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In Brief

In Brief

Chavez offers oil to allies at discount
BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez late Saturday offered guarantees of cheap energy supplies to his leftist allies from Latin American and the Caribbean, saying his country was "putting its oil reserves at the service of Latin America."
Opening a summit meeting with Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua as well as Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage, Chavez offered to sell his allies oil at a discount 50-percent, a price break that he said would help their economic and social development.
"In the past, oil contributed to the development of the United States," Chavez said. "Now it is time to make oil serve the development of our people."
He did not specify how much oil he would sell at the discount.
Egypt-Bedouin truce
MAHDIYAH, Egypt
Government authorities agreed to a three-day truce Saturday with Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula to end recent clashes with security officials, police said.
The announcement came a day after authorities mobilized hundreds of policemen in eastern Sinai when Bedouins trying to cross into Israel wounded an Egyptian officer.
Captain Mohammed Badr said that under the truce negotiated by local authorities, the Bedouins agreed to avoid the Israeli border for three days and return to central Sinai.
In return, the Bedouins demanded the release of recently detained locals and an investigation into the deaths of two Bedouins Wednesday.
News reports say the Bedouins were killed when their car flipped over near a police checkpoint close to the Israeli border. Police said in the report that they exchanged fire with the two men after they failed to stop at the checkpoint.
Ireland faces May poll
DUBLIN, Ireland
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced yesterday that Ireland's next general election will be May 24 and vowed to extend his 10-year run in power.
Ahern spoke after meeting Ireland's symbolic head of state, President Mary McAleese, who signed a document dissolving the parliament for a four-week election campaign. McAleese said the newly elected parliament would convene on June 14 to elect a new government.
At stake is whether Ireland, which has boasted Europe's most dynamic economy over the past 13 years of Celtic Tiger boom, will continue to be run by Ahern's center-right coalition or turn leftward. To gain power, the centrist Fine Gael would almost certainly have to form a coalition with Ireland's soft left-wing voice, Labor.
U.S. troops request
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii
The Army's new chief of staff said he wants to accelerate by two years a plan to increase the nation's active duty soldiers by 65,000.
The Army has set 2012 as its target date for a force expansion to 547,000 troops, but General George Casey said he told his staff to have the soldiers ready earlier.
"I said that's too long. Go back and tell me what it would take to get it done faster," he said in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press during a stop in Hawaii.
Casey said his staff has submitted a proposal for the accelerated timeline but that he has yet to approve the plan. He said the Army was stretched and would remain that way until the additional troops were trained and equipped.


Updated : 2021-07-26 22:22 GMT+08:00