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Briefs

World trade negotiators strike last-minute deal

By wire services
Published December 19, 2005


HONG KONG - WTO negotiators cut a last-minute deal Sunday on ending farm export subsidies and other trade barriers, claiming modest progress toward their goal of forging a global trade pact by late 2006.

The agreement was a badly needed breakthrough for the World Trade Organization, whose credibility was on the line following devastating collapses of two of its last three key meetings.

Although riots erupted outside the convention center Saturday, a march Sunday by 5,000 antiglobalization demonstrators ended without violence.

Delegates agreed to eliminate farm export subsidies by 2013, work toward dismantling trade barriers in manufacturing and services and to provide greater protections and support for developing countries.

Israeli prime minister suffers mild stroke

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a mild stroke Sunday, but his condition quickly improved and his doctor said he was expected to be released from the hospital in a few days. Aides said he was lucid and in control of the government.

Sharon, 77 and very overweight, never lost consciousness and was talking and joking with his family hours after arriving at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, doctors said. He was treated with blood thinners and suffered no damage from the stroke, said his physician, Boleslaw Goldman.

Socialist candidate takes lead in Bolivia's race

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia - Presidential candidate Evo Morales said his victory was assured in Sunday's elections after two independent exit polls showed him with an unexpectedly strong lead over former President Jorge Quiroga. If they hold true, Morales, a former coca farmer, will likely be named president in January.

First official results from the National Electoral Court were not expected until at least today and more significant results possibly Tuesday, authorities said.

Group alleges torture at secret U.S.-run prison

KABUL, Afghanistan - The United States operated a secret prison in Afghanistan as recently as last year, torturing detainees with sleep deprivation, chaining them to the walls and forcing them to listen to loud music in total darkness for days, a human rights group alleged Monday.

The prison was run near Kabul, Human Rights Watch of New York said in a report based on the accounts of several detainees at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The report said the prison was closed late last year.

[Last modified December 19, 2005, 16:10:30]


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