News In Brief

The first successful test of a spacecraft for manned flight proves that China has mastered the technology to defeat US antimissile defenses, a Beijing newspaper said. The government-run China Business Times, quoting military expert Song Yichang, said last weekend's launch of the Shenxhou orbiter used low-power propulsion, which also allows the flight path of offensive missiles to be altered, helping them evade planned US defense systems. The newspaper quoted Song as saying the test gives China "the trump card" to "restrain" so-called theater missile defense systems. (Story, page 1.)

By mid-December the capital of Chechnya will be surrounded by Russian forces, the Kremlin's military chief of staff vowed. Gen. Anatoly Kvashnin also appealed to residents of Grozny to turn on the estimated 6,000 Muslim guerrillas believed to be in the city - a tactic used successfully in the earlier capture of Chechnya's No. 2 city, Gudermes. Only one southern suburb of the capital is thought to be fortified enough to offer major resistance to Russian troops.

A leader in the effort to negotiate peace between Algeria's government and the banned Islamic Salvation Front was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in the capital, Algiers. Abdelqader Hachani had spent five years in prison for inciting rebellion but later was among key Algerians in calling for a "global solution" to the political strife that has wracked the country since 1992. The shooting followed the worst week of violence since new President Abdulaziz Bouteflika assumed office in April, offering fundamentalist militants amnesty if they renounce their insurgency.

Prosecutors were ordered to present their case against ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday after a special court transferred him from military custody to civilian jail. Sharif was to have his first meeting with family members since being overthrown Oct. 12 by soldiers loyal to Army chief Pervez Musharraf. He is accused of treason, airplane hijacking, and attempted murder against Musharraf. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.

Representatives of the ruling party in Croatia were meeting with opposition leaders on transferring some presidential powers temporarily to the Speaker of parliament. The talks came amid reports by physicians treating authoritarian President Franjo Tudjman that his condition "worsened overnight." Tudjman underwent emergency surgery Nov. 1 for an intestinal problem and missed a deadline over the weekend to sign a proclamation scheduling national elections for Dec. 22.

An entry visa was denied to the top UN war-crimes prosecutor for Rwanda after the release of a principal suspect in the 1994 mass killings of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Carla del Ponte had planned to try to mend relations with the government in Kigali. The government also suspended ties with the UN war-crimes tribunal, based in neighboring Tanzania, because genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza was freed on a technicality: that he had been held too long in prison awaiting trial.

Compiled by Robert Kilborn, Lance Carden, and Ross Atkin

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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