Organizers of a mass rally in Yugoslavia's capital were ordered by police to tear down a stage from which they planned to protest the government's denial of their election victory. Belgrade residents were urged to jam the streets after President Slobodan Milosevic defied all appeals to step down and announced an Oct. 8 runoff against challenger Vojislav Kostunica. Elections officials said Kostunica finished with 48.2 percent of the vote, to 40.2 for Milosevic. Kostunica's Democratic Opposition of Serbia claimed a 55 percent to 35 percent outcome. Kostunica vowed to defend his "obvious victory" but said his supporters would avoid "careless moves that could raise tensions."
The hopes of controversial President Alberto Fujimori to leave office in Peru on his own terms were dealt a major blow as three more members of Congress quit, leaving him without a majority. Fujimori's Peru 2000 alliance now holds 58 seats in the 120-seat legislature, too few to pass laws governing the national election he has called. The defections began after a bribery scandal involving secret service chief Vladimiro Monte-sinos, a key Fujimori ally, broke Sept. 14.
The political isolation of Ivory Coast military ruler Robert Guei appeared complete after he told visiting heads of state his country would manage its own affairs. A delegation from the Organization for African Unity was seeking peaceful solutions to simmering divisions that threaten to erupt into violence and spill into neighboring countries. At the center is ex-Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, whom Guei has tried to disqualify from running in next month's presidential election. The Washington Post reported that the junta had falsified Ouattara's marriage license to make it appear he is not of Ivorian birth.
Police and military intelligence agents blocked the Rangoon offices of Burma's opposition party and videotaped members arriving for a 12th anniversary celebration. The arrivals did not include National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who's again under house arrest after twice trying to meet with supporters outside the capital. A government newspaper warned the NLD would "face the consequences" if it acted on plans to draft a new constitution.
Much of Calcutta, one of India's largest cities, was flooded, and weather experts predicted the swollen Hoogly River would not crest there until today. Thousands of families were urged by authorities to seek higher ground. Huge areas of eastern India and Bangladesh have been under water since Sept. 18, causing hundreds of deaths and leaving another 11 million people stranded.
Greece launched a criminal investigation into the sinking of a passenger ferry crowded with foreign tourists. At least 59 people died; 443 were reported to have been rescued. Some survivors complained they weren't adequately prepared with life jackets when the ferry struck rocks and went down in the stormy Aegean Sea.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society