- The Washington Times - Monday, February 21, 2005

PORTUGAL

Socialists win vote, capture parliament

LISBON — The opposition Socialists won clear control of parliament in elections yesterday, ousting the prime minister after seven months in power, exit polls show.

The Socialists, led by former environment minister Jose Socrates, will have the absolute majority needed to implement their platform to boost the lagging economy.

The exit polls showed the Socialists with between 45 percent and 49 percent of the vote, compared with 23.3 percent to 27.8 percent for the Social Democratic Party of Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes.

INDONESIA

Former presidents visit tsunami sites

LAMPUUK — Former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton traveled yesterday to ground zero of tsunami devastation, where they described the destruction as unimaginable and promised survivors who begged for shelter that more help would come.

On the second day of their relief mission to the region, the two former leaders flew in U.S. military helicopters from the provincial capital Banda Aceh over a barren landscape that was once a patchwork of rice paddies, to the village of Lampuuk, where the sole structure left standing is a large white mosque.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life. Ever,” Mr. Bush said. “We’re very lucky people not to have to go through something like this.”

BANGLADESH

81 dead, 100 missing after ferry capsizes

DHAKA — A double-decker ferry capsized and sank during an overnight tropical storm in Bangladesh, leaving at least 81 persons dead and more than 100 missing, rescue officials said yesterday.

The MV Maharaj was carrying about 200 people when it capsized Saturday night on the Buriganga River just outside the capital, Dhaka.

Divers found 44 bodies inside the sunken ferry, while 37 others were plucked from the river, said Nurul Islam, a fire brigade official supervising the rescue work.

CHINA

U.S.-Japan statement angers leaders

BEIJING — China expressed “serious concern” yesterday about military cooperation between the United States and Japan, attacking a joint statement on Taiwan as an unwelcome intrusion into Beijing’s affairs.

U.S. and Japanese officials meeting in Washington on Saturday listed “the peaceful resolution” of the Taiwan issue as a strategic objective and reaffirmed the two countries’ security arrangements.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on its Web site that the U.S.-Japan statement about Taiwan “concerns China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security, and the Chinese government and people firmly oppose it.”

UNITED NATIONS

Child exploitation affects 211 million

LONDON — More than 211 million children worldwide ages 5 to 15 are working full time, half of them in appalling conditions — some as prostitutes and miners — and huge aid increases are needed to help them, UNICEF’s British branch said.

In a scathing report published today, the organization said the only way to end child labor was to end poverty, and rich industrialized nations must give far more in development aid to poor countries.

“A huge amount still remains to be done to protect children’s rights all over the globe and to prevent their exploitation,” said David Bull, the branch’s executive director.


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