News In Brief

Almost 200 peacekeepers reached the safety of a UN base in eastern Sierra Leone after being rescued from entrapment by rebel forces. The peacekeepers, all from India, plus 11 unarmed observers had been surrounded since early May. They were freed Saturday by helicopter-backed Nigerian and Ghanian troops, although aircraft carrying them to the UN base came under ground fire while leaving the area. Their experience, a UN spokesman said, will cause the remainder of the 13,000-strong peacekeeping mission to be deployed "in a robust manner."

The deadline for registering to vote in the first internationally supervised election in Kosovo was extended to Wednesday after Serb moderates said they'd participate if their security could be assured. That agreement was seen as a sign of division in Serb ranks, where hard-line leaders oppose any election until the UN allows more than 200,000 of their displaced followers to return home. Without substantial Serb participation, analysts say, the October vote will lack legitimacy.

A new wave of political violence in Spain was blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA after the assassination of a local politician and a car bomb explosion that injured at least one person. Those incidents followed the wounding of 10 others when another car bomb went off outside a Madrid department store last week. ETA called off its unilateral 14-month truce against the Spanish government last December. The murdered politician was a member of the Popular Party of Prime Minister Jos Maria Aznar, who has taken a hard-line stance against ETA.

Another terrorist bomb exploded aboard a crowded passenger train as it left Hyderabad, Pakistan, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 30 others. There was no claim of responsibility and police said they had no suspects for the attack, one of more than a dozen in Pakistan so far this year.

Schools are to reopen today in Fiji, but the rebels behind the eight-week-old political crisis warned of new trouble if the composition of the new government doesn't suit them. Rebel leader George Speight still was holed up in the parliament, although he and his armed followers freed the last of their 31 hostages late last week. The rebels reject Army-appointed interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, who could be named to new President Josefa Iloilo's new Cabinet as soon as today.

Expo 2000, the world's fair in Hanover, Germany, will fall well short of its target of 40 million paid admissions, its chairman acknowledged. Birgit Breuel reversed herself after weeks of defending the prediction against critics and said the German government would have to cover the fair's deficit. The event, staged at a cost of $1.6 billion, closes Oct. 31. Published reports said paid admissions are likely to top out at 25 million.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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