay off.
Flooding in Fiji: A state of emergency was declared in Fiji, where flooding from relentless tropical rains was blamed for at least eight deaths and the loss of much of the sugar cane crop. The rising waters also have submerged roads and bridges and sent thousands of residents to emergency shelters. Hundreds of tourists were stranded at resorts, unable to make way for those arriving to take over their hotel rooms, reports said.
The latest Chinese recall: dog food A popular brand of dog chow was being recalled by distributors in China amid a high-profile government campaign to improve food-safety standards. Sales of Optima lamb and rice dry food were suspended after at least 20 dogs died and others were sickened from eating it. The Optima brand is owned by a US company, but it was not clear whether the chow had been imported. In 2007, the deaths of dozens of dogs and cats in the US and Canada were traced to imported Chinese pet food. Last year, hundreds of thousands of Chinese infants were sickened by drinking tainted milk.