- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 22, 2007

CHINA

U.S. carrier denied Hong Kong port call

China has unexpectedly denied the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships entry to a Hong Kong port for a long-planned Thanksgiving-holiday visit, the State Department said yesterday.

“At present, it appears the USS Kitty Hawk strike group will not be making a port call in Hong Kong as previously planned as a result of a last-minute denial by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson said.

China gave no reason for the denial, she said. The United States is pressing Chinese authorities for an explanation.

VENEZUELA

Charter shift draws thousands to streets

CARACAS — Tens of thousands of President Hugo Chavez’s supporters filled the streets yesterday to back his proposed constitutional changes, while anti-government student leaders announced a bold plan to march on the presidential palace.

The demonstrations have grown as a Dec. 2 referendum nears on reforms that, among other changes, would let Mr. Chavez run for re-election indefinitely, create new types of property to be managed by cooperatives and lengthen presidential terms from six years to seven years.

FRANCE

Chirac faces charges in jobs scam

PARIS — A judge filed preliminary charges against former President Jacques Chirac yesterday in a probe of suspicions that people were given fake jobs while he was mayor of Paris.

Mr. Chirac was placed under formal investigation for suspected embezzlement or misuse of public funds, his attorney said, after the investigating magistrate questioned the former president for nearly four hours.

FRANCE

Sabotage adds to rail-strike woes

PARIS — Saboteurs staged a coordinated attack on France’s high-speed rail network early yesterday, causing nationwide delays to services already hit by an eight-day transport strike, the SNCF state railways said.

The pre-dawn attack on signaling connections targeted the four main TGV train services out of Paris before government, management and unions resumed negotiations on ending the dispute over pension reform.

JORDAN

King’s allies defeat Islamists in vote

AMMAN — Supporters of King Abdullah II defeated the country’s Islamist opposition in parliamentary elections, dropping their number of parliament seats by nearly two-thirds, final results showed yesterday.

Supporters of the king secured a majority of the seats in the 110-member Chamber of Deputies. The Islamic Action Front, the country’s largest opposition group, fielded 22 candidates and won only six seats, down from 17 in the outgoing parliament.

INDIA

New Delhi, IAEA plan nuke talks

VIENNA, Austria — India and the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed yesterday to start negotiations on placing Indian reactors under IAEA safeguards.

New Delhi’s atomic energy chief and the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s director took the long-delayed step after domestic Indian political opposition eased following months of deadlock.

New Delhi must submit its declared civilian atomic reactors to IAEA monitoring, and then win the approval of a global group controlling sensitive nuclear trade.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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