News In Brief

Police brought in snipers to try to quell heavy fighting outside Macedonia's No. 2 city with ethnic Albanian guerrillas as the latter's insurgency spread further in from the Kosovo border. Frightened civilians were fleeing Tetovo, a city of 200,000 people. Police also said shooting could be heard in a town just 12 miles from the capital, Skopje. The guerrillas say they are fighting to end discrimination against Macedonia's Albanian minority. (Story, page 1.)

Amid reports that US spy satellites have detected a new Chinese missile base opposite Taiwan, the administration disputed an announcement that President Bush will make his first visit to Beijing in October. Aides said it had not yet been decided whether to accept a Chinese invitation, although Premier Zhu Rongji told a news conference, "I am very pleased" that the visit will allow the two governments "to communicate better with each other."

Travel restrictions against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were eased by Israel as new Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prepared for his first visit with Bush Tuesday in Washington. But another Palestinian was killed in a clash with soldiers in the West Bank, bringing the number of deaths in the current intifada to 438. (Related story, page 1.) Israel also said it was ready to resume cooperation with a US-led probe of the causes of the violence. But it repeated its opposition to a UN observer force demanded by the Palestinians.

Although his government appeared in no immediate danger of collapse, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee scheduled an emergency meeting with the country's president to explain a fast-spreading bribery scandal. The crisis erupted when an Internet media company released secretly recorded videotape of civilian defense officials, military chiefs, and key politicians appearing to accept cash from reporters posing as weapons dealers. Defense Minister George Fernandes resigned, and a junior partner in Vajpayee's ruling coalition said it was withdrawing its support. In the furor over the scandal, police (above) struggle to control opposition-party activists at a demonstration in Bombay.

Ways to help prop up the jittery Tokyo stock market and to inject new vitality into Japan's economy were being explored in an emergency meeting convened by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. The meeting followed a "negative review" of 19 Japanese banks imposed by a major international ratings agency.

Another 100,000 animals were designated for slaughter in Britain in what the government called a "safety first" move to contain the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. But the number of outbreaks rose to 240 since the malady first was detected Feb. 19. Meanwhile, the European Union's executive arm said it would appeal to the World Trade Organization to rescind the growing number of import bans on meat and dairy products, arguing that they're "excessive." (Related story, page 2.)

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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