The week at a glance...International
Port Said, EgyptDeadly game: At least 73 people were killed and 1,000 injured in clashes between rival fans following a soccer match in Egypt’s fourth-largest city. “It is the biggest disaster in Egypt’s soccer history,” said Deputy Health Minister Hesham Sheiha. Trouble began when the home team, Al-Masry, beat longtime rivals Al-Ahly, a powerhouse club from Cairo, 3–1. Seconds after the final whistle, Al-Masry fans rushed onto the field and attacked rival supporters and players with rocks, fireworks, bottles, and knives. “This is not football,” said Al-Ahly player Mohamed Aboutrika. “This is a war, and people are dying in front of us.” Egyptian soccer fans are notoriously violent, but it is thought that the relatively small police presence at the game could have been a contributing factor to the violence. Police in Egypt have kept a low profile following last year’s popular protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Dakar, SenegalPresident won’t budge: Senegal, previously held up as an example of a stable African democracy, descended into violent protests this week over the president’s decision to seek a third seven-year term. The constitutional court said last week that President Abdoulaye Wade, 85, could run in the upcoming election, despite the two-term limit imposed in 2001, because the limit did not apply to any time in office before 2001. Some 10,000 opposition supporters took to the streets demanding that Wade step down, and riot police responded with tear gas. Four people have been killed, including a policeman who was stoned to death by demonstrators.
JohannesburgMass condom recall: South Africa’s government has recalled more than a million condoms handed out last month at the 100th birthday party of the African National Congress. “We had people flocking in, coming to report that the condoms had burst while they were having sex,” said Sello Mokhalipi, a spokesman for the Treatment Action Campaign, an anti-AIDS group. It is the third such recall in five years, raising questions about the quality of the more than 400 million condoms distributed for free in South Africa each year. About 12 percent of South Africans are HIV-positive, and only around a quarter of them are receiving anti-retroviral drugs.
Hechi, ChinaRiver poisoned: A massive spill of toxic cadmium has been coursing down the Longjiang River in southeastern China for at least two weeks, threatening the drinking water supply of millions of people. Cadmium, mined in the region for use in batteries, can cause cancer if ingested. When it was first detected in the river, in mid-January, officials suspected a mining company that had repeatedly been cited for waste-disposal violations. But since then seven officials from various chemical companies have been detained for questioning, and the government ordered at least six other mines and factories to suspend operations temporarily. The city of Hechi and surrounding areas are known to be contaminated with cadmium, lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals.