News In Brief

In its strongest protest yet over US weapons sales to Taiwan, China's Foreign Ministry warned Ambassador Joseph Prueher of "devastating damage" to bilateral relations, beginning with cooperation on halting the spread of nuclear-tipped missiles. A spokesman also said China "reserves the right to make a further reaction." In Washington, President Bush said the US would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China but cautioned Taiwan not to provoke an attack by declaring independence.

Soldiers and police staged a show of force in Indonesia's capital, apparently to warn against violence by tens of thousands of supporters of beleaguered President Abdurrahman Wahid. Wahid, who is widely expected to be censured for a second time Monday by parliament for his alleged role in two financial scandals, had hoped for the support of his popular vice president, Megawati Sukarno-putri, but she gave lawmakers from her Democracy Party for Struggle, the largest in parliament, the green light to vote for a censure resolution. Under parliamentary rules, Wahid could be impeached by August if it passes.

Still wearing a trademark wristband bearing the presidential seal, ousted Philippines head of state Joseph Estrada was arrested and placed in a jail cell to await trial for perjury and plunder of public funds. Conviction on the latter charge would mean he could be executed. Above, in a photo taken from television, Estrada poses for a mug shot inside police headquarters in Manila.

At least six people died and five others were hurt when a bomb exploded inside police headquarters in Chechnya's No. 2 city, undercutting official Russian claims that the breakaway region was returning to normal. Until this week, Gudermes, where the blast occurred, was the seat of Chechnya's pro-Russian administration. A second bomb was defused outside the administration's new headquarters in Grozny, the capital.

Without saying so specifically, the president of Montenegro appeared to retreat from his planned referendum on seceding from Yugoslavia. In a news conference with visiting British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, Milo Djukanovic said "a responsible leadership has the obligation to pursue a cautious policy." Djukanovic's Victory Belongs to Montenegro coalition won only a narrow victory in last Sunday's parliamentary elections, and he said the vote "demonstrated that Montenegran society remains divided."

Police were advancing cautiously into a Serb-dominated suburb of Bosnia's capital a day after bitter protests against its takeover by the republic's Muslim-Croat federation. An international arbiter assigned to resolve a long-running dispute over control of Dobrinja decided it should be removed from the zone awarded to Serbs under the 1995 Dayton peace accords. Some Serb leaders said their followers "would rather die" than live under the Muslim-Croat federation.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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