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Question of the Day
“No, I will not sign the execution order for [former Foreign Minister] Tariq Aziz because I am a socialist,” Mr. Talabani told French television France 24 in an interview. “I sympathize with Tariq Aziz because he is an Iraqi Christian. Moreover, he is an old man who is over 70.”
The Vatican and Russia both called on Iraq not to carry out the death sentence on humanitarian grounds. The Vatican said mercy would help the war-torn country make progress toward reconciliation.
Rising food prices prompt subsidies
BEIJING | China's government announced food subsidies for poor families Wednesday as it tries to cool a double-digit surge in prices that communist leaders worry might stir unrest.
The Cabinet promised to ease shortages of vegetables and grain that helped push up food prices by more than 10 percent in October. It promised more supplies of diesel to end fuel shortages that have disrupted trucking and industry.
The Cabinet said it was not ordering direct price controls but said they could be imposed if necessary. The statement gave no details of the subsidies or how the government would try to increase food supplies. Inflation is politically volatile in China, where poor families spend up to half their incomes on food.
The jump in food prices pushed inflation to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in October, well above the government’s 3 percent target.
Surging food prices are not confined to China. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization on Wednesday said global prices of most commodities are up sharply from last year and further spikes are likely unless production of major food crops rises.
By Michael P. Orsi
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