Australian government boycotts Zimbabwe cricket

After spending several weeks recommending that Australia's cricket team cancel a September tour of Zimbabwe, Prime Minister John Howard's government took the issue into its own hands Sunday, banning the team from visiting the African country. "The government through the foreign minister has written to the organization of Cricket Australia instructing that the tour not go ahead," Howard said. The World Cup-champion Australians were scheduled to play three one-day matches in Zimbabwe. They likely would have spent less than two weeks in the country led by President Robert Mugabe, who has been criticized for human rights abuses. Cricket Australia said it might try to play the three matches at a neutral venue.