- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

Argentina again seeks cash from IMF

BUENOS AIRES As Argentina's government prepared to lobby the International Monetary Fund for more aid yesterday, a business group released fresh figures suggesting the economy remains rooted in its four-year recession.

A survey of 479 businesses showed that sales of a wide range of consumer goods, including electronics, furniture and jewelry, were about half as high this March as in March 2001, according to CAME, a group representing small and medium-sized businesses.

The results came as bad news on the eve of a two-week mission by IMF representatives, who are expected to clarify what Argentina needs to do to receive further aid.

Canada puts down prison riot

MILLBROOK, Ontario Rioting inmates broke out of their cells and took control of one wing of a maximum-security prison in eastern Ontario for several hours before returning to their cells peacefully, a government spokeswoman said.

The prisoners got out of their cells at around 8:30 p.m. Sunday and broke windows at the Millbrook Correctional Center southwest of Peterborough, said government spokeswoman Julia Noonan.

They gained control of a wing of the prison in an apparent attempt to get out into the prison yard, said union official Tim Hannah.

Mexico bus crash kills 12, injures 46

ACHUCA, Mexico A bus with failing breaks slammed into an oncoming pickup truck on a crowded highway in central Mexico, killing 12 persons and injuring 46.

The bus left the city of Meztitlan in Mexico state bound for Mexico City late Saturday afternoon and crashed just outside Pachuca, 60 miles northeast of the capital.

Jose Pilar, a spokesman for Mexico state authorities, said police believe the bus' breaks failed, causing the driver to lose control. Survivors said the driver, who did not have a license, swerved around several slower cars and tried to pull off the highway before the crash.

Cuba angry at U.S. over Middle East

HAVANA Cuba demanded the United Nations stop Israel's "bloody offensive" against Palestinians, backing their "resistance and rebellion against occupation" and charging Israel with genocide.

A Foreign Ministry statement, carried by the state-run media on Sunday, said: "Cuba demands a more energetic action by the international community, and in particular the U.N. Security Council, to stop the massacre and genocide being carried out by the Israeli army."

Weekly notes

An April Fool's Day Internet report that Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin would quit his job to breed Charolais cows and "handsome fawn runner ducks" sent the Canadian dollar lower yesterday, as the market grabbed at the straw of anything that might resemble news. A laughing official at Mr. Martin's office declined, as always, to comment on market rumors. But asked if there was any indication that the story might be true, the official said firmly, "No." The report, on Canada's bourque.org Web site of political gossip, included hyperlinks to sites with pictures of white Charolais cows and large brown-and-white ducks.

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