Chirac Leaves Hospital But Will Miss Summit

PARIS -- President Jacques Chirac left the hospital Friday, declaring himself in fine shape but walking hesitantly and saying nothing about the illness that had kept him there a week.

The 72-year-old leader said doctors had advised him to limit his activities for another week, and he canceled plans to attend next week's U.N. summit in New York. France will send Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin instead.

Chirac, a mainstay of the French political scene for more than four decades, was hospitalized Sept. 2 after suffering a "small vascular accident" that impaired vision in one eye, medical officials said without elaborating further.


* JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's top court gave prosecutors permission to reopen a case against Wouter Basson, dubbed "Dr. Death" for his part in bizarre apartheid-era plots involving germ warfare and the murder of black opponents.

The Constitutional Court said the former head of the white government's germ warfare program should face trial on six charges of conspiracy to commit offenses beyond South Africa's borders.

Basson was one of the most notorious agents of South Africa's former white government, accused of helping with a series of poisoning plots targeting black activists and involving gadgets such as screwdrivers concealing hypodermic needles and cigarettes laced with anthrax.


* KABUL, Afghanistan -- President Hamid Karzai reminded Afghans of the sacrifice made by countless numbers of their countrymen as he and other leaders marked the fourth anniversary of the assassination of the guerrilla leader Ahmed Shah Massoud.

Massoud was killed by al Qaeda suicide bombers two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. His fighters, who had been among the forces that ousted the Soviet Union, helped the United States rout the Taliban two months after his death.

the americas

* OTTAWA -- The leaders of China and Canada pledged to double their trade and investment by the end of this decade. They also discussed human rights in China, long condemned for persecuting political opponents.

President Hu Jintao, making some of his most extensive public comments on the issue, defended China's human rights policies and reaffirmed its sovereignty over Taiwan and Tibet.

"China is a country of 1.3 billion people," Hu said at a news conference after meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin for two hours. "We have to give top priority to the rights to survival and the right to the development of our people. At the same time, we also attach a great deal of importance to the civil rights of our citizens."

* MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- A battle for power that could bring down Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos is threatening democracy in the Central American nation, the Organization of American States said.

The Nicaraguan Congress is to vote Tuesday on whether to strip government officials, including Bolanos, of criminal immunity for alleged electoral campaign funding abuses.

If Bolanos loses his immunity, he could be prosecuted. If found guilty, he would be forced to resign.

the middle east

* JERUSALEM -- The Israeli army blew up its last military posts in the Gaza Strip in preparation for completing a pullout early next week after 38 years of occupation.

Residents on both sides of the Israeli-Gaza border were shaken out of bed by loud blasts as troops dynamited several security offices in the north of the territory, a precursor to turning over the razed settlements to the Palestinians.


* NEWCASTLE, England -- Britain pledged to persuade the European Union to implement an ambitious package of anti-terrorism measures by year's end, including plans to retain telephone and e-mail data, despite deep disagreements.

Emerging from two days of talks with his E.U. counterparts, the British home secretary, Charles Clarke, sounded optimistic that an agreement could be reached on Europe-wide legislation forcing telecommunications companies to keep records of phone and e-mail traffic and 11 other priority measures. These include tougher security at airports, more sharing of intelligence and the upgrading of passports and identity cards.

Talks on getting a deal on data retention had been bogged down for years but revived after the London transit bombings in July that killed 52 people and the four presumed suicide bombers.

-- From News Services