News In Brief

The explosion of a car bomb in a crowded Jerusalem market delayed the announcement of a cease-fire agreement reached in negotiations between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli representative Shimon Peres. Arafat and Prime Minister Ehud Barak had planned simultaneous radio announcements of the truce, which included reopening Palestinian borders. Israeli officials blamed the bomb attack, which killed the daughter Israel's right-wing National Religious Party leader and one other person, on Islamic militants recently released from prison by the Palestinian Authority. But Israel still vowed to honor the cease-fire agreement.

Sustained gunfire still was being reported from the hills outside Fiji's capital after interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase declared that the Army had put down a rebellion by dissident troops. Two soldiers died, and a search was under way for about 20 rebels who escaped amid the shooting. The rebels were believed to be among those who seized parliament May 19, helping ethnic- Fijian businessman George Speight oust Qarase's Indian predecessor, Mahendra Chaudhry. The new uprising came as the vital tourist industry was struggling to recover from hundreds of canceled bookings due to the May coup.

The first long-term crew of the International Space Station was to begin occupancy after their Russian capsule docked with it in orbit. Two Russians and one American (above, in a scene from television footage) were set to power up basic systems and spend the next four months getting the $60 billion station up and running for future crews.

The worst flooding in 50 years appeared days from ending in Britain, where weather forecasters were predicting still more heavy rain and gale-force winds. Severe warnings were declared around nine rivers, notably the Severn in western England, which was swollen to 10 times its normal level. Elsewhere, typhoon Bebinca was following tropical storm Xangsane across east Asia. Xangsane was blamed for 95 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and the destruction of almost 120,000 acres of cropland in the Philippines and Taiwan.

Less than two months after corruption charges were dropped against former Indonesian President Suharto, current office-holder Abdurrahman Wahid refused to grant his youngest son a pardon. Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra is under a sentence of 18 months in prison for his involvement in a property scam. Wahid's decision, his spokesman said, "is a very big step in the search for justice for Indonesia." Analysts suggested the arrest marked the government's first victory in an uphill campaign to stamp out corruption. (Related story, page 6.)

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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