- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 30, 2001

France probes German involving Kohl regime
PARIS A French judge opened an investigation last week of a German businessman connected with the 1992 sale of the Leuna refinery in eastern Germany to French state-run oil company Elf Aquitaine, judicial sources said.
Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke put Dieter Holzer, a middleman in the sale, under investigation for complicity in the misappropriation of company funds and for having handled misappropriated funds.
Mr. Holzer was placed under judicial supervision on bail of $1.35 million, the sources said. Elf, since privatized and now part of TotalFinaElf, is reputed to have bribed the German government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

London asks stores to accept euros
LONDON The government is calling on British retailers to embrace the euro to attract foreign shoppers, even though Britain has not yet adopted Europe's new currency.
Several big British department store chains, including Marks & Spencer, Bhs and Debenhams, are planning to let customers pay in euros, which will be introduced Tuesday in the 12 participating European Union countries.
"Whether we are in or out of it, it affects us," Peter Hain, Britain's Foreign Office minister for Europe, said in a newspaper interview last week.

Russian lawmakers delay ABM rebuke
MOSCOW The Russian parliament has put off a vote on a resolution condemning Washington's withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
The nonbinding resolution also would urge President Vladimir Putin to hold "urgent" consultations with lawmakers on how Russia should respond and says the government should draw up proposals for developing Russia's nuclear forces.
The vote was postponed until sometime next month when the State Duma, the lower house, decided to take a holiday break.

Thieves use ropes to enter Italian bank
MILAN, Italy Robbers stole about half a million euros in cash after apparently swinging down ropes to break into a bank next to Milan's famous La Scala opera house days before the introduction of the currency, police said.
The thieves dropped into a inner courtyard of Cariplo bank from the roof of the building next to the opera house and broke through an armor-plated door on Wednesday night, police said.
They set off an alarm, but private security guards failed to find the gang hiding in the basement, officials said. By the time the robbery was discovered on Thursday, around 516,000 euros ($455,000) and jewelry from safety deposit boxes was missing.

Weekly notes
Macedonian Foreign Minister Slobodan Casule is to visit Greece in the new year, the Greek Foreign Ministry said, announcing a visit that will mark improved relations between the two neighboring states. Until recently, Greece and Macedonia had been locked in a dispute over the use of the name Macedonia, which Greece claims for its own northern province. Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica says he has declined the proffered resignation of army Chief of Staff Nebojsa Pavkovic, whom many reformers revile as a favorite of Slobodan Milosevic. Mr. Kostunica caused a spat with his coalition partners by sparing Gen. Pavkovic in a purge after they ousted Mr. Milosevic last year.

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