News In Brief
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Embattled Congo President Laurent Kabila threatened war against neighboring Rwanda, which he said had sent 400 soldiers to his country to join the ethnic Tutsi-led uprising against him. The rebels had captured a key oil town and naval base in western Congo, diplomats and industry sources said. But a senior government official said Kabila's troops were in a position to regain control of Muanda, location of a Chevron oil facility, and the Banana naval base.Skip to next paragraph
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The conflict in Kosovo has entered "an extraordinarily dangerous phase," increasing the possibility of an international military operation, US Balkans envoy Richard Holbrooke said. As Serb forces continued advancing into the province, Kosovo's separatist ethnic-Albanian leaders and Albanian officials pleaded for outside intervention to "stop the repression." Meanwhile, European Union observers hoped to send forensic scientists to investigate news reports of mass graves containing more than 500 victims of a Serb attack on Orahovac.
Human-rights activists said they would try to verify claims of 11 mass graves in Indonesia, which were said to contain victims of a military crackdown a decade ago. Neither the military nor the government would comment on the claims of villagers from the northern province of Aceh, who said they were forced to dig the graves to bury executed Muslim separatists fighting for an independent state. An Indonesian human-rights lawyer said each grave could contain as many as 50 people.
Indonesia promised to release more political prisoners "in the near future," but a government official ruled out freeing East Timorese guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao. East Timorese separatists called for Gusmao's release shortly after Indonesia and Portugal agreed to continue talks to resolve the territory's conflict. The countries were discussing giving "special status" to separatist East Timor, a former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976.
Sri Lankan forces repelled an attack by ethnic Tamil rebels in a battle for a vital road, reportedly the longest offensive in the 15-year civil war. Fierce fighting for a section of the road in the Mankulam area, north of the capital Colombo, killed more than 160 people in the past two weeks, a military spokesman said. Tamil fighters want an independent homeland for their minority group.
Two members of Yasser Arafat's new Cabinet quit their jobs, dealing a blow to the Palestinian leader, whose standing has suffered from the Mideast peace-process deadlock. Hanan Ashrawi and Abdul Jawad Saleh criticized the Cabinet reshuffle, which kept some ministers accused of graft and mismanagement.
It would be very harmful ... to have [media] commentators speculating on leaks of key testimony ... while the Congress awaits the true facts...."
- Sen. Arlen Specter (R) of Pennsylvania, urging the special prosecutor to report his findings as soon as possible.
The Acadmie franaise has apparently discovered a new source of linguistic pollution in its defense of the French language - American feminists. Maurice Druon, secretary of the academy, was moved recently to write a stirring denunciation of a recent fashion for feminizing titles, which he characterized as an American aberration infiltrating French via Qubec. His chief irritation? A recent ruling by France's left-wing government that women cabinet ministers - of whom there are now eight - should be addressed as "Madame la Ministre" rather than "Madame le Ministre."
Meanwhile, the Philippine ambassador to Greece has filed a formal protest with the Foreign Ministry in Athens, over a listing in a Greek dictionary of "Filipina" as meaning "housemaid" rather than a Philippine woman. Norberto Basilio called the definition "an affront to the dignity" of his country's fairer sex and demanded a correction. The Philippines has more than 4 million nationals working overseas, including Greece, many of them in domestic service.
The Day's List
Sports That Score High On the World Wide Web
HotBot, one of the Web's leading search engines, has released results of a study of sports popularity, based on HotBot search requests during the month of June. It is perhaps not so surprising that golf would be high on the list in early summer. But who would have thought that wrestling fans would slam down enough Web searches to push their sport into the No. 2 spot? The 10 sports triggering the most HotBot searches in June:
- PR Newswire