World in brief
U.S. farmers decry Cuba embargo
By Wire services
Published December 18, 2003
HAVANA - American farm leaders called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Wednesday during talks with communist Cuba that have resulted in nearly $110-million in new U.S. food sales to the island.
Interest by American food companies in doing more business with Cuba has grown even as the U.S. government tightens restriction on the island, including enhanced enforcement of rules on American travel.
"Ending the embargo is the right thing to do," Iowa Agriculture Secretary Patty Judge said at a news conference. She said U.S. government restrictions on travel to Cuba by most Americans should also be eliminated.
U.S. tells envoys to leave Saudi Arabia
WASHINGTON - Nonessential American diplomats and the families of all U.S. officials in Saudi Arabia should leave, the State Department said Wednesday, stepping up its warnings about risks in the country.
Private U.S. citizens also should consider departing, the department said. Americans making plans to go to Saudi Arabia were advised to defer any such travel in light of "the potential for further terrorist activities."
The departure of U.S. officials and family members was voluntary, with the U.S. government covering the expenses.
Huge Russian oil merger is canceled
MOSCOW - A merger between two major Russian oil companies that was put on hold last month after the arrest of a leading tycoon will be abandoned, though suitable terms for the divorce must still be negotiated, Yukos Oil Co. announced Wednesday.
The nearly completed deal would have created the world's fourth-largest oil producer by uniting Yukos and the smaller Sibneft.
The failure of the deal was linked to the October arrest on fraud and tax-evasion charges of principal Yukos shareholder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest person, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes magazine this year at $8-billion.
Elsewhere . . .
DORM FIRE: The death toll from a fire at a Moscow university dormitory climbed to 42 with the death of a Chinese student who suffered serious burns, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.
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World in briefU.S. farmers decry Cuba embargo