China Tries To Calm Markets With Photo

THE first picture of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping shown in China for almost one year appeared on the front page of a Shanghai newspaper Thursday beside the headline ``Comrade Xiaoping is Healthy.''

Publication of the picture in the Liberation Daily was apparently to counter intense rumors in the past several days that China's reclusive patriarch is ill in the hospital.

The picture showed Deng sitting in a chair in Beijing's Zhongnanhai leadership compound watching a fireworks display in nearby Tiananmen Square around the Oct. 1 National Day last year.

Deng's failure to appear in public at the fireworks show sparked rumors at the time that he was either very ill or had died. Shanghai's stock market plunged as a result.

Western diplomats suggested the running of the picture was an attempt to quiet the stock market.

But Hong Kong brokers said the picture was seen by investors as a token gesture by Beijing and had failed to dispel fears.

Vietnam takes people for cash

VIETNAM has agreed to take back 40,000 of its citizens living in Germany in return for 200 million marks ($130 million) in aid, the German government said Wednesday.

About 95,000 Vietnamese live in Germany. Many are laborers sent to East Germany starting in the 1970s under contracts with the East German Communists.

Others arrived after Germany's 1990 reunification and tried in vain to get political asylum.

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