News In Brief

The two US-based Chinese scholars convicted earlier this week in Beijing of spying for Taiwan were freed from their 10-year prison terms. In its second such move in two days, the government granted Gao Zhan and Qin Guangguang medical parole. Gao quickly boarded a flight to Detroit. Qin also was expected to leave for the US at an unspecified time later. Despite their releases, Secretary of State Powell said he expects to raise the issue of China's human-rights record when he visits Beijing for discussions with senior leaders tomorrow.

Peace negotiations were expected to resume in Macedonia with the pullback of most ethnic-Albanian insurgents from positions near the republic's No. 2 city, Tetovo. But the status of the talks subsequently was clouded by the government's announcement that it had issued arrest warrants for 11 insurgent leaders, among them political representative Ali Ahmeti, on charges of crimes against humanity. The negotiations broke down last week over what Albanian negotiators said was efforts to return them to Square One, leading to new fighting that collapsed a 17-day cease-fire between the two sides.

New efforts to bring the US and Russian governments closer together on the key issue of a missile defense shield won't stop the Bush administration's tests of the proposed system, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said. On a visit to Moscow, she said the threats to the US by rogue states "won't wait" even though the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty bans such tests. Although Kremlin officials with whom she met did not share a concern for speed, Rice said negotiating proposals would be ready for the consideration of Presidents Bush and Putin when they next meet - in October.

A Muslim politician who once tried to block Indonesia's new chief of state from the post because of her gender was chosen by the National Assembly as her vice president. Hamzah Haz had demanded the job as the reward for leading his United Development Party into the coalition government. The move came as ousted President Abdurrahman Wahid received an emotional farewell from thousands of supporters on leaving for medical treatment in the US.

Amid the other political developments in Indonesia, unidentified gunmen assassinated the judge who last year sentenced the youngest son of ex-dictator Suharto to prison for graft. Hutomo (Tommy) Mandala Putra failed to report to jail and has been in hiding ever since.

An estimated 1.2 million Cubans joined leader Fidel Castro on a march in Havana described as the largest anti-US demonstration since he rose to power in 1959. The march, centerpiece of a three-day annual holiday marking the communist rebel attack that launched the revolution against dictator Fulgencio Batista, passed a cordoned-off US Interest Section, the American mission there.

A growing chorus of calls for ill President Hugo Banzer of Bolivia to resign was joined by the nation's prestigious Confederation of Private Business. The calls also have come from Roman Catholic Church leaders and the opposition National Revolutionary Movement. Banzer has been in the US since July 1 for cancer treatment. Early this week, an aide denied rumors that he was briefly clinically dead and said he plans to return long enough for Independence Day celebrations, Aug. 6.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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