News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, and Stephanie Cook

No official change in policy was expected in Japan, its acting chief of government said, despite reports that Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi was on a life-support system in a Tokyo hospital. Mikio Aoki also defended the government decision to keep word of Obuchi's illness secret for almost 24 hours, saying, "We never thought it would turn out this way." But there were signs that a search was already on for his successor.

In a new strategy to recover his son, Juan Miguel Gonzalez said he'd fly to the US alone if allowed "to return to the airport and back to Cuba." The tourism worker stood weeping as President Fidel Castro read his statement on national TV. Meanwhile, under an alternative plan announced by Castro last week, the US interest section in Havana said it was expecting visa applications from a party of 28 Cubans - among them the elder Gonzalez - for a proposed trip to Washington to wait out the legal impasse over who should have custody of six-year-old Elian.

In pajamas and his bare feet, a close aide to former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was arrested by NATO troops and flown to The Hague for trial on genocide charges by the UN war-crimes tribunal. Momcilo Krajisnik's was Karadzic's senior deputy for most of the 1990-95 Bosnian civil war and eventually replaced him as Serb leader after Karadzic was indicted by the war-crimes tribunal. Krajisnik's arrest heightened concerns of a violent backlash by Serb nationalists in this weekend's Bosnian municipal elections.

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"The leader of the free press in Haiti" was killed by unidentified gunmen as he arrived for work in a suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Jean Dominique, the nation's most prominent radio newsman, also was an adviser to President Ren Prval. There was no apparent motive for the shooting, although reports said he had received numerous death threats. His murder followed a wave of street violence last week linked to Haiti's twice-postponed elections for a new parliament. A worker at his station also was killed.

In a 5 a.m. blastoff today, two cosmonauts are scheduled to head for the Russian space station Mir, which has orbited Earth unmanned since August. Plans call for them to spend 45 to 75 days aboard, performing repairs and conducting scientific research. New budget allocations and some private sponsorship deals have made it possible for the aging orbiter to stay in service at least through the end of this year. Originally, it was to be allowed to sink in the Pacific Ocean this spring after state funding ran out.

Saying: "Now, it's turned ugly; it's going to be violent," a leader of the Aboriginal movement in Australia threatened disruption of this summer's Olympic Games at Sydney. Charles Perkins hinted that protests would involve "burning cars and burning buildings" after a leaked government report played down the forced removal of tens of thousands of Aboriginal children from their families to be raised as whites over a four-decade span ending in the 1960s. Perkins was among those taken. The government of Prime Minister John Howard has rejected calls to apologize formally to Aborigines or to pay compensation.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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