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News In Brief

(Page 2 of 2)



Mohammed Khatemi pledged to continue the path of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after winning Iran's first free presidential elections since the 1979 revolution. The moderate cleric's victory over hard-liner Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri was seen as a boost for a milder form of Islamic rule.

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The Congo's new government banned public demonstrations and activities of political parties in the capital, Kinshasa, until further notice, state television reported. Earlier, self-proclaimed President Laurent Kabila formed a new government comprised of 13 ministers.

Military rulers toppled the civilian government in Sierra Leone, and Maj. Johnny Paul Koromah declared himself the new head of state. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the coup a blow to West African democracy.

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were set to meet in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh today to discuss how to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The talks have been frozen since March 18. Mubarak was to meet with Palestinian President Yassir Arafat in Cairo earlier.

Afghanistan's Taliban army struggled to move troops into the newly conquered north after a surprise attack from troops loyal to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum. The Taliban, which is fighting to impose strict Islamic law throughout the country, seized the northern region earlier, bringing 90 percent of the country under its rule.

Polish voters replaced a 1952 communist-era constitution, exit polls indicate. The new charter commits Poland to a market economy and private ownership, ensures civilian control of the military, and guarantees personal freedoms necessary for NATO membership.

Indonesian troops and police patrolled Banjarmasin, Indonesia, after preelection rioting, arson, and looting on the island of Borneo. Authorities continued to search for bodies after a fire in a shopping mall killed 137 people. Some 269 have died in campaign violence preceding Thursday's parliamentary elections, the Indonesian Times reported.

Red Cross officials from North and South Korea signed an agreement on food aid for the North. Some 50,000 tons of food would be a six-month supply for 600,000 people - more than four times the current number of North Koreans receiving such aid, agency figures show.

Japanese coast guard vessels allegedly rammed ships in a flotilla carrying Hong Kong and Taiwanese protesters toward disputed islands. One ramming knocked journalists overboard, a spokesman said. Protesters had planned to tear down a lighthouse. Taiwan, Japan, and China claim the islands, known as the Daioyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Etceteras

"[We aim to] create a world where the barking dogs of the 20th century don't yelp in the 21st."

- President Clinton, in Paris for the signing of the NATO deal with Russia, which aims to ensure peace by bringing Russia into a loose alliance with the US and 15 other Western nations.

Debbie Dacoba of Paw Paw, Mich., wept with delight after throwing out the winning bid of $8,625 for a pair of horseshoes worn by Mr. Ed, the talking horse in the 1960's comedy show. Charlton Heston's "Ben Hur" loincloth wasn't nearly as popular at the Sotheby's auction in Beverly Hills, Calif.: It fetched $1,350, well below the expected $15,000 sale price. Other items sold included Ella Fitzgerald's fake eyelashes for $900.

When nonagenarian Ramon Rodriguez refused to sell the house he has lived in for 50 years, Overton Bank and Trust Dallas decided to build around him. The former chauffeur says the noise of bulldozers rolling around him on three sides doesn't bother him, and the looming high-tech facility won't bother him when it's done. The $68,000 the bank offered him for his home just wasn't enough, he said.

Remember the cinnamon bun bearing the likeness of Mother Teresa that made news worldwide? The Nashville, Tenn., coffeehouse that shellacked, displayed, and turned it into a marketing boon received a personally signed letter from the nun asking it to stop using her likeness for commercial ventures. Owner Bob Bernstein insists marketing the bun isn't "in bad taste."

The Day's List

Highest and Lowest US Car Rental Rates

The average rates of major rental companies for an intermediate-size car, according to an analysis by Runzheimer International of 100 metropolitan areas. The Rochester, Wis.-based firm didn't include gas, taxes, insurance, and other fees.

MOST EXPENSIVE

New York $83.00

Washington $74.00

New Haven, Conn. $70.50

Baltimore $70.00

St. Louis $69.00

LEAST EXPENSIVE

Miami $36.00

Tucson, Ariz. $38.00

Orlando, Fla. $38.50

Honolulu $39.00

Manchester, N.H. $40.50