U.S. signs trade agreement with South Korea

Published July 1, 2007


The United States and South Korea on Saturday signed the largest free trade deal for Washington since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992, though Democratic leaders in Congress warned that they would not approve it. The U.S. trade representative, Susan C. Schwab, and South Korea's trade minister, Kim Hyun Chong, signed the deal only hours before President Bush's "fast-track" authority to negotiate such an agreement - one that Congress must approve or reject but cannot revise - was to expire Saturday. If approved by the legislatures of both countries, the agreement could expand trade between the countries, already worth about $79-billion a year, as much as $20-billion, according to recent estimates by United States and South Korean economists. The deal calls for eliminating tariffs on 95 percent of consumer and industrial products on both sides within three years.


Airport evacuated after bomb threat

Spanish police acting on what appears to have been a hoax evacuated Ibiza airport Saturday after a telephone bomb threat and safely destroyed a suspicious bag in a controlled explosion, the Interior Ministry said. After the warning, police evacuated and searched the airport, found two suspicious items - a shoe box and a backpack in the airport parking lot - and destroyed the bag. The shoe box was searched by a remote-controlled robot and found to be empty, the ministry said. The telephone warning came from the Basque newspaper Gara, which the violent Basque separatist group ETA often uses as a conduit for bomb warnings. About 13, 000 travelers were affected by flight disruptions, a spokeswoman said.


Colmar, France: A young man expelled from a village festival in eastern France for misbehaving apparently took revenge by ramming his car into a crowd of people early Saturday, injuring 17, two of them seriously, witnesses and local officials said. The driver, apparently drunk, was in police custody, the local prefecture said. He was not identified.

Guatemala City: An Army Day parade turned into a brawl Saturday when relatives of people killed in Guatemala's civil war tried to interrupt the procession. Members of the Children's Collective, whose relatives died or disappeared in the 1960-96 civil war, called the parade an insult to the memory of the war's 200, 000 mostly civilian victims. Only minor injuries were reported.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras: About 660 soldiers and police in ski masks stormed a Honduran prison where guards had lost control and armed prisoners were running free, the government said Saturday. At least 53 inmates have been killed in the last two years at the prison. Built to hold 1, 200 prisoners, it now houses 2, 800.