- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Cork makers popping over royal support

LISBON Portugal's cork makers were popping with joy yesterday over Prince Charles' swipe at wine producers who use plastic stoppers.

The prince, in Germany last week to receive the 2002 Euronatur Award for protecting the environment, told the audience the use of plastic corks was hurting cork-tree farmers in Spain and Portugal.

"Why anyone should want to encounter a nasty, plastic plug in the neck of a wine bottle is beyond me," he said.

Portugal is the world's biggest producer of cork, but is worried about the growing use of plastic corks in wine bottles. The association estimates about 18 percent of wine bottles are sealed with plastic plugs.

U.N. foresees more poverty

GENEVA The United Nations said yesterday that poverty was set to worsen in the world's poorest countries unless economic growth became the top policy priority and rich nations sharply boosted aid.

Far from meeting the internationally set goal of cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development said the number living on less than $1 a day in the world's 49 poorest countries was set to jump 30 percent by then to some 420 million, based on current trends.

"No matter what poverty estimates are used, the least-developed countries are not on track to meet the target," the conference said.

French McDonald's foe to begin jail term

MILLAU, France French anti-globalization militant Jose Bove juggled telephone calls and channel-surfing yesterday, on the eve of his incarceration for his 1999 demolition of a McDonald's outlet.

Bove and a group of other farmers angry with punitive U.S. trade tariffs on French goat-cheese exports used tractors to tear apart a McDonald's restaurant under construction in this southern town. He will serve three months.

Pope gives $1 million to refugees in Mideast

VATICAN CITY Pope John Paul II has donated nearly $1 million to help Afghan refugees and victims of the conflict in the Middle East, the Vatican said yesterday.

The pope also intends to distribute $500,000 to various needy causes through Cor Unum (One Heart), a Vatican organization that groups Roman Catholic charities from around the world, the Vatican said.

"According to the pope's wishes, Cor Unum has already contributed $950,000 to Afghan refugees, to the victims of war in the Middle East, to Iraqi refugees and toward the creation of a scholarship fund for a boy orphaned by the terrorist attack on New York," the Vatican said in a statement.

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