- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2001

G-7 ministers upbeat on global economy
ROME — Cautiously upbeat about the future, finance ministers from the world's top economic powers acknowledged yesterday that the global economy had slowed more than expected but insisted it was primed for a turnaround.
The one-day gathering of ministers from the Group of Seven, or G-7, was preparing the economic agenda for a July 20-22 summit of leaders of the G-7 and Russia in the northern Italian city of Genoa.
The report being prepared by ministers will say that although the global economy had stalled more than had been thought, data from some regions — including the United States — show signs of recovery.

Christians arrested in Laos crackdown
BANGKOK — Authorities in communist Laos have arrested eight Christians and are forcing churches across the country to close, a British human rights group said yesterday.
The Jubilee Campaign said in a statement received here that seven church leaders and one church member were arrested on May 31 in Songkhone district of central Savannakhet province because they refused to sign affidavits renouncing their religious beliefs.
Residents of the Lao capital, Vientiane, contacted by telephone from Bangkok and speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the report.

GOP lawmakers anger North Korea over invite
SEOUL —North Korea lashed out at two U.S. congressmen who invited a prominent defector to testify on Capitol Hill, saying yesterday that it would jeopardize plans to revive a dialogue with the United States.
Republican Reps. Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, the head of the House International Relations Committee, and Christopher Cox of California recently invited Hwang Jang-yop to testify before congressional committees about communist North Korea.
Mr. Hwang, 78, formerly a close confidant of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, defected to South Korea via Beijing in 1997, becoming the highest-ranking Northern official ever to seek asylum in the South.
Press reports in Seoul say the South Korean government has refused to let Mr. Hwang accept the invitation.

Bolivia leader stricken with lung cancer
LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivian President Hugo Banzer, 75, is suffering from lung cancer, which has spread to his liver, according to doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington where he is being treated, the government announced yesterday.
Information Minister Manfredo Kempff made the announcement from the hospital, where Mr. Banzer has been undergoing treatment.

Castro slows down in tropical heat
HAVANA — Many Cubans held their breath yesterday as Cuban President Fidel Castro took to the podium at an open-air rally under a broiling sun, just as he had done exactly two weeks ago when he fainted.
This time the Cuban leader, who will soon turn 75, spoke for less than 10 minutes at the nationally broadcast event, demonstrating the "prudence" he promised after fainting from heat and fatigue two hours into a speech June 23.

Cease-fire lingers in name only
JERUSALEM — An Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire appeared to exist in name only as violence flared in the occupied West Bank and Gaza yesterday in the absence of agreement on how to tackle the situation.
At least 16 Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed in clashes since the U.S.-brokered truce was signed in mid-June.

Whites battle Asians in Britain
BRADFORD, England — Riot police were pelted with bricks and several people were arrested yesterday as violence flared after a far-right parade was banned in this northern city.
Witnesses said scuffles broke out between groups of white and Asian youths, and that police were showered with bricks, stones and road signs when they tried to intervene.
Police said five persons had been arrested and one police officer injured.
Earlier, about 200 police patrolled central Bradford, on the lookout for members of the far-right National Front, whose planned march through the city was banned by the government last week. The group said it still planned to hold a rally in Bradford, which has about 100,000 residents of Asian origin.

Army erects Ulster barriers
PORTADOWN, Northern Ireland — With the future of Northern Ireland's peace pact in doubt, British army engineers erected miles of barbed-wire barricades yesterday on the eve of an annual Protestant march that has erupted into violence in the past.
This time, the troubled province's police chief predicted that outlawed Protestant groups responsible for orchestrating much of the previous violence would mount no organized attacks on his riot-hardened forces.
Several thousand local members of the Orange Order, Northern Ireland's once-dominant Protestant brotherhood, are expected to march today from the center of Portadown through predominantly Protestant streets to a rural Anglican church on Drumcree hill.

Journalist slain in Ukraine
MOSCOW — A Ukrainian television station director who had been banned from journalism and took his case to an international human rights court was beaten to death by assailants wielding bats, news reports said yesterday.
Ihor Alexandrov was attacked Tuesday at the entrance to his office in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said. He died of head injuries three days later.
Mr. Alexandrov ran the TOR television company in Slavyansk, in the industrial Donetsk region.
Human rights groups have expressed increasing concern about journalists in Ukraine following the slaying last fall of Heorhiy Gongadze, an Internet journalist who criticized the nation's leadership. President Leonid Kuchma denies allegations he had a role in the Gongadze slaying.

Weekly notes …
Russia has refused to allow Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng into the country. He had been planning to campaign in Moscow against Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics, Moscow Echo radio reported yesterday. Mr. Wei, who lives in the United States, had his visa application rejected by the Russian consulate in Washington. … Hundreds of Germans lined up in Berlin yesterday to write in a condolence book for Hannelore Kohl, 68, wife of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Mrs. Kohl committed suicide last week out of despair over a rare ailment that made her allergic to sunlight.

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