Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Briefs

Article excerpt

JAPAN Skyjacker Pretended Clay Blocks Were Bombs

A bank employee who commandeered a Japanese airliner on the ground in Hakodate Wednesday carried blocks of clay and bags filled with water as ploys to threaten the crew with bombs and nerve gas, police said Saturday.

Officers found two blocks of green-colored clay in Fumio Kutsumi's shoulder bag, as well as three transparent containers filled with water.

Kutsumi threatened to blow up the plane with explosives and told passengers that he also had sarin, the nerve gas used in the Tokyo subway attack in March.

On Thursday, police stormed the airliner after a 16-hour standoff at Hakodate's airport, arresting Katsumi after a brief scuffle. "I wanted to make a commotion," he said, to explain why he commandeered the All Nippon Airways jumbo jet. Reuters

***** TRADE DISPUTE Japan, U.S. Teams Work Weekend To Get Accord

Japan and the United States agreed Saturday in Geneva to step up talks on their trade dispute and called in their trade ministers to try to cut a deal by a Wednesday deadline, negotiators for the two sides said.

They said they would work through the weekend before Japanese Trade Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor arrive Monday for a last-ditch effort to head off $5.9 billion of U.S. sanctions on Japanese luxury cars.

The United States, which had a record $66 billion trade deficit with Japan last year, is set to hit 13 Japanese luxury cars with 100 percent tariffs on Wednesday. Reuters

***** ARGENTINA Menem Blames Protest In Cordoba On Ex-Rival

President Carlos Menem distanced himself Saturday from the troubles of Argentina's second-largest province, Cordoba, where nearly 200 people were arrested Friday after protests by state workers who haven't been paid in three months.

"It is not the nation's fault," Menem said on Argentine radio. "It's the result of a lack of planning by the men with the responsibility of leading provincial governments. …

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