- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

    Belarus raps U.S. on election criticism

MINSK, Belarus — Belarus' foreign minister denounced a statement by the U.S. State Department accusing the Belarussian government of obstructing the electoral process and questioning the fairness of upcoming presidential elections.

"It's a crude and direct interference in the affairs of Belarus," Foreign Minister Mikhail Khvostov said on state television yesterday. "We have again confirmed our readiness to conduct open, fair, transparent and democratic elections."

Democracy leaves most Poles cold

WARSAW — A majority of Poles profess to be indifferent to democracy, two decades after instigating a democratic revolution that led to the collapse of communism in Europe, according to a public opinion poll published yesterday.

Thirty-five percent of those queried said it makes no difference whether the government is democratic or not, and 20 percent said undemocratic rule can prove more effective at times, according to results of a CBOS Institute poll reported by the PAP news agency.

Photo lens captures Chirac in the nude

PARIS — French President Jacques Chirac surprised paparazzi photographers huddled outside his seaside residence this summer when he stepped outside first in his underpants and then entirely naked, a newspaper reported.

Investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaine said yesterday the French president appeared on the terrace of his southern French residence without a thread of clothing, on full view as he used binoculars to survey a nearby yacht.

Taiwan trade overture welcomed by Beijing

BEIJING — An official Chinese newspaper gave a cautious welcome yesterday to a proposal from a Taiwan government advisory group to open direct commercial links with the mainland.

In the first reaction in Chinese state media, the China Daily said in an editorial the proposal contained some "positive changes" but direct trade links would remain uncertain unless Taipei recognized Beijing's "one China" principle.

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