News In Brief

An uncertain and possibly blunt greeting awaits President Clinton tomorrow in Pakistan, whose military leader was vowing "to be very frank with him." Gen. Pervez Musharraf curtly rejected Clinton's assertion that "elements in the Pakistani government" supported the recent violence in disputed Kashmir. He also said he didn't need Clinton's "approval" for his new timetable for two rounds of local elections, beginning in December. Clinton, wrapping up a South Asian tour, has called on Musharraf to schedule full national elections.

Reaction among Israelis to Pope John Paul II's emotional condemnation of anti-Semitism on the part of Christians was divided. In a speech at the Yad Vashem memorial, broadcast live, the pontiff expressed sorrow for "the hatred [and] acts of persecution," but did not address the Roman Catholic Church's public silence while millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. His words were seen as the crowning moment in a 22-year effort to reconcile Jews and Christians. But while Israeli political and clerical leaders praised the speech, others said the pope missed an opportunity to apologize for the church's past behavior.

Saying "We did it!" negotiators in Berlin agreed on a formula for allocating $5 billion in a compensation fund for victims of Nazi-era, forced-labor practices. The plan was the last major point of contention in discussions that took months to conclude. Legislation to create the fund, to be financed equally by the government and major corporations, awaits the approval of parliament. An estimated 800,000 to 2.3 million beneficiaries would receive a minimum of $2,500 each.

Prospects for peace in Northern Ireland were thrown into new confusion as a Belfast clergyman announced he'll challenge for the leadership of its main Protestant political party. The Rev. Martin Smyth, an outspoken opponent of the 1998 so-called Good Friday peace deal with Catholics, seeks to replace Ulster Unionist Party chief and Nobel Peace Prize-winner David Trimble. The UUP's policymaking council is due to meet tomorrow. Analysts predicted Trimble's hand actually would be strengthened if he staved off the challenge.

The president who has ruled Rwanda since the genocide of 1994 resigned, becoming the latest in a series of high-ranking Hutus to leave the government this year. Pasteur Bizimungu was to be succeeded on an interim basis by parliament Speaker Vincent Biruta until a new chief of state can be chosen. Reports said Bizimungu, a symbol of reconciliation between Hutus and the majority Tutsi population, had a "falling out" with leaders of his own Rwanda Patriotic Front, and especially with its Tutsi chairman, Vice president Paul Kagame.

Another major gasoline pipeline fire killed at least 50 Nigerians and was still burning as the Monitor went to press. The blaze broke out about 3 a.m. as the victims were siphoning fuel into buckets and canisters from a vandalized conduit, a common practice in a country that does not produce enough to meet domestic demand. Two thousand people died or were seriously burned in a similar incident in October 1998.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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