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Archive for Monday, March 29, 2004

Briefly

March 29, 2004

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Los Angeles

Gasoline prices hit $1.80 average

Gasoline prices across the country climbed 3 cents more in the past two weeks to a record-high average of $1.80 per gallon for all grades, according to a study released Sunday.

There is little chance of prices falling significantly in the near future, because increased demand will likely result from an improving economy, Memorial Day travel and even the extra hour of light from daylight savings time, said Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations.

Friday's average price surpassed the record of $1.77 set in the last Lundberg Survey, conducted March 12. But when adjusted for inflation, pump prices remain well below levels reached in the early 1980s.

Even if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decides at its meeting Wednesday to cancel plans to reduce oil production April 1, growing demand makes it unlikely prices will fall much, Lundberg said.

Washington, D.C.

Women's rights advocate Millie Jeffrey, 93, dies

Mildred "Millie" Jeffrey, a co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus and a behind-the-scenes strategist for 70 years in campaigns to advance not only women's rights but organized labor and racial equality, died of natural causes Wednesday at an assisted-living facility in Detroit. She was 93.

Jeffrey blazed trails for women in the United Auto Workers union in the 1940s, marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Meredith in the 1950s and 1960s, and became a key backstage adviser to women seeking political power in the 1970s and 1980s. She played a pivotal role in Geraldine Ferraro's historic quest for the vice presidency on the 1984 Democratic ticket.

"She may be small in stature and humble in manner, but she is very strong," President Clinton said when he awarded Jeffrey the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000 along with such honorees as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark.

Turkey

Election boosts pro-EU party

Turkey's ruling conservative party won a strong mandate in local elections Sunday that could strengthen its hand in taking the largely Muslim country into the European Union and pushing for a settlement on the divided island of Cyprus.

The Justice and Development Party, known as AKP, retained control of key municipalities, including the capital, Ankara, and the country's largest city, Istanbul.

"Turkey has voted once again for stability and progress," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, after claiming victory at the party's headquarters in Ankara.

Erdogan has thrown his weight behind the latest U.N. peace plan to reunite the divided island of Cyprus. He was expected to fly today to Switzerland to join four-way reunification talks between Turkey, Greece and the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Western diplomats here say Sunday's result is likely to strengthen Erdogan's position against hawks within Turkey's powerful armed forces, who oppose the U.N. plan.

At the national level, Erdogan has already pushed through a raft of economic and social reforms to open membership talks with the EU.

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