News In Brief

A UN-led protection force that would deploy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be demanded by Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat when he meets with President Clinton Thursday, senior aides said. Arafat also is expected to insist that former South African President Nelson Mandela sit on a committee to investigate more than five weeks of violence in the territories. But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak rejected an intervention force, saying it could even cause conditions to worsen.

The first in a wave of protests and strikes in South Korea over massive job losses is scheduled for today in Seoul, to be followed by a larger rally this weekend and an indefinite walkout by construction workers Nov. 29. Last week, the nation's banking sector identified 52 deeply indebted companies it said will be liquidated, sold, merged, or placed under court receivership, throwing as many as 200,000 people out of work. New fuel was added to the situation when Daewoo Motor Co., one of the largest automakers, failed to make $39 million in debt payments to its creditors.

Despite a vow by President Joseph Estrada to prove his innocence in an impeachment trial in the Philippines Congress, reports persisted that his aides were seeking ways for him to resign gracefully. "Let the impeachment process take its due course," Estrada said as the lower house moved close to OK'ing a formal complaint against him for allegedly accepting $8 million in payoffs from illegal gambling syndicates. The articles could go to the Senate for trial soon after it resumes work next week. Meanwhile, the national Chamber of Commerce and Industry joined the growing calls for Estrada to quit.

The union representing 4,500 white farmers presented opening arguments before Zimbabwe's Supreme Court in a battle over the government's efforts to redistribute their land to blacks without compensation. The farmers are seeking to overturn President Robert Mugabe's move as unconstitutional. Since it began in February, armed blacks have occupied an estimated 1,700 farms; in all, the government is threatening to confiscate more than 2,300.

Despite a 71.5 percent disapproval rating, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori will keep his job, key sources in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said. Mori's popularity slid to just 16.8 percent in a new opinion poll, which, the LDP sources said, they "take very seriously." But they said he and his Cabinet would remain in their posts until at least next July, when voters choose a new upper house of parliament.

The mayorship of Nicaragua's capital was headed back to Sandinista control after voters defeated the candidate of the ruling Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC). But President Arnoldo Aleman predicted the PLC would win at least 90 of the 154 mayors races at stake in last weekend's election. The PLC has held the Managua post only for the past four years, although the leftist Sandinistas lost their long hold on power nationally in 1990.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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