- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 6, 2001

North Korean farms threatened by drought

SEOUL — North Korea said its already weak farm industry is threatened by the longest dry spell in the nation´s history.

The drought, now entering its fourth month, has left vast areas of farmland parched, state media reported this week.

"From the climatological point of view this long spell of drought is something rare in the history of meteorological observation," said the report by KCNA, North Korea´s foreign news outlet. "It is believed to happen once in 1,000 years."

North Korea´s farm industry has been devastated by floods, drought and mismanagement, forcing the impoverished communist country to rely on outside aid since 1995 to feed its 22 million people.


Blair party wins conservative help

LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair´s Labor Party yesterday captured its first-ever endorsement from the conservative-minded Times newspaper, reinforcing predictions that the party is headed for a second straight landslide.

The Financial Times also endorsed Labor yesterday, leaving a handful of staunchly right-wing tabloids as the Conservative Party´s only strong supporters just two days before Election Day.

The Times, Britain´s oldest daily newspaper, announced it was giving "a cautious but clear endorsement for the Labor Party" for the first time since the party was founded in 1900.


Jospin admits links to Trotskyites

PARIS — Socialist Premier Lionel Jospin admitted that he had formed links to the Trotskyite movement during his early political career, saying yesterday he had neither regrets nor excuses for his radical past.

Mr. Jospin´s remarks came after several news reports this week said that he had joined the Internationalist Communist Organization in the early 1960s while he was a student. The group, which evolved into the Workers Party, was then the largest Trotsky-inspired organization in France.

"It´s true that, during the 1960s, I had an interest in Trotskyist ideas, and I formed relations with one of the groups in this movement," Mr. Jospin said in response to questions from lawmakers at the National Assembly.


U.S. serviceman missing in Philippines

MANILA — A U.S. serviceman was missing yesterday after he and four other American military personnel encountered gunfire from suspected communist guerrillas on the slopes of Mount Pinatubo, U.S. and Philippines officials said.

The Americans were accompanied by four armed Philippine soldiers and a guide while visiting the popular tourist attraction in the northern Philippines, said Elmer Cato, a spokesman for U.S.-Philippine military exercises.

Suspected New People´s Army guerrillas opened fire when they saw the group, said Mr. Cato, and the attackers probably mistook the American servicemen for tourists. They were dressed in street clothes.


Toledo to name banker to Cabinet

LIMA, Peru — President-elect Alejandro Toledo, needing to restore investor confidence in Peru and dispel fears of populism, said he would name a respected banker to his Cabinet.

But he did not say whether the appointee would be his economy minister.

In an interview with the newspaper El Comercio yesterday, Mr. Toledo said Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, his top economic adviser in his campaign and a man seen as a guarantee of fiscal conservatism, would join the government.

Mr. Kuczynski "will be a member of the Cabinet. It´s still not decided if he will be economy minister or if he will head another portfolio," said Mr. Toledo, who takes office in July.


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