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News Briefs

Turkey Rejects Referendums To Determine EU Membership

By Craig S. Smith

The New York Times PARIS

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, touring Europe to gain support for Turkey’s proposed membership in the European Union, sharply objected Thursday to plans by several countries to let domestic referendums eventually decide his country’s future.

Several European countries are considering putting the question of Turkey’s membership to a popular vote, most notably France, where President Jacques Chirac has proposed a constitutional amendment that would make his country’s support subject to a national referendum.

“What we’ve been trying to explain for months, above all, is that winning a popular referendum is not among the criteria for EU membership,” Erdogan told reporters at a news conference here. He said that no other candidate’s membership had been subject to a referendum and repeated past appeals that his country be given equal treatment.

U.S. Airways Pilots Concede Wages

By Micheline Maynard

The New York Times

Pilots at US Airways have voted in favor of giving $300 million in annual wage and benefit concessions to the struggling airline, becoming the first major labor group to accept permanent cuts, the union representing pilots said Thursday.

US Airways made its second bankruptcy protection filing in two years on Sept. 12. Last week, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Alexandria, Va., granted the airline’s bid for emergency pay cuts of 21 percent, and other benefit reductions, for its union workers. Without the cuts, US Airways said, it could cease operating by mid-February.

Pilots at other airlines are facing similar efforts to reduce pay and benefits. Delta Air Lines, which is trying to avoid joining US Airways in reorganization, is pushing its pilots for $1 billion in wage and benefit cuts.

United Airlines, which has been in bankruptcy protection since December 2002, said last week that it would soon outline plans to nullify its labor contracts and replace them with less-expensive pacts. Last year, United’s parent, the UAL Corp., obtained concessions worth $2.5 billion a year from its unions.

Japan Digs Out After Worst Typhoon Since ’82

By James Brooke

The New York Times TOKYO

As clear blue skies spread across the archipelago, Japan dug out Thursday from its deadliest typhoon in more than two decades, a devastatingly destructive storm that killed at least 66 people and left 22 missing before veering out to sea north of Tokyo.

Rescuers frantically dug into hundreds of landslides, sifting for survivors of the nation’s worst typhoon since 1982 and its 10th this year.

Churning a swath of destruction halfway up the Japanese archipelago, the latest typhoon, called Tokage, or Lizard, injured 301 people and flooded 23,210 houses, destroying hundreds of them, according to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Its shrieking gales on Wednesday turned over delivery vans, blew a stopped train into a rice paddy, knocked trees into cars, ripped roofs off ancient temples, and grounded three oceangoing vessels, including a training ship with 167 people on board. With their ship marooned on a breakwater and lashed by enormous waves, the 102 young sailor trainees spent a terrifying night before being rescued on Thursday. Fifteen suffered injuries.