News In Brief

The European Union mounted a last-ditch effort to revive the UN's Kyoto Treaty amid declining hopes that it can persuade Japan and others to back the global-warming pact without the US. Negotiators from 180 countries were to meet in Bonn today to discuss the treaty, which aims to cut industrial "greenhouse gas" emissions. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said that he wants to keep the pact alive but saw no deal coming from the meeting.

Chinese officials began making preparations today for Beijing to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee picked Beijing in a landslide vote over Toronto and three other cities to host the sporting event. China has pledged to spend billions of dollars on roads, subways, and pollution control and also will need to construct more than half of its planned 32 Olympic venues in the next seven years. The IOC's choice marked the first time China has won the games, sparking massive celebrations throughout Beijing.

Meanwhile, a day after China won the Olympics, a Chinese court convicted a US business professor of spying for Taiwan and ordered him deported - a decision that pleased Washington. Li is one of five Chinese-born intellectuals with US ties accused by China over the past year of spying for rival Taiwan. Detained Feb. 25, Li was the first to go on trial.

Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee held "frank and constructive" discussions about nuclear safeguards, fighting in the Kashmir region, and freer trade during their first formal talks in two years yesterday. Vajpayee also accepted an invitation from Musharraf to visit Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, at a later date. India accuses Pakistan of aiding Islamic militants who've fought since 1989 for an independent Kashmir. Both nations want to improve security in the region to get the sanctions lifted.

Eleventh-hour negotiations to rescue the Northern Ireland peace accord ended without a breakthrough, but British and Irish leaders meditating talks continued to hold out hope for a deal. They have until Aug. 12 to resolve the impasse on Irish Republican Army disarmament, police reforms, and to reelect a first minister or Britain will have to dissolve the province's power-sharing government. The crisis was triggered July 1 when David Trimble, the leader of Northern Ireland's largest Protestant party, resigned after IRA political allies, Sinn Fein, refused to give up its weapons as it promised to do last year.

In his first public comments on charges of corruption, French President Jacques Chirac insisted he has "nothing to hide" from judges looking into secret cash payments for trips he made when he was mayor of Paris. Chirac added that he doesn't have to testify because of his immunity as president and will refuse to take the stand if called. Chirac said payments for plane tickets for himself and his family were "legal" and made with cash from special funds for "reasons of discretion and security."

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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