Mugabe foe stays away after threat

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Zimbabwe's opposition leader was on the way to the airport yesterday when word came that assassins were awaiting him in his homeland, derailing plans for his return.

It was unclear when Morgan Tsvangirai would return to rally his party and campaign for the presidency against longtime leader Robert Mugabe. The opposition and most observers say mounting violence and intimidation, mainly targeting opposition supporters, make it nearly impossible for a planned June 27 presidential runoff to be credible.

Opposition spokesman George Sibotshiwe said that Tsvangirai drove from his home to his office in Johannesburg, and his next stop would have been the airport. He consulted with his security and other party officials before deciding, reluctantly, not to go home.

- AP

Dominican leader wins third term

DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Dominican President Leonel Fernandez coasted to a third term in office, vowing yesterday to push ahead with policies he says have lifted the Caribbean nation's economy from crisis.

Fernandez beat his main rival, center-left construction magnate Miguel Vargas, with 54 percent to 40 percent of Friday's vote, according to a final tally released late yesterday. Election officials said voter turnout was 71 percent.

Fernandez's victory makes him the first Dominican president to be re-elected since the country's last strongman was ousted 12 years ago - showing many voters have overcome hesitations about long-serving politicians in a country with a painful history of iron-fisted rule.

- AP

Insurgents seize a Somalian hub

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Islamic insurgents in Somalia seized a major agricultural center overnight, sending hundreds fleeing, a human-rights leader said yesterday.

The attack underscored the government's vulnerabilities, as U.N.-sponsored peace talks stalled in neighboring Djibouti.

Ali Bashi, of the Fanole rights group, said the Islamic Courts Union ousted militiamen loyal to Somalia's fragile government from Jilib overnight and were patrolling the southern town. Two militia fighters were killed and three others were wounded in the fighting, he said.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Tibet's holiest

Buddhist temple reopened, state-run media reported, two months after a violent uprising in Tibetan areas throughout China led the government to close off the region's most important monasteries. The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa had been under heavy security after peaceful protests by Buddhist monks against Chinese rule on March 10 spread and turned violent four days later.