- The Washington Times - Monday, October 16, 2000

Walesa quitting politics after election failure

WARSAW Lech Walesa, once the hero of the Polish Solidarity movement, has decided to quit politics, his spokesman said yesterday after his disastrous performance in the presidential elections last week.
Mr. Walesa, 57, as head of a small party with little influence, scored less than 1 percent of the vote in last Sunday's elections, coming seventh in a list of 12 candidates. Former communist Aleksander Kwasniewski won a second five-year term.
Mr. Walesa, who became Poland's first democratically elected post-communist president in 1990, lost to Mr. Kwasniewski in 1995, but only after a second round of voting and with a respectable 48 percent to 52 percent split.

Food service workers seek union recognition

MOSCOW The struggle by some workers to unionize at a McDonald's food production plant outside Moscow could hinge on a court ruling that is expected today.
Yevgeny Druzhinin, a forklift operator at the McComplex facility since 1992, brought the suit to challenge the company's latest reprimand in what he says is a string of warnings designed to punish him for union activity.
Mr. Druzhinin's case focused on McDonald's refusal to recognize the union. Russia's labor laws say as few as three employees can form a union, and they guarantee an elected member of a union's ruling body, such as Mr. Druzhinin, cannot be punished or fired without union permission.

Panama attack leaves one dead, 12 wounded

PANAMA CITY An armed gang attacked a town on Panama's southern border with Colombia yesterday, killing a young girl and wounding nine civilians and three police officers, Panamanian police said.
The National Police said in a statement that the attack by unidentified gunmen took place in a sparsely populated area of thick jungle where Colombian guerrilla groups are occasionally known to operate.
The girl was killed and other people were wounded when the group was confronted by Panamanian security forces and a gunbattle erupted in the farming and fishing village.

For Kate Winslet, a daughter, Mia

LONDON "Titanic" star Kate Winslet and her newborn daughter, Mia, are doing well and will be leaving the hospital today, a publicist for the British actress said yesterday.
Mia who weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces, when she was born Thursday at a London hospital is the first child for 25-year-old Miss Winslet and her husband, Jim Threapleton.
The couple met in 1997 on the set of the British film "Hideous Kinky," in which Miss Winslet starred and Mr. Threapleton, 26, served as assistant director. They married the next year.

Combatants meeting to ease conflict

BOGOTA, Colombia As Colombia's war widens and becomes more savage, representatives of the government, two rebel groups and dozens of humanitarian organizations meet in Central America this week to figure ways to ease the conflict.
While the three-day conference, which starts this evening in San Jose, Costa Rica, is not expected to produce any breakthroughs to end Colombia's 36-year war, it is unique because it places most of the participants at the same table.
The conference is also likely to become a forum for many groups to voice their opposition to President Andres Pastrana's U.S.-backed anti-narcotics offensive.

North Korean to visit Russia next year

MOSCOW North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will visit Russia early next year, the Interfax news agency reported yesterday, citing a senior Foreign Ministry official.
President Vladimir Putin extended an invitation to the reclusive leader during a meeting in Pyongyang in July as part of efforts to act as an intermediary between North Korea and the West.

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