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12/18/05 World News: WTO Negotiaors Reach Tentative Agreement


Negotiators at the World Trade Organization conference have reached a tentative agreement on a draft accord for the talks ending today (Sunday) in Hong Kong.
The draft indicates that wealthy countries have agreed to eliminate farm export subsidies by 2013. Farm subsidies by wealthy nations to their farmers make it difficult for the farmers in poor countries to market their goods around the world.
Wealthy nations also promised nearly tariff-free and subsidy-free trade for the world's poorest nations. The tariffs and quotas will start to be removed in 2008, or after an overall WTO agreement is completed.

Anti-globalization protesters in Hong Kong have again staged demonstrations against the World Trade Organization meetings being held there.
The angry protesters were attempting to march to the venue of the global trade talks, which conclude today (Sunday). Witnesses say groups of police deployed throughout the city to prevent the demonstration from reaching the site. They say police rounded up hundreds of protesters early Sunday.
Hong Kong government officials say about 100 people were injured in violent clashes Saturday, including 39 police officers.

Citizens in the Democratic Republic of Congo are voting today (Sunday) in a constitutional referendum aimed at bringing political stability to the war-weary nation.
More than 24 million people are registered to vote in the referendum.
The draft constitution calls for the election of a president and a parliament, and spreads political power among several provincial governments. If the constitution is approved, it paves the way for Congo to hold local, presidential and parliamentary elections in 2006.

Listen to our World News for details.

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