BBC World Service News
05:00 GMT Wednesday 18th May 2011
Newsreader: Sue Montgomery.
The United States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said Dominque Strauss-Kahn, who’s facing charges of sexual assault, is obviously not in a position to run the International Monetary Fund. Mr Geithner urged the IMF to formally designate an interim head. Mr Strauss-Kahn has been detained in a New York prison, following his arrest on Saturday for the attempted rape of an hotel maid. A prison official, Norman Seabrook, said Mr.Strauss-Kahn was being monitored to ensure that he didn’t attempt to take his own life. (TAPE) “He is in protective custody. He has a suicide watch on him, done by a mental health evaluator. When you come into the system you are evaluated by doctors, psychologists. And they deemed it necessary to put a suicide watch on him. So he is watched and monitored 24 hours a day whild he’s in the custody of New York City Department of Correction.” (LIVE) Meanwhile, a lawyer for Mr.Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, a 32 year old from the West African nation of Guinea, says she’s going through an extraordinary trauma. Mr.Strauss-Kahn denies the allegations.
The Libyan oil minister Shukri Ghanem appears to have defected, according to security sources in Tunisia. Mr. Ghanem was said to be on the island of Djerba. Here’s Andrew North in Tripoli. (TAPE)The Libyan Government is not confirming reports the head of its national oil corporation has defected, but it’s not denying them either. Officials say they believe Shukri Ghanem is in Tunisia, but have been unable to reach him by phone. If his defection is confirmed, he would be the highest level figure to go since Libya’s former Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa fled to Britain in March. One official here sought to play down the oil executive’s importance, saying it would cause little trouble if he was to leave. However, Ghanem has previously been seen as a trusted figure. (LIVE)
Police in South-Eastern Mexico have discovered at least 500 men, women and children crammed into the trailers of two trucks, in one of the country’s biggest cases of people smuggling. From Mexico City, Ignacio de los Reyes. (TAPE) The group were discovered at a Mexican border with Guatemala, one of the busiest transit areas for illegal immigration. Mexican officials told the BBC that they were travelling in two lorries, in what they described as inhuman conditions, when they were detained. Although thousands of people cross Mexico on trains and tracks in an attempt to reach the United States each year, it is unusual for so many to be found in a single vehicle. (LIVE)
The departing chief of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti has expressed deep frustration at the lack of progress in the country. Edmond Mulet said the international community had been going round in circles for the past 30 years. He said donor nations hadn’t done enough to strengthen Haiti’s institutions. But he also criticised the Haitian authorities for not protecting commercial property.
The authorities in Pakistan say militants have attacked a security checkpoint in North West Pakistan, killing two police officers and wounding several others. Officials said around 100 militants stormed the post, near the Khyber tribal area, where Taliban fighters are sheltered. More than a dozen insurgents were also killed. There have been several attacks by militant groups across Pakistan since the death of Osama Bin Laden some two weeks ago.
A land mine attack by suspected Maoists in central India has killed five members of India’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force. Police said the Maoists attacked a CRPF convoy on Tuesday night near the town of Sukman in Chhattisgarh, one of a number of states in Eastern and Central India where Maoist guerrillas are waging an armed campaign against the authorities. An attack on the CRPF by Maoists in the same district in April last year killed 75 policemen.
South Africans go to the polls today in what’s being seen as a significant test for the ruling party the ANC. 23 million voters are expected to take part in municipal elections, which will see the main opposition party trying to capture votes, based on its track record of running the city of Cape Town. Karen Allen reports. (TAPE) Disputes over cheap housing, water, and the provision of public toilets have dominated this election campaign, with each side accusing the other of dirty tricks. The ANC’s own supporters may be among its biggest critics, but what is far from clear is whether they’ll transfer their loyalties to the opposition, or abstain from voting altogether. (LIVE)
Queen Elizabeth continues her historic visit to the Republic of Ireland today, with a visit to Croke Park Sports Stadium, where 14 spectators were killed by British forces in 1920, during Ireland’s War of Independence. Tha Queen will also attend a service honouring some 50,000 Irish soldiers who died fighting for Britain in the First World War.