Upping the ante in its spiraling confrontation with Palestinians, Israel sent tanks into the West Bank town of Beit Jala in a "limited" operation of undetermined duration. The action made good on a two-week-old threat to occupy the town unless sniper fire from there against Jewish targets ended. Meanwhile, in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished Palestinian dwellings also allegedly used as cover by snipers. Above, a Rafah resident anguishes over the leveling of her house. (Story, page 1.)
Led by some of the world's most famous companies, the growing economic slump in Japan sent the national unemployment rate to a record 5 percent last month, the government announced. It said 3.3 million people were jobless, with more likely to join them as the economy teeters on the brink of recession for the fourth time in a decade. New Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged action to combat the problem, but of the $475 million set aside in 1999 for unemployment subsidies, only a fraction has been spent to date. Among major employers announcing heavy layoffs recently are Toshiba, Fujitsu, Matushita, and NEC. (Story, page 1.)
By a 75-to-0 vote, members of Congress in Peru authorized prosecutors to charge disgraced ex-President Alberto Fujimori with murder and other "crimes against humanity." The move was seen as a new attempt to pressure Japan, where Fujimori lives in exile, to extradite him for trial. The homicide charge would allege that he was responsible for two sets of mass killings by a shadowy death squad in 1991 and 1992. To date, Fujimori has been charged only with dereliction of duty and abandoning office.
With the UN warning against sabotage attempts in tomorrow's historic election for parliament in East Timor, the fledgling nation's presumed new president said he'd forgive the widespread destruction caused by Indonesian forces there in 1999. José (Xanana) Gusmao said "it would not be fair" to seek compensation because the estimated $500 million in damage was done under a previous government after a huge majority of Timorese voted for self-rule. The election tomorrow is expected to be dominated by Fretilin, the left-wing movement that led the 24-year independence struggle. (Story, page 7.)
The identities of convicted rapists and child molesters - and the neighborhoods in which they live - are to be posted on the Internet tomorrow in South Korea. The move, both unusual and controversial in a socially conservative, male-dominated society, is aimed at reducing sex crimes against minors. Initially, it is expected to cover 169 people convicted of such offenses since July 1, 2000. Roughly half of South Korea's 46 million people access the Web.