Prime minister says Kenya calm

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Seeking to restore the image of what was once one of Africa's most stable countries, Kenya's prime minister said yesterday the country had rebounded from postelection violence that left more than 1,200 people dead.

Raila Odinga, the former opposition leader who became prime minister in April in a power-sharing deal with President Mwai Kibaki, was speaking at the three-day World Economic Forum on Africa. "Kenya is up and running once again," he said. "Kenya is ready to do business."

Kenya was thrown into bloody turmoil after both Odinga and Kibaki claimed victory in December elections, triggering ethnic violence that forced 300,000 people from their homes. More than $1 billion in losses have been linked to the violence.

- AP

Parties reach deal in N. Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland's new power-sharing leader declared yesterday that Irish Catholics and British Protestants must "secure the peace" by removing all traces of paramilitary extremism from their divided communities.

First Minister Peter Robinson, 59, succeeded Protestant preacher Ian Paisley, his 82-year-old mentor in the Protestant Democratic Unionist Party.

Sinn Fein, the major Irish Catholic party in the coalition, had threatened to block his appointment, which could have triggered the collapse of power-sharing, because the Democratic Unionists oppose the Sinn Fein candidate to head a new Justice Department - Gerry Kelly, a former IRA car-bomber.

Sinn Fein relented after the Democratic Unionists agreed to talks on this issue and others under the direction of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

- AP

Russia to NATO: Stop expansion

BERLIN - Russian President Dmitry A. Medvedev said yesterday in his first major foreign-policy speech that if NATO moved to expand farther east it would seriously undermine relations between Russia and the West.

At a Berlin forum on his first Western trip since succeeding Vladimir V. Putin, Medvedev suggested a new European security pact that would protect interests of all nations on the continent. But if NATO continues eastward expansion, he said, using harsh rhetoric reminiscent of Putin, it could lead to long-term problems with Moscow.

NATO, under pressure from Russia, delayed a decision last month on granting Georgia and Ukraine plans that would set them on the path toward membership.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Police in Tibet

have arrested 16 Buddhist monks and accused them of involvement in three bombings, a police spokesman in Qamdo, northeastern Tibet, said yesterday. The spokesman said the blasts caused property damage but no injuries or deaths.

Slovenia blamed

a water leak at a nuclear plant on a faulty valve yesterday, seeking to downplay the incident as European Union ministers from Austria and other nations, meeting in Luxembourg, cited the incident to question the safety of Europe's proliferating nuclear reactors.