World briefs 8/26/02

Monday, August 26, 2002

Japan and North Korea start high-level talks

PYONGYANG, North Korea -- Japan and North Korea held their first high-level talks in two years Sunday amid hopes the reclusive communist nation, deeply in need of aid, would seek improved relations with the rest of the world.

The two-day talks are aimed at establishing diplomatic relations for the first time between the two Asian nations.

The first day of meetings produced little beyond a reiteration of both sides' views that have clashed for years, Japanese ministry official Kenji Hiramatsu told reporters.

"Both sides are asserting our positions now. A frank exchange is going on," he said. Talks were to continue today.

Nigerian single mother may face public stoning

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said he will weep if a 30-year-old woman sentenced to death by stoning for having sex outside of marriage is killed, but added he has faith the court system will overturn her sentence.

However, Obasanjo gave no sign he would intervene directly in the case, despite an international outcry that he prevent the execution.

"I don't think what is going on will lead to her death," Obasanjo told reporters. "Indeed if it does, which I very much doubt, I will weep for myself, I will weep for Amina and I will weep for Nigeria."

Venezuela's president pledges economic recovery

CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez promised Sunday that Venezuela's struggling economy would soon rebound despite what he said were attempts by the opposition to sabotage the recovery.

Chavez insisted during his weekly radio address that there are signs of economic recovery, despite a 7 percent contraction during the first half of the year. He cited a recent deal between Petroleos de Venezuela, the state oil company, with five foreign companies to develop Venezuela's biggest offshore field of natural gas reserves.

The country depends on oil for almost half of government income and 80 percent of export revenue.

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: