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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn, Kristen Broman-Worthington, and Amanda Paulson / April 30, 2002



Yasser Arafat was to meet US and British officials to arrange the transfer of six Palestinians wanted by Israel to a jail in Jericho before attempting to leave the compound in which he has been confined for the past month. Meanwhile, Israeli forces moved into Hebron in search of militants involved in a weekend shooting spree in the nearby Jewish settlement of Adora that killed four people. Reports said nine Palestinians died in the Hebron operation, 17 others were arrested, and searchers found a car bomb and two suitcases of explosives ready for detonation. (Related story, page 1; related opinion, page 11.)

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In an unusually candid admission, a senior Chinese government official said unemployment likely will rise to more than 20 million people over the next four years. Deputy Labor Minister Wang Dongjin told the China Daily newspaper that the situation "could well undermine social stability." He said China's economy can generate a maximum of 8 million jobs a year, while as many as 13 million enter the workforce annually. Last month, tens of thousands of laid-off workers made headlines with daily protests over their failure to receive promised severance pay.

The political crisis deepened in Madagascar, where a court-ordered recount of last December's presidential election ballots gave victory to challenger Marc Ravalomanana. The court said the mayor of the capital city, Antananarivo, defeated incumbent Didier Ratsiraka by 51 percent to 35 percent. Ratsiraka said Sunday he'd disregard the panel's findings, and one provincial governor vowed he would declare independence in Ratsiraka's support. Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka have been in a power struggle for four months because of the disputed Dec. 1 election.

The high-profile legal battle by a British woman to commit suicide with her husband's help ended in defeat. In a unanimous vote, the European Court of Human Rights refused to grant Diane Pretty's husband immunity from prosecution if he assisted in her death. Brian Pretty, who would be liable for a 14-year prison sentence, and the couple's lawyers said they'd continue a campaign for changes in British law. Euthan-asia is legal only in the Netherlands.

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