News In Brief
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Spain's Basque separatist group, ETA, reacted to the national backlash against its execution of a kidnapped politician by threatening to repeat the action. ETA's political wing, Herri Batasuna, also warned that attempts to isolate the group "risks a dangerous aggravation" of the political problem that has resulted in 10 deaths so far this year - and almost 800 since ETA began its campaign for an independent Basque state in 1968.Skip to next paragraph
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An Islamic radical leader was released from prison in Algeria one day after a terrorist bomb killed at least 21 people in a public marketplace. But analysts said the gesture probably would not be enough to end the long and violent campaign to undermine political stability. They said Abassi Madani, who headed the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) when he was jailed in 1992, has been succeeded by younger men. His release was the second of a FIS leader in as many weeks.
A Protestant Orange Order meeting hall in Northern Ireland was destroyed in a firebomb attack that members called a gesture of "derision by republicans and nationalists." The incident, 50 miles west of Belfast, came five days after the group agreed not to parade through Catholic areas of several cities. Meanwhile, talks on Northern Ireland's future were overshadowed by the new British government's admission that it had communicated with Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army, after saying it wouldn't.
Vital repairs to the Mir space station were delayed for at least eight days after its Russian commander complained of heart problems. The work, to restore power lost after a cargo craft damaged Mir last month, was to have been performed Saturday. Russian officials were considering whether to ask US crewman Michael Foale to help.
A leading opposition politician called on Cambodians to resist the "tyranny" of co-Premier Hun Sen. Sam Rainsy accused him of leading the country "back into terror and darkness." Meanwhile, Australia joined the US, Japan, and Germany in cutting aid to protest the July 5 coup that ousted Hun Sen's rival, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
Mexico City's new opposition-party mayor will have unprecedented powers, according to reports from the capital. President Ernesto Zedillo broke both written and unwritten codes in granting Mayor-elect Cuauhtmoc Crdenas permission to name his own police chief and public prosecutor. Analysts said the move eases concern that the city would become a political battleground between the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and Crdenas's leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution.
The government of Thailand ordered a massive review of fire-safety procedures in the wake of last week's hotel blaze that killed 90 people and injured dozens of others. The fire, in the Royal Jomtien seaside resort in Pattaya, burned for more than 12 hours. Survivors said they heard no alarms, and emergency exits were found locked - apparently to keep guests from leaving without paying their bills.
"They have no call to take retaliatory action, and it would be a grave mistake to do so."
- President Clinton, responding to apparent Bosnian Serb attacks linked to the arrest and punishment of war-crimes suspects.
A Washington State man hopes that the rest of his relationship with his wife-to-be goes swimmingly, now that their engagement formalities are over. He meant to give her a diamond ring on an outing in Oregon, but lost it when he fell off a raft into the Rogue River. The ring, in a plastic sandwich bag for safekeeping, floated downstream until a little girl fished it from the water to show to her aunt. By this time, word of the incident had spread, the couple was traced, and the ring was returned.
Some 8,300 people are expected to parade around the streets of Easton, Pa., today . . . and around, and around, and around. But this is no display of civic pride. They aim to set the record for the world's largest game of musical chairs. The last one sitting takes home, among other prizes, a deluxe recliner.
THE DAY'S LIST
Magazine's Ranking of World's Richest People
Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates has topped the Forbes magazine list of the world's billionaires for the third straight year. Forbes says Gates doubled his worth over the past year. The magazine's top 12 of the superrich, with sources of wealth and estimated net worth in billions (excluding dictators and royalty with no direct roles in business):
1. William Gates, US Microsoft Corp. $36.4
2. Walton family, US Wal-Mart, Inc. $27.6
3. Warren Buffett, US stock market investor $23.2
4. Lee Shau Kee, Hong Kong real estate $14.7
5. Oeri, Hoffman, and Sacher families, Switzerland pharmaceuticals $14.3
6. Paul Allen, US Microsoft Corp. $14.1
7. Haas family, US Levi Strauss clothing $12.3
8. Kwok Brothers, Hong Kong real estate $12.3
9. Mars family, US candy manaufacturing $12.0
10. Quandt family, Germany BMW $11.7
11. Albrecht family, Germany retailing $11.5
12. Tsai Wan-lin and family Taiwan, financial services $11.3
- Associated Press