Sarkozy asks EU to cut fuel taxes

PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday proposed cutting fuel taxes Europe-wide, responding to economic discontent that has prompted French fishermen to launch protests that are spreading to other European shores and sectors.

Sarkozy urged the European Union to suspend part of the value-added tax on fuel to counter rising crude oil prices.

For more than two weeks, angry fishermen have blocked ports across France to protest rising fuel prices. The protest was set to spread to Portugal, Spain and Italy, after European fishermen decided at the International Fishing Fair in Ancona, Italy, to go on strike indefinitely starting Friday.

Truckers in Britain joined the show of discontent yesterday. About 300 honked their horns and parked on a highway on the edge of London, jamming a major route into the capital and forcing police to divert motorists.

- AP

Tsvangirai decries Zimbabwe killing

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai launched a $300,000 fund yesterday to help victims of politically motivated violence that he said has left 50 supporters dead over the last six weeks.

Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change, returned to Zimbabwe on Saturday to face a presidential runoff against longtime President Robert Mugabe on June 27.

"For the past six weeks, we have been a nation living in the shadow of a deliberate and determined campaign of violence conducted by supporters of Mugabe," Tsvangirai said in a statement.

Independent human-rights groups say opposition supporters have been beaten and killed by ruling-party thugs to ensure Mugabe wins the second round. He trailed Tsvangirai in the first round on March 29, but according to official results, the opposition leader did not win the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.

- AP

Salmon rescued as volcano erupts

SANTIAGO, Chile - First they saved the people. Then they rescued the dogs and cats. Finally they went in for the fish - 6,000 tons of them - threatened by a volcanic eruption in southern Chile.

Yesterday, boats were used to move 600,000 salmon from a fish farm just eight miles from the erupting Chaiten volcano, according to Carlos Odebret, a spokesman for Salmon Chile, the association of private salmon industries. The volcano began erupting on May 2, spewing vast columns of ash and gas.

All 4,500 residents of the town of Chaiten were evacuated soon after the eruption began. Authorities rescued hundreds of pets eight days after the eruption and removed thousands of heads of livestock. They then went in for the salmon.

- AP

Elsewhere:

In Kinshasa,

capital of Congo, more than 2,000 people marched down a main boulevard calling for Belgian authorities to release warlord-turned-political leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. Belgian police arrested Bemba, who has a home in Brussels, on Saturday on a war-crimes warrant from the International Criminal Court at The Hague.