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World in brief: China says Korea wants nuke talks

BEIJING – Chinese state media says North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reaffirmed the importance of nuclear disarmament talks during his visit to China this week.

The visit could potentially kick-start the process of North Korea dismantling its nuclear programs, although Chinese broadcaster CCTV did not say whether Kim had made a firm commitment to restarting talks.

Footage run by the channel was the first official Chinese confirmation of the visit, which began Monday.

Greek finance vote sparks protests

ATHENS, Greece – Greek lawmakers approved drastic austerity cuts Thursday needed to secure international rescue loans worth $140 billion and clashes briefly erupted in the streets outside parliament, forcing police to use tear gas.

The new clashes came a day after violent protests left three people dead in Athens.

Greek lawmakers voted 172-121 to approve the austerity measures – worth about $38 billion through 2012 – that will slash pensions and civil servants’ pay and further hike consumer taxes.

The rescue loans are aimed at containing the debt crisis and keeping Greece’s troubles from spreading to other countries with vulnerable state finances. The money will come from the International Monetary Fund and the 15 other governments whose countries use the euro.

The violence was quickly contained with riot police firing tear gas at the protesters. No injuries or arrests were reported.


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