US AND JAPAN: HAVE PACT, WILL DISAGREE Only a few days after the United States and Japan sealed an economic partnership pact, conflicts have resurfaced over Japan's trade surplus. Under the pact, Washington expected Tokyo to cut its surplus to 1.5 to 2 percent of gross domestic product over the next four to five years. But Japanese officials say no such numerical target was set. The pact, announced July 10 at the end of the Group of Seven summit in Tokyo, says Japan will pursue strong growth led by domestic demand, but will increase market acces s for foreign goods and services to narrow its trade surplus and take fiscal and monetary measures to realize these objectives. Vice Finance Minister Jiro Saito said July 12 that Tokyo would not be forced to take immediate measures to achieve the pact's goals, even if its current account surplus widened toward the end of the year. Airlines clash in court
Continental and Northwest airlines met American Airlines, the nation's largest carrier, in court July 12 over American's fare policies. The plaintiffs filed the suit shortly after the start of last summer's fare wars, claiming on antitrust grounds that American sought to drive them out of business and establish a monopoly.
Continental and Northwest say American's value-pricing plan and half-off sales cost them $1 billion each. American's lawyers fired back on July 12, saying Continental and Northwest couldn't stand the competition. Take me from the river
More storms raged across Iowa July 13, further swelling the Mississippi and its tributaries. Des Moines braced for new record floods on the Raccoon River, which has contaminated the city's water supply. Water officials say it will be several days before homes have running taps again. Deal to sweeten Everglades
Leading sugar growers agreed to pay up to $322 million over the next two decades to clean up the polluted Everglades as part of a landmark agreement with the state of Florida and the federal government announced July 13.
A statement of principles, and a $465 million cleanup plan designed to end years of litigation and begin restoring the fragile wetlands and marshes in southern Florida, was agreed upon the night before. The plan provides incentives to farmers to reduce their use of fertilizer. Italy on Somalia
Italy asked July 12 for a halt to United Nations military action in Somalia. Defense Minister Fabio Fabbri said that if a cooling-off period did not bring peace, the 29-nation coalition could conduct a large-scale disarming operation.
The request followed a UN helicopter attack in Mogadishu against supporters of Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed that Somalis say killed 73 people. Italy wants a "reconsideration of the goals of the mission, which would cover the relationship between the ends which are pacification, conciliation, humanitarian aid and the means," Mr. Fabbri said. Dalai Lama seeks talks
The Dalai Lama has sent his first official team to Beijing in nearly 10 years for talks with Chinese officials, an international group that monitors Tibetan affairs said July 13. The Dalai Lama's older brother, Gyalo Thondup, is heading the delegation.The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959, and leads a campaign against Chinese rule. Note to readers
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