News In Brief

The son of President Laurent Kabila appeared to be in charge of Congo's government, although it was unclear from news accounts as the Monitor swent to press whether his father had been assassinated. The elder Kabila reportedly was shot in a meeting with military chiefs, and one Congolese official was blaming the attack on neighboring Rwanda, Uganda, and the Congo Republic. (Story, page 1; editorial, page 10.)

Rumors of corruption surfaced against the chief of Palestinian TV following his assassination by unidentified gunmen at a Gaza City restaurant. Hisham Miki was a close friend of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. But although his station regularly broadcast anti-Israeli material - about which the Jewish state complained - senior officials said privately there was no evidence that Israel was involved in his death.

The main stock index and the peso both plunged in value in the Philippines as the nation adjusted to the probability that President Joseph Estrada would be acquitted in his impeachment trial. The proceedings in the Senate were suspended indefinitely after all 11 prosecutors quit in protest when they were forbidden to introduce critical evidence. An estimated 40,000 people turned out in hastily organized demonstrations in Manila Tuesday night, and many were returning to the streets as the Monitor went to press. (Story, page 6.)

Efforts shifted from finding additional survivors to helping the thousands of people left homeless in last weekend's earthquake in El Salvador. Helicopter crews and truckers struggled to deliver emergency food, water, and medicines to the hardest-hit rural areas as the number of fatalities climbed to 683. Officials appealed to Salvadorans living abroad to send donations home.

Ignoring his country's crushing military defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein marked the 10th anniversary of its opening with a defiant address to the nation. He said his forces had won a great victory and made no mention of the hardships confronted by ordinary people because of the UN economic sanctions that remain in effect.

Tough rhetoric was being exchanged between Pakistan and India over the latter's test-firing of an enhanced, intermediate-range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The Agni-2 missile can reach targets anywhere in Pakistan. Indian officials said its neighboring rival and China both were given advance notice of the test, but a Pakistani spokesman called it a direct threat to national security. In April 1999, following the first test of the Agni-2, Pakistan quickly retaliated with two test-launchings of its own.

A surprise visit aimed at defusing new sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland was to be made by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a special envoy of outgoing President Clinton. Aides to Blair acknowledged the trip had not been cleared in advance with local political leaders. It was to take place against a backdrop of unresolved rows between Protestants and Catholics over the lack of paramilitary disarmament, reforms to the province's police force, and further scaling down of Britain's military presence.

The owners of two attack dogs blamed for the mauling death of a German schoolboy last June were convicted of manslaughter by a court in Hamburg. The case was the last in a series of such incidents in Germany, provoking numerous local bans on the ownership, importing, or breeding of fighting dogs.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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