Friday, January 26, 2001

South Korea plans early summit with Bush

SEOUL South Korean President Kim Dae-jung plans an early a summit with President Bush over North Korean issues, Seoul’s presidential office said yesterday.

“In a telephone conversation on Thursday morning, the two presidents shared an opinion that a close [South] Korea-U.S. tie is the most important element in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the Far-East Asian region,” said the office in a statement.

“And the two leaders agreed to meet soon to discuss those issues,” the statement added.

A spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council confirmed the phone call, but would not give details on any upcoming summit.

Nigerian ruling near on Saro-Wiwa hanging

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria Nigeria’s human-rights panel said yesterday it will rule next week on the legality of the hanging of the country’s best known minority rights campaigner, Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Retired Supreme Court judge Chukwudifu Oputa told a hearing here he will rule Wednesday on the legality of the 1995 execution, which shocked the world and brought international isolation to Nigeria.

It is one of the most high-profile cases being investigated by the panel, which is looking into more than three decades of human-rights abuses.

Tanzania oppositionist arrested by police

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania Leading opposition politician Ibrahim Lipumba was arrested late yesterday, hours after the government claimed to have discovered plans by his party to “wreak havoc” across the country.

Mr. Lipumba, chairman of Tanzania’s leading opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF), was arrested with at least 50 other members of the party, police and eyewitnesses said.

Police declined to give further details, but witnesses said he was picked up at Kigamboni, an area on the outskirts of the Tanzanian capital, where he was opening branches of his party.

Castro smears Bush as stupid, strange

HAVANA Cuban President Fidel Castro this week fired his first verbal shot at President Bush since he took office, saying he hoped his new adversary in the White House is “not as stupid as he seems.”

In a Sunday speech shown late Wednesday on state television, Mr. Castro said that “someone very strange, with very little promise, has taken charge of the leadership of the great empire that we have as a neighbor.”

“That gentleman has arrived there, and hopefully he is not as stupid as he seems, nor as mafia-like as his background makes him appear,” the Cuban leader said. He added, however, that he was not troubled by President Bush’s presence, saying “he’s there, and we are calm over here.”

Russia passes a bill to lift immunity

MOSCOW In a vote that could someday spell trouble for Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s parliament approved a bill yesterday that limits former presidents’ immunity from prosecution.

The vote revived discussion of the corruption allegations that swirled around Mr. Yeltsin, who abruptly resigned Dec. 31, 1999, and handed power to Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Yeltsin’s exit months before the end of his term prompted widespread speculation that it was engineered to guarantee a friendly successor who could protect him and his family and associates from prosecution.

Globalization foes gather in Brazil

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil As the world’s business and political elite gathered for their annual summit yesterday in Davos, Switzerland, thousands of activists opposed to “neo-liberal globalization” flocked to an alternative forum here.

To the beat of African drums, more than 4,000 representatives from grass-roots organizations, labor unions and political parties worldwide began their five days of workshops and roundtable discussions.

On the agenda are issues including developing countries’ debt, child workers, feminism, racism, genetically modified food, and above all what participants claim is the negative impact of economic “globalization.”

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