News In Brief

Despite the high cost in human lives and economic losses, Palestinians won't end their violent uprising against Israel until the latter withdraws from occupied areas, Yasser Arafat told the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The conference opened as another day of heavy fighting in the West Bank injured at least 15 more Palestinians. In all, more than 200 people have died in six weeks of clashes, more than 9,000 others have been hurt, 380,000 have lost jobs, and Israel's blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has caused almost $1 billion damage to the Palestinian economy, Arafat said.

At least 100 people were hurt in street fighting between thousands of angry union activists and riot police in Seoul, South Korea. The violence, the worst this year in labor protests, also resulted in the destruction of 20 cars as the demonstrators demanded that bankrupt Daewoo Motor Co., the nation's No. 3 automaker, be nationalized to prevent the layoffs of 3,500 workers. A nationwide strike of construction workers is scheduled for Nov. 29 as layoffs loom in that industry.

Calm returned and businesses were reopening in the capital of Indonesia's Aceh province following a two-day independence demonstration that drew an estimated 400,000 people. The peaceful rally, however, contrasted with violence blamed on Army troops, who were accused of killing 35 people as they tried to reach Banda Aceh for the occasion. A local Army commander claimed most of those attending had been forced to do so by separatist rebels.

Despite a new Supreme Court ruling that declared Zimbabwe's program of forced land redistribution unconstitutional, the government announced it would neither stop nor reverse it. The ruling was the third in a series; earlier decisions by the justices ordering the eviction of black squatters from white-owned farms also have been ignored. President Robert Mugabe's "fast track" program has targeted 3,041 of an estimated 4,500 farms for takeover. No compensation would be paid - unless Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial power, provides it.

Two national days of mourning were being observed in Austria for the victims of Saturday's Alpine tunnel fire, which killed at least 155 people at a popular resort area. The victims were skiers and snowboarders aboard a packed funicular, a type of cable car pulled along rails up Kitzsteinhorn mountain, 220 miles west of Vienna. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear. The system had passed a safety inspection in September.

Leah Rabin, who died in Jerusalem, became an activist for Middle East peace in her own right following the Nov. 4, 1995, assassination of her husband, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. She traveled the world to promote the concept of harmonious coexistence with the Palestinians that her husband was pursuing at the time of his death. But she also was a divisive figure in domestic politics, first blaming right-wing leader (and later prime minister) Benjamin Netanyahu for causing the atmosphere that led to Yitzhak Rabin's murder, then turning on current government chief Ehud Barak.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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