1. Archive

Britain's Tory party cuts leadership field to two

Kenneth Clarke was the surprise winner of a key vote in the Conservative Party leadership race Tuesday, as Britain's Tories turned away from a charismatic centrist.

Clarke, who leads the Conservatives' pro-Europe wing and supports Britain eventually adopting the common currency, the euro, will face the Tories' hard-line defense spokesman, Iain Duncan Smith, in the final round. Conservative party members will choose between the two, with the winner announced Sept. 12.

Michael Portillo, the Tories' No. 2 official, came in third and was knocked out of the race. Portillo grabbed the spotlight early in the leadership fight with his promise to move the Conservatives toward the political center after Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party crushed them in an election last month.

Outgoing leader William Hague resigned after the loss.

Russia, China sign deal for oil pipeline

MOSCOW _ Russia and China added economic substance to their burgeoning friendship Tuesday, agreeing to formulate a plan for a $1.7-billion pipeline to carry oil from Siberia to northeastern China.

The signing of the pipeline and oil-delivery accords came a day after Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a 20-year friendship treaty.

The 1,500-mile pipeline could be completed as early as 2005 and would ship 147-million barrels a year to China.

U.S. may close some bases in South Korea

WASHINGTON _ The U.S. military could start closing and consolidating bases in South Korea as early as next year, handing back to the country a substantial amount of land the United States has been using for decades, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Officials gave no details. But the military newspaper Stars & Stripes reported that a plan in the final stages of negotiations calls for cutting from 41 to 26 the number of installations used by forces in South Korea.

Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, stressed that the plan does not include a cut in U.S. troop strength, currently at 37,000.