Macedonia

Macedonian PM hopes Greece will step up

SKOPJE — Macedonia’s prime minister says he expects Greece’s parliament to do its part and ratify the deal changing his country’s name to North Macedonia so it can soon join NATO.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told reporters in the capital of Skopje on Saturday that he expects neighboring Greece to be the first country to sign the accession protocol for Macedonia to become NATO’s 30th member.

NATO formally invited Macedonia to join the military alliance in 2008, but Greece vetoed the move, claiming that Macedonia’s name implies territorial aspirations toward Greece’s northern province with the same name as well as appropriating Greece’s historical heritage.

Zaev said that Macedonian lawmakers had “made history” Friday with their decision to back the constitutional changes associated with the name change.

Nigeria

Dozens feared killed as oil tanker explodes

LAGOS — An overturned oil tanker exploded in Nigeria while dozens of people were scooping up the leaking fuel and many were killed, police and witnesses said Saturday.

Hundreds of people have died in similar accidents in recent years in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, as impoverished people risk their lives to collect fuel leaking from pipelines or trucks.

“We have recovered 12 corpses and taken 22 persons with serious burns to hospital,” police spokeswoman Irene Ugbo told The Associated Press. She said the blast occurred Friday evening in Odukpani .

Some residents put the death toll closer to 60.

Congo

Fayulu asks court for election recount

KINSHASA — Congo’s presidential runner-up Martin Fayulu has asked the constitutional court to order a recount in the disputed election, declaring on Saturday that “you can’t manufacture results behind closed doors.”

He could be risking more than the court’s refusal. Congo’s electoral commission president Corneille Nangaa has said there are only two options: The official results are accepted or the vote is annulled — which would keep President Joseph Kabila in power until another election. The Dec. 30 one came after two years of delays.

“They call me the people’s soldier … and I will not let the people down,” Fayulu said. Evidence from witnesses at polling stations across the country is being submitted to the court, which is full of Kabila appointees.

Poland

Huawei fires manager charged with spying

The Chinese tech company Huawei on Saturday announced it has fired a sales director who was arrested in Poland and charged with spying for China, saying he has brought the firm’s reputation “into disrepute.”

The company said it has “decided to terminate the employment of Mr. Wang Weijing, who was arrested on suspicion of breaking Polish law.”

Huawei said Wang’s actions “have no relation to the company” and he was fired because “the incident in question has brought Huawei into disrepute.”

Bulgaria

City called European Capital of Culture

SOFIA — Plovdiv, the oldest city in Bulgaria, has been officially inaugurated as the European Capital of Culture for 2019.

About 50,000 people gathered on a main square Saturday to watch the opening show dubbed “We are all colors” with 1,500 local and foreign artists on several stages. The entertainment included traditional Bulgarian folk dancers, 200 choir singers, a brass orchestra and a musical and laser spectacle.

Squeezed between the Balkan and the Rodopi Mountains, Bulgaria’s second-largest city

claims to be the oldest continually inhabited European city, with more than 6,000 years of history.

Wire reports