News In Brief

All Muslim countries were "invited" to break off relations with Israel by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). But at their meeting in Qatar, delegates rejected a call for a "holy war" against the Jewish state, a term absent from OIC language since the 1991 Madrid conference that launched the Middle East peace process. Meanwhile, at least three Israelis and two Palestinians were killed in shooting incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, raising to 216 the number of people who have died in six weeks of violence. (Related story, page 10.)

For the first time since he went into hiding Oct. 25, the ousted military ruler of Ivory Coast met with the winner of the nation's presidential election and called on all Army troops to return to their barracks. Gen. Robert Guei said he recognized Laurent Gbagbo as the legitimate president. Guei fired elections officials and declared himself the winner of the Oct. 22 vote, but then fled when hundreds of thousands of Gbagbo supporters protested in the streets. He was believed to have sought refuge in a neighboring country but said he wanted only to return to his native village.

In a historic move, the lower house of Congress in the Philippines impeached President Joseph Estrada, setting the stage for a trial by the Senate that could remove him from office. Estrada's allies called the move unconstitutional and vowed to appeal it to the Supreme Court. For the president to survive a trial, which is expected to begin later this month, the verdict must fall short of a two-thirds majority. The charges include accepting millions of dollars in bribes; perjury; graft and corruption; betraying the public trust; and "culpable violation of the Constitution."

An arrest warrant was issued in Moscow for controversial Russian news media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin. Gusinsky, who was jailed briefly in June for allegedly cheating the government out of $10 million, is believed to be in Europe and did not obey a summons for questioning in what officials said was a fraud case. His lawyers called the charge politically motivated. Prosecutors say he illegally transferred assets of his Media-MOST newspaper and TV group to a holding company outside Russia to keep the government from seizing them for nonpayment of debts.

A major state governorship race appeared too close to call in Mexico, leaving uncertainty over whether President-elect Vicente Fox is popular enough yet to influence the outcome of lesser elections. The candidate of Fox's National Action Party, Francisco Ramirez, was ahead in exit polls in Jalisco state, but Jorge Arana of the long-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) held a 1.2 percent edge in the vote count. Last month, a PRI candidate narrowly won the governorship of Tabasco state.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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