World in brief
China-U.S. meeting hinges on Taiwan
By wire services
Published July 9, 2004
BEIJING - U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice met top Chinese leaders on Thursday and rebuffed their demands for an end to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. But she also told them the Bush administration was willing to help establish a dialogue between Beijing and the self-governing island, the Washington Post reports, quoting a senior U.S. official who is traveling with Rice and spoke on condition of anonymity.
In the past, the United States has rejected suggestions that it assume a mediator's role in the sensitive dispute between mainland China and Taiwan. In recent months U.S. officials have expressed concern about rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait and the risk of U.S. forces being dragged into a conflict there.
The dispute over Taiwan dominated Rice's meetings on the first day of a two-day visit to Beijing.
European court rejects fetus rights case
BRUSSELS - Europe's top human rights court rejected an appeal Thursday to grant full human rights to a fetus, saying that was a matter for national governments to decide.
Meeting in Strasbourg, France, the European Court of Human Rights said it could not rule on the case of a French woman who was forced to have an abortion after a doctor's mistake.
In a 14-2 decision that reflected deep differences over abortion across the continent, the court concluded it "was neither desirable, nor even possible" to decide whether an unborn child was a person.
Russian oil dispute lingers past deadline
MOSCOW - The deadline for the Yukos oil company to pay $3.4-billion in back taxes passed Thursday with no sign either side would back down, threatening Russia's biggest petroleum producer as well as President Vladimir Putin's reputation as a reformer.
After days of threats against the company and a dramatic, last-ditch offer by former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky to give up his 32 percent stake to settle the tax bill, Thursday seemed extraordinarily quiet. Late in the day, authorities reportedly increased the pressure on Russia's largest oil company by putting shares in a major Yukos production unit firmly under bailiffs' control.
Elsewhere . . .
LIBYAN ULTIMATUM: Chad rebels holding the Sahara's most wanted terror suspect said Thursday that Libya had given them a 48-hour deadline to surrender the al-Qaida-linked militant or face a bomb attack. There was no immediate comment from Libya, which confirmed earlier this week that its forces had killed two of the suspect Amari Saifi's accomplices. Months of negotiations with the rebels have failed to obtain Saifi's surrender to Algeria, to other African nations or to the West.
REFUGEES ON BOARD: Italian aid groups are urging the government to allow a ship carrying 37 African immigrants to land in Italy after days of floating off the coast of Sicily. The ship, which belongs to the German aid group Cap Anamur, on June 20 came across a rubber dinghy containing 36 Sudanese and one man from Sierra Leone. The ship picked up the men and transported them toward Italy, but it has been blocked from landing.
RARE BIRD SIGHTING: A bird thought by some to be extinct has been discovered on the island of Cozumel off Mexico's Caribbean coast, conservationists announced Friday. The discovery of the Cozumel thrasher was called "remarkable," since the bird hadn't been seen for 10 years.
[Last modified July 9, 2004, 01:09:11]
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World in briefChina-U.S. meeting hinges on Taiwan