- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 1, 2007

UNITED NATIONS

Climate talks reach emissions accord

VIENNA, Austria — Negotiators from 158 countries reached basic agreement yesterday on rough targets aimed at getting some of the world’s biggest polluters to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

A weeklong U.N. climate conference concluded that industrialized countries should strive to cut emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent of their 1990 levels by 2020. Experts said that target would serve as a loose guide for a major international climate summit to be held in December in Bali, Indonesia.

Delegates worked into yesterday evening to overcome resistance from several countries — including Canada, Japan and Russia — that had held up negotiations because they preferred a more open approach rather than setting emissions targets.



ZIMBABWE

Mugabe bans wage increases

HARARE — President Robert Mugabe imposed a new law yesterday on Zimbabwean businesses, banning them from raising wages to keep pace with the world’s highest inflation.

The move is the latest in a government crackdown aimed at taming prices that have soared given inflation is running at more than 7,000 percent.

Companies that violate the law will be fined or their employees jailed for up to six months. Analysts say the new law could backfire, much like the government-imposed June price freeze, and deepen Zimbabwe’s crippling economic crisis.

RUSSIA

Caucasus car bomb kills 4 police officers

NAZRAN — A car bomb exploded yesterday near a police vehicle in Russia’s troubled North Caucasus region, killing four police officers, witnesses and officials said.

The blast occurred in the center of Nazran, the main city in the violence-plagued Ingushetia region.

Attacks in Ingushetia are usually attributed to Ingush militants or rebels from neighboring Chechnya, the site of two devastating wars since 1994 pitting Russian government forces against separatist Islamist rebels.

COLOMBIA

Chavez, Uribe OK talks with FARC

BOGOTA — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Colombia‘s President Alvaro Uribe agreed yesterday to allow a representative of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group to travel to Caracas for talks aimed at freeing rebel-held hostages, including politician Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. defense contractors.

“I am prepared to speak with whomever they send,” Mr. Chavez said after a six-hour meeting just outside of Bogota with Mr. Uribe to discuss advancing a possible swap of the hostages for imprisoned guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The FARC is holding 45 hostages, including soldiers, politicians and the three U.S. contractors abducted more than four years ago. In return for releasing them, the FARC wants hundreds of guerrillas to be freed, including two commanders now in U.S. prisons.

BURMA

Top dissidents go into hiding

RANGOON — Anti-government protesters scattered into hiding yesterday to dodge arrest after a wave of protests over higher prices.

The military government has detained scores of activists and is employing menacing gangs of hired civilian toughs to keep watch in Burma’s biggest city, Rangoon, to snuff out protests that began Aug. 19.

U.S. first lady Laura Bush called U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday to press concerns about the crackdown, a White House spokesman said in Washington yesterday.

The military government, meanwhile, wrapped up work to draft guidelines for a new constitution yesterday, the first stage of a road map supposed to lead to elections.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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