- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2003


Strikes halt transport; 3 other nations also hit

PARIS — Strikes hobbled subway service, cut train routes and grounded hundreds of commercial flights to and from France, one of several European countries hit by job actions yesterday. Though there were strikes in Italy, Austria and Germany as well, France was center-stage as host of the Group of Eight summit of the world’s most-industrialized nations.

French protesters angry about pension reforms took to the streets in many cities. Police put the number of marchers in Paris at 45,000.


Government wants opposition restrained

HARARE — State lawyers sought a court order yesterday to muzzle Zimbabwe’s leading opposition politician as his supporters vowed to defy a police crackdown on protests against President Robert Mugabe. Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change appeared in the Harare High Court one day after he was detained briefly for refusing to call off protests this week, which the government says are incitement to a coup.


Khatami denied referendum powers

TEHRAN — A hard-line Iranian watchdog body has overturned a bill passed by parliament that would have given reformist President Mohammed Khatami the power to call for a referendum to challenge his conservative rivals.

The bill is the latest in a series of measures passed by the elected parliament only to be rejected by the Guardian Council, 12 men appointed to ensure that the country’s laws conform with Islam.


Forces update urged to counter North Korea

TOKYO — U.S. forces must modernize to better counter any attack from North Korea, a top U.S. defense official warned yesterday, adding that Washington was sending its chief missile commander to Japan later this month to consult about missile shields.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the changes were part of a review of deployment of U.S. forces worldwide. But he hinted that the moves could mean smaller, more mobile forces for a region worried by North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions.


Taylor, Liberian rebels near landmark talks

ACCRA, Ghana — Liberian President Charles Taylor and rebels fighting his regime are expected to begin peace talks in Ghana today to end a four-year war that has rocked West Africa and created a humanitarian crisis.

They are meeting face to face for the first time in talks brokered by the 16-nation Economic Community of West African States and a contact group backed by the United Nations.

The main rebels, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, and a new group, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, are expected to be represented by four-member teams.


Remote village connects to electricity network

CWM BREFI — The 19th century finally came to the Welsh community of Cwm Brefi yesterday when it became the last village in Britain to connect to the electricity network.

Residents of the village, nestled amid the mountains of west Wales, who campaigned for years for the hookup, said they were delighted to finally have power on tap. Its 11 households had lived with dim lights powered for a few hours a day by spluttering generators.

The power company Western Power Distribution said the village’s remoteness and distance from the main network had made the cost of installation an obstacle. The residents agreed to contribute $8,200 toward the $493,000 needed to connect to the mains supply. Most of the rest came from the European Union.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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