News In Brief
Yugoslavia demanded a reciprocal gesture from NATO after its unconditional release of three US soldiers captured March 31. But it again refused foreign troops on its soil as a condition of a Kosovo peace deal. Meanwhile, NATO said two US pilots were rescued after their planes crashed - one inside Yugoslavia and one in the Adriatic Sea. The alliance also admitted one of its bombs hit a bus in Kosovo. Reports from the scene said at least 34 people died in the attack.
A deadline for the evacuation of East Timor's capital by all residents who oppose independence from Indonesia passed without incident, but the city remained anxious. A militia calling itself Red Blood Commando warned it would "exterminate" everyone in Dil beginning at midnight Friday, once anti-independence residents had left. The group made a similar threat earlier, but failed to act on it. Timorese are to vote Aug. 8 on an offer of autonomy. If that is rejected, Indonesian leaders say the territory will be granted independence.
Police charged a white engineer in his early 20s with murder following the third nail-bomb explosion in London since April 17. He is to be arraigned today after the reported discovery of a "bomb factory" in his house 30 miles south of the city. Friday night, a blast in a Soho-district pub favored by homosexuals killed three people and hurt more than 70 others. In all, 118 casualties have resulted from the explosions - the first two of which were in largely black and Asian neighborhoods.
Conservative hard-liners opposed to relatively moderate Iranian President Mohamad Khatami were dealt another embarrassing defeat when parliament failed to impeach his minister of culture. Ataollah Moha- jerani was accused of promoting "promiscuity, corruption, and prostitution." Last week, five pro-Khatami members of Tehran's city council took their oaths of office despite conservative efforts to stop them from serving.
Amid violence that has killed at least five people and injured 11 others, voters in Nepal go to the polls today for Phase 1 of an election to choose a new government. Police were blaming Maoist insurgents for the violence. The guerrillas have urged a boycott of the election. Voters will return to the polls for the second phase May 17.
Residents were taking a wait-and-see attitude toward a coup in the impoverished Comoros Islands, whose Army has long been ridiculed for failing to keep order or protect against periodic invasions by foreign mercenaries. No casualties were reported as soldiers seized the capital, Moroni, Friday after three days of violent inter-island protests. The coup leader vowed to set up an executive commission of technocrats to restore stability.
Compiled by Robert Kilborn
and Lance Carden