- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2006

Finance chiefs want stronger yuan

SINGAPORE — Top world finance chiefs stepped up pressure on China yesterday to relax its grip on its currency, warning that trade imbalances threaten a flourishing global economy.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. spearheaded a push for the Group of Seven industrialized nations to take a tough line on Iran, which he said was “quite actively involved in financing terrorists.”

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of Seven also called for a resumption of global free-trade talks and a revamping of the International Monetary Fund, saying China should be given a louder voice, but must also fulfill its broader economic responsibilities.

“Greater exchange-rate flexibility is desirable in emerging economies with large current-account surpluses, especially China, for necessary adjustments to occur,” the group said in a statement after meeting at the historic Raffles Hotel.

BAHAMAS

Anna Nicole Smith hires pathologist

NASSAU — Anna Nicole Smith has hired a pathologist who consulted in the death investigations of Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey to perform a repeat autopsy on her son, a press report said yesterday.

Daniel Wayne Smith, 20, died Sept. 10 in a hospital room where the reality-TV star and former Playboy model was recuperating from giving birth three days earlier. Investigators have said they did not find evidence of drugs in the room or obvious signs of a crime.

Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist from Pittsburgh famous for his expertise on celebrity-death investigations, planned to examine Daniel Smith’s remains today on behalf of the family, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

MEXICO

Moving inland, hurricane weakens

CULIACAN — Powerful Hurricane Lane thrashed western Mexico yesterday, threatening tens of thousands of people with flash floods and causing a second death on the Pacific coast.

An estimated 2,000 people in the state of Sinaloa rushed to evacuation shelters as the storm slammed into a low-lying coastal area between the city of Culiacan and the tourist resort of Mazatlan.

Lane arrived as a dangerous Category 3 hurricane, but weakened as it moved inland, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a Category 1 storm with top sustained winds near 90 mph.

MEXICO

Drug smuggler extradited to U.S.

MEXICO CITY — Mexico extradited one of the infamous Arellano Felix drug-smuggling brothers to the United States yesterday, the attorney general’s office said, in a rare extradition of a major Mexican trafficker.

Mexican agents flew Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, the family’s oldest brother, to the Texas border city of Brownsville and gave him to U.S. authorities.

Based in Tijuana, the Arellano Felix brothers lead one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels, although it has been weakened by a series of arrests in recent years.

THAILAND

Bombs kill four in Muslim area

HAT YAI — Four persons, including a Canadian tourist, were killed last night in bombs that ripped through a popular tourist area in Thailand’s mostly Muslim south, police said today.

Two were killed instantly by the multiple blasts and two more later died of their injuries, police Maj. Gen. Thani Thawitsri said, adding that at least 80 more people, including foreigners, were wounded.

Police said as many as five bombs exploded late yesterday, almost simultaneously in an area crowded with bars, cafes and department stores.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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