- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2001

Europe offers insurance guarantees for travelers
LIEGE, Belgium European Union finance ministers yesterday agreed to a system of government insurance premium guarantees aimed at keeping European airlines aloft after their financial battering from terrorist attacks in the United States.
Those attacks "have severely affected the civil aviation sector on both sides of the Atlantic, notably as far as its insurance coverage is concerned," said Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders.
Speaking after a two-day meeting of EU finance and economy ministers, Mr. Reynders, whose country holds the current EU presidency, said the unanimous action came after the 15 ministers agreed they were in "a force majeur situation."
The action came on the heels of a vote by the U.S. Congress Friday for a $5 billion dollar cash injection and $10 billion in guarantees to see U.S. carriers.

Patriarch warns against religious war
YEREVAN, Armenia - The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, paying a visit to the former Soviet republic of Armenia, warned yesterday against a war between Christianity and Islam.
"The 21st century should not begin with a third world war," said Patriarch Alexis II, who was visiting the Armenian capital Yerevan to join celebrations marking 1,700 years of Christianity in the country.
"If not," he added, "it's the Afghan people who will suffer."
The Russian patriarch's visit to Armenia comes only days before a visit from the Catholic leader, Pope John Paul II.
The two church leaders represent the Orthodox and Catholic strands of Christianity that separated in the 11th century, and there is considerable rivalry between them.

Bosnian leader demands war crimes investigation
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina Bosnian Serb President Mirko Sarovic yesterday demanded investigations into war crimes by fighters from Islamic countries in the mujahideen movement on the side of Bosnia's Muslims during the 1992-95 Bosnia war, the SRNA news agency said.
It said that Mr. Sarovic had made the request in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the appearance of an international terrorist network "which according to some indications lead to Bosnia as well."

Weekly notes
Stripped of its opening pageant and well protected by police after the attacks on U.S. cities, Munich's Oktoberfest, the world's biggest beer festival, began in sober style yesterday with a simple speech. There was no ceremonial cracking open of the first keg, no traditional cry of "O'zapft is" the keg is tapped and fewer lederhosen, Bavarian leather shorts, than usual. Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders became the first European to withdraw euro cash from an ATM. "It works," Mr. Reynders said in Liege, Belgium, yesterday, proudly displaying the 150 euros from a cash machine set up for a weekend meeting of European Union finance ministers.

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