News In Brief
Fighting intensified in two areas of Kosovo as Serb forces targeted ethnic Albanian villages. The effort appeared aimed at establishing control over a route NATO troops would likely use in peacekeeping duties or to rescue unarmed international monitors. Meanwhile, a hard-line opponent of the peace plan for the restive province quit as adviser to the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army. Adem Demaci complained that the KLA's leaders "think they know more about politics than I do."
The flow of oil through an Iraqi pipeline was halted indefinitely by US airstrikes earlier this week, an official there said. The attacks destroyed two relay stations along the pipeline, which carried more than half of Iraq's export crude to a shipping terminal in Turkey. One person died in the attacks, another was hurt, and communications gear bought under Iraq's oil-for-food deal with the UN was destroyed, the official said.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wound up her thorny visit to Beijing and flew to Thailand, unable to coax any compromises from the Chinese government on human-rights policy, its trade surplus with the US, or on the sale of US missile defense systems to Taiwan. The Foreign Ministry attributed Albright's criticisms of China to cultural differences.
US assurances that it has no "hidden agenda" in seeking to try two Libyans for the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 were rejected by the Tripoli government. But Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, then told a national TV audience that a deal to surrender the suspects for trial in the Netherlands is near. He is under new pressure from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and presidents Mubarak of Egypt and Mandela of South Africa to conclude the matter. Last week, the US gave Libya 30 days to hand over the suspects.
A rescue attempt gone awry resulted in the deaths of at least five Western tourists in Uganda - two of them Americans. Reports from the scene said the victims died in crossfire between their Hutu rebel kidnappers and government troops. Six hostages were freed and three were reported missing. They were in a party of 31 people captured Monday in a national park on the border with Congo. Seventeen others from the group quickly escaped.
Recognition of the rights of the Indian majority and fixing the Army's role in a democratic society are two of the major constitutional reforms that voters in Guatemala will be asked to approve May 16. The referendum date was set by the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal. The reforms were passed last month by Congress under terms of a 1996 peace deal with leftist rebels that ended decades of civil war. But they remain unofficial until approved by a majority in the referendum.
Twenty-five judges, state prosecutors, or other officials were "outed" as collaborators with Poland's communist-era secret police. The move was the government's first to comply with a law requiring civil servants and politicians to disclose past cooperation with state security agencies. Hundreds more confessions will not be made public until after they're investigated, reports said. Poland has been among the slowest of ex-European communist states to bring former secret agents to account.