- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 18, 2003


Low turnout for statute vote

BUCHAREST — Only a trickle of voters turned up at Romanian polling stations yesterday to vote on bringing their constitution into line with European Union law, as many stayed away to rebuke the government for poverty and corruption.

The two-day referendum on reforming Romania’s constitution has been touted by the ruling ex-communists as a vote for the EU, which Romania hopes to join in 2007.

But nationwide figures showed only 8.19 percent of voters cast ballots in the first eight hours of voting. More than half of Romania’s 16 million voters must vote for the referendum to be valid, and more than half of those who vote must approve the reforms. If it fails, it must be repeated.


U2 aid bails out sex abuse group

DUBLIN — Irish rock band U2 has donated $47,000 to bail out a cash-strapped support group for victims of sex abuse, a spokesman said.

Colm O’Gorman, founder of One in Four, said U2 manager Paul McGuinness got in touch after hearing that the support group would have to shut down because it had failed to secure additional state funding.

Mr. O’Gorman said the charity’s 14 staff had offered to work without wages until the end of the year so clients would not be let down.

Since Prime Minister Bertie Ahern apologized for child sex abuse in 1999, the Irish government has spent nearly $20 million on abuse counseling.


Crown prince did not make anti-US remark

COPENHAGEN — Danish Crown Prince Frederik was at the center of a controversy after a French magazine quoted him as saying that Americans were “simple,” remarks that his spokesman said Friday were misinterpreted.

The comments, published in the French royals magazine Point de Vue, caused an uproar in Denmark, one of Washington’s strongest supporters in the war on Iraq.

Commentators criticized the prince for meddling in foreign affairs, and the author of the article on Friday admitted that he had misquoted the prince. The interview was conducted in English by the prince’s uncle, Etienne de Monpezat.

Weekly Notes …

Ten British police officers face disciplinary action after they visited American showman David Blaine’s starvation stunt, which ends today, while they were supposed to be on patrol. Police began an internal inquiry after newspapers published pictures of the officers in uniform on their way to see Mr. Blaine on Oct. 9. … Finland has proposed a new law that would let parents track the movements of their young children via mobile phone, even without their consent, in a move that could set an EU benchmark in privacy and hand-set use.

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