IMF agrees to give Brazil $30 billion in loan money

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund, seeking to contain a deepening economic crisis in South America, announced Wednesday it had agreed to provide an additional $30 billion in loans to Brazil.

The agreement, which followed intense negotiations between the lending institution and Brazil, was announced by IMF Managing Director Horst Koehler and came as Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill was wrapping up a fact-finding mission to the region.

The Bush administration immediately said it was pleased with the agreement Brazil had reached with the IMF. As the IMF’s biggest contributor, the United States would have played a major role in the negotiations with Brazil.

Hindus strike in Kashmir to protest terror violence

JAMMU, India – Many Hindus observed a general strike in Kashmir Wednesday to protest a terrorist attack that killed nine pilgrims as they prepared to hike to a Himalayan shrine. Eight people died in new violence.

Most shops and businesses stayed closed in Jammu, the winter capital of India’s northern Jammu-Kashmir state. Government offices and schools opened, but attendance was thin.

Bush administration to reverse exposure policy

WASHINGTON – Under pressure from Congress, the Bush administration has decided to reverse policy and quit fighting illness compensation claims from Cold War-era nuclear weapons workers exposed to toxic chemicals.

Final Energy Department regulations, obtained by The Associated Press and expected to be issued Thursday, instruct contractors not to contest medical panels’ findings that workers’ illnesses are related to job exposure.

ImClone’s Waksal indicted on insider trading charges

NEW YORK – ImClone chief executive Samuel Waksal, whose arrest on insider trading charges has cast suspicion on Martha Stewart, was indicted Wednesday, apparently after attempts to cut a deal with prosecutors broke down.

The indictment brings new charges of obstruction of justice and bank fraud against Waksal in addition to previous securities fraud and perjury charges.

Body of Daniel Pearl being sent home to United States

KARACHI, Pakistan – The body of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal journalist kidnapped and slain by Islamic militants, left Pakistan early Thursday en route to the United States, Pakistani aviation officials said.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Pearl’s body was aboard a Cathay Pacific flight that left Karachi at 1:30 a.m. bound for Los Angeles by way of Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

Archaeologists unraveling ancient Mideast drug trade

JERUSALEM – A thriving Bronze Age drug trade supplied narcotics to ancient cultures throughout the eastern Mediterranean as balm for the pain of childbirth and disease, proving a sophisticated knowledge of medicines dating back thousands of years, researchers say.

Ancient ceramic pots, most of them nearly identical in shape and about five inches long, have been found in tombs and settlements throughout the Middle East, dating as far back as 1,400 B.C., said Joe Zias, an anthropologist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

U.S. borrowing in June up despite economy woes

WASHINGTON – Americans shrugged off worries about the economy’s health and the recent stock market slide and increased their borrowing in June at a brisk pace.

The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that consumer credit rose by a seasonally adjusted $8.4 billion, or at a 5.9 percent annual rate, in June from the previous month.

The increase, bigger than the $7.8 billion advance many analysts were forecasting, left consumer borrowing at $1.71 trillion.

Compiled from Associated Press reports

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