$2.1 billion debt erased

More than $2.1 billion of Guinea’s foreign debt is being canceled in a major boost for the deeply impoverished West African nation whose mineral riches were looted over decades of corrupt dictatorship, officials said Wednesday. Two-thirds of Guinea’s total foreign debt is being eliminated because it has qualified for the IMF and World Bank program for heavily indebted poor countries, according to a government statement. The decision to support $2.1 billion in debt relief for Guinea was later announced by the IMF and the World Bank following a meeting of their administrative council on Wednesday. Guinea’s finances were left in ruins after nearly 25 years of rule by Lansana Conte, who pillaged state coffers to make his family fabulously wealthy before his death in 2008, according to economists. In 2010, the country held its first democratic election.


Progress in Sudan talks

The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have reached nine agreements but did not work out the issues surrounding the contested Abyei region or the demarcation of their shared border. South Sudan President Salva Kiir said the two countries would sign a “protocol of collaboration” today in Addis Ababa. Atif Kiir, a South Sudan spokesman, said late Wednesday that Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and Kiir agreed on economic issues and a buffer zone between their borders to allow oil exports.


Ferry collides with ship

A passenger ferry collided with a ship believed to be carrying liquefied natural gas and sank west of Indonesia’s main island, killing at least eight people while more than 200 were rescued. The ferry carrying more than 200 crew and passengers collided with the ship about 40 minutes into its 90-minute journey Wednesday morning between Java and Sumatra islands, said Heru Purwanto, an official at Bakauheni port on southern Sumatra. Experts were checking for gas leaks in the ship.

Compiled from wire reports.