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News Briefs

Turkish Officials, Angry Over U.S. Resolution, Warn of Retaliation

THE WASHINGTON POST -- ISTANBUL

Turkish officials warned Thursday that the United States risks losing the use of a Turkish base for launching air patrols over northern Iraq if the House of Representatives approves a resolution accusing Turkey of genocide against Armenians about 80 years ago.

The non-binding resolution, introduced by congressmen in an election-year appeal to Armenian-American voters, has infuriated Turkey, a strategically important NATO ally. As part of their response, Turkish officials said they are considering appointing an ambassador to Baghdad for the first time since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and said Turkey will join a growing number of nations in sending humanitarian aid to Iraq, despite U.N. sanctions aimed at bringing down Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The resolution was approved Tuesday by the House International Affairs Committee. “If it is passed by the House of Representatives, serious effects should be expected on Turkish-U.S. relations,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

In a statement Thursday, the leaders of all five parties in the Turkish parliament declared, “The Turkish Grand National Assembly will evaluate the extension of Operation Northern Watch in the framework of changing conditions.”

Fed Concerned About Inflation

THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

After Federal Reserve officials left their target for overnight interest rates unchanged at a policymaking session in late August amid signs U.S. economic growth had slowed, some investors and financial analysts apparently concluded the Fed’s next move would be a rate cut. Minutes of that August meeting released Thursday indicated that was wishful thinking.

Members of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank’s top policymaking group, agreed that growth had moderated, but they remained concerned about the fact that inflation had picked up a bit and might increase later on, according to the minutes.

“Many members emphasized that the committee needed to be prepared to act promptly should inflationary pressures appear to be intensifying,” the minutes said. “And in the committee’s discussion of the balance-of-risks sentence to be included in the press statement that would be issued after this meeting, all the members agreed that the sentence should continue to indicate that the risks to the economy remained weighted toward higher inflation in the foreseeable future.”

Priceline Will Halt Unprofitable Sales of Gasoline and Groceries

NEWSDAY

Consumers can no longer name their own price for groceries and gasoline.

Priceline.com’s WebHouse Club Thursday announced it is ceasing operations because it lacked the capital to achieve profitability. Consumers have until midnight Friday night to pick up items and fill their gas tanks before their Priceline cards are deactivated. If they don’t, they will receive refunds.

Launched in September 1999 by Priceline.com founder Jay S. Walker, WebHouse was a private company that licensed the “Name Your Own Price” system. But it was very closely aligned with the publicly traded Priceline.com, sharing a Web site and pitchman William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame.

Adding to Priceline’s woes, the company also announced Thursday that its Perfect Yardsale licensee, which sold used household goods, was also shutting its virtual doors.