LAGOS, Nigeria

More than 500 people killed in attack on Christian village

At least 528 people were killed in an attack on a predominantly Christian village by Muslim Fulani herders near the central Nigerian city of Jos, a local rights group said.

The pre-dawn attack Sunday on the Dogo na Hauwa village was in reprisal for losses the herders suffered in clashes around the city in January, said Shehu Sani, president of the Civil Rights Congress.

“The toll for the dead has reached 528,” Sani said Monday. “The attackers came when everyone was sleeping, set traps on all escape routes, fired in the air and then cut people down as they tried to escape.”

Nigeria’s acting President Goodluck Jonathan placed security forces on “red alert” after the attack. Africa’s most populous country of more than 140 million people is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

TORONTO

Parliament’s restaurant will serve seal meat this week

The Canadian Parliament’s restaurant will serve seal meat this week in support of hunters battling a European Union ban on seal products, a Liberal senator said Monday.

Celine Hervieux-Payette said Wednesday’s seal meat lunch menu will allow politicians to demonstrate their backing for the annual hunt.

The EU ban on seal imports was imposed last July on the grounds that Canada’s annual hunt was inhumane. The East Coast seal hunt, the largest in the world, kills an average of 275,000 harp seals during mid-November to mid-May. The seals are either shot or hit over the head with a spiked club called a hakapik.

Animal rights groups believe the hunt is cruel, poorly monitored and provides little economic benefit. Seal hunters and Canadian authorities say it is sustainable, humane and provides income for isolated communities.

TAIJI, Japan

Japanese village leader defends dolphin hunting

The gala crowd in Los Angeles cheered as “The Cove” won the best documentary Oscar with its grisly portrayal of dolphin hunting. Half a world away, residents of the small Japanese village shown in the film abhorred the attention and said it won’t end their centuries-old tradition.

In Taiji on the rocky coast of southwest Japan, residents gathered in whale eateries with names like “Tail” and rolled their eyes Monday when told of Oscar laurels for the film, which they see as yet another biased foreign take on their culture.

The village of 3,500 people has been hunting dolphins and whales since the early 1600s. It calls itself “Whale Town” and has a massive pair of whale statues looming over the main road. “The Cove” refers to Taiji and its dolphin fishing as “a little town with a really big secret,” but local councilman Hisato Ryono said there is nothing to hide.

“Everyone around here knows about it. The water nearby turns red during the hunt. The actual killing is done in a concealed area because it is unpleasant to look at, as is true of killing cows or pigs or any other animal,” said Ryono, who says he was tricked into appearing in the film.