News In Brief

Claiming "there is nothing certain yet," Cuban government leaders vowed to keep pressure on the US for the return of young refugee Elian Gonzalez. Details remained incomplete for him to be reunited with his father by next Friday, despite a ruling by the Immigration and Naturalization Service Wednesday that he should return to the communist island.

The parents of the Tamil suicide bomber who died trying to assassinate Sri Lanka's prime minister were arrested as security measures in the capital intensified. At least 12 others were killed in Wednesday's attack, the third on senior political leaders in three weeks. Government chief Sirimavo Banda- ranike, however, escaped injury. More than 300 Tamils were detained, police said - most of whom couldn't provide reasons for being in Colombo.

Members of the Cabinet ignored UN warnings and OK'd Cambodian Premier Hun Sen's plan to try Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide. His government and the UN have been at odds over the conduct of such trials, with the latter calling for an international tribunal under its supervision. Hun Sen has insisted the nation's courts are competent to hold the trials, although his plan would allow a few foreign judges to sit with a majority of Cambodians. UN officials, however, say a requirement that both sets of jurists agree on all indictments and rulings would lead to "paralysis." Hun Sen's plan still must be approved by parliament, the last opportunity for amendments. But analysts said major changes now are unlikely. The Khmer Rouge are blamed for 1.7 million deaths during their years in power.

Payments on $10 billion in foreign debt were suspended by the new military ruler of Ivory Coast. Gen. Robert Guei did not indicate how long the suspension would last but claimed it was necessary to pay the nation's civil servants. He led a junta that seized power Christmas Eve, accusing ousted President Alassane Ouattara's government of corruption. In Brussels, the European Union said it would seek "consultations" with Guei but had no plans to cut off financial aid.

With three new street protests looming, Ecuador's embattled president declared a national state of emergency. Jamil Mahoud's decree allows him to order the Army to halt any demonstrations. A protest in the capital, Quito, yesterday and two more next week were called by trade unions to demand Mahoud's resignation three years before his term expires. In his 18 months in office his government has confronted three nationwide strikes as the inflation rate topped 60 percent.

The widely televised videotape of a NATO attack last spring on a Yugoslav passenger train was shown at three times its actual speed, a published report said. At least 14 people died when an air-launched missile struck the train April 12 as it crossed a bridge. NATO used the tape to bolster claims that the train appeared so quickly there wasn't time to redirect the missile. But spokesmen for the alliance acknowledged the report was correct, blaming the speeded-up tape on computer error. The incident was one of several in which NATO weapons hit mis-identified targets or went astray in the assault on Yugoslavia.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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