News In Brief
All-night negotiations resulted in a common peace plan to be presented to Yugoslav President Milosevic in Belgrade by special Russian and European Union envoys. Viktor Chernomyrdin and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari delayed their departure from Bonn, Germany, while disagreements on coordinating a halt to NATO bombing, the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo, and deployment of a multinational peace force were ironed out. Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice rejected Milosevic's request that it order the bombing stopped.
An Indian offer of safe passage out of disputed Kashmir for "Pakistani-backed infiltrators" was rejected by the militants and airstrikes against their positions extended into a second week. Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said he'd seek an end to the conflict with Indian officials in New Delhi "in the next few days," although he called the militants "freedom fighters."
In a rare mention of the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, China's Communist government warned against using tomorrow's 10th anniversary to tap into public discontent over unemployment, falling wages, and corruption. In other moves, access to the US satellite news channel CNN was cut, seven more political dissidents were detained - bringing the number to 80 over the past month - and a lawsuit filed by exiled dissidents in the US demanding that the government investigate and apologize for the 1989 crackdown was rejected.
Despite a declaration that "our entire party organization" supports the call by Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan for an end to its violent autonomy fight in Turkey, guerrillas were blamed for the deaths of two soldiers and for a suicide bombing. The latter incident killed only the bomber, but it took place at an Army checkpoint, a common rebel tactic. Ocalan, who's on trial for treason, offered the surrender of his fighters if the court spares his life. But he threatened 5,000 suicide bombers would avenge his death if he were hanged.
The scheduled signing of an agreement to resume bilateral talks between rivals South and North Korea did not take place because the latter's representatives failed to show up. The ceremony was to have been held in Beijing, where the two sides last met officially - in April 1998. The talks reportedly would have begun June 21 if the agreement had been signed. As an inducement to North Korea to abandon its militaristic ambitions, special US envoy William Perry last week offered "a major expansion" in diplomatic and economic benefits.
The new civilian government of Nigeria rushed Army reinforcements to the oil-producing Niger Delta, where more than 200 people have died since last weekend in a resumption of tribal violence, reports said. Sporadic fighting began in 1997 over distribution of oil revenues and government favoritism toward the Itsekiri tribe at the expense of the larger Ijaw group.
A vote of no-confidence against President Jules Wijdenbosch passed easily in Suriname's parliament, which demanded that he call an election within six months and then step down. The move followed three weeks of street protests in the capital, Paramaribo, which swelled to an estimated 20,000 people late last week. The demonstrations began when the guilder plunged in value by more than half.
Compiled by Robert Kilborn
and Lance Carden