News In Brief

Massive security precautions were in place for President Clinton's nine-hour visit to Colombia - a trip he was calling "pro-peace and antidrug." Cartagena, where Clinton arrived, was peaceful, but in Bogot, the capital, Cal, Medellin, and other cities leftist students and communist guerrillas were still clashing with government forces late in the night before his visit. Colombian leader Andrs Pastrana said he'd urge Clinton to drop US trade barriers against the country in the hope of generating alternative jobs for people employed in the narcotics trade.

Whether former President Suharto will show up for the start of his trial today on graft charges was unclear, although Indonesian authorities assigned 1,250 police to guard the special government complex even if he does not appear. Suharto, who's accused of misusing more than a half-billion dollars in charities he controlled while in office, is too ill and frail to withstand the trial, his lawyers say. A pardon already has been promised by new President Abdurrahman Wahid if Suharto is found guilty.

Pleading for calm, the younger brother of reform-minded Iranian President Mohamad Khatami told impatient university students they must endure the violence of hard-line fundamentalist vigilante gangs "without resorting to violence in return." The move by Mohamad Reza Khatami, leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, was seen as an attempt to keep rising student anger in check and to prevent another week of social unrest like that in July of last year that rocked the nation. Last week in the western city of Khorramabad, a policeman was killed and a regional governor and dozens of students were hurt in vigilante violence, the latest backlash against student-backed reformists who scored major gains in parliamentary elections earlier his year.

Riding his early lead in opinion polls, the chief rival to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic planned to kick off his campaign with a stop in Milosevic's hometown. Surveys show Vojislav Kostunica, who represents the Democratic Party of Serbia, ahead of Milosevic by as many as 12 percentage points with balloting scheduled for Sept. 24. Veteran political observers, however, say they still expect Milosevic to win.

Four Americans are among 10,693 prison inmates who will be freed Saturday as part of an amnesty on Vietnam's National Day, the Hanoi government announced. Coupled with the release of more than 12,000 others in April on the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, the amnesty will be the largest in the nation's history, reports said. It was not clear whether the releases include political dissidents.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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