News In Brief

Messages of congratulation flowed into Jerusalem from the Palestinian Authority's Yasser Arafat and other world leaders for the landslide victory of newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But other senior Palestinians warned of a new and "bloody confrontation" if he disregarded existing bilateral accords. Sharon, who routed rival Ehud Barak by 25 points, has said he won't agree to new negotiations with the Palestinians until the current violence ends. Meanwhile, aides said Sharon would try to form "a unity government" as soon as possible, to include Barak's Labor Party. (Story, page 1; editorial, page 10.)

The worst violence to date by supporters of embattled Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid "is the price we have to pay" for the evolving process of democracy, he told a news conference. But Wahid, who also fired his justice minister for disloyalty, said the strife "does not need to be exaggerated." In Day 6 of a campaign to keep him from being impeached, tens of thousands of rioters in Surabaya, the nation's third-largest city, set fire to the offices of the former ruling Golkar Party (above) and briefly took over the provincial parliament building before being dispersed by police firing warning shots and tear gas. (Story, page 7.)

In a ceremony closed to the public, Jean-Bertrand Aristide accepted the presidential sash, officially returning to power in Haiti. But although joyous supporters crowded outside parliament in Port-au-Prince, the inauguration was shunned by leaders of most other nations. Earlier, the 15-party opposition alliance proclaimed human rights activist and onetime presidential candidate Gerard Gourgue as chief of state in a provisional government after negotiations for sharing power with Aristide collapsed.

Key rural provinces were back under the control of security forces in central Vietnam after the largest and most violent ethnic protests in years. Reports said thousands of resentful minority tribesmen attacked relocated migrants from the southern lowlands with farming implements, cut telephone lines, destroyed acres of coffee trees, and burned several houses. Area residents said the demonstrations appeared to be well-organized and were being coordinated via cellphones.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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