News In Brief

With time running out, rescue teams in Turkey worked frantically to search for survivors among thousands trapped under hills of rubble left behind by Tuesday's earthquake. The death toll had reportedly risen to 7,000, but hope remained for the missing as people continue to be dug out of the debris, including very small children. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's government was barraged with criticism for poor organization of rescue efforts.

The organizers of Belgrade's first major rally against President Slobodan Milosevic in years accused police of intimidating supporters to stay away. The protest was scheduled to begin yesterday evening in front of the Yugoslav parliament. The state-run television ran continuous police warnings of possible bombings and other violence at any "massive public gatherings." Rally organizers expressed concern that electricity might also be cut during the event.

Meanwhile, the Kosovo Liberation Army announced it had met a NATO disarmament deadline. NATO officials said the KLA had moved specified heavy weapons - such as artillery pieces and long-barreled Kalashnikov assault rifles - into designated storage sites. The KLA, which fought against Yugoslav forces until NATO peacekeepers entered Kosovo in June, must disarm completely by September.

Israeli authorities released a man dubbed as "Palestine's Mandela" after he had served 25 years in prison for the murder of an Israeli policeman. Khalil Saadi al-Raei (above with beard) hopes his example will pave the road for the release of more Palestinian prisoners. Prime Minister Ehud Barak's gesture of "good will" followed a deterioration in negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel after the latter refused demands to release 650 Palestin- ian prisoners, in addition to 250 already freed. Israel must free 750 under the Wye accord.

A jury in Belem, Brazil acquitted three police officers for the massacre of 19 peasants in a 1996 land dispute, igniting widespread protests. The officers are the first of 150 standing trial for attacking farmworkers demanding land reform who had blocked a road near Eldorado dos Carajas - 1,300 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro. Many of the victims were shot at close range or killed with machetes and scythes, and some of the violence was caught on videotape. The defendants say they were simply pawns in the battle between the government and the Landless Rural Workers Movement. Two percent of Brazilians own more than half of the nation's arable land.

China and Taiwan would be on "the brink of war" if the US continues to "blindly mess" in the current row between Taipei and Beijing, warned the Global Times, a Chinese daily. The newspaper said China was prepared for war and that its neutron bomb and long-range missiles could destroy US aircraft carriers. China has been engaged in an escalating war of words with Taiwan since the island's president, Lee Teng-hui, said last month the two should have "state-to-state" ties.

Iran again warned the US to stop meddling in its domestic affairs, following a call from the State Department for the release of 13 Iranian Jews accused of spying. Their trial was expected to begin yesterday.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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