Over the objections of human-rights groups, Indonesia's new antiterrorism decree will carry the maximum penalty of death for persons caught in the government's security dragnet and convicted, the Justice Ministry said. The decree is to be issued Friday by President Megawati Sukarnoputri. It comes amid intense international pressure in the aftermath of last Saturday's bombing on Bali that killed or injured almost 500 people. Lawyers for Abu Bakar Bashir, who heads a militant Muslim group possibly linked to the blast, said his arrest was ordered by police.Skip to next paragraph
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Except for the tense cease-fire line dividing them, Pakistan announced it would match India's decision to pull back troops who were rushed to the border last summer when war threatened to break out. Senior Indian officials also suggested that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee might visit Pakistan early next year if a conference there on regional cooperation is held as planned. But they said Vajpayee would discuss only "multilateral" issues, not the future of disputed Kashmir.
Dissident army troops signed a truce in Ivory Coast calling for an immediate end to the fighting that has punctuated their month-old mutiny. A mediator at the ceremony (above) in the rebel-held city of Bouaké said the insurgents agreed to seek discussions with the government aimed at resolving their grievances. It was not immediately clear whether the truce would be accepted by President Laurent Gbagbo, who last week rejected a cease-fire proposal.
Conceding defeat, hundreds of whites in Zimbabwe announced they'd no longer resist the government's effort to seize their farms for redistribution to landless blacks. The decision leaves only about 600 farms in white hands, a spokesman for their association said, compared to 4,500 when the seizures and harassment by militant blacks began 2-1/2 years ago. At the same time, an estimated 6.7 million Zimbabweans face hunger because of a sharp drop in agricultural production and the effects of drought.
At least six people died and 144 others were hurt when two terrorist bombs exploded almost simultaneously in the main shopping district of Zamboanga in the southern Philippines. At least two more devices were defused before they could go off. The attack was the second there in two weeks, and suspicion fell immediately on Muslim radicals.
With vote-counting all but complete in Jamaica's election, unofficial returns showed Prime Minister P.J. Patterson winning a third consecutive term and his People's National Party its fourth. But it appeared the PNP would lose as many as 13 seats in the lower house of Parliament. Despite unprecedented security measures, Wednesday's voting was marred by the shooting deaths of seven people.