World and Nation

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Rivals in Zimbabwe Sign Power-Sharing Deal

After almost three decades of untrammeled power, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Monday signed an agreement that gives his longtime political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, the authority to shape and carry out government policies as the country’s new prime minister.

The power-sharing deal, a momentous development in one of the world’s most repressive countries, was celebrated at a remarkable ceremony here. A rambunctious audience of Tsvangirai’s backers clapped, hooted, danced and chanted from the purple upholstered seats.

Among them were party activists who had gone into hiding for months before the June runoff election — widely denounced as a sham — and others who have been victims of state-sponsored violence over the years.

“I came to make sure my big fishes have not betrayed me and to make sure I’m walking in a free country,” said Godknows Nyamweda, 36, a local ward councilor here who rolled up his sleeve to show scars where he said he had been sliced by a knife.

As a brass band struck up a gospel tune, opposition supporters put their own words to it, singing, “Tsvangirai, can I turn to you in hard times?”

The question is whether this deal will help bring better times to a country where the economy has been shrinking for 10 straight years, most people are out of work, millions are hungry and inflation tops an almost incomprehensible 11 million percent.

As Simpson Robbery Trial Opens, Motive Is the Focus

The basic facts of a September 2007 hotel room confrontation here are not in dispute, so opening arguments on Monday in the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson boiled down to the prosecution and the defense debating whether Simpson aimed to steal valuable sports memorabilia or to recover personal keepsakes.

A Clark County assistant district attorney, Christopher Owens, and one of Simpson’s lawyers, Yale Galanter, pointed to different excerpts from hours of audio recordings made by various participants in the hotel room encounter to support their claims, making it clear the jury would be asked to decide what the recordings say about Simpson’s intent.

Simpson, 61, is charged with kidnapping and armed robbery. The charges stem from a confrontation in which he and five men raided a room in the Palace Station Hotel and Casino and left with hundreds of items largely related to Simpson’s football career. The material had been in the possession of two collectibles dealers, Alfred Beardsley and Bruce L. Fromong.

The dealers have insisted that the items were theirs and that they were expecting a meeting with a legitimate buyer when Simpson’s group burst in.

Emergency Room Patients Often Left Confused After Visits

A vast majority of emergency room patients are discharged without understanding the treatment they received or how to care for themselves once they get home, researchers say. And that can lead to medication errors and serious complications that can send them right back to the hospital.

In a new study, researchers followed 140 English-speaking patients discharged from emergency departments in two Michigan hospitals and measured their understanding in four areas — their diagnosis, their ER treatment, instructions for their at-home care, and warning signs of when to return to the hospital.

The study, published in the July issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that 78 percent of the patients did not understand at least one area and about half did not understand two or more areas. The greatest confusion surrounded home care — instructions about things like medications, rest, wound care and when to have a follow-up visit with a doctor.

“We’re finding that people are just not prepared for self-care, and that’s what is bringing them back,” said Dr. Eric Coleman, director of the Care Transitions Program at the University of Colorado, who was not involved in the study.

The researchers described a woman in her 20s who went to the emergency room with abdominal pain. After extensive testing, doctors there diagnosed pelvic inflammatory disease, a sexually transmitted infection.

Nuclear Agency Says Iran Has Improved Enrichment

Iran has substantially improved the efficiency of its centrifuges that produce enriched uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday, indicating that the nation has overcome some of the technical challenges that had plagued its enrichment program.

In a six-page report, the agency charged the Iranians with continuing to stonewall about what some Western governments suspected was Iran’s past research on designing a nuclear weapon. The agency acknowledged that it had failed “to make any substantial progress” in its investigation.

“We seem to be at a dead end,” said a senior official with links to the agency. “We would describe it as a gridlock.”

The report is another setback to an agency initiative begun last summer that gave Iran fixed deadlines to resolve questions about nuclear activities in the past two decades and asked the United States and other countries for patience in pursuing new sanctions.

In another revelation, the agency said for the first time that a foreign expert or group of experts may have helped Iran with experiments on a detonator that could be used in the implosion of a nuclear weapon.