News In Brief
Despite "a wave of anti-China sentiment," Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji said he planned to go forward with his scheduled visit to the US next month. He blamed allegations that a Chinese spy had stolen nuclear-weapons secrets from American laboratories on partisan political struggles. While in Washington, he said, he'd "tell the truth and let you vent your anger," Monitor correspondent Kevin Platt reported. Zhu (at a news conference in Beijing) also recalled chiding Secretary of State Albright on her recent visit to China, telling her he'd campaigned for human rights while she was still in high school.
"We would be honored to say 'yes,'" ethnic-Albanian separatist leaders told mediators at the Kosovo peace talks in Paris, indicating they will sign the proposed accord granting them autonomy while keeping the province within Serbia. Mediators said they now would pressure "the Serb side to show the same courage."
Terrorist attacks that have concentrated on Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, spread to the capital as Kurdish separatists declared "war" on tourism. Twin bombs exploded under a parked car in Ankara's embassy district, injuring a passerby. The blast followed a week of violence in Istanbul that killed 22 people, apparently in response to the impending trial of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. A Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) statement said, "It is essential that no tourist comes to Turkey." The PKK has targeted tourism before in its fight for autonomy, but without doing much damage to the $7 billion-a-year industry.
A widely known Catholic human-rights lawyer and mother of three children died in a car-bomb explosion in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Rosemary Nelson had represented other Catholics in numerous high-profile cases - notably residents of nearby Portadown who've long opposed marches through their neighborhood by the Protestant Orange Order. No threats against her life had been reported, and there were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.
Armed police stood guard as banks across Ecuador braced for an expected crush of depositors wanting to withdraw their savings. The banks had been closed for 10 days as President Jamil Mahuad declared a two-month state of emergency to try to come to grips with the country's worst financial crisis in 50 years. But while the banks were allowed to open again, Mahuad ordered roughly half of their combined $8.6 billion deposits frozen for up to a year.
A possible trade war hung in the balance as the lower house of Parliament in Canada prepared for a final vote to impose new fines on US publishers. The measure was expected to pass. It aims to keep out "split run" magazines featuring low-cost ads targeted at Canadian readers and would replace an earlier tax that was found to violate World Trade Organization rules. Canadian publishers say they lose advertising and revenue to the split-run magazines. Negotiators for both countries plan to meet again Friday on the issue, but the US is accused of "bully tactics" in threatening retaliatory sanctions against Canada's steel, plastics, textile, and other industries.