- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2003

GEORGIA

Massive vote fraud disappoints U.S.

The United States said yesterday there was massive vote fraud in parliamentary elections in Georgia this month and the results announced by the authorities did not reflect the will of the people.

In unusually strong remarks about an election in a foreign country, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Washington was deeply disappointed with the leadership of the Caucasus nation and was assessing its next steps.

The Central Election Commission said the For a New Georgia bloc, which supports President Eduard Shevardnadze, won the elections with 21.32 percent, ahead of the newly allied Revival Union with 18.84 percent. The opposition bloc of Mikhail Saakashvili won 18.08 percent.

Opposition supporters are demanding that Mr. Shevardnadze step down.

CHINA

Christian worship halted in crackdown

BEIJING — Authorities in an east China province have sealed off 125 Christian gathering places since July, cutting off 3,000 believers from their places of worship, a human rights organization said yesterday.

The makeshift churches in Jiangsu province were ordered closed by local officials seeking to crack down on what they deem to be underground religious activity, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

FRANCE

Bad weather creates above-average vintage

PARIS — The 2003 grape crop turned out terrific thanks to this year’s punishing weather, wine lovers said yesterday at the first ritual tastings.

Beaujolais Nouveau is uncorked worldwide at midnight on the third Thursday of November every year — a clever marketing trick that gives the wine its cachet abroad. Still, it’s hardly what the French consider a “grand vin” — it’s too light, young and fruity. • From wire dispatches and staff reports


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