News In Brief

The Macedonian government announced a nationwide cease-fire with ethnic Albanian rebels, whose four-month insurgency has brought the country to the brink of civil war. Some 3,000 NATO troops from 15 nations, including the US, are expected to be deployed as early as mid-July, and disarmament of rebels is to begin two weeks later, officials said. The open-ended cease-fire, brokered by the US, NATO, and European Union, also provides for early parliamentary elections in November and includes amnesty for rebels who have not committed crimes during the insurgency. Elections could provide better representation for the Albanian minority.

The U.N. war-crimes tribunal is stepping up efforts to bring Bosnian war-crimes fugitives to trial, following the court's arraignment of ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic met with chief war-crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte to discuss the capture of two of the most-wanted suspects, wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his senior military officer Ratko Mladic, who are both believed to be hiding in the Bosnian Serb republic. Above, Del Ponte holds a map of Bosnia during the meeting with Ivanic.

South African police have arrested at least 70 black squatters on land near Johannesburg illegally sold by an opposition party. The government is seeking to evict at least 3,000 blacks, who paid about $3 each for small plots on a dusty field owned both privately and by the government. Seven years after the end of white rule in South Africa, land distribution remains skewed heavily in favor of the white minority.

Representatives of 34 nations and diamond-industry executives agreed on key aspects of a pact that aims to end the trade of so-called "blood diamonds," which help finance wars. South Africa, the world's No. 1 producer of uncut diamonds, chaired the meeting in Moscow. The deal calls for an international certification system that tracks diamond sales and stops trading from countries at war. The diamonds account for less than 4 percent of the world's $7 billion trade in uncut stones but finance long-running wars in such countries as Angola, Sierra Leone, and Congo.

China appears on the verge of concluding its 15-year quest to join the World Trade Organization, after negotiators in Geneva said all outstanding membership issues had been settled. Negotiators hope China will be officially accepted as a member of the organization in November - which would open up another market to world businesses.

Hannelore Kohl, who died yesterday in Ludwigshafen, Germany, was wife of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. A member of the conservative Christian Democratic party, he was chancellor from 1982 to 1998 and is being investigated in a slush-fund scandal that enveloped him since he was voted out of office. Mrs. Kohl led a charity for accident victims.

jerry lampen/reuters

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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