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Polish debt deadlines extended

Published Oct. 16, 2005

The United States, West Germany and other major Polish creditors showed support for the Solidarity-led government Friday by extending the payment deadlines for $9.4-billion of Poland's debt on unusually lenient terms. The accord involves the largest amount of debt ever rescheduled by the 17-nation Paris Club. Poland has leapt ahead of other East European countries in seeking to transform its economy from communism to capitalism. Aoun forces capture stronghold BEIRUT, Lebanon - Christian army troops loyal to Gen. Michel Aoun scored a clear victory against their Christian militia opponents Friday, capturing the last Beirut stronghold of the Christian Lebanese Forces militia loyal to Samir Geagea at Ain Rummaneh, security officials said.

JERUSALEM - Israeli warplanes bombed an Amal guerrilla base in Hajjeh, 30 miles south of Beirut, an army spokeswoman said. There were no reports of casualties.

Group: 1,000 died in invasion PANAMA CITY, Panama - More than 1,000 Panamanian soldiers and civilians died in the Dec. 20 U.S. invasion, nearly double the official figures, the head of a group of families who lost relatives in the invasion said Friday. The figure was compiled from family and friends of missing Panamanians. U.S. officials say 202 Panamanian civilians and 314 soldiers died in the invasion.

1997 Hong Kong law approved BEIJING - A Beijing-controlled drafting committee Friday gave final approval to Hong Kong's Basic Law, a constitution widely perceived as setting severe limits on the prospects for achieving a democratic system in the territory when it reverts from British to Chinese control in 1997.

Hawke calls Australian election SYDNEY, Australia - Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke Friday called an election for March 24, almost two months ahead of schedule. Hawke and his Labor Party are seeking a fourth term in office. He called the election after opinion polls put his government 3 percentage points ahead of the opposition, reversing a trend of voter discontent toward Labor because of economic problems.

Elsewhere ...

WASHINGTON - The United States and the Soviet Union agreed to cooperate in air traffic control for flights between Alaska and Siberia. The pact, the first of its kind between the two nations, clears the way for scheduled airline service.

JERUSALEM - Ruth Trabelsi, 84, who refused to have a gangrenous leg removed because she wanted "to enter the Garden of Eden on both feet," but later allowed the operation, has died.

TOKYO - Official North Korean media described Kim Jong Il, the son and expected successor to President Kim Il Sung, as "Great Leader," a title previously used only for his father.

MONTREAL - Quebec judge Claude Leveille, 59, testified he spent a night at a massage parlor because he was too tired to drive 30 miles home. He was arrested in a raid on the parlor.

MINNEAPOLIS - Mikhail Gorbachev is a power-hungry politician who has an exaggerated reputation as a reformer, said dissident Yelena Bonner, widow of Andrei Sakharov.

SAXON, Switzerland - Three people died and 12 were injured when an express train traveling from Milan to Paris smashed into the rear of a railway maintenance train, authorities said.

PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia - Soviet troops will start leaving Czechoslovakia by May 31, the Communist Party newspaper Prace said.

FORT ERIE, Ontario - A new automated system for calculating and collecting duties will be installed to speed up traffic at 22 U.S.-Canada border crossings.

Canada alters customs system FORT ERIE, Ontario - A new automated system for calculating and collecting duties will be installed to speed up traffic at 22 U.S.-Canada border crossings. The system will give Canadians a quick calculation of the duties and taxes they owe on goods purchased in the United States, including an allowance for the daily exchange rate, officials said. The system will eventually be installed at all Canada Customs offices.

U.S. says terrorist deaths down WASHINGTON - Incidents of international terrorism declined about 25 percent in 1989, but attacks by Iran-sponsored Shiite groups rose, a U.S. official said Friday. The State Department figures show deaths from terrorism declined from 660 to 485. Experts cited better airport security and a drop in the activities of Palestinian groups. The largest PLO faction had kept its pledge to refrain from terrorist attacks, the U.S. official said.