News In Brief
Negotiators for Israel and the Palestinians are to meet again Sunday to resume the search for a final peace deal, although it appeared their respective leaders, Prime Minister Barak and President Arafat, won't be among them. The word came amid reports that at the Camp David summit, Israel's representatives discussed among themselves - perhaps for the first time - a proposed presidential office for Arafat in the Muslim sector of contested Jerusalem.
An easy victory appeared likely for Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez as he seeks reelection Sunday under provisions of the country's new Constitution. Chvez, who has served only 17 months of the term to which he was elected in 1998, held a 20-point lead in late opinion polls over challenger Francisco Arias Cardenas despite widespread disappointment over his inability to rally the oil-based economy.
Tens of thousands of people were converging on Peru's capital as a massive protest against today's inauguration of controversial President Alberto Fujimori built toward a climax. Early reports said there were no confrontations with hundreds of security police ringing the presidential palace, but the Air Force declared a no-fly zone over Lima to deny observers a full view of the scene by helicopter.
Yet another leaked memo was adding to the image problems of British Prime Minister Tony Blair - this time by suggesting that he is ready to commit the country to joining the common currency of the European Union, the euro, despite strong public opposition. The leak, the third in two weeks, was seen by analysts as a problem for Blair because he wanted to keep the euro from becoming a major campaign issue in Britain's next election, probably in the spring.
Despite the heavy weight of opposition from Iran's hard-line conservative clerics, moderate reformist President Mohamad Khatami announced he'll seek reelection next year. Analysts said Khatami's declaration so far ahead of the vote indicated an effort to reassert his leadership of the popular reform movement, which recently has been embraced by some conservatives, although they maintain it must be moderated so as not to undermine Islam.
In a new spiral of violence in Fiji's political crisis, Army troops stormed a school where followers of rebel coup leader George Speight were camped, arresting more than 300 on charges that had yet to be announced. One death and dozens of injuries were reported in the raid, which followed Speight's own arrest for allegedly threatening the life of new President Ratu Josefa Iloilo. Other followers then seized two New Zea-land civilian airline pilots and about 50 ethnic Indians and set fire to a sugar cane plantation owned by Iloilo's predecessor.
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