Archive for Friday, December 7, 2001

World Briefs

December 7, 2001


ROME: Barriers to save Venice

After more than 12 years of debate and discord, Italy approved a plan Thursday to save Venice from sinking by installing mobile barriers to protect the fabled city from high tides.

The project, approved at a Cabinet meeting, will take about eight years and $2.6 billion to complete. It is called Moses after the Biblical figure who led his people safely through the Red Sea.

The barriers would be erected on the Adriatic seabed near the entrance to the Venetian lagoon. They would be raised only when high tides threaten the city an increasingly frequent problem.

London: Countess hospitalized

Prince Edward's wife Sophie was taken to a hospital by helicopter Thursday for emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, Britain's Press Assn. news agency said.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the nature of the surgery, but said the 36-year-old Countess of Wessex was recovering in a London hospital.

There had been no announcement that she was pregnant. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fetus develops in a Fallopian tube.

Press Assn. said the countess was "comfortable" following surgery at King Edward VII hospital in London.

Moscow: More Kursk bodies found

Search teams combing through the wreck of the nuclear submarine Kursk have found two more bodies in its mangled fore section, a senior navy prosecutor said Thursday.

The find brings to 64 the number of bodies recovered since the Kursk was raised from the Barents Sea floor in October. The Kursk sank during naval maneuvers in August 2000, killing its entire crew of 118. The disaster's precise cause is unknown.

Tokyo: Japan recession official

Japan sank into its third recession in a decade with its long ailing economy shrinking 0.5 percent for the third quarter, the government said today, joining a deepening global downturn that has already placed the United States in recession.

With the world's two largest economies in recession, Japan faces a serious dilemma. It can no longer count on exports to the United States, a critical engine for growth. The drop translates into an annualized contraction of 2.2 percent in the third quarter.

The report officially landed Japan in recession, generally defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.

Norway: Laureates stress peace

In the shadow of heightened violence in the Middle East and a global fight against terrorism, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates on Thursday stressed the need to fight poverty and protect human rights.

The three-day peace symposium also includes the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, David Trimble, Lech Walesa and other prize winners.

The 2001 Nobel Peace prize, worth $940,000, will be presented Monday to the United Nations and its secretary-general, Kofi Annan.

HAVANA: Elian celebrates birthday

Elian Gonzalez marked his 8th birthday Thursday, two years after the fateful boat capsizing that sparked a tug of war between his relatives in Cuba and in the United States.

Cuba's official media said Elian "will happily celebrate" with a small party in his hometown of Cardenas. There was no official word on attendance by President Fidel Castro.

Elian was rescued off the Florida coast in November 1999. He returned to Cuba in June 2000, after a battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

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