News In Brief
Sworn enemies temporarily set aside their differences to join an estimated 800,000 Jordanians in Amman for the funeral of King Hussein. Among the gathering: leaders from Israel and such foes as Syria and Iraq. Libya and Sudan, both at odds with the US, also attended. President Clinton led the US delegation, which also included predecessors Bush, Ford, and Carter.
Optimism was in short supply at the peace talks on Kosovo, as Serb and Albanian-separatist delegates studied details of a proposed autonomy for the province line by line. The Serbs called parts of the internationally sponsored plan "horrifying." Neither side appeared ready to meet with the outside mediators on hand to help reach common ground by the NATO-imposed deadline, Feb. 19.
Aides to German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder sought to blame the rival Christian Democratic Party (CDU) for "manipulating" voters in a state election that cost his ruling coalition control of the upper house of parliament. The CDU ousted Schrder's Social Democrat-Green Party team from power in Hesse and took its five seats in the Bundesrat, where it now can block his reform legislation. A Social Democratic Party spokesman accused the CDU of "agitating the people" with its opposition to a proposed overhaul of German citizenship laws.
Fighting that resumed last weekend in the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea is "very intense and getting worse," the latter's Foreign Ministry said. Ethiopian jets and helicopters reportedly were supporting a new offensive on the ground, an apparent violation of the moratorium against the use of aircraft brokered last spring by President Clinton. Each side blames the other for the renew-ed hostilities.
A split appeared likely in two key gubernatorial races in western Mexico, where the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) faced strong challenges from candidates of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party. With more than 90 percent of the vote counted, the PRI candidate in Guerrero held a 49.6 percent to 47.9 percent lead. But in Baja California Sur, the leftist candidate was leading by 51 percent to 45 percent, according to TV reports.
In dramatic fashion, the embattled president of Sierra Leone reversed course and said he would let rebel leader Foday Sankoh out of prison to consult with field commanders on a new peace proposal. But Ahmad Tejan Kabbah insisted that the rebels "must recognize the legitimacy of my government." Sankoh is under a death sentence for his role in a 1997 coup that temporarily ousted Kabbah. At least 3,000 people are believed to have died since Sankoh's forces began an offensive late last year in a effort to free him.
Local officials played down new attacks that killed two Christians, seriously injured a third, and left a church in ashes in India. The first incident occurred in the state of Orissa, which has experienced several recent sectarian attacks, but its home secretary said the victims in the latest "incidentally happen" to be Christians. Similarly, authorities in the northeastern state of Assam said the church-burning occurred during a fight between rival tribal groups and was unrelated to recent Hindu-Christian clashes elsewhere.