World briefs 12/19/04

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Rocket carries French spy satellite into space

PARIS -- A European rocket roared into space from a pad in South America on Saturday, placing into orbit a surveillance satellite billed as giving France's military new abilities to spy worldwide. The unmanned craft lifted off smoothly from a launch center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 1:36 p.m. The satellite and six smaller scientific ones were placed into orbit about an hour after liftoff.

Cuba to buy $125 million in American farm goods

HAVANA -- Cuba has agreed to buy about $125 million in farm goods from U.S. companies attending trade talks in Havana, officials said. The deals, which were agreed on during three days of negotiations that ended Friday, surpassed expectations, said Pedro Alvarez, chairman of the Cuban food import company Alimport. More than 300 people, primarily producers of American farm goods, attended the meetings.

Yushchenko backers reconsider trip to east

KIEV, Ukraine -- Supporters of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko reconsidered plans to travel to his opponent's eastern stronghold due to political tensions, and a U.S. congressional delegation arrived in Ukraine Saturday to press for fairness in the Dec. 26 runoff election. A convoy of some 50 cars carrying Yushchenko's supporters is traveling around Ukraine trying to sow support for Yushchenko in eastern and southern regions where Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych received more votes. Fearing possible violence in Yanukovych's hometown of Donetsk, Yushchenko's supporters were reconsidering whether to set out for the eastern city today or Monday and whether to travel there without protection, said convoy coordinator Olga Khodovanets. "We might not go there without a security detail," Khodovanets said.

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