News In Brief

The month-long violence in the Middle East will continue "until a boy or girl raises the Palestinian flag in Jerusalem, our capital," Yasser Arafat vowed. He spoke as another day of clashes with Israeli security forces killed at least two more Palestinians and wounded 30 others in the West Bank and Gaza. Other leaders complained that the strife has caused "another external shock" to the already weak Palestinian economy.

Streets were largely empty in Ivory Coast's capital despite the lifting of a curfew called to quell political and ethnic violence. More than 450 people were arrested and an estimated 155 died late last week as supporters of President-elect Laurent Gbagbo clashed with backers of ex-Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara over the latter's demand for a new election. Tensions were heightened by the discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 50 Ouattara supporters.

Ethnic violence was reaching dangerous levels in Sri Lanka, with Army troops joining local police to try to keep Sinhalese and minority Tamils apart. At least one person died and several others were wounded when police fired into mobs in a tea-growing district 112 miles east of Colombo, the capital. The violence was triggered by last week's massacre of Tamil rebels inside a detention camp. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said the government bore "total responsibility" for "serious consequences that might arise" from that attack.

Sectarian peace efforts appeared headed for a new crisis in Northern Ireland as Catholic politicians blasted the province's Protestant first minister for barring them from key meetings. David Trimble told members of the North-South Ministerial Council from Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army, he made the move because they'd done "nothing" to facilitate the surrender of IRA weapons under the 1998 Good Friday peace accord. Republican Catholics view the ministerial council - which brings together ministers from the Belfast and Dublin governments - as a steppingstone toward the united Ireland they seek.

Ibrahim Rugova, who led the passive resistance by Kosovo Albanians against ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, said his LDK party had won 60 percent of the vote in the province's first democratic election. Although most of Kosovo's Serbian minority boycotted the vote to protest the present UN administration, officials said the turnout was massive. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which orchestrated the election, planned to issue official results today.

In a new attempt to consolidate control over the armed forces, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori announced the resignations of the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, saying the moves would "contribute to the process of institutional fortification." The commanders, and the military as a whole, are believed to be loyal to Fujimori's spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, who returned to Peru last week after a failed exile bid in Panama and is at the center of coup rumors.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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