- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2008


Czech Senate OKs U.S. missile defense

PRAGUE | The upper chamber of the Czech Parliament on Thursday approved a deal with Washington to accept a U.S. missile defense installation.

The Senate approved a bilateral treaty allowing the United States to build a radar base near Prague and a second, “complementary,” treaty that deals with the legal status of U.S. soldiers to be deployed at the base.

The deal still needs approval by the lower chamber, where the vote is expected to be close because the governing coalition has too few seats to guarantee passage. That vote is not expected before the end of the year.


Grim fiscal outlook prompts election talk

OTTAWA | The Canadian economy has slipped into recession and the federal coffers are on the verge of running dry for the first time in 13 years, the government said Thursday in a report that raised the prospect of an early election.

Even so, the government forecast that the budget would show a tiny surplus in the next fiscal year, a surprise after it prepared the country for the possibility of renewed deficits.

All three opposition parties rejected the report, saying it contained no real plan to combat the economic crisis. Some slammed the minority Conservative government for postponing a fiscal stimulus package and emergency aid to the auto sector.


Doha round talks make some headway

GENEVA | Talks to unstick the Doha world trade round have made some headway, ambassadors to the World Trade Organization said on Thursday.

New Zealand Ambassador Crawford Falconer, who chairs the WTO negotiations on agricultural products, said that countries have begun to budge from their positions in the wake of a high-level political push for an agreement.

“I have seen some material change, but not all the things I would like to have seen have happened,” he told reporters after an evening meeting at the WTO’s Geneva headquarters.


Violence blamed on Mexican cartels

LIMA | President Alan Garcia on Thursday blamed his country’s recent rash of drug-related violence on powerful Mexican drug cartels that are making inroads and building criminal alliances in Peru.

In the past two months, at least 22 policemen and soldiers have died fighting drug trafficking in Peru - the world’s second-largest producer of cocaine after Colombia.

In the most recent clash, at least four policemen were killed on Wednesday when 40 suspected members of Peru’s Shining Path guerrilla group ambushed a government convoy in the jungle, using automatic weapons and hand grenades.


Looters move in after deadly floods

ITAJAI | Flood victims waded through waist-deep water into mud-filled houses Thursday in a devastated part of southern Brazil where neighbors set up patrols to keep looters away and lined up by the thousands for government food handouts.

Hunger and thirst were so widespread after torrential rains that caused at least 99 deaths that police were ordered to let residents take food and water from stores because they were “driven by despair to steal,” said state public safety spokesman Joao Carlos Santos.

Officers instead targeted thieves who paddled rickety canoes to loot abandoned homes in the city of 170,000 at the mouth of the swollen Itajai-Acu River.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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