- The Washington Times - Monday, September 6, 2004

CHINA

Rainstorms leaveal most 80 dead

BEIJING — At least 79 persons were killed and 74 were missing in torrential storms lashing southwest China, disaster relief officials said today.

At least 55 were killed and 47 were missing in Sichuan province, while 24 persons died and 27 were missing in Chongqing municipality, areas lashed by mud and rock landslides and mountain torrents.

“Among the dead and missing, many are from Dazhou city. There are 30 dead and 30 missing there,” Sichuan disaster relief bureau Deputy Director He Rongjun said.

IRAQ

Two Americans killed in mortar barrage

BAGHDAD — A mortar attack yesterday killed two U.S. soldiers and left 16 wounded — one critically — at a base of the Army’s 13th Corps Support Command on Baghdad’s western outskirts.

A spokesman said the barrage slammed into Logistical Base Seitz around 6 p.m. Eight of the injured were evacuated to the Army’s 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, where the two died.

FRANCE

Spielberg gets award for fighting hatred

PARIS — President Jacques Chirac made film director Steven Spielberg a knight in the French Legion of Honor yesterday, hailing him as a great filmmaker committed to fighting hatred and intolerance with films such as “Schindler’s List.”

Accepting France’s top award, Mr. Spielberg hailed France’s efforts to fight anti-Semitism. The country has witnessed a wave of attacks against Jews and Muslims and their property in recent months.

“We have to work very, very hard to make people understand that we have to celebrate people’s differences and not condemn them,” he said.

AUSTRALIA

Concerns to be raised over U.S. terror trial

CANBERRA — The government will raise concerns with the United States over a military commission being used to try an Australian al Qaeda suspect at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Attorney General Philip Ruddock said yesterday that Australian officials observing the appearance of David Hicks before the commission last month identified a number of operational and procedural concerns. They did not explain further.

Mr. Hicks was among the first group of four al Qaeda suspects held at Guantanamo Bay to face the military tribunal.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, aiding the enemy and conspiracy to commit war crimes and was set down for trial Jan. 10.

NETHERLANDS

Mercosur trade deal remains in doubt

NOORDWIJK — Europe’s farm chief warned South America’s trade bloc, Mercosur, yesterday that there might be no deal to create one of the world’s biggest free-trade areas before November, as desired by both trade giants.

Talks to link the 25-nation EU and Mercosur hit a wall in mid-August after negotiators fought over bargaining tactics, and are scheduled to resume on Sept. 13 in Brussels.

Both sides have said they would like to wrap up a deal before the European Commission — the EU’s executive arm — changes its membership at the end of October.

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