News In Brief
there will be no cessation of air attacks against Yugoslavia despite its unilateral declaration of a cease-fire in Kosovo because of the Orthodox Easter, the Clinton administration said. The holiday lasts from Friday through Sunday. The statement also pledged to work for the return of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who've fled or been forced from Kosovo since NATO's attacks began March 24. Some of the heaviest airstrikes late Monday targeted military barracks and fuel dumps. But the alliance conceded that one of its weapons may have destroyed a residential section of the southern Serb town of Aleksinac.
Arraignment procedures began at a former air base in the Netherlands against two Libyans accused of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Under tight security, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were fingerprinted, submitted to DNA testing, and listened as the names of all 270 victims of the 1998 explosion were read by Scottish prosecutors. They were to be charged with murder, conspiracy, and violations of international aviation law. For legal purposes, the base will be considered Scottish soil for the duration of the trial.
Gunfire could still be heard in the East Timor town where pro- and anti-independence groups fought earlier this week, bringing a call to arms by separatist leader Xanana Gusmao. Witnesses said at least 20 people were hurt Tuesday, although claims that two others were killed couldn't be verified. The heightened tensions were being called a threat to the UN-supervised referendum on independence in the former Portuguese colony, scheduled for July.
The embattled government of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was searching for ways to cling to power. A key coalition partner, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham Party, fulfilled its threat to quit Vajpayee's Cabinet and vowed to support a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. The prime minister has at least a week to maneuver because legislators aren't due to reconvene until April 15. Once they do, an early order of business will be consideration of his budget proposals, which could delay a no-confidence vote.
In a departure from past practice, the banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) urged Algerians to turn out "en masse" for next Thursday's national election. A statement by a senior FIS leader in exile in Europe also called on voters to support the presidential candidacy of ex-Foreign Minister Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, who holds strong fundamentalist sympathies. Ibrahimi is considered a strong contender, and FIS's call will likely improve his prospects, analysts said. FIS has boycotted every other election since its apparent victory in 1992 balloting was overturned by the Army.
The controversial governor of Mexico's Quintana Roo state failed to show up for the inauguration of his successor, and his whereabouts remained a mystery. Mario Villaneuva has been missing for almost two weeks, leading to speculation that he fled the country or may have been murdered because of suspected links to narcotics traffickers. New Gov. Joaquin Hendricks pledged an "independent" investigation of Villaneuva's years in power, and published reports said the national government was preparing to audit his personal effects.
Compiled by Robert Kilborn
and Lance Carden