News In Brief

A 3-1/2-hour meeting between Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and special US envoy Richard Holbrooke in Belgrade ended with no sign of progress or whether it would be resumed later. Holbrooke's mission was to try to win an OK by Milosevic for the US-backed peace proposal for Kosovo. A second round of negotiations on the accord between Serb representatives and ethnic-Albanian separatists is scheduled to resume outside Paris Monday.

The Indonesian city of Ambon was described as a war zone amid heavy new fighting by Muslims and Christians - despite efforts of elders on both sides to call a truce. At least seven people were reported dead after Army troops fired on the rioters, and dozens of houses were on fire. More than 200 people have died in the city and elsewhere in Maluku province since the unrest began Jan. 19.

Residents of Spain's Basque country were waiting to see how the separatist-guerrilla group ETA would respond to two major setbacks at the hands of law-enforcement authorities. Despite ETA's unilateral truce against the Spanish government, police raids brought the arrests of nine men suspected of belonging to its violent "Donosti" cell. They followed the arrest a day earlier of Jos Javier Arizcuren - believed to be ETA's military commander - and five alleged lieutenants. They were apprehended in Paris after a lengthy police stakeout.

Exiled Tibetans around the world demonstrated on the 40th anniversary of the takeover of their homeland by China. In the largest protest, an estimated 5,000 people marched through New Delhi, chanting anti-Chinese slogans and burning effigies of President Jiang Zemin and Peoples Liberation Army soldiers. From his exile in Dharmsala, India, the Dalai Lama told another large gathering that China had ended 18 months of secret contacts last fall aimed at setting up a dialogue on reconciliation "without obvious reason."

Visitors to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, reported intense security measures on the anniversary of the March 10, 1959, Buddhist uprising that triggered the Chinese takeover. Monks were not permitted to leave their monasteries, their holiest shrine was closed, soldiers in riot gear patrolled a nearby marketplace, and Westerners were subjected to hotel-room checks by security officers.

Deep financial crisis and the start of a general strike by labor unions led Ecuador's president to declare a 60-day national emergency. Jamil Mahuad's decree allows the Army to limit public gatherings and order strikers back to work. He also extended a bank shutdown - although many depositors already had withdrawn their savings on rumors that they'd be seized by the government. Mahaud's efforts to reform the economy have caused retail prices to soar.

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