News In Brief

In a veiled warning, the army chief of staff in Indonesia told embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid "to consider wisely" not disbanding parliament in a bid to avoid impeachment. Wahid, censured by lawmakers last week for the second time over his alleged involvement in two financial scandals, has until the end of the month to convince them he can improve on his erratic performance in office. If he fails, under parliamentary rules, impeachment proceedings can begin in August. Wahid has denied any intention of dismissing the legislature, but rumors of such a plan have circulated widely.

Cracks already were appearing in the newly announced unity government in Macedonia over the shelling by army troops of villages controlled by ethnic-Albanian insurgents. One of two Albanian partners in the new coalition, the opposition Party for Democratic Prosperity, gave Prime Minister Ljubco Georg-ievski three days to declare a truce with the insurgents or "we will not take part in a government that shells civilian houses." The bombardment of villages, while still under way Wednesday, was low-level.

Pledges to cut taxes and improve law and order were signed on national TV by the front-running candidate in Sunday's national election in Italy. Billionaire media baron Silvio Berlusconi, who served as prime minister for seven months in 1994, also sought to allay voter concerns over his business-rated legal problems and announced his choices for key cabinet positions should he win. But his challenger, Francesco Rutelli, was vowing to pursue a more Europe-oriented track if voters elect him. He predicted Italy would be out of the European Union "within 30 seconds" after a Berlusconi victory. Above, Rutelli greets supporters at a campaign stop in the center of Rome.

In their third attack in the past five days, UNITA rebels struck a town in northern Angola despite hints that they and the government were finally ready to resume long-stalled peace negotiations. But the rebels said they'd hand over to Roman Catholic missionaries any children kidnapped in a raid Saturday near Luanda, the capital. Aid workers say UNITA seized 51 boys, nine girls, and an adult teacher from a private school to use as "political hostages."

Yugoslavia was readmitted to membership in the World Bank eight years after being expelled for its involvement in the various Balkan conflicts. Despite remaining responsible for debts of $1.7 billion incurred by the former six-republic state before its breakup began in 1992, the World Bank said President Vojislav Kostunica's government would be eligible for $540 million in new no-interest loans beginning July 1. Yugoslavia also rejoined the International Monetary Fund last December.

Fatigue from last year's Olympic Games was blamed for low-key celebrations in Australia of the nation's 100th anniversary as a federation. Other than a gathering of 7,000 dignitaries for official ceremonies in the original capital, Melbourne, interest in the occasion was rated minimal.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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