News In Brief

NATO leaders called the first phase of air operations against Yugoslavia a success and said they'd continue as long as President Slobodan Milosevic's refusal to accept a Kosovo peace plan made them necessary. Gen. Wesley Clark said all allied planes had returned safely after hitting air-defense installations, ammunition dumps, and other strategic targets, including the shooting down of three Yugoslav fighter jets. In Belgrade, Milosevic's government said the attacks had killed 10 people and wounded 38 others.

Mediators were working to nail down a specific date and a venue for peace talks that would finally bring Congo Republic President Laurent Kabila face-to-face with rebel leaders trying to oust him. Earlier this week, Kabila gave in to pressure from other African governments and dropped his longstanding refusal to meet directly with the rebels. The rebels reportedly have inflicted a series of defeats on Kabila's troops and their allies from Zimbabwe, Angola, Chad, and Namibia this week.

The "mystery ships" that were fired on in Japanese waters Tuesday docked at a military port in North Korea, government sources in Tokyo said. Japan demanded that the ships and their crews be handed over for an investigation, but no response from the North Koreans had been received.

An impeachment trial with the potential to oust the President of Paraguay by day's end was under way as the Monitor went to press. The Senate was considering charges that Raul Cubas defied the Constitution by ordering his mentor freed from prison despite the latter's conviction last year for his role in a coup attempt. Not part of the indictment - but overshadowing the trial - was the widespread suspicion that Cubas may have ordered the assassination earlier this week of Vice president and political rival Luis Argana.

By decree, Haitian President Rene Prval appointed a new, 15-member Cabinet - a move that angered opposition leaders but was considered likely to be welcomed by the US, the UN, aid donors, and possibly potential investors. Opponents repeated earlier accusations that Prval had acted dictatorially and appealed to the international community not to recognize the Cabinet. Haiti hasn't had an effective government since mid-1997, although parliament continued to function until Jan. 11, when Prval dismissed it.

Seven candidates opened their campaigns for the presidency of Algeria, each promising to pull the country out of seven years of civil strife and repair its battered economy. An estimated 77,000 people have died since the Army overturned the 1992 balloting in which Islamic fundamentalists had taken a commanding lead. The election is scheduled for April 15. Incumbent President Liamine Zeroual is not seeking reelection.

An overloaded boat carrying refugees from the civil war in Sierra Leone capsized off the coast, causing at least 150 deaths, reports from the capital, Freetown, said. The accident was the third of its type this month, bringing the number of casualties to more than 400.

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