News In Brief

Unbowed, leaders of Northern Ireland's Protestant Orange Order called for a second week of protests if they aren't allowed to complete a contentious march through a Catholic neighborhood in Portadown. Police had stopped their march on

Garvaghy Road Sunday, after which Protestant hard-liners torched hijacked vehicles and hurled stones at law-enforcement officers. It was the eighth consecutive night of violence. The tensions come before massive parades planned for Wednesday, when the Orange Order commemorates a 1690 military triumph over Catholics.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, his coalition in tatters, vowed to march ahead with peacemaking at the Camp David summit with Palestinians. The Israeli parliament was to take two no-confidence votes in Barak's government, but analysts believed it couldn't muster the 61 votes needed for the measures to carry.

A day after a deal was reached to end Fiji's seven-week hostage crisis, rebel sympathizers apparently took advantage of an agreed-upon amnesty for politically motivated crimes to torch a Masonic lodge and occupy a tuna cannery. Overall, civil disturbances have spread after a clash last Thursday outside Parliament. Under the agreement signed Sunday by rebel leader George Speight and the military, the 27 captives being held are to be freed Thursday, when the Great Council of Chiefs is to meet to choose a new president.

The only real doubt about the outcome of Syria's referendum to confirm Bashar al-Assad as president was how big his majority vote would be. At the polls, many Syrians declined to use the curtained booths, preferring to cast their ballots in an open, public display of loyalty. When Bashar takes office following a swearing-in ceremony next Monday, he will be the first president to succeed a father in an Arab republic.

The Philippine president hoisted the national flag over the headquarters of the country's largest Muslim rebel group, a day after government troops had captured key parts of the facility. But a spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the fight for Camp Abubakar would continue. The capture capped a military campaign of more than two months against the MILF in the southern region of Mindanao.

At least 25 people were killed near the Philippine capital, meanwhile, when a mountain of rain-loosened garbage collapsed and triggered a fire at the largest dump in metropolitan Manila. At least 68 people were missing and another 29 injured among the squatters who inhabited the area. A local disaster relief agency said more than 700 residents were evacuated.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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