- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2003

GERMANY

Schroeder praises U.S. tax cuts

BERLIN — Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder took the unusual step of praising U.S. economic policy yesterday, saying its growth-fueling tax cuts could serve as a model for Germany.

Until recently, Mr. Schroeder was an outspoken critic of U.S.-style capitalism and said Germany’s “social market economy” would never adopt a U.S.-style “hire and fire” system. But yesterday, he said the rapid U.S. third-quarter growth — up 7.2. percent — offered proof that tax cuts could trigger a powerful upturn.

President Bush has pushed through three tax-cut packages. Mr. Schroeder’s government wants extra tax cuts in 2004 but they are being blocked by the conservative opposition.

“We know from America what solutions are necessary and what a positive impact [tax cuts] can have,” he told German television.

SYRIA

Iraq’s neighbors to discuss violence

DAMASCUS — Syria has called a two-day meeting starting today of Iraq’s neighbors worried by the escalating violence in the country and the risks of regional instability.

But Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan could boycott the meeting if Baghdad itself does not take part, a senior Arab official told Agence France-Presse. Iran, Turkey and Egypt also have been invited.

Iraqi Interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari left Baghdad yesterday to take part in the meeting, a spokesman for Iraq’s U.S.-sponsored Governing Council said.

ISRAEL

Vandals desecrate Rabin monument

TEL AVIV — Vandals sprayed paint on a Tel Aviv monument commemorating Israel’s late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, less than 48 hours before a rally today marking the eighth anniversary of his assassination.

On a banner carrying a picture of Mr. Rabin that had been put up for the rally, the vandals late Thursday splashed the words “Kahane was right,” in reference to Rabbi Meir Kahane, the late founder of the virulently anti-Arab Kach movement, himself assassinated in 1990 in New York by an Egyptian-born American.

ITALY

Pope weighs in on crucifix row

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II yesterday forcefully weighed in on a national controversy in Italy over crucifixes in schools, telling European Union interior ministers meeting in Rome that it was undemocratic and dangerous to try to erase a country’s religious symbols.

For the past week Italy has been caught up in a controversy sparked by a local judge’s order that a crucifix be taken off the wall of a school in a small town east of Rome following a complaint by a Muslim rights activist.

IVORY COAST

Plot to assassinate cardinal reported

ABIDJAN — Authorities uncovered a plot to assassinate the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Ivory Coast, officials in the West African nation said yesterday.

The plotters wanted to kill Cardinal Bernard Agre and other unidentified political and religious leaders to portray the administration of President Laurent Gbagbo as ineffectual and unable to protect the public, Minister of Security Martin Bleou said on state television.

JAPAN

World’s oldest person dies at age 116

KAGOSHIMA — The world’s oldest person, Kamato Hongo, died of pneumonia at the age of 116 at a hospital in Kagoshima yesterday, city officials said.

Mrs. Hongo, born in 1887 in the town of Isen on Tokunoshima Island in southwestern Japan, was certified as the world’s oldest person in March last year by the Guinness Book of Records.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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