- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Democratic leader blasts rival parties
TORONTO The new leader of Canada's main leftist party fiercely attacked the governing Liberal and opposition Alliance parties on Sunday, accusing them of undermining debate and pursuing similar right-wing policies.
New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, 52, who won control of the party with a stunning first-ballot victory on Saturday, also took aim at Paul Martin, the former Liberal finance minister expected to be the next prime minister.
"When you strip away Paul Martin's rhetoric and look at his actual record, it is in lock step with Alliance on virtually every issue. On tax cuts, they agree. On housing, they agree. On private health care, they agree," Mr. Layton said at the close of a party convention.

U.S. lawmakers back new factory jobs
PORT-AU-PRINCE A four-man U.S. congressional delegation exploring business opportunities in Haiti said during the weekend that it believes the time is right to bring new factory jobs to the poor Caribbean nation.
"We wanted to see firsthand the opportunity the bill my colleagues and I are presenting will provide for the American people and also the Haitian people," said Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, as he toured the Caribbean Apparel Manufacturing plant here. The others in the group were Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat; Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat; and Rep. Kendrick Meek, Florida Democrat.

Guard opens fire at Union of Hope session
GUATEMALA CITY A security guard opened fire with a shotgun Sunday at thousands of people gathered for a political convention, wounding five, police said.
Police said they detained the guard, Isaias Caal Ichich, and were investigating the circumstances of the shooting, which occurred during the general assembly of the National Union of Hope party.

Weekly notes …
Argentina is confident it can soon lift curbs on fixed-term deposits and end all banking restrictions it imposed a year ago, Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna said in a weekend broadcast, adding that he expects about 14 billion pesos ($4.3 billion U.S.) in such deposits to be unfrozen before the current administration leaves office in May. The International Monetary Fund on Friday approved a rollover of $6.78 billion in Argentine debts, giving the government breathing room. … Hard hit by a ruinous strike that entered its ninth week yesterday Venezuela was set yesterday to implement price and currency controls and possibly a tax on financial transactions. The measures were announced as the strike aimed at forcing populist President Hugo Chavez from office showed signs of weakening but still kept oil exports at a fraction of their regular levels.

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