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World in brief

Wreckage of U.S. plane in Colombia retrieved

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 17, 2003

LA ESPERANZA, Colombia -- Investigators on Sunday hauled away the wreckage of a U.S. plane that crashed on an intelligence-gathering mission in the Colombian jungle, where a frantic search was underway for three Americans who were on board.

The Americans apparently were kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. A fourth American and a Colombian army sergeant were murdered at the crash scene. The U.S. government has not identified the people on the flight or disclosed their mission.

A Colombian soldier on a mountain road across the river from the crash scene said the investigators were Americans. The U.S. Embassy has said the plane went down after experiencing engine trouble.

Pope wants Christian legacy in European charter

VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II renewed his appeal Sunday for the future European constitution to cite the continent's Christian heritage, saying such recognition would in no way diminish the secular nature of the European Union.

"On the contrary, it will help guard the continent against the double risk of ideological secularism, on the one hand, and sectarian integralism on the other," the pope said in his weekly appearance in St. Peter's Square.

His appeal came a week after a panel drafting the constitution issued its first drafts of articles on the EU's values, objectives and powers and on the fundamental rights of EU nationals. Absent from the drafts is any mention of God.

WTO talks stalemated again on tariffs, drugs

TOKYO -- After three days of meetings, ministers from nearly two dozen countries seemed farther apart than ever on how to lower agricultural tariffs, provide developing nations access to cheaper drugs and other issues crucial to the World Trade Organization Doha talks.

The inability to come up with a framework for solving these issues jeopardizes the entire round of negotiations that began in November 2001 and is to end in January 2005. The 145-member organization will hold a midterm meeting this September in Cancun, Mexico, and must iron out differences on cutting tariffs and subsidies and opening markets by March 31.

Elsewhere . . .

N. KOREA CELEBRATES: North Korea marked leader Kim Jong Il's birthday on Sunday by urging the military to be on alert and imploring its people to "burn with hatred" against the United States. The diatribe in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun appeared at the height of government-run celebrations of Kim's 61st birthday.

CYPRUS ELECTION: Opposition candidate Tassos Papadopoulos, with strong backing from communists and other leftists, won Sunday's presidential election after a campaign in which he criticized right-wing incumbent Glafcos Clerides for giving too much away in efforts to reunify the island.

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