- - Thursday, September 20, 2012


BRUSSELS — A summit meeting Thursday between the leaders of the European Union and the Chinese prime minister opened on a friendly note, with leaders emphasizing the rapidly increasing trade between the two sides.

But when the Chinese leader delved into more contentious topics, EU officials cut off the audio feed to reporters at the request of the Chinese delegation.

The high-level meeting in Brussels is also being used as a fond farewell to that leader, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. China will choose new leadership this fall.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, said in his opening statement that it was appropriate to use the occasion look at progress made since Mr. Wen took office 10 years ago and almost 10 years since the launch of a strategic partnership between the two sides.

He pointed to great increases in trade over the past decade — 280 percent in goods, 380 percent in services.


7 million tourist shoped for by 2020

PHNOM PENH — Prime Minister Hun Sen says Cambodia can earn $5 billion a year from tourists by more than doubling foreign visitors to 7 million by 2020.

Mr. Hun Sen told a tourism seminar Thursday that Cambodia would need to improve the quality of services and infrastructure for tourists and strengthen laws safeguarding them to achieve the goal.

He also said police must crack down on the use of guns in public places, especially those frequented by foreigners.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said Cambodia earned nearly $2 billion from 2.88 million foreign tourists last year, and expects 3.2 million foreign visitors this year.


State broadcaster shows Suu Kyi in U.S

YANGON — Myanmar’s state broadcaster has aired footage of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi overseas for the first time.

Thursday night’s news report showed her accepting the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in Washington.

Ms. Suu Kyi has been feted as a heroine of democracy during travels this year that followed two decades of isolation at home. She collected her Nobel Peace Prize, and addressed Britain’s Parliament while visiting Europe in June.

Ms. Suu Kyi was a virtual nonperson in Myanmar’s state media until a reformist, elected government took office last year. Thursday’s broadcast reported that Ms. Suu Kyi praised President Thein Sein for initiating the reforms.

The congressional award was not reported in state newspapers Thursday. Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut said the news came too late and would be in Friday’s editions.


Strike against reforms shuts trains, shops

NEW DELHI — Angry demonstrators disrupted trains and forced some shops and schools to close Thursday in a partly successful national strike protesting a government decision to cut fuel subsidies and open India’s huge retail market to foreign companies.

Political backlash against the economic reform package presented by the Cabinet last week has left Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition scrambling to shore up its support and prevent early elections.

Some government allies have joined opposition parties in supporting the protests, which closed many schools and kept commercial trucks off the roads. In some states, such as opposition-ruled Gujarat, the strike was widely followed.

In other regions, including the main cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, the impact of the protests was scattered.

Nevertheless, the Confederation of Indian Industry estimated the country might have lost as much as $2.3 billion in production and trade.

In a signal that the government was on shaky ground, many of the protests in Uttar Pradesh state were led by the Samajwadi Party, which has been supporting the government from outside the fragile ruling coalition.

The party, which has been extremely critical of the reform package, postponed a meeting it had called for Thursday evening to determine its next step.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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