St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

G-7 summit tackles oil cost

By wire services
Published April 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - Amid fresh jitters from Wall Street, finance officials from the world's industrial powers said Saturday that surging oil prices could crimp the economy and they pledged to limit the fallout.

An intense discussion of the energy situation dominated the meeting attended by representatives from the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.

They urged producers to increase energy supplies and said countries should conserve more.

The Group of Seven countries endorsed more timely and accurate information about the oil market, which officials said could help control price fluctuations and make companies more willing to expand production.

In addition to the G-7 discussions, the 184-nation International Monetary Fund and World Bank were holding meetings this weekend.

Leaders of Pakistan, India to meet for formal talks

NEW DELHI - Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, planned to hold formal talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, during his first visit to India in four years.

Pakistani officials have expressed hope that the visit, which comes at a time of improving relations with India, will yield progress toward a settlement of the long conflict over the divided Himalayan province of Kashmir.

"We have brought a message of peace from Pakistan," Musharraf said Saturday during a stop in the Indian state of Rajasthan, where he visited a Sufi Muslim shrine.

Ecuador reinstates rights after thousands protest

QUITO, Ecuador - Ecuador's president called off a state of emergency in the capital on Saturday - less than 24 hours after imposing it - as thousands of Ecuadoreans defied his ban on demonstrations and demanded his resignation.

Speaking on national television, President Lucio Gutierrez said he was annulling the decree he had imposed Friday night suspending civil liberties. He said he maintained his decision to dismiss the Supreme Court because public unrest over the selection of the judges in December had provoked the street marches.

Gutierrez imposed the emergency after three days of street marches demanding his resignation. He said the unpopular Supreme Court judges - who were appointed by his congressional allies in December in a process widely viewed as unconstitutional - were the cause of the protests.

20,000 protesters turn violent in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, China - About 20,000 anti-Japanese protesters - some shouting "kill the Japanese" - rampaged through Shanghai on Saturday, stoning Japan's consulate and smashing cars and shops in protest over Tokyo's bid for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat and perceived whitewashing of wartime atrocities.

Thousands of police watched the rioting but did little to restrain the crowd, and Japan filed an official protest, complaining that Chinese authorities failed to stop anti-Japanese violence for a third weekend in a row.

Japan's Embassy said two Japanese were injured after being surrounded by a group of Chinese, Kyodo News agency reported. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Thousands of people also participated in peaceful protest marches in Hangzhou and Tianjin, defying government demands for restraint.

Call center workers in India accused of theft

PUNE, India - Police have arrested 16 people in western India for allegedly cheating four New York-based Citibank customers out of nearly $350,000, a police officer said Saturday.

Three former employees at a call center in the city of Pune and 13 of their associates have been charged with misusing financial data and illegally withdrawing money from the accounts of the New York-based customers, said Sanjay Jadhav, an assistant commissioner of police.

Fan strikes former chess champ with chessboard

MOSCOW - Garry Kasparov, the world's former No. 1 chess player who quit the professional game last month to focus on politics, said Saturday he had been hit over the head with a chessboard in a politically motivated attack.

Kasparov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was not injured Friday when he was hit with the chessboard after signing it for a young man at an event in Moscow.

A spokeswoman for Kasparov, Marina Litvinovich, said the assailant told the chess champion: "I admired you as a chess player, but you gave that up for politics."

She said the unidentified attacker - who did not reveal his political allegiance - tried to hit Kasparov again but was hauled away by security guards.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.